Non-Religious Wedding Readings and Poems for a Humanist Wedding Ceremony
This list of non-religious wedding readings, wedding poems and quotes is by no means exhaustive - I have plenty more ideas, but these are some of my absolute favourites! Keep checking back, as I continue to add to them.
A Little Life by Tanya Yanagihara (excerpt)
The only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—
not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—
and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you,
and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be,
and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”
First Meeting by ASJ Tesssimond
When I first met you, I knew I had come at last home,
Home after wandering, home after long puzzled searching.
Home, after long being wind-borne, wave-tossed, night-caught'
Long being lost.
And being with you as normal and needful and natural
As sleeping or walking; and I was myself, who had never
Been wholly myself; I was walking and talking and laughing
Easily at last.;
And the air was softer and sounds were sharper
And colours were brighter and sky was higher
And length was not measured by milestones and time was not measured by clocks....
And this end was a beginning...
And these words are the beginning of my thanks.
All I Know About Love by Neil Gaiman
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I've learned about marriage: nothing.
Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.
It's not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it's what they mean.
Somebody's got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn't want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.
It's not two broken halves becoming one.
It's the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.
So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else's love, nobody else's marriage, is like yours,
and it's a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.
And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
And that's all I know about love.
Habitation by Margaret Atwood
Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
it is before that, and colder:
the edge of the forest, the edge of the desert
the unpainted stairs at the back where we squat outside, eating popcorn
the edge of the receding glacier
where painfully and with wonder at having survived even
we are learning to make fire
Marriage. From a Cat's Perspective by Rachael Meyer
We choose each other.
I stay because I like you. Remember this.
You are my warmth, my comfort. My provider.
You are mine. I am yours.
In the sunshine, we walk. We travel. We play.
Alert. Agile, we bask in the light.
But nothing is forever. I grace you with my presence.
We watch with caution, the world.
As fragile as a butterfly.
And we keep one eye open for the bees, the birds.
I am wild at heart. Independent. An adventurer.
With stealth and focus, I watch.
A steady gaze. A slow blink.
Skilful. Hungry. Patient.
Pouncing when you least suspect.
I carry home my offering. Like a lion. I drop it with pride.
For you. As a symbol of my devotion.
I give you my gift of love. And you reciprocate.
My affection. Your prize.
We lay. Outstretched and vulnerable. We trust.
Hearts beat in time. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast.
We can relish the silence. Just us. Just breathing.
I won’t come running but I will follow.
And I will fight.
Arching my back and baring my teeth. Talons poised.
In fear, but with bravado, I will hiss. And howl. And scratch.
To protect us. To keep us safe.
With darkening skies and gathering storms, you search for me.
You let me in. I don’t like the cold.
And when we curl up, I’m at peace.
With my engine quietly purring.
You tell me I’m beautiful; a fine cat.
And your fingers reach out to touch me. I bask in the glory.
You rile me, to make me play. And I oblige. Claws in.
Or you give me a treat.
And when I purr louder, you’re content. We are one.
You are mine. I am yours.
A moment. Nothing lasts forever.
I choose not to walk alone. I choose love. I choose you.
And I will stay with you always.
Not because I have to. But because I want to.
‘You Can’t Analyse Love - From Star Trek Voyager
Commander, I don’t think you can analyse love.
It’s the greatest mystery of all.
No one knows why it happens or doesn’t.
Love is a chance combination of elements.
Any one thing might be enough to keep it from igniting - a mood, a glance… A remark.
And if we could define love… predict it… it would probably lose its power."
From Gift from the Sea - 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. 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 tide.
I'll Be There For You - Louise Cuddon
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.
Perhaps Love - John Denver.
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home
Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through
Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of change
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you
An Apache Blessing
May the sun bring you new strength by day, May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your fears,
And the breeze invigorate your being,
May you, all the days of your life together,
Walk gently through the world and know its beauty.
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, difficulties 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.
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 is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be company for the other, Now you are two persons,
But there is only one life before you.
Go to your dwelling,
Enter into the days of your life together
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
A Sanskrit Reflection
Look to this day! For this is life; the very life of life itself.
In it's brief course, lie all the truths and realities of your existence;
The bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well to this day - such is the salutation of the dawn.
A passage from “The Alchemist” - 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.
Union - Robert Fulgham
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 commitments in an informal way.
All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all 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 that 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, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years.
Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.”
Marry Your Best Friend - Anonymous:
Marry your best friend.
I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest,
In the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you.
Someone you can laugh with.
The kind of laughs that make
Your belly ache, and your nose snort.
The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important.
Life is too short not to love someone
Who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody
Who lets you cry, too.
Despair will come.
Find someone that you want
To be there with you
Through those times.
Marry the one that makes passion,
Love, and madness combine
And course through you.
A love that will never dilute -
Even when the waters get deep, and dark.
A Vow - Wendy Cope
I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.
And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure.
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.
I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.
A Lovely Love Story - Edward Monkton
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.
From The Velveteen Rabbit - 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 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.”
The Invitation - Oriah Mountain Dreamer
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 a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are square in your moon. I want to know whether you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have been shrivelled and closed down from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, 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 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 are telling is true. I want to know whether 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 trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty every day, and if you can source your life on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the moon.
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 a night 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 know or how you came here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where, what or with whom you’ve studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know you can truly be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.
I Like You by Sandol Stoddard
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
…And I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don’t always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad…
I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It’s awful when the other person isn’t…
I like you because I don’t know why but
Everything that happens is nicer with you
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you
It must have been lonesome then.
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do.
When Do I Think of You? - Sherry Hilderbrand
I think of you in the morning
before the sun rises,
when in the still of the darkness
my heart feels your presence.
Your love, your tenderness,
your slow rhythmic breathing as you sleep,
and I am at peace.
I think of you when the first rays of sunlight
spill like a waterfall between the blinds
and settle in my eyes.
I reach my hand, my foot, any body part will do,
to touch you and breathe you in.
It feeds my heart, my soul, my spirit,
and I am at peace.
I think of you at noon when the sun is at its highest,
when the heat warms my skin
and causes my eyes to close with sheer pleasure.
Thoughts of you surround me, envelop me, overpower me.
Images of you swirl around like a funnel cloud,
sucking into its grasp all that it touches,
and I am at peace.
I think of you when the sun is setting
and its final rays of light begin to fade.
I can hear your voice, deep, soft, and slow in my head--
words of beauty, joy, friendship, and everlasting love.
My heart begins to sing a love song so sweet and so gentle.
I cannot wait to share my day with you and yours with me.
And I am at peace.
I think of you when the sun has set and the stillness of the moon
is displaying one of its many wondrous phases.
Thoughts of your smile, your laugh, and your eyes
create a feeling that is impossible to express with just words.
The need to touch you, to feel you, to drink you in
is almost too much to hold inside.
Anticipation of you is the greatest gift.
I am at peace.
Why Marriage, by Dena Acolatse (adapted)
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 potential of me…
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who is thankful for me,
With someone I feel honored to hold…
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love, 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…
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage.
Together we create our marriage…
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.
I will be here, by Steven Curtis Chapman
If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.
I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.
I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
I will be here.
From Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules.
The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice.
Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear
to aid and abet.
That would mean that security is out of the question.
The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate.
My love for you has no strings attached.
I love you for free.”
From Disorder and Early Sorrow by Thomas Mann
This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown,
unhoped for, unexpected–in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness;
it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement,
that this was for life.
All I Need to Know About Life I Learned from my Dog - Anonymous
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride together.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure
When loved ones come home always run to greet them.
When you want treats, practice obedience.
Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
Take naps together and stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle
Thrive on the attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing
Run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk together.
Love each other unconditionally.
Falling in love is like owning a dog - Taylor Mali
First of all, it's a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives 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 going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
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.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose, not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don't you ever do that again!
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves 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.
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.
Yes, I'll Marry You - Pam Ayres
Yes, I'll marry you, my dear,
And here's the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking
And it's creepy and it's late,
I hand you the torch you see,
And you investigate.
Yes I'll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It's you that has to mend it,
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It's you that has to whack him.
Yes, I'll marry you,
You're virile and you're lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!
It's you who has to work the drill
and put up curtain track,
And when I've got PMT it's you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I do, I do, I do!
The Day the Saucers Came - Neil Gaiman
That day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and
stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn't notice it because
That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because
On the saucer day, which was the zombie day, it was
Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us
A ship built of dead-men's nails, a serpent, a wolf,
All bigger than the mind could hold,
and the cameraman could
Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out
But you did not see them coming because
On the saucer-zombie-battling-gods
day the floodgates broke
And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites
Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities
And charm and cleverness and true
brave hearts and pots of gold
While giants feefofummed across
the land, and killer bees,
But you had no idea of any of this because
That day, the saucer day, the zombie day,
The Ragnarok and fairies day, the
day the great winds came
And snows, and the cities turned to crystal, the day
All plants died, plastics dissolved, the day the
Computers turned, the screens telling
us we would obey, the day
Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,
And all the bells of London were sounded, the day
Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,
The fluttering capes and arrival of
the Time Machine day,
You didn't notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.
All I Ever Really Needed to Know
I Learned in Kindergarten - Robert Fulgham
All of what I really need to know about how to live,
and what to do, and how to be,
I learned in Kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain,
but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the things I learned…
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Give them to someone who feels sad.
Live a balanced life.
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing
and dance and play and work every day.
Take a nap every afternoon.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the plastic cup?
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows
how or why, but we are all like that.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world,
it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Excerpt from the Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman
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.
Excerpt from The Chaos of Stars - Kiersten White
I didn’t fall in love with you.
I walked into love with you,
with my eyes wide open,
choosing to take every step along the way.
I do believe in fate and destiny,
but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway.
And I’d choose you;
in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds,
in any version of reality,
I’d find you
and I’d choose you.
Everything I Know About Love - Dolly Alderton
I know that love can be loud and jubilant…It can be dancing in the swampy mud and the pouring rain at a festival and shouting “YOU ARE AMAZING” over the band. It’s introducing them to your colleagues at a work event and basking in pride as they make people laugh and make you look lovable just by dint of being loved by them.
It’s laughing until you wheeze.
It’s waking up in a country neither of you have been in before.
It’s skinny-dipping at dawn. It’s walking along the street together on a Saturday night and feeling an entire city is yours.
It’s a big, beautiful, ebullient force of nature.
I also know that love is a pretty quiet thing.
It’s lying on the sofa together drinking coffee, talking about where you’re going to go that morning to drink more coffee. It’s folding down pages of books you think they’d find interesting.
It’s hanging up their laundry when they leave the house having moronically forgotten to take it out of the washing machine.
It’s saying ‘You’re safer here than in a car’ as they hyperventilate on an EasyJet flight to Dublin.
It’s the texts: ‘Hope your day goes well’, ‘How did today go?’, ‘Thinking of you today’ and ‘Picked up loo roll’.
I know that love happens under the splendour of moon and stars and fireworks and sunsets but it also happens when you’re lying on blow-up airbeds in a childhood bedroom, sitting in A&E or in the queue for a passport, or in a traffic jam.
Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.
Excerpt from Shantaram - David Gregory Roberts
The ancient Sanskrit legends speak of a destined love, a karmic connection between souls that are fated to meet and collide and enrapture one another.
The legends say that the loved one is instantly recognised because she's loved in every gesture, every expression of thought, every movement, every sound, and every mood that prays in her eyes.
The legends say that he knows her by her wings – the wings that only he can see - and the wings that will carry them forever.
The Crystal Goblet and The Wine - Jacques Crickillon
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine- scented air.
There is no way you are the pine- scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley,
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I am not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and – somehow – the wine.
From The Irrational Season — Madeleine L’Engle
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.)
Traditional Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.
Your love is as the sea – Author Unknown
Your love is as the sea, constant and ever-changing… Your love is as the wind, rapturous and all encompassing. Your love is as the earth, solid and firm…Your love is as a flame, illuminating your lives and warming your hearts.
Yet your love extends beyond the sea, wind, earth and flame; it is greater than who you are and meaningless without you; it is more powerful than your past yet the foundation for your future.
It has brought you here today to become one in the eyes of your family and friends, for all the days to come.
Your love is the essence of your lives.
About love – Bob Marley
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.
You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.
They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.
There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. …
You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you.
You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
This for you – Neil Gaiman
This for you, for both of you,
a small poem of happiness,
filled with small glories and little triumphs
a fragile, short cheerful song
filled with hope and all sorts of futures
Because at weddings we imagine the future
Because it’s all about “what happened next?”
all the work and negotiation and building and talk
that makes even the tiniest happily ever after
something to be proud of for a wee forever
This is a small thought for both of you
like a feather or a prayer,
a wish of trust and love and hope
and fine brave hearts and true.
Like a tower, or a house made all of bones and dreams
and tomorrows and tomorrows and tomorrows
“Advice From a Friend” from Thinking about the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness by Tony Kushner
Trust each other, completely, entirely, trust like an animal, trust even more than that, raze every barricade, every obstacle to trust. Be relentless, leave no stone unturned, trust each other. Know with absolute deathless certainty that your lover wishes nothing but that all is well with you. Do you know that? Do you know that your love is more trustworthy than even you yourself are? If not, work harder, know it, this is important, not even your mother can be trusted half as much. That’s one thing.
Be understanding. Be more than that. Merge entirely your being with your lover’s life. Have the same dreams at night. And yet, keep a healthy distance always; no one likes feeling crowded.
Your lover complains, or is sad. Listen attentively to each ululation, to each keening note of your lover’s lament. What matter if you’ve heard it all before, only last week, only last night even, and you’re bored? Listen as though your lover had sat down and delivered a spontaneous exegesis on Grief worthy of Montaigne of Browne or Emerson. Find different kinds of listening expressions, too, be inventive, and be careful that the look you imagine expressive of rapt attentiveness isn’t becoming a glazed fixed stare.
Listen, trust, accommodate, placate, soothe. Be available, enthusiastic, supportive, generous, surprising, sexy, mysterious, challenging. Be a teacher, a pupil, a nurse, a good patient. A child a parent analysand and analyst both, be a true mirror and a flattering portrait both, be an adorable house pet, household god, father-confessor, mother-intercessor, your lover’s favorite relative, favorite movie stare, favorite food, share everything, hide nothing, (but remember mysterious and sexy, see ABOVE).
See everything, overlook faults, speak frankly but encouragingly always and, if this proves difficult or impossible; throw plates, smash furniture, shout abuse. Disturb the neighbors, poison the fishbowls, drown the plants, destroy each other’s diaries after reading them and scissor each other’s socks, celebrate with bonfires and war cries and cannibal stares the indestructible cast iron certainty of what we fuse in the name of that wild endeavor, that ecstatic bellicose enterprise: love.
Quote by Richard Needham
You don’t marry one person; you marry three:
the person you think they are,
the person they are, and
the person they are going to become
as a result of being married to you.
Commitment Poem of the Pueblo Indian – Author Unknown
Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide rivers of our minds. We were each other’s distant shore, the opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, Yet connected in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common tree. Remember?
From a Navajo Wedding Ceremony
Now you have lit a fire and that fire should not go out. The two of you now have a fire that represents love, understanding and a philosophy of life.
It will give you heat, food, warmth and happiness. The new fire represents a new beginning – a new life and a new family.
The fire should keep burning; you should stay together. You have lit the fire for life, until old age separates you.
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.
I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision to be swallowed up by the greater need of love.
When you came to me, the sun surged towards the earth and moon escaped from darkness to bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them for life’s endless circle.
Beloved partner, keeper of my heart’s odd secrets, clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us. I thank your patience.
Our joining is like a tree to earth, a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say, in this time, this place, this way – I loved you best of all.”
The Art of Marriage — Betty Pingel
There is an art to marriage as there is to any creative activity we human beings engage in. This art asks that we pay attention to the little things as well as the big ones that are part of the closeness of marriage. Never grow too old to hold hands.
At least once each day, remember to say, “I love you.” In so much as it is possible, develop the capacity to forgive and forget and heal quarrels as they happen so that you do not go to bed angry.
Your courtship should not end with the honeymoon; so pay attention that you do not come to take each other for granted, and remember to speak words of appreciation and demonstrate your gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is important to have a mutual sense of values and common objectives so that you stand together as you work through the world; and do things for each other, not as a duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
Do not expect perfection of each other. But do give each other room to grow and cultivate flexibility, patience, understanding, and sense of humor in your relationship. Your marriage is not just for two people.
Use it to form a circle of love that gathers in your families and the children who may be part of your lives. Remember that standing together never means dissolving your individual selves into each other, but indeed means the strengthening of the individuality of each.
A good marriage evolves when two distinct individuals face life’s joy and its sorrow in harmony, not in unison.
This list is only a small part of what is required of two people who would truly accept that making a marriage over the years is an artistic endeavor worthy of our best efforts.
It is not just another relationship in our lives; it is the one that gives us courage and the support to reach out to other people in love and wholeness.
I Love You — 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.
From Babylon 5, the Declaration of Principles
The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. … It speaks in the language of hope
It speaks in the language of trust
It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice
It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born
It is the small, still voice that says
We are one
No matter the blood No matter the skin No matter the world
No matter the star: We are one
No matter the pain No matter the darkness No matter the loss
No matter the fear: We are one
Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize the singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another
Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost diminishes us.
We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future.
We are one. We are one.
from Cosmos - Carl Sagan
Our ancestors groped in darkness to make sense of their surroundings. Powerless before nature, they invented rituals and myths, some desperate and cruel, others imaginative and benign. As long as there have been humans, we have searched for our place in the cosmos.
Where are we? Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions, and by the depth of our answers.
All of the rocks we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
[When we look out at the stars, and the amazing intricacies of life, when we wonder what it all means and why we matter, somehow the simple act of loving transcends all of it and gives us a place of belonging, a reason for being.
Finding Love — Robert J. Doebley:
I find love - not only in the things we do together
but also in the things I do alone.
Because of you.
In the thoughts you inspire,
In the dreams you haunt,
And in the memories
you are helping me to build.
I find love in you.
Blessing for a Marriage – 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 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
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!
The Art of Marriage – Wilfred Arlan Peterson
A good marriage must be created.
In the 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 having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
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.
True Friendship – Judy Bielicki
It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round.
However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel.
True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life — it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic.
True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness.
True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential.
Bride and Groom came together as friends.
Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.