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click for information about these symbols of world religions and liberation movements

We draw upon the worlds secular and religious traditions,
respecting the perspectives of both doubter and believer.

Favorite Readings for Weddings
Traditional Prayers here
1. Ecclesiastes
2. I Corinthians
3. 1 John; Col; Rom
4. Genesis
5. Song of Solomon
6. Ruth 
7. Samuel 
8. Matthew
9. Muslim readings
10. Gibran, The Prophet 
11. Am Indian sources
12. Hindu, Buddhist
13. Chinese
14. Shakespeare, Sidney
15. Barnet, Frost
16. More poetry
17. Robert Fulghum
18. "I like you"
19. Capt C Mandolin
20. Additional Prose

1. adapted from 
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  How can one keep warm alone?  If two lie down together, they will keep warm.

1a. original text
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

2. from
NEB I Cor 12:31b, 13:1-10, 13  
     2a. red excerpt alone is I Cor 12:4-8a
     2b. everything except the blue italics (I Cor 12:8b-10)
     2c. black and red only

And now I will show you the best way of all. I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I am without love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, and know every hidden truth; I may have faith strong enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may dole out all I possess, or even give my body to be burnt, but if I have no love, I am none the better. 
     Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other’s sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance. 
     Love will never come to an end. [Are there prophets? their work will be over. Are there tongues of ecstasy? They will cease. Is there knowledge? It will vanish away; for our knowledge and our prophecy alike are partial, and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes. . . .
     In a word, there are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.

3a. from

1 John 4:7-12  NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
     This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
     Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
     No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12 NABRE (Roman Catholic)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
     In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
     Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.
     No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

1 John 3:18-24

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

3d. 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.

3e. Romans 15:5-6

May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to live in such harmony with one another,
in accord with Christ Jesus,
that together you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


3f. Romans 12:10 NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

4. adapted from
Genesis: 1:27-8a, 2:24

God created humans in his own image: male and female he created them. And God blessed them. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. 

5a. adapted from
Song of Solomon: 1:2-3; 4:9; 6:3; 7:11-12; 8:6-7

O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your name is oil poured out. Draw me after you; let us make haste. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. You have ravished my heart, you have ravished my heart with at a glance of your eyes. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. 
     Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields, and lodge in the villages; let us go out early to the vineyards, and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. 
     Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. 

5b. adapted from
Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7

My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now 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 turtle-dove 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.’Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

5c. adapted from
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. 

6. adapted from 
Ruth 1:16-17

But [to Naomi] Ruth replied, “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. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 

7. adapted from 
I Sam 18:1, 3-4; 20:17, 41b; II Sam 1:26b.

. . .  Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword. And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. David . . . bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together. Jonathan said to David, “We have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me. . . ." [And at Jonathan's death, David lamented,] "Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women."

8. from 
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. 

9. from
MUSLIM SOURCES (also see  Gibran)
from the Qur'an 

O believers, be in awe of God, and believe in His Messenger, and He will give you a twofold portion of His mercy, and He will appoint for you a light whereby you shall walk, and forgive you; God is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate; that the People of the Book may know that they have no power over anything of God's bounty, and that bounty is in the hand of God; He gives it unto
whomsoever He will; and God is of bounty abounding. (tr. A.J. Arberry)

49:11-13  O mankind, We have created you from a male and female and set you up as nations and tribes, so you may cooperate with one another.  The noblest among you before God is the one of you who best performs his duty.

6:160  Anyone who comes with a fine deed will have ten more like it, while anyone who comes with an evil deed will only be rewarded with its like; they will not be treated unjustly.

29:46  Do not argue with the people of the Book (Christians and Jews) unless it is in the politest manner, except for those of them who do wrong.  SAY: "We believe in what has been sent down to us and what has been sent down to you.  Our God and your God is (the Same) One, and we are committed to (observe) peace before Him.

3:64  SAY:  "People of the Book, (let us) rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you, that we shall worship only God (Alone) and associate nothing else with Him, nor will any of us take on others as lords instead of God."

from the Gayan of Hazrat Inayat Khan
     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. 

from J Rumi
     When the mystery of love is unveiled to you
     You exist no longer, but vanish into love.
     Place before the Sun a burning candle. 
     You will see its brilliance disappear before that blaze.
     The candle is no longer; it is Light.
     There are no more signs of it;
     It has become a sign.

10a. adapted from 

     . . . Together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, 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. 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. 

Distinct and personal, not one submerged in the other, yet together you shall be forevermore.

10b. adapted from 

When love beckons you, follow him, 
Though his ways are hard and steep,
And when his wings unfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

10c. adapted from 

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. 


adapted for a reading

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 companion
to the other. 

Now you are two persons 
but there is only one life
before you.

From this sacred place
as you go to your dwelling
there to enter into the days
of your life together:

may your days be good,
and long upon the earth.  

above ending adapted for a Concluding Benediction

Go now to [Here at] your dwelling 
[to] enter into the days of your life together. 

And may your days be good, 
and long upon the earth.  

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. 

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 

12. Hindu  & Buddhist sources

Selected from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

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? (tr. Eknath Easwaran)

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

19 "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. 

20 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. 

21 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. 

22 As the light of the moon is 16 times stronger than the light of all the stars, so lovingkindness is 16 times more efficacious in liberating the heart than all other religious accomplishments taken together." (Paul Carus, "The Mahavagga")

from the I Ching (often considered Taoist by Westerners)

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. 


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:

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.

from Hamlet

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

Song from Arcadia:
“My True Love Hath My Heart”

My true-love hath my heart and I have his, 
   By just exchange one for the other given: 
   I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss; 
   There never was a bargain better driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one; 
   My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides: 
   He loves my heart, for once it was his own; 
   I cherish his because in me it bides. 
His heart his wound received from my sight; 
   My heart was wounded with his wounded heart; 
   For as from me on him his hurt did light, 
   So still, methought, in me his hurt did smart: 
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss, 
My true love hath my heart and I have his. 


PASSAGE, Vern Barnet 

I’ve come to this island where I don’t care
if you love me, though now I see your love
runs clear through me. What was my total fare
to this place? Well, I surrendered, above
all else, my rank tattered ticket to where
my clinging kept me from seeing who you
are, a pit I could not climb out of, snare,
delusions, dreams that never will come true.

We reach each other through the deep, through arm
and inlet, mouth, sound, sump, cove, bay and bight.
The quiet, rush, and churn, the sea brew’s barm,
the flood and drain are love’s career and rite.
    O, something deeper than the inflect sea
    tips, changes, loves, and bodies you and me.

WINDING WICK, Vern Barnet 

I will not possess you, or try, for I
desire you fiercely alive; we are both
possessed by friendship’s fires which purify
all selfish frames and fences. So my oath
to you is ranging love, not caged display;
the flames within us, tongued, not fused, were matched
at the birthing of the universe. Stay
one with love’s process, not to me attached.

The candle cannot possess the burning,
though turning fire sits in the winding wick;
with light, dark is found —– as love in yearning,
and spirits dwell, not owning, bodies quick.
     Since first we met, I learned to let you go;
     yet in my wick the flames you gave still grow.


No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the steam of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste,
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still —– 
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.


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. 

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. 

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 and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
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 griefs, 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.

Walt Whitman
from "Song of the Open Road"

Listen! I will be honest with you.
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes.
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
Come, we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores,
However convenient this dwelling,
However sheltered this port and nowever calm these waters,
We must not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us,
Come, 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?

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
To make me happy. 

You have done it 
Without a touch, 
Without a word, 
Without a sign. 
You have done it 
By being yourself.

Rumi, Kulliyat-e Shams, 2114

A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.


We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

BEAUTY THAT IS NEVER OLD,  James Weldon Johnson

When buffeted and beaten by life's storms,
When by the bitter cares of life oppressed,
I want no surer haven than your arms,
I want no sweeter heaven than your breast.
The world, for me, and all the world can hold
Is circled by your arms;
for me there lies,
Within the lights and shadows of your eyes,
The only beauty that is never old.
When over my life's way there falls the blight
Of sunless days, and nights of starless skies;
Enough for me, the calm and steadfast light
That softly shines within your loving eyes.

17. From Beginning to End
Robert Fulghum

 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 symbolic 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, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. 
     Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this—is my wife, this is my husband.

18. From the book 
I like you
by Sandol Stoddard Warburg:

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

When I say something funny   You laugh
I think I'm funny and   You think I'm funny too
I like you because   You know how to be silly
That's why I like you   Boy are you ever silly
I never met anybody sillier than me   till I met you
I like you because
You know when it's time to stop being silly
Maybe day after tomorrow  Maybe never
Oops too late   It's quarter post silly

You really like me  You really like me  Don't you
And I really like you back And you like me back
And I like you back
And that's the way we keep on going  Every day
If you go away  then I go away too
Or if I stay home  You send me a postcard
You don't just say 
Well see you around  Some time  Bye
I like you a lot  because of that
If I go away  I send you a postcard too
And I like you because  If we go away together

And if we are in Grand Central Station
And if I get lost
then you are the one that is yelling for me
Hey where are you  Here I am

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
They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about    punch them in the nose
I like you because if I think I am going to
throw up then you are really sorry
You don't just pretend you are busy looking at
the birdies and all that
You say maybe it was something you ate
You say same thing happened to me one time
And the same thing did 

If you find two four-leaf clovers 
You give me one
If I find four    I give you two
If we only find three   We keep on looking
Sometimes we have good luck
And sometimes we don't

If I break my arm and   If you break your arm too
Then it is fun to have a broken arm
I tell you about mine  You tell me about yours
We are both sorry
We write our names and draw pictures
We show everybody and they wish they had a broken arm too

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
I forget why I like you
But I do    So many reasons

On the Fourth of July I like you because
It's the Fourth of July
On the Fifth of July   I like you too
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again

That's how it would happen every time
I don't know why 
I guess I don't know why I like you really
Why do I like you
I guess I just like you  I guess I just like you
Because I like you

19. Louis de Bernieres
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 root was 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 promises 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 blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.


20a. Hugh Walpole
The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvellous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.

20b. Thomas a Kempis 
from Imitatio Christi, 15th century

Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, and makes the 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 strenght; love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. Love therefore does great 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.

20c. Anne Morrow Lindbergh [1]
from Gift from the Sea

 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 gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart's. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check 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 patten together, and being invisibly nourished by it.
      The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy or participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined.
      When both partners love so completely that they have forgotten to ask themselves whether or not they are loved in return; when they 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.

20d. Anne Morrow Lindbergh [2]
from Gift from the Sea

     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.

20e. Albert Schweitzer
from "Memories of Childhood and Youth"

To know one another cannot mean to know everything about each other; it means to feel mutual affection and confidence, and to try to believe in one another. We must not try to force our way into the personality of another. No one has a right to say to another: "Because we belong to each other as we do, I have a right to know all your thoughts." All demands of this sort are foolish and unwholesome. In this matter giving is the only valuable process; it is only giving that stimulates. Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them.

20f. The Lord of the Ring
Sam, The Two Towers, Book 2, “Chapter V: The Window on the West,” p. 687

“Beautiful she is, sir! Lovely! Sometimes like a great tree in flower, sometimes like a white daffadowndilly, small and slender like. Hard as di’monds, soft as moonlight. Warm as sunlight, cold as frost in the stars. Proud and far-off as a snow-mountain, and as merry as any lass I ever saw with daisies in her hair in springtime. . . .
     It strikes me that folk takes their peril with them into Lorien, and finds it there because they’ve brought it. But perhaps you could call her perilous, because she’s so strong in herself. You, you could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship on a rock; or drownd yourself, like a hobbit in a river. But neither rock nor river would be to blame.”

20g.  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.

20h. Les Misérables – Victor Hugo

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.

Traditional Prayers

Below are several versions. Note that The Roman Catholic version for use outside Mass omits the Doxology, and that some Protestant versions use "tresspass" and "temptation" and "evil," while others use "debts," "sins," and "time of trial."
The assembly may be invited to pray in this way:
Please rise and let us pray, as Jesus taught us, 
the "Our Father" -- "The Lord's Prayer" -- 
using whatever version is famiiar to you.


1. "Our Father"  - "The Lord's Prayer"

Our Father, who art in heaven, 
hallowed be thy name; 
thy kingdom come, 
thy will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us; 
and lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil.


At Mass in the Catholic Church the embolism 
is followed by the Doxology:

1a. [Doxology]
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.

2. "Pater Noster"

Pater noster qui es in cælis:
sanctificétur nomen tuum;
advéniat regnum tuum;
fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidiánum[m] da nobis hódie;
et dimítte nobis débita nostra,
sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris;
et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem;
sed líbera nos a malo.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
  hallowed be thy Name,
  thy kingdom come, 
  thy will be done,
    on earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
  as we forgive those 
     who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
   but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, 
   and the power, and the glory,
   forever and ever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven, 
  hallowed be thy Name,
  your kingdom come, 
  your will be done,
     on earth, as it is in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins
  as we forgive those 
     who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
  and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, 
  and the glory are yours,
  now and for ever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven,
  hallowed be your name,
  your kingdom come,
  your will be done,
    on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
  as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
  and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
  now and for ever. Amen.


Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.