Wedding Readings

 

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Old Testament

Blessings

 

 

Psalms

Non-Scriptural and
From other Religions

 

 

New Testament

Shakespeare

 

 

Gospel

Other Poets and Writers

 

 

Ideas from Jewish Wedding Traditions

 

 

Compiled from numerous sources by Fr. Rich Hasselbach. Reprinted with his gracious permission. 

 

Old Testament

 

Genesis 1:26-28

 

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

 

Genesis 2:15-24

 

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

 

Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their labor. If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man, for if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up! So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.

 

Proverbs 31:10-3

 

A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

Song of Songs 2:10-13

 

My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."

 

Song of Songs 2:8-10.14,16; 8:6-7

 

…for lo, the winter is past

the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,

The time of singing has come,

And the voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs,

And the vines are in blossom;

They give forth fragrance.

 

Arise, my love, my fair one,

and come away.

Let me see you,

let me hear your voice,

For your voice is sweet,

and you are lovely.

 

Set me as a seal on your heart,

as a seal on your arm;

For stern as death is love,

relentless as the nether world is devotion;

its flames are a blazing fire.

Deep waters cannot quench love,

nor floods sweep it away.

 

The Song of Solomon 3: 9-11

 

You have captured my heart, my own, my bride, you have captured my heart with one glance of you eyes, with one coil of your necklace. How sweet is your love, my own, my bride! How much more delightful your love than wine, your ointments more fragrant than any spice! Sweetness drops from your lips, O bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.

 

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

 

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.

 

Ruth 1: 16 – 17

 

"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried beside you. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

 

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Psalms

 

Psalm 100

 

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with song. Know this: The Lord is God; he made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; give thanks to him and call upon his Name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

 

Psalms 127:1-5

 

"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

 

Psalms 128:1-6

 

Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!

 

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New Testament

 

I Corinthians 13 : 1 – 13

 

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

 

Colossians 3: 12-17

 

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.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33

 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

 

I John 4:7-16

 

"Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."

 

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Gospel

 

Matthew 5:1-10

 

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

 

Matthew 6:25-34

 

Therefore I bid you put away anxious thoughts about food and drink to keep you alive, and clothes to cover your body. Surely life is more that food, the body more than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store in barns, yet your heavenly father feeds them. You are worth more than the birds! Is there a person among you who by anxious thought can add a foot to his height? And why be anxious about clothes? consider how the lilies grow in the fields; they do not work, they do not spin, and yet, I tell you, Solomon in all his splendor was not attired as one of these. But if that is how God clothes the grass in the fields, which is there today, and tomorrow is thrown on the stove, will He not all the more clothe you? How little faith you have!...Set your mind on God's Kingdom and His justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well. So do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself. Each day has troubles enough of its own.

 

Matthew 7:21, 24-29

 

"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

 

Matthew 19:4-6

 

Jesus also said, "Have you not read that the one 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 they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no person put asunder."

 

Matthew 22:35-40

 

A lawyer, to disconcert Jesus, put a question, "Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?" Jesus said "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments rest the whole Law, and the Prophets also".

 

Mark 10:6-9, 13-16

 

"But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 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 they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

 

John 2:1-11

 

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

 

John 15:9-12

 

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

 

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Blessings

 

Numbers 6:24-26

 

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

 

I Timothy 1:17

 

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen.”

 

Hebrews 13:20-21

 

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.”

 

Jude v. 24

 

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever, Amen.”

 

Irish Blessing

 

May the road rise 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. And until we meet again, 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 misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward.

 

May the road rise 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.

 

Blessing Adapted From 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.

 

Blessing Adapted from the Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Neibuhr

 

GOD, grant N. and N. the serenity

to accept the things

they cannot change, in this life which they now share.

Grant them the courage to change the

things they can, and the

wisdom to know the difference.

 

May they live ONE DAY AT A TIME;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardship as the

pathway to peace.

Taking, as your Son did, this

sinful world as it is,

not as they would have it.

 

May they always trust that He will make

all things right if they

surrender to His Will;

That they may be reasonably happy

in this life, and supremely

happy with Him forever in

the next.

 

Blessing adapted from the Peace Prayer of St. Francis

 

Make N and N instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let them sow love

Where there is injury, pardon,

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope,

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy.

 

O Goodness that lies at the heart of things,

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 in this life that we are born into eternity.

 

The Apache Wedding Prayer

 

Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to 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 companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,

But there is only one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long upon the Earth.

 

THE SEVEN BLESSINGS From "The New Jewish Wedding
~ By Anita Diamant ~

 

“We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, expressing our appreciation for this wine, symbol and aid of our rejoicing.

 

We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, realizing that each separate moment and every distinct object points to and shares in this oneness.

 

We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, recognizing and appreciating the blessing of being human.

 

We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, realizing the special gift of awareness that permits us to perceive this unity and the wonder we experience as a man and a woman joined to live together.

 

May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with each other and in harmony with their environment.

 

From the Divine, source of all energy, we call forth an abundance of love to envelop this couple. May they be for each other lovers and friends, and may their love partake of the same innocence, purity, and sense of discovery that we imagine the first couple to have experienced.

 

We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, and we highlight today joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, delight and cheer, love and harmony, peace and companionship. May we all witness the day when the dominant sounds through the world will be these sounds of happiness, the voices of lovers, the sounds of feasting and singing.

 

Praised is love; blessed be this marriage. May the bride and bridegroom rejoice together."

 

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Non-Scriptural Readings
And Readings from other Religions

 

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis

 

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. Amen

 

From The Hymn Of The Universe,
By Teilhard De Chardin

 

Only love can bring individual beings to their perfect completion, as individuals, by uniting them one with another, because only love takes possession of them and unites them by what lies deepest within them. This is simply a fact of our everyday experience. For indeed at what moment do lovers come into the most complete possession of themselves if not when they say that they are lost in one another? And is not love all the time achieving - in couples, in teams, all around us - the magical and reputedly contradictory feat of personalizing through totalizing? And why should not what is thus daily achieved on a small scale be repeated one day on worldwide dimensions?

 

Humanity, the spirit of the earth, the synthesis of individuals and peoples, the paradoxical conciliation of the element with the whole, of the one with the many: all these are regarded as utopian fantasies, yet they are biologically necessary; and if we would see them made flesh in the world what more need we do than imagine our power to love growing and broadening, till it can embrace the totality of human beings and of the earth?

 

I Ching

 

When two people are at one in their inmost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.  And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts, their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.

 

Hindu Marriage Poem

 

You have become mine forever.

Yes, we have become partners.

I have become yours.

Hereafter, I cannot live without you.

Do not live without me.

Let us share the joys.

We are word and meaning, unite.

You are thought and I am sound.

 

May the nights be honey-sweet for us.

May the mornings be honey-sweet for us.

May the plants be honey-sweet for us.

May the earth be honey-sweet for us.

 

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, selected verses

 

A wife loves her husband not for his own sake, dear one, but because the Divine Beloved lives in him. A Husband loves his wife not for her own sake, dear one, but because the Divine Beloved lives in her. Children are loved not for their own sake, dear one, but because the Divine Beloved lives in them... All things are loved not for their own sake, but because the Divine Beloved lives in them. The Divine Beloved must be realized. Hearing about and meditating upon the Divine Beloved, you will come to understand everything in life... As long as there is the sense of separateness, one sees another as separate from oneself... But when the Divine Beloved is realized as the indivisible unity of life, who can be seen by whom... who can be spoken to by whom, who can be thought of by whom, who can be known by whom?

 

The Buddha's sermon at Rajagaha; verses 19-22

 

Do not decieve, 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.

 

As the light of the moon is 16 times stronger than the light of all the stars, so loving kindness is 16 times more efficacious in liberating the heart than all other religious accomplishments taken together."

 

Living in Bliss from The Dhammapada of the Buddha

 

Let us live joyfully.

Let us form a community of love, in a world full of hatred. Let us live without any kind of hatred.

Let us live joyfully.

Let us form a community of spiritual health, in a world full of illness. Let us live without any kind of spiritual disease.

Let us live joyfully.

Let us form a community of peace in a world full of rivalry.  Let us live without any kind of rivalry.

Let us live joyfully.

Let us form a community, which possesses nothing. Let us live on spiritual bliss, radiating spiritual light.

 

The Sunrise Ruby by Rumi

 

In the early morning hour,

just before dawn, lover and beloved wake

and take a drink of water.

 

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?

Really, tell the absolute truth.”

 

He says, “There’s nothing left of me.

I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.

Is it still a stone, or a world

made of redness? It has no resistance

to sunlight.”

 

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,

and told the truth!

 

The ruby and the sunrise are one.

Be courageous and discipline yourself.

 

Completely become hearing and ear,

and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

 

Work. Keep digging your well.

Don’t think about getting off from work.

Water is there somewhere.

 

Submit to a daily practice.

Your loyalty to that

is a ring on the door.

 

Keep knocking, and the joy inside

will eventually open a window

and look out to see who’s there.

 

From The Gayan of Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in you heart and a song of praise on your lips.

 

From the Gayan

 

My thoughtful self, reproach no one; hold grudge against no one; take revenge against no one; bear malice against no one; be wise.  Be kind to all; tolerate all; considerate to all; polite to all, oh my thoughtful self.

 

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Shakespeare

 

Hamlet

Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.

 

Sonnet 18


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,  And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fadeNor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest:  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

 

Sonnet 29

 

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings  That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

 

Sonnet 88

 

Such is my love, to thee I so belong, That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.

 

Sonnet 116

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove:  Oh, no! It is an ever-fixed mark.  That looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
within his bending sickle's compass come; love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.  If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

Twelfth Night, 3.1.151-6

 

I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.  Do not extort thy reasons from this clause, For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause But rather reason thus with reason fetter, Love sought is good, but given unsought better.

 

Love's Labours Lost, 4.3.327-55

 

But love, first learned in a lady's eyes, Lives not alone immured in the brain; But, with the motion of all elements, Courses as swift as thought in every power, And gives to every power a double power, Above their functions and their offices.  It adds a precious seeing to the eye; A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind;  A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound, When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd: Love's feeling is more soft and sensible Than are the tender horns of cockl'd snails; Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:  For valour, is not Love a Hercules, Still climbing trees in the Hesperides? Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical  As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair:  And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.  Never durst poet touch a pen to write  Until his ink were temper'd with Love's sighs; O, then his lines would ravish savage ears And plant in tyrants mild humility.  From women's eyes this doctrine I derive: They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;  They are the books, the arts, the academes, That show, contain and nourish all the world:  Else none at all in ought proves excellent.

 

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Other Poets and Writers

 

The Good-Morrow by John Donne

 

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved ? were we not weaned till then ? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly ? Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ? 'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be; If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.  And now good-morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room an everywhere.  Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone; Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown; Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.  My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres Without sharp north, without declining west ? Whatever dies, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or thou and I Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

 

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, by Christopher Marlowe

 

Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods or steepy mountain yields.  And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.  And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle; A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull; Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold; A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my love. The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my love,

 

Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her
by Christopher Brennan

 

If questioning could make us wise

No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;

If all our tale were told in speech

No mouths would wander each to each.

 

Were spirits free from mortal mesh

And love not bound in hearts of flesh

No aching breasts would yearn to meet

And find their ecstasy complete.

 

For who is there that loves and knows

The secret powers by which he grows?

Were knowledge all, what were our need

To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

 

Then seek not, sweet, the If and Why

I love you now until I die:

For I must love because I live

And life in me is what you give.

 

Barter ~ Sara Teasdale

 

Life has loveliness to sell,

All beautiful and splendid things,

Blue waves whitened on a cliff

Soaring fire that sways and sings,

And children’s faces looking up,

Holding wonder like a cup.

 

Life has loveliness to sell,

Music like a curve of gold,

Scent of pine trees in the rain,

Eyes that love you, arms that hold,

And for your spirit’s still delight,

Holy thoughts that star the night.

 

Spend all you have for loveliness,

Buy it and never count the cost;

For one white singing hour of peace

Count many a year of strife well lost,

And for a breath of ecstasy

Give all you have been, or could be.

 

Wedding Prayer By Robert Louis Stevenson ~

 

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. Amen

 

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms

by Thomas Moore

(there’s a lovely musical setting for this – Celtic in origin)

 

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, Which I gaze on so fondly to-day, Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, Live fairy-gifts fading away, Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will, And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart Would entwine itself verdantly still.  It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear, That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known, To which time will but make thee more dear! No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets The same look which she turned when he rose!

 

Love's Philosophy by Percy Shelley

 

The fountains mingle with the river, And the rivers with the ocean;

The winds of heaven mix forever, With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single; All things by a law divine In one another's being mingle: Why not I with thine?

See! the mountains kiss high heaven, And the waves clasp one another; Now sister flower would be forgiven If it disdained its brother; And the sunlight clasps the earth, And the moonbeams kiss the sea: What are all these kissing's worth, If thou kiss not me?

 

How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being an Ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old grief's, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints -- I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

 

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson

 

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,  And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. I've heard it in the chilliest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity It asked a crumb of me.

 

The Married Lover by Coventry Patmore

 

WHY, having won her, do I woo? Because her spirit's vestal grace Provokes me always to pursue, But, spirit-like, eludes embrace; Because her womanhood is such That, as on court-days subjects kiss The Queen's hand, yet so near a touch Affirms no mean familiarness, Nay, rather marks more fair the height Which can with safety so neglect To dread, as lower ladies might, That grace could meet with disrespect; Thus she with happy favor feeds Allegiance from a love so high That thence no false conceit proceeds Of difference bridged, or state put by; Because, although in act and word As lowly as a wife can be
Her manners, when they call me lord, Remind me 'tis by courtesy; Not with her least consent of will, Which would my proud affection hurt, But by the noble style that still Imputes an unattained desert; Because her gay and lofty brows, When all is won which hope can ask, Reflect a light of hopeless snows That bright in virgin ether bask; Because, though free of the outer court I am, this Temple keeps its shrine Sacred to heaven; because, in short, She's not and never can be mine.

 

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W. B. Yeats

 

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

 

Letters ~ Maria Rainer Rilke

 

Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two young people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before.  Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, - a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.

 

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

 

That is why this too must be the criterion for rejection or choice: whether you are willing to stand guard over someone else's solitude, and whether you are able to set this same person at the gate of your own depths, which he learns of only through what steps forth, in holiday clothing, out of the great darkness.

 

Life is self-transformation, and human relationships, which are an extract of life, are the most changeable of all, they rise and fall from minute to minute, and lovers are those for whom no moment is like any another. People between whom nothing habitual ever takes place, nothing that has already existed, but just what is new, unexpected, unprecedented. There are such connections, which must be a very great, an almost unbearable happiness, but they can occur only between very rich beings, between those who have become, each for his own sake, rich, calm, and concentrated; only if two worlds are wide and deep and individual can they be combined....

 

...For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.

 

From A Bridge Across Forever, by Richard Bach

 

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

 

On Love, from The Prophet by Kahil Gibran

 

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.

 

On Marriage, from The Prophet by Kalil Gibran

 

Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"

And he answered saying:

 

You were born together, and together you shall be 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.

 

Excerpt from 100 Love Sonnets ~ By Pablo Neruda

 

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

 

I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

 

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: Where “I” does not exist, nor “You”, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

 

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:


To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

 

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

 

To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.  To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;  To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.

 

Fidelity by D.H. Lawrence

 

Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers

in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.

Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,

older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.

And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love slowly a gem forms,

in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks of two human hearts, two ancient rocks, a man's heart and a woman's, that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust, the sapphire of fidelity.

The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

 

Eskimo Love Song

 

You are my husband, you are my wife

My feet shall run because of you

My feet dance because of you

My heart shall beat because of you

My eyes see because of you

My mind thinks because of you

And I shall love, because of you.

 

A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

One recognizes the truth of Saint Exupery's line: Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. For in fact, man and woman are not only looking outward in the same direction, they are working outward. Here one forms ties, roots, a firm base....Here one makes oneself part of the community of men, of human society. Here the bonds of marriage are formed. For marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm. The web is fashioned of love. Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constantly rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts; of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language too, a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges. The web of marriage is made by propinquity, in the day to day living side by side, looking outward and working outward in the same direction. It is woven in space and in time of the substance of life itself.

 

Why Marriage? by Mari Nichols

 

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 in friendship...

 

Perfect Love

 

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 Christian says, "No, not until you're satisfied and fulfilled and content with living, loved by Me alone and giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me, to have an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.

 

"I love you, My child, and until you discover that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not 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 -- exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any other desires or belongings.

 

"I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow Me to bring it to you. You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things. Keep learning and listening to the things I tell you. You must wait.

 

"Don't be anxious and don't worry. Don't look around at the things you think you want. Just keep looking off and away up to Me, or you'll miss what I have to show you.

 

"And then, when you're ready, I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you would ever dream. You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working this minute to have both of you ready at the same time, and until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I've prepared for you, you won't be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with Me, and this is perfect love.

 

"And dear one, I want you to have this most 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 I love you. I am God Almighty, believe and be satisfied."

 

Excerpt From the Velveteen Rabbit ~ By Margery Williams ~

 

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

 

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real."

 

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

 

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

 

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

 

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get 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."

 

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Some Ideas from Jewish Wedding Traditions

 

Huppah

 

The huppah is a wedding canopy which dates back to the Jewish nomadic years – wandering in the Sinai. Historically, Jewish wedding ceremonies were held outdoors, and the huppah created an intimate, sanctified space.: The canopy gives you the opportunity to link to a marvelous heritage, shared by both Christians and Jews, and to personalize your ceremony. There are no formal requirements for the Huppa’s size, shape, or appearance, so you can make your own. One bride’s grandmother recently quilted her granddaughter’s huppah.

 

Breaking the Glass

 

Nothing says "Jewish wedding" more than the sound of breaking glass. But what's the point? Depending on whom you ask, the breaking of the wineglass is, among other things: a symbol of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem; a representation of the fragility of human relationships; and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever. It's also the official signal to shout, "Mazel Tov!" and start partying. There's no law putting the man's foot to the task. If you're game, bride and groom can break the glass together with one swift kick in unison.

 

Yihud

 

In a day filled with chaos, the yihud -- or "seclusion" -- is a standout ritual that lets you focus on the days true purpose: your new partnership. Immediately after the ceremony, bride and groom retreat to a private room for 15 minutes of personal time. No in-laws, no seating arrangement charts, no videographer. Just you and your new spouse sharing a quiet, loving moment alone before all the commotion.

 

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