Our wedding officiants have created over 1000 customized ceremonies for our clients over the years, and we often get asked for our suggested wedding ceremony readings, wedding ceremony ideas, and wedding ceremony songs. Incorporating ceremony readings into your special day can bring wisdom, humor, and a sense of togetherness to your nuptials. The right reading can change the energy of your ceremony dramatically, lightening the mood or creating a sense of reverence, so choosing the right readings for weddings is an important task.
Readings for Weddings
Here, we’ve created a list of the most popular non-religious wedding ceremony readings as well as common wedding ceremony bible readings that our clients often include in their weddings. In addition to these wedding readings, you can also ask your wedding officiant for advice and suggestions for readings that might work well with the type of ceremony you’re planning. You can also find additional readings on Today’s Weddings, About.com, and Celebrate Love. If you have any suggestions for readings we can add to our lists, please contact us and let us know!
Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony Readings
A Lovely Love Story
Traditional Irish Blessing
Apache Wedding Blessing
Be Love Now
Excerpt from The Alchemist
Love is an Adventure
Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love
Blessing for a Marriage
Blessing of the Hands
What is Love
Excerpt from The Gift of the Sea
Summary of Plato’s Symposium
Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever
On Marriage from The Prophet
From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
I Carry Your Heart With Me
I’ll Be There for You
Instructions for Life in the New Millennium
Excerpt from Mountain Thoughts by John Muir
Rolfe Gerhardt Poem
To Love is Not to Possess
The Amber Spyglass
The Day Sky
The Privileged Lovers
Excerpt from The Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality
Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit
Touched by an Angel
From the Irrational Season
I love you
Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog
We’re All a Little Weird
When I am with you
Biblical Wedding Ceremony Readings
Non-Religious Wedding Ceremony Readings
The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
I like this Dinosaur thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny.
He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.
I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur. She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.
She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.
But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
He is also overly fond of things.
Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?
But her mind skips from here to there so quickly thought the Dinosaur. She is also uncommonly keen on shopping.
Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?
I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.
I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur. For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.
Look at them.
Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
For the sun is warm.
And the world is a beautiful place.
Traditional Irish Blessing
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
May God be with you and bless you
May you see your children’s children
May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in Blessings
May you know nothing but happiness
from this day forward
May green be the grass you walk on
May blue be the skies above you,
And from this day forward.
May the joys of today
Be those of tomorrow.
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years, may happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficult and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.
Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You’re being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover—anyone. This lover doesn’t need anything from you, isn’t looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.
You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success— none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.
Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.
This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It’s like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart—not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, “I am.”
This is your deeper heart, your intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are.
Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not “I love you” for this or that reason, not “I love you if you love me.” It’s love for no reason, love without an object. It’s just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.
If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness.
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.
“Love is an adventure and a conquest. It survives and develops like the universe itself only by perpetual discovery. The only right love is that between couples whose passion leads them both, one through the other, to a higher possession of their being. Put your faith in the spirit which dwells between the two of you. You have each offered yourself to the other as a boundless field of understanding, of enrichment, of mutually increased sensibility. You will meet above all by entering into and constantly sharing one another’s thoughts, affections, and dreams. There alone, as you know, in spirit, which is arrived through flesh, you will find no disappointments, no limits. There alone the skies are ever open for your love; there alone lies the great road ahead.”
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.
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.
These are the hands of your partner, young and strong and full of love, holding your hands as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future. These are the hands that will hold you and comfort you in grief and uncertainty. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and joy. These are the hands that will hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength. And these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
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.
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is 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 life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the 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 the 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 it might be in dread or anticipation, but 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.
Our original nature was by no means the same as it is now. There was a kind composed of both sexes and sharing equally in male and female. The form of each person was round all over; each had four arms, and legs to match these, and two faces perfectly alike. The creature walked upright, and whenever it started running fast, it went like our acrobats, whirling over and over with legs stuck out straight, swiftly round and round.
Now they were so lofty in their notions that they even conspired against the gods. Thereat Zeus and the other gods were perplexed; for they felt they could not slay them, nor could they endure such sinful rioting. Then Zeus said “Methinks I can contrive that men shall give over their iniquity through a lessening of their strength.” So saying, he sliced each human being in two. Now when our first form had been cut in two, each half in longing for his fellow would come to it again; and then would they fling their arms about each other and in mutual embraces yearn to be grafted together. Thus anciently is mutual love ingrained in mankind.
Well, when one happens on his own particular half, the two of them are wondrously thrilled with affection and intimacy and love, and are hardly to be induced to leave each other’s side for a single moment. These are they who continue together throughout life. No one could imagine this to be the mere amorous connection: obviously the soul of each is wishing for something else that it cannot express. Suppose that Hephaestus should ask “Do you desire to be joined in the closest possible union, that so long as you live, the pair of you, being as one, may share a single life?” Each would unreservedly deem that he had been offered just what he was yearning for all the time.
The craving and pursuit of that entirety is called Love. If we make friends with the god and are reconciled, we shall have the fortune that falls to few in our day of discovering our proper favorites. Love is the god who brings this about; he fully deserves our hymns. If we will supply the gods with reverent duty, he will restore us to our ancient life and heal and help us into the happiness of the blessed.
A soulmate 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 soulmate 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 soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.
Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
–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.
And another thing. Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion… That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches, we found that we were one tree and not two.
“You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife ”
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 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 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)
I’ll be there, my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train
When life is just threatening to drive you insane
When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
When the forecast said, ‘Fine,’ but you’re out in a storm
When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
And your holiday photos show only your thumb
When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
And return to discover you’ve been towed away
When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes
So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
When you break a rule, when you act the fool
When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue
’Cause I’m telling you, I’ll be there.
Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
And that a loving atmosphere in your home
is the foundation for your life.
Be gentle with the earth,
be gentle with one another.
When disagreements come
remember always to protect the spirit of your union.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake,
take immediate steps to correct it.
Remember that the best relationship is one
in which your love for each other
exceeds your need for each other.
So love yourselves, love one another,
love all that is your life together
and all else will follow.
Wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every finer and cell of the substance of our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own and sings our love.
Let this be a reminder that you are guaranteed by the seasons of nature a significant winter each year, and you are guaranteed by the whimsies of life more winters of the soul than you can now imagine. So I am bringing before you these words to ask you to remember the springtimes that should follow each winter, springtimes that are not always given to you but sometimes must be created by you even when it seems impossible. Find the time to arise and come away with each other; be romantic; listen to the voices of birds that aren’t there; laugh and cry deeply; and be silly as a daisy in spite of the chill and dark times that must come into everyone’s life. That is the love I am wishing you. As much of any of us would wish otherwise, there must be winters in your life, so we pray for your springtimes as well.
If I became lost in
the multiverse, exploring
infinite parallel dimensions, my
only criterion for settling
down somewhere would be
whether or not I could find you:
and once I did, I’d stay there even
if it was a world ruled by giant spider-
priests, or one where killer
robots won the Civil War, or even
a world where sandwiches
were never invented, because
you’d make it the best
of all possible worlds anyway,
we could get rich
off inventing sandwiches.
If the Singularity comes
and we upload our minds into a vast
computer simulation of near-infinite
complexity and perfect resolution,
and become capable of experiencing any
fantasy, exploring worlds bound only
by our enhanced imaginations,
I’d still spend at least 1021 processing
cycles a month just sitting
on a virtual couch with you,
watching virtual TV,
eating virtual fajitas,
holding virtual hands,
for the real thing.
To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able to be who really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another- and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adults’ deepens wounds
They are openly free to be who they really are- and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.
I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again…I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you…We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams…And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.
Into a sacred existence that defies—
Every description of ecstasy
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have became shriveled and closed
for fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy,
mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic,
or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true
I want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
I want to know
if you can be faithful
and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty
even when it is not pretty every day,
and if you can source your life from mysterious presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the njght of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are,
how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
The moon has become a dancer
at this festival of love.
This dance of light,
This sacred blessing,
This divine love,
to a world beyond
only lovers can see
with their eyes of fiery passion.
They are the chosen ones
who have surrendered.
Once they were particles of light
now they are the radiant sun.
They have left behind
the world of deceitful games.
They are the privileged lovers
who create a new world
with their eyes of fiery passion.
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.”
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
“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 all 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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,
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love can wake you up all hours of the night with its needs.
Love can give you a sense of security:
When you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love,
ain’t no one gonna mess with you.
Love needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love does not like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
Love may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love makes messes.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
But then love gives you big kisses,
And you laugh at the little things.
Sometimes love just wants to play.
Running you around the block, leaving you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you,
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
And love brings you together.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk and greet each other on the street.
Most importantly, love needs love, and lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and loves you and never stops.
being happy for the other person
when they are happy
being sad for the other person when they are sad
being together in good times
and being together in bad times
Love is the source of strength
being honest with yourself at all times
being honest with the other person at all times
telling, listening, respecting the truth
and never pretending
Love is the source of reality
an understanding that is so complete that
you feel as if you are a part of the other person
accepting the other person just the way they are
and not trying to change them to be something else
Love is the source of unity
the freedom to pursue your own desires
while sharing your experiences with the other person
the growth of one individual alongside of
and together with the growth of another individual
Love is the source of success
the excitement of planning things together
the excitement of doing things together
Love is the source of the future
the fury of the storm
the calm of the rainbow
Love is the source of passion
giving and taking in a daily situation
being patient with each other’s needs and desires
Love is the source of sharing
knowing that the other person
will always be with you regardless of what happens
missing the other person when they are away
but remaining near in heart at all times
Love is the source of security
Love is the source of life
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… Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love and in friendship… Because marriage is a discipline to be added to a list of achievements… Because marriages do not fail, people fail when they enter into marriage expecting another to make them whole… Together we create our marriage… and with this understanding, the possibilities are limitless.
We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.
When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.
You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are the stones.
Wedding Ceremony Bible Readings
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Jesus says: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,’ and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Two are better than one, because they have a good return 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.
The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
This one shall be called ‘woman,’
For out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.
From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Love one another. This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us. We love because he first loved us.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ* dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Let love be genuine and live in harmony;
hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.
Out do one another in showing honor;
be humble and never conceited.
Love is stronger than death
and jealousy is cruel as the grave.
Floods can not drown love and
wealth can not buy it.
Put love above all else;
let Christ’s peace rule your hearts.
Always be forgiving,
as Christ has forgiven you.
Love is not jealous or boastful,
arrogant, rude, or stubborn,
irritable, resentful, or possessive.
Love is patient and kind.
Do not love in word or speech only;
love also in deed and truth.
Receive each other in sincerity,
find mercy and grow old together.
Love rejoices in the right;
it bears, believes, hopes,
and endures all things,
for love is faithful and endless.
When the Lord builds the house,
the labor is never in vain.
Happy are those who take refuge in God;
those who serve the Lord are redeemed.
© 1988 S T Kimbrough Jr.; Responses 1 and 2
© 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone, to have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But God, to the Christians says, “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone, with giving yourself totally and unreserved to Me, with having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone; discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship
that I have planned for you.”
You will never be united with another until you are united with Me, exclusively of anyone or anything else, exclusively of any other desire or longing.
I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow me to give you the most thrilling plan existing, one that you can not imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow me to bring it to you. You keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things. Keep experiencing and learning the things I tell you… You just have to wait. That’s all.
Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t look around at the things others have gotten or that I’ve given them. Don’t look around at the things you think you want. You just keep looking off and up to Me, or you will miss what I want to show you.
And then…when you are ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any other that you would dream of.
You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time, until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I prepared for you, you won’t be able to experience the Love that exemplifies your relationship with Me and this perfect Love.
Dear one, I want you to have this wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh, a picture of your relationship with Me, and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, and perfection, and Love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly.
I am God. Believe and be satisfied.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, Grant that we may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
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