Classic, nonreligious wedding readings.
The Art of Marriage
Marriage is an art unto itself.
And in The Art of Marriage.... The little things are so important…
It means never being too old to hold hands, or to say I love you.
It's never going to bed angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon. Allow it to continue through the years.
It's having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It's standing together facing the world.
It's forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It's doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It's speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It's not only marrying the right partner, it's being the right partner.
- Wilferd A. Peterson
(Included in a 1961 anthology published by Simon & Schuster, USA, and copyrighted in the name of Wilferd A. Peterson)
Love is a Mighty Power
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 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.
- Thomas ŕ Kempis (1379-1471)
Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Love is not love …
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O 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.
Blessing for a Marriage
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring … and may life also grant you 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.
May you want one another, yet not out of lack.
May you entice one another, yet not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, yet not encircle one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another … and may your never 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 – a presence that is no more physical than spiritual … that is 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!
-James Dillet Freeman
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.
-Diane Ackerman, from "A History of Love"