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Non-religious readings


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"Gift From The Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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
tides.

"The Irrational Season"Madeleine L'Engle

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made.
Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much
they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they
are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the
nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to
be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can
take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as
many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the
courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love
which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but
participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is
not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation
which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is
often rejected.
Let your love be stronger than your hate or anger.
Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.
Believe the best rather than the worst.
People have a way of living up or down to your opinion of them.
Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship.
The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and
kindness you bestow on your friends.
Please hand this down to your children and your children’s children.
 

Letters Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

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 his solitude,
and thus each shows the 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 marvellous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they
succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them a
possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an
immense sky.

 
Blessing for a Marriage By 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
no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you
are side by side,
and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even
distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one
another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another!