Selected wedding readings from the Wed by a Friend Portfolio

Readings about love, commitment and marriage

“Union"     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 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, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another.   Soon you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you.  For after your vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.      By Robert Fulghum

“Sooner or Later”       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.   Author Unknown

"Why Marriage?"        Why marriage? Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,  with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body. Why marriage? Because I need a forever friend to trust who loves me when I'm unlikable;  who sees the small child in me, and who looks for the divine potential of me. Why marriage?  Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night with someone who is thankful for me;  with someone I feel blessed to hold. Why marriage?  Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love and friendship. Why marriage?  Because the possibilities are limitless.    By Mari Nichols

“The Dance”    A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but joyful and swift and free. To touch heavily would be to freeze the movement, to stop the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand; only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back- it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it. When the partners each love so completely that they have forgotten to ask themselves whether or not they are loved in return: when they each only know that they love and are moving to its music- then, and then only, are two people able to dance perfectly in tune to the same rhythm.     By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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

"Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love"   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. Marriage is a promise made in the hearts of two people…a promise that creates a spirit of love unique to that couple which binds them closer than any spoken or written words.
By Edmund O'Neill

“I Am Love"     Some say I can fly on the wind, yet I haven’t any wings. Some have found me floating on the open sea, yet I cannot swim. Some have felt my warmth on cold nights, yet I have no flame. And though you cannot see me, I lay between two lovers at the hearth of fireplaces. I am the twinkle in your child’s eyes. I am hidden in the lines of your mother's face. I am your father's shield as he guards your home. And yet... Some say I am stronger than steel, yet I am as fragile as a tear. Some have never searched for me, yet I am around them always. Some say I die with loss, yet I am endless. And though you cannot hear me, I dance on the laughter of children. I am woven into the whispers of passion. I am in the blessings of Grandmothers. I embrace the cries of newborn babies. And yet... Some say I am a flower, yet I am also the seed. Some have little faith in me, yet I will always believe in them. Some say I cannot cure the ill, yet I nourish the soul. And though you cannot touch me, I am the gentle hand of the kind. I am the fingertips that caress your cheek at night. I am the hug of a child. I am love.   By Helen Steiner Rice

Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever     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.    By Richard Bach

Excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin     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 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. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.  By Louis de Bernieres

Sonnet XVII        I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers, and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.     By Pablo Neruda

“I Carry Your Heart”      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 not 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 of mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)      By e.e. cummings

“Song of the Open Road”          Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, strong and content I travel the open road. I inhale great draughts of space, The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine. I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness. Comrade, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?        By Walt Whitman

“Matrimony”      Matrimony is called holy, because this brave and fateful promise of a man and a woman, to love and honor and serve each other through thick and thin, looks beyond itself to more fateful promises still, and speaks mightily of what human life at its most human and most alive and most holy must always be. Every wedding is a dream, and every word that is spoken there means more than it says, and every gesture - the clasping of hands, the giving of rings - is rich with mystery. And so it is that we hope with every bride and groom, that the love they bear one another, and the joy they take in one another, may help them grow in love for this whole world where their final joy lies       By Frederick Buechner

“To Love”    To love is to enter a whole new world, a world of togetherness, a world of sharing all that is dearest and deepest within your hearts.
To love is to remember and keep alive forever all those unique qualities that drew you to one another in the beginning....those first halting phrases...that wonderful feeling of oneness when your eyes first met.
To love is to constantly search for new ways to bring each other happiness, to make the most of every moment you share together, and to marvel at how your feelings for one another keep rising to new dimensions.
To love is to create an oasis of tranquility for one another and a quiet place, apart from others, where you need not pretend...where you can be yourselves and know within your hearts that you will be accepted by one another.
To love is to greet each day with anticipation...always eager for another opportunity to share new adventures and create new memories together.
To love is to follow the rainbow through the rain.
To love is being willing to say...."I was wrong, I'm sorry"...to forgive, and more importantly, to forget, and to always believe and trust in one another.
To love is to watch with wonder all the miracles of creation, to find beauty in all the simple things of life, and to find within yourselves a deeper appreciation and a new awareness of how wonderful it is to be alive...to be happy...to be together. To love is joining together from the pathways of your past and then moving forward…hand in hand…along the uncharted roads of your future—ready to risk, to dream, to dare…and always believing that all things are possible with faith and love.    (Anonymous)


"On Love"      Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God. Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength. Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fail. Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.”     By Thomas a Kempis

“Untitled”
I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.
I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.
I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.
A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.
The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth.
Not always shall you be what you are now.
You are going forward toward something great.
I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.
By Carl Sandburg

"Carrie's Poem"
His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was "I do.”
From Sex and the City

Readings from Religious Writings and Traditions

Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures
Genesis 2:18-24  
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.  But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
I hear my lover’s voice.  Here he comes jumping across the mountains, skipping over the hills.  My lover is like a gazelle or a young deer.  Look, he stands behind our wall, peeking through the windows, looking through the blinds.
My lover spoke and said to me, “Get up, my darling; let’s go away, my beautiful one. Look, the winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Blossoms appear through all the land. The time has come to sing; the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  There are young figs on the fig trees and the blossoms on the vines smell sweet.  Get up, my darling; let’s go away, my beautiful one.”
 

Bible - New Testament
1 Corinthians Chapter 13     “Hymn to Love”    Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.  

Romans 12:9-21
Love must be sincere. 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 those 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.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

First Letter of John Chapter 4: 16-18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
 

From the Buddhist Scriptures       Do not deceive, do not despise each other anywhere. Do not be angry nor bear secret resentments; for as a mother will risk her life and watches over her child, so boundless be your love to all, so tender, kind and mild. Cherish good will right and left, early and late, and without hindrance, without stint, be free of hate and envy, while standing and walking and sitting down, what ever you have in mind, the rule of life that is always best is to be loving-kind. Gifts are great, founding temples is meritorious, meditations and religious exercises pacify the heart, comprehension of the truth leads to Nirvana, but greater than all is lovingkindness.

Hindu Love Poem
Let the earth of my body be mixed with the earth my beloved walks on.
Let the fire of my body be the brightness in the mirror that reflects his face.
Let the water of my body join the waters of the lotus pool he bathes in.
Let the breath of my body be air lapping his tired limbs.
Let me be sky, and moving through me the cloud-dark Shyama, my beloved.

From the Bahai Wedding Tablet
The bond that unites hearts most perfectly is loyalty. True lovers once united must show forth the utmost faithfulness one to another. You must dedicate your knowledge, your talents, your fortunes, your titles, your bodies and your spirits to God and to each other. Let your hearts be spacious, as spacious as the universe of God!
Allow no trace of jealousy to creep between you, for jealousy, like unto poison, undermines the very essence of love. Let not the ephemeral incidents and accidents of this changeful life cause a rift between you. When differences present themselves, take counsel together in secret, lest others magnify a speck into a mountain. Harbor not in your hearts any grievance, but rather explain its nature to each other with such frankness and understanding that it will disappear, leaving no remembrance. Choose fellowship and amity and turn away from jealousy and hypocrisy. Let your hearts be like two pure mirrors reflecting the stars of the heaven of love and beauty.

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