Wedding Ceremony Readings & Poem

Reading 1

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.

A good marriage must be created.

In marriage the “little” things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say, ”I love you” at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is standing together and facing the world.

It is speaking words of appreciation, and demonstrating gratitude
in thoughtful ways.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is not only marrying the right person — it is being the right partner

Reading 2

BRIDE and GROOM, this celebration is the outward token of your sacred
and inward union of hearts.

It is a union created by your loving purpose and kept by your abiding will.

It is in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to
be joined together.

Reading 3

So, as important as this ceremony is, the foundation of your marriage
was formed long before we ever came here today,
and that is the love that you share.

Love is gentleness

Love is kindness

Love understands and love forgives.

It is loyal through good and bad

Love hopes for the future

Love is everlasting.

Love makes up for things that you may not have.

Without love, no matter what you do have it is never enough.

So, search for love.

Share your love.

But most of all, Enjoy your love.

Reading 4

Most would agree that it is love that keeps people together
when they’re confronted with that immense sky,
with those infinite distances that separate even the closest of men and women.

But what kind of love?

Poets, priests and philosophers, and no small number of cabbies,
barbers and bartenders have debated this question.

We speak of spiritual love, passionate love, love eternal…
but the phrase that may capture the reality of this emotion best is
“stirring the oatmeal” love.

When you’re willing to stand in your bathrobe on a cold kitchen floor
at 5:00 AM, and stir the oatmeal so your spouse can have a little more sleep—
and not even think twice about why you’re doing it—then you have a love
that can last a lifetime.

As Carl Jung once wrote, “feeling is a matter of the small.
” Such simple, pragmatic experiences are the best places for love to take root.

In such ground, love blossoms over time, becoming deeper,
more beautiful, and more profound.

Love so deep, intimacy so profound, cannot help but suggest transcendence,
a shifting of human experience into the realm of the spiritual.

This is what makes marriage a unique milestone in any relationship.

BRIDE and GROOM  have been together for ______ years.

They seem as close as any two people can be.

Yet they felt the need for something more: a rite of passage.

We define marriage as a sacrament, something that is itself defined as
“a rite ordained as an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.”

An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.

That is why we are here: to witness this visible sign.

These words, these actions—they are the manifestation of that inward grace.
In this way, a marriage is like a mirror.

It lets us look into depths that cannot be seen directly, and reflects the spirit
of the two being joined as one.

Reading 5

Your marriage is the coming together of your two souls for the purpose
of manifesting your hearts’ desires and the truth of your being with one another.

Marriage will bring to you all of the unlimited possibilities of consciously
choosing to become all that you desire, giving you the opportunity to
become your highest vision of your Self.

This path is not only incredibly challenging but very rewarding as well;
it brings to each of you the choices that you want to have for your own
growth as well as the wonderful moments of diving blessing that you yearn
for in your lives.

Marriage is a path of divine humanness.

It takes great courage and commitment to continue a conscious
and loving union with one other.

Through your commitment, the breath of human experience will be born,
from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

This level of commitment to yourself and each other will open the door to
receiving all that you desire, from the conscious to the unconscious.

The very act of joining with each other will increase your potential
for self knowledge, joy, fulfillment, peace, and growth a hundred fold
because until you have fully committed to each other, the well spring of
God’s gifts have only a small river in which to flow through you.

Marriage is the union of your souls, a divine process that your essence
longs to experience. It is your nature, and the truth of who you are.

By committing to each other, you commit to life more intimately.

You no longer have the luxury of leaving when the going gets tough
and the ugliness comes to the surface. Your lifelong commitment brings to
you an opportunity for joy that would be unparalleled for each of you alone.

The joys are that much stronger and the happiness that much richer.
The wisdom is deeper and more developed, and the journey itself fuller
and more beautiful.

The path of true marriage is not for the meek.

It requires courage and strength, as well as an open mind and a heart filled
with hope and joy.

Through the mirror of each other, marriage teaches you compassion,
understanding, trust, commitment, love, gentleness, and patience.

Within your marriage, all things are possible; all dreams, goals, and visions
are possible within your Holy Union.

Marriage denies you nothing, and only gives to you that which you truly desire.

Your marriage is the coming together of friends into Union.
It requires you to soften, enjoying the special qualities of your present moments.

It can bring you comfort in times of need, solace when you despair,
and safety when you are afraid.

A lifelong, loving marriage brings to you more peace than a life filled
with quietude and solitary meditation.

It takes the peace of your connection with God into your relationship
and into all that you say, think, and do.

Because you have prayed for every gift available to you, your marriage
leaves no stone unturned, enriching your lives beyond your wildest dreams,
and making you greater than you ever imagined.

Reading 6

To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love.

It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other.

It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow,
even when it is difficult to do so.

And it takes faith, to go forward together without knowing what the future
holds for you both.

While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy
to come by.

They are not a destination, but a journey.

The true art of married life is an inner spiritual journey.

It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities,
a mingling of two endowments, which diminishes neither, but enhances both.

So it is on this Summer eve, let us rejoice yet know that we are here not
just to observe but also to participate in this marriage ceremony.

May we all remember that the path of love is meant to be walked together
with God and with all of humanity.

No persons in a love relationship can have meaning apart from their family,
their friends and their community.

Reading 7

A Little Something

Love is the greatest gift that we can offer to one another.

That is what makes marriage so very special, and a cause for joy and celebration
for all of us who have come here today to share in this event.

It is my personal hope and prayer that those of you who have already
taken the vows of marriage will witness the love of these two people,
and as you listen to them share their vows, perhaps it will strengthen
for you the memory of your happy day, and remind you of the meaning
of the vows you yourselves once took.

Perhaps it will even strengthen just a little bit the bond of love that has been
growing between you, and if any of this should happen, it would certainly be
the greatest gift that BRIDE and GROOM could offer all of us on their wedding day.

Reading 8

Love is always Patient and kind.

It is never jealous Love is never boastful nor conceited.

It is never rude or selfish.

It doesn’t take offense.

It is not resentful.

Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth.

It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope snd to endure whatever comes

Reading 9

Love is not simply a relationship to a specific person; It is an attitude;
an orientation of character, which determines the relatedness of a person to
the world as a whole, not toward one “object” of love.

If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his
fellow person, this love is not love but a selfish attachment,
or an enlarged egotism.

If you truly love one person, you love all persons, you love the world, you love life.

If you can say to somebody else, “I love you” you must be able to say,
“I love through you the world, I love in you also myself.

Reading 10

by Carl Sandburg
I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.

I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions,
which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.

The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and
ecstasies of desires are working for larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are going forward toward something great.

I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.

Reading 11

Author Unknown
Love me because I try to touch life within the framework of uncertainty.

Love in me the shadows of my indecision as I strive to gain knowledge.

Love in me the silence of my hurts and the noise of my confusions.

Love me for the feeling of my heart not the fears of my mind.

Love me in my search for the truth though I may stumble upon fallacy.

Love me as I pursue my dreams sometimes retarded by illusions.

Love me as I grow to know myself even during the times of stagnation.

Love me because I seek God’s harmony not man’s discord.

Love me for my body that I wish to share with affection, wrapping you in warmth.

Love me because we are different as we are the same.

Love me that our time together will be spent in growing, kindling the world
with understanding. Love me not with expectations but with hope.

I will love you the same.

Reading 12

A Touch of Heart
There was a time … a moment I felt all alone but then the sun shined upon me
​bearing gifts of love, friendship and harmony Everlasting love shared and
expressed through you to me. The prayers, the cares, the gestures brought
forth to me heal my soul For at times I’d only known to give but failed to
accept and receive with grace. I’m not alone now for your warmth overwhelms
me your spirit fills my sour, and I am ALIVE with your love.

Reading 13

From The Gift Of The Sea By Anne Morrow Lindbergh
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the
same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to
pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little
faith in the ebb and flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it
will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity;
when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity —
in freedom in the sense that dancers are free barely touching as they pass,
but partners in the same pattern. The only real security is not in owning
or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even.
Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was in nostalgia,
nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation but in living in the
present relationship and accepting it as it is now.
Relationships must be like islands; one must accept them for what they are
here and now, within their limits … islands, surrounded and interrupted
by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.

Reading 14

Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love, By Edmund O’Neill

Marriage is a commitment to life, to the best that two people can find and
bring out in each other.

It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship
can equal, a joining that is promised for a lifetime.

Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important
relationships.

A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher,
listener, and critic.

There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love
of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.

Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger
is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.

Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid.
It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of
expressing love through the seasons of life.

When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage they
create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken
or written words.

Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love,
which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Reading 15

Blessing For A Marriage, By James Dillet Freeman
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should
bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to
help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete;
the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more
a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another,
but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed
​in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice
of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you
hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter
into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more
physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm
and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have
happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love,
and may you find it loving one another!

Reading 16

The Art Of Marriage, By Wilferd Arlan Peterson

The little things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the
honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in
thoughtful ways.

It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the
wings of an angel.

It is not looking for perfection in each other. ‘

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

And finally, it is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

Reading 17

The One, By Bernie Taupin
I saw you dancing out on the ocean Running fast along the sand A spirit born of
earth and water Fire flying from your hands In the instant that you love someone
In the second that the hammer hits Reality runs up your spine And the pieces
finally fit All I ever needed was the one Like freedom feels where wild horses run
When stars collide like you and I No shadows block the sun You are all I have
ever needed Baby, you’re the one

Reading 18

Thoughts In a Garden, By R. Gerhardt
This is a special place, a place where people have brought beautiful living plants,
here to establish them, to nurture and care for them, that they may forever
surround us with the beauty we now see. And into this place where we stand,
you have brought something beautiful — the relationship that is becoming
your marriage. Here you are declaring it and pledging it, promising to establish
and nurture it. We are aware of the special beauty between the two of you,
just as we are aware of the special beauty of this place. We are with you now
in this appropriate place to celebrate your relationship as it is and as it is yet to be,
and in doing so, we ask only that you remember how your life together will
have the same seasons and needs as this garden. There will be growth like
spring and loss like fall; there will be giving as the blossoming flower,
and rest as the seed beneath the snow. All the seasons will be yours,
but remember, too, that gardens are not must happenings. The more wonderful
the garden, the more skilled the gardener. So you will have to care deeply
for the life that is yours together, and nurture it. You will have to appreciate
your differences and cultivate them. You will have to take care of yourself,
if for no other reason than out of love for the other. And you will need the
support of family and friends to reach full growth. As you caringly chose this
place to declare your marriage, so remember its lessons for your life together
through the seasons that are yours to share. And may those seasons bring you
and yours joy and happiness.

Reading 19

The Covenant of Marriage
Marriage has certain qualities of contract, in which two people take on the
housekeeping tasks of living, together, to enhance life’s joy. However, marriage
is more than a contract. Marriage is a commitment to take that joy deep,
​deeper than happiness, deep into the discovery of who you most truly are.
It is a commitment to a spiritual journey, to a life of becoming — in which joy
can comprehend despair, running through rivers of pain into joy again.
And thus marriage is even deeper than commitment. It is a covenant —
a covenant that says: I love you. I trust you. I will be here for you when
you are hurting, And when I am hurting I will not leave. It is a covenant
intended not to provide haven from pain or anger and sorrow. Life offers
no such haven. Instead, marriage is intended to provide a sanctuary safe
enough to risk loving, to risk living and sharing from the center of oneself.
This is worth everything.

Reading 20

The Key To Love
The key to love is understanding…
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but those unspoken gestures,
the little things that say so much by themselves.

The key to love is forgiveness…
to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering
what you learn from them.

The key to love is sharing…
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving…
without thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect…
realizing that you are two separate people,
with different ideas;
that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other,
and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all…
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to
its threshold;
it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work…
but the rewards are more than worth the effort…
and that is the key to love.

Reading 21

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love,
I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues,
they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been
fully understood.
So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Reading 22


Psalm 1 (often used in Jewish or interfaith weddings)
Blessed are the man and the woman who have grown beyond themselves
and have seen through their separations. They delight in the way things are
and keep their hearts open, day and night. They are like trees planted near
flowing rivers, which bear fruit when they are ready. Their leaves will
not fall or wither. Everything they do will succeed.

Reading 23

Love by Roy Croft
I love you, not for what you are, but what I am, when I am with you.

I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but what you are
making of me.

I love you for the part of me that you bring out.

I love you for putting your hand into my heaped up heart and passing
over all the frivolous and weak things that you cannot help seeing there,
and for drawing out into the light all the beautiful and radiant things that
no one else has looked quite far enough to find.

I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my
life not a tavern, but a temple, out of the works of my everyday
not a reproach, but a song.

You have done it without a touch, without a word.

You have done it by being yourself, my companion and comforter,
guide and friend, the one I love.

Reading 24

What is Love? by Susan Polis Schutz
Love Love is the strongest feeling known an all -encompassing passion
an extreme strength an overwhelming excitementLove is trying not to
hurt the other person trying not to change the other person trying not
to dominate the other person trying not to deceive the other person
Love is understanding each other listening to each other supporting each
other having fun with each other.
Love is not an excuse to stop growing not an excuse to stop making
yourself better not an excuse to lessen one’s goals not an excuse to
take the other person for granted
Love is being completely honest with each other finding dreams to
share working towards common goals sharing responsibilities equally
Everyone in the world wants to love Love is not a feeling to be taken
lightly Love is a feeling to be cherished, nurtured and cared for Love is
the reason for life

Reading 25

From This Day Forward
From this day forward, let us laugh together, and plan together, let us
find our favorite places, and go together…
Let us enjoy the sunshine, and the rain, being alone together, and in
crowds together…
From this day forward, together, Let us love! Let Us Walk Together

Let us walk together yet not as one, but such that our shadows are
separate and distinct, such that our souls are unbound and free.

Let us share our time, yet do not give all your time, nor take all of
mine for in order to develop to the fullest, to be free, we must have
solitude and individuality.

Let me wander in solitude, when I need to be alone, yet be near, when
I need you. Let us share our love. Give freely of your love, but do not
smother me, my soul must breathe a free air. Take my love, but do not
demand it, for love given of obligation, is stale and without life.
Let us share our lives.

Share my life, but do not try to shape it. Let me share your life, but do
not let it revolve around me. Let us share ourselves. Accept me as I am,
do not attempt to change me to fit your dreams.

Respect me for what I am, not for what I was or one day may be.
Share yourself with me, but do not allow me to limit your freedom or
bind your soul. Let us share our minds, thoughts, goals, values and dreams.
Let us develop these within ourselves without restriction or loss of freedom

Thus our two free souls, may wander together as they develop in freedom.
As we share our lives, as we walk through life together, know my love is yours,
but not my soul for it must be free.

Reading 26

From ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ Rainer Maria Rilke
For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most
difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test
and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.
Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting
with another person – it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen,
to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in
himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him,
something that chose him and calls him to vast distances.

Reading 27

From To Know Yourself by Swami Satchidananda
A wedding is between two reflections of God. Two pairs of eyes see one vision.
They are dedicated to serve one another and the humanity at large.
Two minds come together to help each other realize their true nature.
Going side by side with the right partner is a good way to reach God quickly.
When the husband’s and the wife’s love for each other blends together
and becomes love of God, marriage is a divine institution.

Reading 28

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying: You were born together, and together you shall
be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death
scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the
heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving
sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your
bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and Dance together and be joyous,
but each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life
can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow
not in each other’s shadow.

Reading 29

Navajo Prayer
When you were children, you talked like children, But now that you’ve grown,
you should be done with childish things and put them away.
When you were children, you looked into a mirror that gave only a
blurred reflection of reality. But with love and maturity, you shouldn’t
be afraid to look into that mirror and see each other face to face.
Be swift like the wind in loving each other. Be brave like the sea
in loving each other. Be gentle like the breeze in loving each other.
Be patient like the sun who waits and watches the four changes of
the earth in loving each other. Be wise like the roaring of the thunder
clouds and lightning in loving each other. Be shining like the morning
dawn in loving each other. Be proud like the tree who stands without
bending in loving each other. Be brilliant like the rainbow colors in loving
each other. Now, forever, forever, there will be no more loneliness
because your worlds are joined together with the world. Forever, forever.

Reading 30

Anne Morrow Lindburgh
When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly
the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility.
The only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity,
in freedom, in the sense that dancers are free, barely touching as they pass,
but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding
or expecting, not in hoping even. Security in a relationship lies neither
in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what might be
in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting
it as it is now. One must accept the security of the winged life, of ebb and flow,
of intermittency.

Reading 31

Blessing For A Marriage by James Dillet Freeman
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage
should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness
as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete;
the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley
is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it.
So let it be with you and you.

May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another,
but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not
fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise,
often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.

If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have
good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery,
which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical
than spiritual, warm and near when you are side-by-side, and warm
and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

Reading 32

Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks.
When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and
we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we
are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the
other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person
we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our
deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons,
and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person.
Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

Reading 33

Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love by Edmund O’Neill
Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring
out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no
other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining
that is promised for a lifetime.

Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important
relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant,
lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner
is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender
caring of a parent for a child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller,
memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly,
and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid.
It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of
expressing a love that is deeper than life. When two people pledge their
love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto
themselves, which binds them, closer than any spoken or written words.
Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who
love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Reading 34

On Love by Thomas Kempis
Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens
every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship
as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable.

Nothing is sweeter than love, Nothing stronger, Nothing higher,
Nothing wider,
Nothing more pleasant, Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth;
for love is born of God.
Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained.
Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength.

Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things.
It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fail.
Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities.
Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely
surmounts every obstacle.

Reading 35

What Is Love? -Author Unknown
Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on
valentines and
romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now,
real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the
creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams.
Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that
can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places.
And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the
greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love.

Reading 36

True Love – Author Unknown
True love is a sacred flame
That burns eternally, And none can dim its special glow Or change its destiny.
True love speaks in tender tones And hears with gentle ear, True love gives
with open heart And true love conquers fear. True love makes no harsh
demands It neither rules nor binds, And true love holds with gentle hands
The hearts that it entwines.

Reading 37

Our community is shared, if in a different way, by those who have passed
beyond this life. Their roles in the lives of _____ and _____ are no less
remembered and honored as we savor today’s joyous moments. Join with us,
then, in remembering and honoring all these people, and in particular ______.
In their memory, let us pray silently together for just a moment.

Reading 38

_____, today as you look into _____’s eyes know and feel that your father is
standing here beside you. Know how deeply he loves you. Know his pride in
you and let his blessing for your wedding day be known in your heart.
All those here who knew him feel his presence, and his never ending
love for you and your mother is what made you the woman _____ fell in love with.
He was there the day you were born and he is here the day you marry your prince.
His wish and prayer is that you be truly happy, and smiling all the days of your life.
Let us all honor his wish today and begin….

Reading 39

Mystic Flames
Constance, the empress of Rome, remarked that when St. Francis and St. Clara
were in each other’s company, the spark between them glowed so bright that
the convent and surrounding wood appear to be on fire. So bright that the
folk of Assisi rushed to quench the flames.
“How I envy the folk of Assisi who saw those mystic flames,” Empress Constance
would say.
Well, how lucky each of us are today to witness the glowing spark here
​between _____ and ______.

Reading 40

Lotus Flower
_____ and ____, the relationship that you have nourished together stands
for love that will blossom and grow with each passing day. It is very
appropriate that you have chosen the lotus as the theme of your wedding
for a lotus flower has qualities that mirror your relationship.

The lotus flower grows out of the mud and muck into a beautiful and inspiring
blossom. The petals of a lotus are actually very strong and can withstand
heavy weather.

Your relationship has weathered many challenges – including distance and time –
that most relationships wouldn’t survive. Your belief in each other and dedication
to your future through all of your challenges makes this day that much sweeter
for the two of you and an awe inspiring miracle to those who have witnessed
what you have overcome together.

Reading 41

Your Laughter by Pablo Neruda
Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Reading 42

Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda
I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving
but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Reading 43

He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by William Butler Yeats
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
the blue and the dim and the dark cloths
of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Reading 44

by Roy Croft
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

Reading 45

I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s
special

And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, Remember when you told me something special
And both of us remember

When I think something is important
you think it’s important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too
Hah-hah!
I like you because you know where I’m ticklish
And you don’t tickle me there except just a little tiny bit sometimes
But if you do, then I know where to tickle you too
You know how to be silly
That’s why I like you
Boy are you ever silly
I never met anybody sillier than me till I met you
I like you because you know when it’s time to stop being silly
Maybe day after tomorrow
Maybe never
Too late, it’s a quarter past silly
Sometimes we don’t say a word
We snurkle under fences
We spy secret places
If I am a goofus on the roofus hollering my head off
You are one too
If I pretend I am drowning, you pretend you are saving me
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
then you are getting ready to jump
HOORAY

That’s because you really like me
You really like me, don’t you
And I really like you back
And you like me back and I like you back
And that’s the way we keep on going every day

Reading 46

Swami Omkarananada
Love has wisdom that can solve every problem. It possesses the great patience
which waits until, drop by drop, an ocean is formed. Love is royal in dignity,
brave in spirit, unbreakable in substance, and divine in nature.
It does not complain, does not judge. It transforms everything that it touches.
It rules everything to which it presents its own Light.
It understands and yields only to conquer fully. Love has numberless
resources and inexhaustible energies.

Reading 47

A History of Love by Diane Ackerman
Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has
altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered
the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven
strong women mad, glorified the humble, fueled national scandals,
bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings.
How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of
one syllable? Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization,
with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days…
The heart is a living museum. In each of its galleries, no matter
how narrow or dimly lit, preserved forever like wondrous diatoms,
are our moments of loving and being loved.

Reading 48

Why Marriage? (Author Unknown)
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold.

Reading 49

The Key to Love
The key to love is understanding …
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but also those unspoken gestures,
the little things that say so much by themselves.
The key to love is forgiveness….
to accept each other’s faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering
what you learn from them.
The key to love is sharing …
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.
The key to love is giving …
without thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.
The key to love is respect …
realizing that you are two separate people, with different ideas;
that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.
The key to love is inside us all …
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients
that will take you to its threshold;
it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work …
but the rewards are more than worth the effort …
and that is the key to love.

Reading 50

Oh, My Love!
Oh my love!
How very like a rose you are,
My regal, fragrant, floral star;
I truly love you, love you, love!

Oh my love!
When in the sun’s reflecting hues
You bask, no task may I refuse
Because I love you, love you, love!

Oh my love!
Should I, by chance, be severed free
Of senses made to smell and see,
I’d feel your nearness next to me
As one hand feels another darkly there
And presses to another as in prayer;
I’d know that feel of kinship’s care
As I now know this heart of mine
Shall ever love you, love!

Oh my love!
Should that axe of ages activate
To prematurely untogether all,
All aspirations must, like dreams, abate
Until horns of Michael call;
Yet, when two lives are merged, as we,
And each becomes the other’s me,
Then, servitude’s the highest free
And, in oneness, we shall be
Together everlasting!
Such a trite catastrophe
Could never mar our unity
Because my spirit loves the love of loving you!

Reading 51

Fenton Johnson
“But in love
something miraculous happens.
In loving someone,
we give them
an ideal against which
to measure themselves.
Living in the presence
of that ideal,
the beloved strives to fulfill
the lover’s expectations.
In this way,
Love makes of us
the bravest and best persons
that we are capable of being.”

Reading 52

Jean Marie Rilke
Understand, I’ll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks
I’ll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilight meadows
With only this one dream,
You come too.

Reading 53

Shakespeare
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Reading 54

The Institution of Marriage by Kenneth W. Phifer

The institution of marriage was begun that a man and a woman might
learn how to love and, in loving, know joy; that a man and a woman
might learn how to share pain and loneliness and, in sharing, know
strength; that a man and a woman might learn how to give and,
in giving, know communion.

]The institution of marriage was begun that a man and a woman
might through their joy, their strength, and their communion,
become creators of life itself.

Marriage is a high and holy state, to be held in honor among all men and women.

Marriage is a low and common state, to be built of the stuff of daily life.

Men and women are not angels, nor are they gods. Love can become
hatred; joy, sorrow; marriage, divorce.

But human beings are not condemned to failure.

Love can grow even in a real world.

The wounds of sorrow can be healed, And new life built on the learnings of the old.

This is the reason for our gathering today: to renew our faith in the
strength of hope and the power of love.

Reading 55

When a Man and a Woman Are in Love by Stephen T. Fader
When a man and a woman are in love,
his life lies within hers and her life lies within his.
Each lives as an individual,
yet they also live for one another.
Each strives for independent goals,
but they also work together to achieve their dreams.
When a man and a woman are in love,
they will give to one another what they need to survive and help fulfill
each other’s wants.
They will turn one another’s disappointment into satisfaction.
They will turn one another’s frustration into contentment.
They will work as a mirror,
reflecting to each other their strengths and weaknesses.
They will work together
to alleviate the emotional walls that may separate them.
They will work together to build
a better understanding of one another.
They will learn to lean on each other,
but not so much as to be a burden on the other.
They will learn to reach out to one another, but not so much as to suffocate
the other.
They will learn when it is time to speak and when it is time to listen.
They will be there to comfort each other in times of sorrow.
They will be there to celebrate together in times of happiness.
They will be one another’s friend,
guiding each other to the happiness that life holds.
They will be one another’s companion,
facing together the challenges that life may present.
When a man and a woman are in love,
his life lies within hers and her life lies within his.
Together they will love one another for the rest of their lives and forever.

Reading 56

Weave My Love Into Yours by Claire Cloninger
To be married is to enter a new realm of life.
You have left behind the room of childhood and now have stepped over the
threshold
into the room of adult love and commitment.
It is within the bonds of this commitment that two distinctly different
personalities are blended into one…this process takes years.
It is like the weaving together of two distinctly different kinds of thread
into a whole new cloth…a cloth with many functions.
It is a tent… a covering from the hostile elements of the changing seasons.
It is a colorful quilt… that warms the two who share it.
It is a sheer, gauzy curtain… that offers privacy while allowing the sunlight
to shine through.
But the most beautiful and enduring marriage of all is not merely the
weaving of two lives, but of three, For woven into the strongest unions
is the golden strand of God’s love that endures forever.
May the cloth of your marriage be woven of three strands,
For “…a threefold cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) 62

Reading 57

And you husbands, show the same kind of love to your wives as Christ
showed to the church when He died for her.

That is how husbands should be toward their wives, loving them in the
same kind of way.

For since a man and his wife are now one, a man is really doing himself
a favor and loving himself when he loves his wife!

No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it just as Christ cares
for His body, the church, of which we are all parts.

Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, giving them
respect and treating them with honor since they are heirs together with
you in the grace of life (Ephesians 5:25, 28-30; 1 Peter 3:7).

Reading 58

If you can find a truly good wife, she is worth more than precious gems!

Her husband can trust her, and she will richly satisfy his needs.

She will not hinder him, but help him all her life.

She is a woman of strength and dignity, and has no fear of old age.

When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule of everything
she says.

She watches carefully all that goes on throughout her household,
and is never lazy.

Her children stand and bless her; so does her husband. He praises her
with these words, “There are many fine women in the world, but you are
the best of them all!”

Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears
and reverences God shall be greatly praised (Proverbs 31:10-12, 25-29).

Reading 59

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.

Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not
rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13)

Reading 60

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud,
never haughty or selfish or rude.

Love does not demand its own way nor is it irritable or touchy.

It does not hold grudges and will hardly ever notice when others do it wrong.

It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.

This kind of love knows no boundaries to its tolerance, no end to its trust,
no fading of its hope, no limit to its endurance.

It can outlast anything.

Love is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has failed
​(1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13)

Reading #1 by Kahlil Gibran 

Love one another, but make not a bond of love,

let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of our souls.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you

be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone,

though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each others keeping,

for only the hand of life can contain your hearts.

Stand together, yet not too near together.

For the pillars of the temple stand apart and the oak

and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
 

Reading #2 - Comfort Together, by George Eliot 

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort,

Of feeling safe with a person.

Having neither to weigh thoughts

Nor measure words, but pour them all out just as they are,

Chaff and grain together,

And a faithful hand will take and sift

Them, keep what is worth keeping,

And with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.
 

Reading #3 

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. 

A good marriage must be created.  In the art of marriage,

the little things are the big things… 

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say, “I love you.”

It is at no time taking the other for granted.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives;

it is standing together facing the world.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,

but in the spirit of joy.

It is not expecting perfection in each other. 

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.

It is having a capacity to forgive and forget.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,

the dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is not marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner.

It is discovering that your love for one another at its best will never

lose sight of or be blotted out by the common place experiences of life.

And it is remembering that remaining devoted, confident and hopeful

in one another are the secret ingredients, which will help you to

remain two very happy people, richer for your oneness. 

Reading #4 

Two lives, two people, so very different, yet so similar.

Together we stand as one, sharing our future as it comes.

The past is that, past.

Buds are yet to blossom, with care and trust, the best is yet to be revealed.

Honesty and kindness, are the fruits of love.

Lord bless this day and always to enrich us so our love will never end. 

Reading #5 - Ephesians 5:25-28 and 31-33 

Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife and they two shall be one flesh. However each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife respect her husband. 

Reading #6 - From the Book of RUTH 

And Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God; where you die I will die and there will I be buried. May the lord do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you. 

Reading #6 - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not take offense and is not resentful.

Love takes no pleasure in other people’s faults, but delights in the truth.

It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope. It is always ready to endure whatever comes. True love does not come to an end. 

Reading #7 

Love is the reason why this day was chosen by you both to begin your lives together and love is the reason why you both will give with all your hearts for the good of each other.  Love is the reason that together you will become one; one in hope; one in believing in life; one in sharing the coming years. 

Reading #8

Two lives, two people, so very different, yet so similar.

Together we stand as one, sharing our future as it comes.

The past is that - past.

Buds are yet to blossom, with care and trust, the best to be revealed. 

Honesty and kindness, are the fruits of love.

Lord bless this day and always, to enrich us so our love will never end. 

Reading #9 - Colossians 3:12-14 

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another, and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 

Reading #10 – Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

Oh no! It is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks.

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with its brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom,

If this be error and upon me proved.

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Reading #11 - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.  Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.
 

Reading #12 - Everyday you live, Walter Pinder 

Everyday you live, learn how to receive love with as much understanding as you give it.

Find things within yourself, then you can share them with each other.

Do not fear this love.

Have an open heart and a sincere mind.

Be sincerely interested in each other’s happiness. 

Be constant and consistent in your love. 

From this comes security and strength. 

All that we love deeply becomes a part of us on this day of your marriage. 

Try to commit yourselves fully and freely to each other. 

Reading #13 - Corinthians 13  (condensed version) 

Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous.

Love is never boastful or conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not

take offense and is not resentful.

Love takes no pleasure in other people’s faults, but delights in the truth.

It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope. It is always ready to endure

whatever comes. True love does not come to an end. 

Reading #14 - Marriage is love, by Gloria Matthew 

If two are caring as they are sharing life’s hopes and fears.

If the music of laughter outweighs sadness and tears.

Marriage is togetherness.

If both derive pleasure from the mere presence of each other,

yet when parted no jealousies restrict, worry or smother.

Marriage is freedom.

If achievements mean more when they benefit two

and consideration is shown with each point of view.

Marriage is respect.

And if togetherness, freedom and respect are combined

with a joy that words can never fully define, then

Marriage is love. 

Reading #15 - Love is the reason 

Love is the reason why this day was chosen by you both to begin your

lives together and love is the reason why you both will give with all hearts

for the good of each other.

Love is the reason that together you will become one; one in hope; one in

believing in life; one in sharing the coming years. 

Reading #16 - In Love Made Visible, by May Swenson 

In love are we made visible

As in a magic bath

are unpeeled

to the sharp pit

so long concealed 

With love's alertness

we recognize the soundless whimper

of the soul behind the eyes

A shaft opens, and the timid thing

at last leaps to surface with full-spread wing

The fingertips of love discover more than the body's smoothness

They uncover a hidden conduit

for the transfusion

of empathy’s that circumvent

the mind's intrusion 

In love are we set free

Objective bone

and flesh no longer insulate us

to ourselves alone

We are released

and flow into each other's cup

Our two frail vials pierced

drink each other up

Reading #17 – A Vision, by Denise Levertov 

Two angels among the throng of angels

paused in the upward abyss, facing angel to angel.

Blue and green glowed the wing feathers

of one angel, from red to gold the sheen

of the other's. 

These two, so far as angels may dispute, were poised

on the brink of dispute, brink of fall from angelic stature,

for these tall ones, angels whose wingspan encompasses entire

earthly villages, whose heads if their feet touched earth

would top pines or redwoods, live by their vision's harmony

which sees at one glance the dark and light of the moon. 

These two hovered dazed before one another,

for one saw the sea feathered, peacock breakered

crests of the other angel's magnificence, different from his own,

and the other's eyes flickered with vision of

flame petallings, cream-gold grainfeather glitterings,

the wings of his fellow, and both in immortal danger of dwindling,

of dropping into the remote forms of a lesser being. 

But as these angels, the only halted ones

among the many who passed and repassed,

trod air as swimmers tread water, each gazing on the angelic wings of

the other, the intelligence proper to great angels flew into their wings,

the intelligence called intellectual love, which,

understanding the perfection’s of scarlet,

leapt up among blues and greens strong shafted,

and among amber down illumined the sapphire bloom,

so that each angel was iridescent with the strange newly-seen

hues he watched; and their discovering pause

and the speech their silent interchange of perfection was

never became a shrinking to opposites,

and they remained free in the heavenly chasm,

remained angels, but dreaming angels,

each imbued with the mysteries of the other.

Reading #18 – The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, by Christopher Marlowe 

Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,

By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
 

And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies,

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
 

A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull;

 Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold;
 

A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs:

And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me,

and be my love.
 

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each

May morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me

and be my love. 

Reading #19 - From Sonnets from the Portuguese, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach,

when feeling out of sight 

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's  Most quiet need, by sun and

candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old grief’s, and with my childhood's faith.

 I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life –

And, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

Reading #20 - The Ivy Crown, by William Carlos Williams 

The whole process is a lie, unless, crowned by excess,

it break forcefully, one way or another, from its confinement-

or find a deeper well

Anthony and Cleopatra were right;

they have shown the way. I love you or I do not live at all.

Daffodil time is past.  This is summer, summer!

the heart says, and not even the full of it. No doubts are permitted-

though they will come and may before our time overwhelm us.

We are only mortal but being mortal can defy our fate.

We may by an outside chance even win! 

We do not look to see jonquils and violets come again

but there are, still, the roses! 

Romance has no part in it.  The business of love is

cruelty which, by our wills, we transform

to live together.  It has its seasons, for and against,

whatever the heart fumbles in the dark to assert toward the end of May. 

Just as the nature of briars is to tear flesh, I have proceeded. 

Keep the briars out, they say.  You cannot live and keep free of briars.

Children pick flowers.

Let them.

Though having them in hand they have no further use for them

but leave them crumpled it the curb's edge. 

At our age the imagination across the sorry facts

lifts us to make roses stand before thorns.

Sure love is cruel and selfish and totally obtuse-

at least, blinded by the light, young love is.

But we are older, I to love and you to be loved,

we have, no matter how,

by our wills survived to keep the jeweled prize

always at our finger tips. We will it so and so it is

past, all accident.

Reading #21 - The Desiderata 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste

And remember what peace there may be in silence.

Be yourself, especially do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity

and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Be gentle with yourselves.

You are the children of the universe

No less than the trees and stars.

Be at peace with God

Whatever you conceive Him to be

And whatever your labors and aspirations.

In the noisy confusion of life

Keep peace with your souls. 

Reading #22 – Blessing 

All praise and blessing to you, God of love,

Creator of the universe,

Maker of man and woman in your likeness,

Source of blessing for married life.

All praise to you, for you have created

Courtship and marriage,

Joy and gladness,

Feasting and laughter,

Pleasure and delight.

May your blessing come in full upon

(Groom) and (Bride)

May they know your presence in their joys and sorrows.

May they reach old age in the company of friends

And come at last to your eternal kingdom.

Amen.

Reading #23 – The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran 

Then Almitra spoke again and said:

And what of marriage, master?

And he answered, saying:

You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore,

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God,

But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of heaven

dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love;

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shore of your souls.
 

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup,

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf,

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the

same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping,

For only the hand of Life can control your hearts;

And stand together yet not too near together,

For the pillars of the temple stand apart

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. 

Reading #24 - The Master Speed, on the occasion of his daughter's wedding, by Robert Frost 

No speed of wind or water rushing by

But you have speed far greater. You can climb

Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,

And back through history up the stream of time.

And you were given this swiftness, not for haste,

Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,

But in the rush of everything to waste,

That you may have the power of standing still

Off any still or moving thing you say.

Two such as you with such a master speed

Cannot be parted nor be swept away

From one another once you are agreed

That life is only life for evermore

Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

Reading #25 - The Gift of Friendship, by Helen Steiner Rice 

Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought or sold,

But its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold.

For gold is cold and lifeless, it can neither see nor hear,

And in the times of trouble it is powerless to cheer.

It has no ears to listen, no heart to understand.

It cannot bring you comfort or reach out a helping hand.

So when you ask God for a gift, be thankful if he sends

Not diamonds, pearls or riches, but the love of real true friends.

Friends, Today I will marry my best friend

The one I have laughed and cried with, The one I have learned from

and shared with, The one I have chosen to support, encourage and

give myself to through all these days God has given us to share. 

Reading #26 – from Notes to Myself, by Hugh Prather 

For communication to have meaning it must have a life.

It must transcend “you and me” and become “us”.

If I truly communicate, I see you in a life that is not me and become

part of it. And you see and partake of me. In a small way we grow

out of our old selves and become something new. 

To have this kind of sharing I cannot enter a conversation

clutching myself. I must enter it with loose boundaries. I must give

myself to the relationship and be willing to be what grows out of it. 

Reading #27 - A Tender Message, by Frank Herbert Sweet 

If you have a tender message Or a loving word to say

Do not wait until you forget it, But whisper it today;

The tender word unspoken, The letter never sent,

The long-forgotten messages,

The wealth of love unspent--

For these some hearts are breaking, for these some loved ones wait;

So show me that you care for them, before it is too late.

Reading #28 – The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear 

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat.

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above

And sang to a small guitar,

'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are.' 

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!

How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! Too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?'

They sailed away for a year and a day,

To the land where the bong-tree grows,

And there in the wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose.

His nose, his nose, With a ring at the end of his nose. 

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?” Said the Pig, “I will”.

So they took it away, and were married next day By the turkey who lives in the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon, the moon, They danced by the light of the moon.

Reading #29 - We Will Not Wish you Joy 

We will not wish you joy on this great day,

For Joy is in your hearts and goes with you Along the fragrant,

mystic, sunlit way;

We will not wish you joy whilst love is new. 

But this is our wish----May you be strong enough

To shelter love, and keep it safe from harm,

When winds blow high, and roads are steep and rough,

May you protect your love, preserve its charm. 

When days are dark, may love be your sure light.

When days are cold, may love be your right fire,

Your guiding star when hope is out of sight,

The essence and sun of your desire. 

May love be with you through the flight of years,

Then after storms, there will always be calm.

Though you have cause for heartache and for tears,

Despair lasts not, when love is there for balm. 

This be the prayer we breathe for you today:

When you have reached the summit of life's hill,

May it be possible for you to say: 

“Married long years, but we are lovers still.” 

Reading # 30 – I Am 

I am the living light 

I am at peace and in harmony with all life and with all vibrations. 

In all my being I grow ever upwards in the light and beauty of truth. 

In all that I do at all times and in all ways. 

May the living spirit be manifest in and through me,  that I may be a living light in the service of others.

Reading #31 - Carnal Cerebral Love, by Denise Castellucci

Carnal Cerebral Love

I want to make love to your mind

Stimulate me with your intellect, your insight and understanding.

Ignite me with random connections and your clever wit. 

Carnal Cerebral Love

I want to make love to your inner being.

Allow me to delight in your orgasmic, dynamic mind.

Open up and invite me into the deep warmth of your soul. 

Carnal Cerebral Love

Let our synapses dance entangle and connect at the same plateau.

Complete each other’s sentences, not our lives. 

Carnal Cerebral Love, Our physical being

Our external egos decay daily and by the moment only our inner selves intact 

Reading #32 - Art of Marriage 

A Good Marriage must be created.

In the Art of Marriage, the little things are the big things;

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say, "1 love you," at least once each day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives;

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is speaking of appreciation, and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is not only marrying the right partner.  It is being the right partner.

Reading #33 – A Wedding Toast, by Richard Wilbur 

St. John tells how, at Cana's wedding-feast, The water-pots poured wine

in such amount That by his sober count there were a hundred gallons at the

least.  It made no earthly sense, unless to show how whatsoever/ore elects

to bless Brims to a sweet excess.  That can without depletion overflow. 

Which is to say that what love sees is true;

That the world's fullness is not made but found. Life hungers to abound

And pour its plenty out for such as you. 

Now, if your loves will lend an ear to mine,

I toast you both, good son and dear new daughter. May you not lack

for water, And may that water smack of Cana's wine. 

Reading #34 - Quiet Thoughts of the Seasons 

The quiet thoughts of two people a long time in love

Touch lightly, Like birds nesting in each other’s warmth 

You will know them by their laughter

But to each other they speak mostly through their solitude. 

If they find themselves apart, they may dream of sitting undisturbed

In each other's presence, of wrapping themselves warmly in each other's ease. 

As each Fall, when the trees shed their leaves to prepare

for the next Spring's growth and fruit. 

May each year also bring closure - shedding the spent - and bring rebirth to the spirit of your marriage. 

Look ever to the future, for in it lies the creative power for your own lives. 

May you grow together like flowers and grass and may your life be a dance to the music of love.

Reading #35 - Most Like an Arch This Marriage, by John Ciardi 

Most like an arch--an entrance which upholds and shores the stone-

crush up the air like lace.  Mass made idea, and idea held in place.

A lock in time. Inside half-heaven unfolds. 

Most like an arch- two weaknesses that lean into a strength.

Two fallings become firm.

Two joined abeyance’s become a term naming the fact that teaches fact to mean. 

Not quite that? Not much less. World as it is, what's strong and separate falters.

All you do at piling stone on stone apart from one another is roofless around nothing. 

Till you kiss 

You are no more than uptight and unset.

It is by falling in and in you make

the all-bearing point, for one another's sake,

in faultless fairing, raised by your own weight. 

Reading #36 - Giving and Receiving 

I launched a smile; far out it sailed On life's wide troubled sea.

And many more than I could count Came sailing back to me. 

I clasped a hand while whispering, "The clouds will melt away".

I felt my life was very blessed,  All through the hours that day. 

I sent a thought of happiness Where it was needed sore,

And very soon thereafter, found Joy adding to my store. 

I wisely shared my slender hoard, Toil earned coins of gold;

But presently it flowed right back Increased a hundred fold. 

I helped another climb a hill, A little thing to do,

And yet it brought a rich reward, A friendship that was new. 

I think each morning when I rise, Of how I may achieve,

I know by serving I advance, By giving I receive.

Reading #37 - Any Wife or Husband, by Carol Haynes 

Let us be guests in one another's house With deferential "No" and courteous "Yes”

Let us take care to hide our foolish moods Behind a certain show of cheerfulness. 

Let us avoid all sudden silences;

We should find fresh and sprightly things to say;

I must be fearful lest you find me dull,

And you must dread to bore me any way. 

Let us knock gently at each others heart,

Glad of a chance to look within - and yet

Let us remember that to force one's way

Is the unpardoned breach of etiquette. 

So shall I be hostess- you, the host-

Until all need for entertainment ends;

We shall be lovers when the last door shuts

But what is better still - we shall be friends. 

Reading #38 - Where There is Love, by Helen Steiner Rice 

Where there is love-the heart is light, Where there is love the day is bright,

Where there is love there is a song.

To help when things are going wrong, Where there is love there is a smile-

To make all things seem more worthwhile,

Where there is love there is quiet peace,

A tranquil place where turmoils cease-

Love changes darkness into light And makes the heart take wingless flight,

Oh, blest are they who walk in love, They also walk with God above--

And when you walk with God each day

And kneel together when you pray,

Your marriage will be truly blest, And God will guide your daily quest

And love-that once seemed yours alone

God gently blends into His own.

Reading #39 - In Love Forever, by Susan Polis Schutz 

How can I stay in love with you forever?

How can we make our relationship into a lifetime of sharing and joy? 

In order to stay in love Forever

I must first find the right person to love and I have, in you 

In order to stay in love Forever

we both must understand each other

and ourselves vary well

and we must be completely honest

with each other at all times

We both must have our own goals and interests and actively pursue them

We both must have complete freedom of thought and we must

encourage each other to follow our dreams

We muse always be Fair, kind and supportive of each other

We must dedicate ourselves to being equal partners in all that we feel

and in all that we do.

We must promise each other that we will always create time

to just appreciate each other and our love and that we will never be lazy

and take our love For granted 

In order for me to stay in love with you

Forever and have a relationship that is a lifetime of sharing and loving

I must really pledge myself to this wonderful commitment;

and I must really want to stay in love with you forever and I do 

Reading #40 

Love is friendship that has caught fire.

It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.

It is loyalty through good and bad times.

It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for

human weaknesses.

Love is content with the present, it hopes for the future,

and it doesn't brood over the past.

It’s the day-in and day-out chronicle of irritations,

problems, compromises,

small disappointments, big victories and working toward common goals.

If you have love in your life, it can make up,

for a great many things that are missing.

If you don't have love in your life, no matter what else there is,

It's not enough.

Reading #41 - Love is Always, by Melissa Jaggard 

Love is an ocean of discovery

A multitude of experiences to treasure

It is the alliance of two lives for always

Not to become one life, but to be two hearts beating in time 

Love will hold you near to one another

So that you never feel alone

It will keep you warm within

So that there never be frost around your hearts

Love will grow, will ripen and be ever strong

So that there never be emptiness in your souls 

Love is the most precious gift to bestow

A resplendent gift to receive

And MARRIAGE is the promise to cherish your love

To guide its path and never let its glory pass unnoticed

Love is the rapture of this day that will be with you always

Fulfilling you, shining through you ALWAYS 

Reading #42 - I Love You, by Roy Croft 

I love you

Because you have done more than any creed Could have done

to make me good. 

And more than any fate Could have done

To make me happy. 

You have done it Without a touch,

Without a word, Without a sign. 

You have done it

By being yourself. Perhaps that is what Being a friend means,

After all.

Reading #43 - Now We Are One, by Kate Fisher 

When thoughts take wing a wedding ring encircles all our dreams

And love abounds above, around,

enriching all our schemes

We plan together all our life

to make our dreams come true

When love is there a smile, a prayer, a hug, a kiss will do

And then together hand in hand

we go with love we've won

And you will see

the you and me

that once were two -- are one 

Reading #44 - Best and Most Important, by Bertrand Russell 

"It is therefore possible for a civilized man and woman to be happy

in marriage, although if this is to be the case a number of conditions must be fulfilled.

There must be a feeling of complete equality on both sides;

there must be no interference with mutual freedom;

there must be the most complete physical and mental intimacy;

and there must be a certain similarity in regard to standards of values ...

Given all these conditions,

I believe marriage to be the best

and most important relation that can exist between two human beings." 

Reading #45 - Love’s Philosophy, by Percy Bysshe Shelly 

The fountains mingle with the river, and the river with the ocean,

The winds of heaven mix forever, with a sweet emotion:

Nothing in the world is single; all things by a law divine,

in one another’s being mingle.

Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven and the waves clasp one another;

no sister flower would be forgiven if it disdained its brother and

the sunlight clasps the earth and the moon beams kiss the sea.

What are all these kissings worth, if thou kiss not me?

Reading #46 - A Happy Couple. 

A happy couple standing hand in hand

looking ahead to a promised land. 

(Bride and Groom), today as you promise to have and to hold,

and you seal those vows with small bands of gold.

As you journey the path of love together,

so stormy as well as sunny weather.

Remember there'll be some hills to climb,

but you will be guided from time to time.

So if ever you feel you've lost your way,

just look to each other, and think of this day 

Reading #47 - This Day, by Brian Zouch 

This day we shall remember well,

as in our married love we dwell

and cast our minds back to this time.

You made me yours and I you mine 

In wedded love we choose to be,

each binding each and yet each free. 

As days and months and years go on,

our love will hold us firm and strong. 

The marriage vow this day we say,

a vow we'll build on day by day

and as we walk the path of life,

the world will know we're man and wife. 

We two who now are but one soul,

have each to play a different role

and yet we know that all shall see,

that bond of love twixt you and me. 

For in this life we each shall care,

that all we do is all times fair,

we pledge this day to be as one,

in all those wondrous years to come.

Reading #48 - A Marriage Blessing 

As you enter into the little world that you promised to make brighter

for each other, may He who harnesses the waves and hangs the sun out

in the sky and puts the song in the birds especially bless you

and make your marriage a good and a happy one! 

Love is indeed "a many splendored thing!"

When it is given and returned, it enriches both the Lover and the Beloved.

And as long as two people love each other, nothing in this world is

too difficult or too impossible, for wanting to do something for the one

you love takes all the burden out of it and the roughest way becomes

smooth when you can travel it hand in hand.

Reading #49 - What Is Love? 

What is Love?

No words can define it, it’s something so great only God could design it.

Wonders of Wonders, beyond man’s conception,

And only in God can love find true perfection.

For love is enduring and patient and kind,

It judges all things with the heart not the mind,

And love can transform the most commonplace into beauty and splendor

And sweetness and grace . . .

For love is unselfish, giving more than it takes,

And no matter what happens love never forsakes,

It’s faithful and trusting and always believing,

Guileless and honest and never deceiving . . .

Yes, love is beyond what man can define,

For love is immortal. 

Reading #50 - The Gift of Lasting Love, by Helen Steiner Rice 

Love is much more than a tender caress

And more than bright hours of gay happiness,

For a lasting love is made up of sharing

Both hours that are “joyous” and also “despairing” . . . .

It’s made up of patience and deep understanding

And never selfish and stubborn demanding.

It’s made up of “climbing the steep hills together”

And facing with courage “Life’s stormiest weather” . . . .

And nothing on earth or in heaven can part

A love that has grown to be part of the heart

And just like the sun and the stars and the sea

This love will go on through eternity -

For “true love” lives on when earthly things die

For it’s part of the spirit that soars to the sky.