Wedding Ceremony Readings & Poems

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

Transforming Power by Lau Tzu

Your love contains the power 
of a thousand suns.

It unfolds as naturally and effortlessly 
as does a flower 
and graces the world with its blooming.

Its beauty radiates a transforming energy that enlivens all who see it.

Because of you, compassion and joy
 are added to the world.

That is why the stars sing together because of your love.

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

Reading9

by Eric Fromm
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 61

Letters by Rainer Maria Rilke

Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before.

Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust.

A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development.

But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is.

And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.

Reading 62

The Life That I Have by Leo Marks

The life that I have
Is all that I have 
And the life that I have Is yours.

The love that I have
 Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have 
A rest I shall have
 Yet death will be but a pause
 For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
 Will be yours and yours and yours.

 Reading 63

i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Reading 63

Untitled
 by Robert Ingersoll
Love is the only bow on life’s dark cloud.
It is the morning and the evening star.
It shines upon the cradle of the babe,
and sheds its radiance upon the quiet tomb.
It is the mother of art, inspirer of poet, patriot, and philosopher.
It is the air and light of every heart, builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth.
It was the first to dream of immortality.
It fills the world with melody, 
for music is the voice of love.
Love is the magician, the enchanter, 
that changes worthless things to joy,
and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay.
It is the perfume of the wondrous flower — the heart.
And without that sacred passion, that divine swoon,
we are less than beasts;
but with it, Earth is heaven
and we are gods.

Reading 64

Sonnet XLVIII by Pablo Neruda
Two happy lovers Make one single bed, One single drop
Of moonlight
In the grass.
When they walk, They leave
Two shadows
That merge,
And they leave
One single sun Blazing in their bed.
Touched By an Angel by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Reading 65

These I Can Promise by Unknown
I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.
But I can promise all my heart’s devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow
Patagonia by Kate Clanchy
I said perhaps Patagonia, and pictured a peninsula, wide enough
for a couple of ladderback chairs
to wobble on at high tide.
I thought of us in breathless cold, facing a horizon round as a coin, looped
in a cat’s cradle strung by gulls
from sea to sun.
I planned to wait till the waves had bored
themselves to sleep, till the last clinging barnacles, 
growing worried in the hush, had paddled off in tiny coracles, till those restless birds, your actor’s hands,
had dropped slack into your lap,
until you’d turned, at last, to me.
When I spoke of Patagonia, I meant
skies all empty aching blue.
I meant years. I meant all of them with you.

Reading 66

From Letters to a Young Poet by 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 agreat, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distance.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distance exists, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of seeing each other as a whole before an immense sky.

Reading 67

From The Whalestoe Letters by Mark Z. Danielewski
Remember: I shall be your roots and I will be your shade though the sun burns my leaves.
I shall quench your thirst and I will feed you fruit though time takes my seed.
And when you are lost and can tell nothing of this earth I will give you hope.
And my voice you will always hear and my heart you will always share, for I will shelter you and I will comfort you.
And even when I am nothing left, not even in death, I will remember you. And I will love you.

Reading 68

True Love by 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.
My Love by Linda Lee Elrod
When I met you, I had no idea
how much my life
was about to be changed…
but then, how could I have known?
A love like ours happens once in a lifetime.
You were a miracle to me, the one who was everything I had ever dreamed of, the one I thought existed only in my imagination.
And when you came into my life, I realized that what I
had always thought
was happiness couldn’t compare to the joy loving you brought me.
You are a part of everything
I think and do and feel,
and with you by my side,
I believe that anything is possible. (this day) gives me a chance to thank you for the miracle of you… you are, and always will be,
the love of my life.

Reading 69

Falling In Love Is Like Owning a Dog by Taylor Mali
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life, but you can never be mad at love for long.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

Reading 70

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke – the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.
Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing.
Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city.
And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant.
There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only.
It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world.
Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

Reading 71

The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold
Only—but this is rare—
When a beloved hand is laid in ours
When, jaded with the rush and glare
Of the interminable hours,
Our eyes can in another’s eyes read clear When our world deafened ear
Is by the tones of a loved voice caressed— A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again;
The eye sinks inward,
And the heart lies plain,
And what we mean, we say, and
What we would, we know,
A man, a woman, becomes aware of life’s flow.

Reading 72

Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “We don’t choose to go there.”
With your heads full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down, any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air,
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.
Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to great heights!
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have all the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang, and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because sometimes, you won’t.
You’ll get mixed up of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with so many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step.
Step with great care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes!
You will indeed!
(98 and 3⁄4 percent guaranteed.)
KIDS, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
So, be your name Buxbaum or Dowrie or Bass or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So … get on your way!

Reading 73

From: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.
“Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.
“It’s a thing that happens to you.
When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become.
It takes a long time.
That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.
Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.
But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Reading 74

From: The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle
But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made.
Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.
To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.
Look To This Day by Kalidasa
Look to this day
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

Reading 75

On Marriage by Kahil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
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 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 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 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 76

Love for the Better Half by Hong-Zing Dong
Hold hands for a whole life, weaving a dream of love.
Two souls walk together, never will be frightened.
Together holding hand in hand, it will last forever.
The days you treasure me are the best in living.
The days you nag me never hinder anything.
Tying a knot is god’s blessing.
Togetherness is happiness.
No matter how rough winds and rains are,
The journey for holding hands hereafter is still far and long.
The time for our love also is long and lasting.
Together hand in hand we keep walking,
Perpetuate names of husband and wife generation after generation.

Reading 77

Hugh Walpole
The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase.
This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it.
It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.

Reading 78

Of Shared Love In Marriage by Victor Hugo
You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.
The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.
We pardon to the extent that we love.
Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again.
And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
Loved for ourselves.
And even loved in spite of ourselves.

Reading 79

PSALM 1
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 80

Song of Solomon 2
Listen!
My lover!
Look!
Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look!
There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice.
My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
See!
The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
My lover is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies.