Sonnet 116
William Shakespeare
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 wand'ring 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 prov'd, 
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Sacred Trust Vows

This vow was written by Corbie Petulengro for her Handfasting. It should ideally be spoken back and forth, with each member of the couple trading off on the lines. It can also be spoken as one-half of a personal vow by one member of the couple (Handfasting and Wedding Rituals, Raven Kaldera & Tannin Schwartzstein, Llewellyn, 2018, pg. 67).

I have loved many

But I have trusted few

And I trust only one enough to stand here today and pledge my love.

I trust you with my life like I trust my own destiny

Of which you are a part.

I trust you not to hurt me save by accident

And I trust you to make amends for those accidents.

I trust you to respect me, in places seen and unseen,

And to make your words reflect that respect.

I trust you to fight with me, yet never lose faith in our love,

And to fight by my side for those things that I value.

I trust you to be considerate of my heart before you act.

I trust you to see things in me that I cannot,

And to speak clearly and truthfully and not hold back your thoughts.

I trust you to accept that dance that I am given

By my gods and goddesses,

And support me on that path as I serve them.

I trust you to believe that I will give back

Everything you give to me

Three times over.

 

The Art of Marriage, Wilferd A. Peterson

The little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating
gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

 

To Love is Not to Possess, James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,

To own or imprison,

Nor to lose one's self in another.

Love is to join and separate,

To walk alone and together,

To find a laughing freedom

That lonely isolation does not permit.

It is finally to be able

To be who we really are

No longer clinging in childish dependency

Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,

It is to be perfectly one's self

And perfectly joined in permanent commitment

To another–and to one's inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves,

Receding and returning gently or passionately,

Or moving lovingly like the tide

In the moon's own predictable harmony,

Because finally, despite a child's scars

Or an adult's deepest wounds,

They are openly free to be

In the very core of their beingWho they really are–and always secretly were,

Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

 

To Be One With Each Other, George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls

than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen

each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,

to share with each other in all gladness,

to be one with each other in the

silent unspoken memories?

 

Apache Wedding Blessing

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 will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years, may happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth. Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

 

Excerpt from The Alchemist

When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

 

Blessing for a Marriage, 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 out 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.

 

Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love, Edmund O’Neil

Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life.  When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

 

What is Love, Unknown

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love.

 

Excerpt from The Bridge Across Forever, Richard Bach

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

 

From “Union,” 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 husband, this- is my wife.

 

Instructions for Life in the New Millennium by his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
And that a loving atmosphere in your home
is the foundation for your life.

Be gentle with the earth,
be gentle with one another.

When disagreements come
remember always to protect the spirit of your union.

When you realize you’ve made a mistake,
take immediate steps to correct it.

Remember that the best relationship is one
in which your love for each other
exceeds your need for each other.

So love yourselves, love one another,
love all that is your life together
and all else will follow.

 

Excerpt from Mountain Thoughts, John Muir

Wonderful how completely everything in wild nature fits into us, as if truly part and parent of us. The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every finer and cell of the substance of our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own and sings our love.

 

Rolfe Gerhardt Poem, Rolfe Gerhardt

Let this be a reminder that you are guaranteed by the seasons of nature a significant winter each year, and you are guaranteed by the whimsies of life more winters of the soul than you can now imagine. So I am bringing before you these words to ask you to remember the springtimes that should follow each winter, springtimes that are not always given to you but sometimes must be created by you even when it seems impossible. Find the time to arise and come away with each other; be romantic; listen to the voices of birds that aren’t there; laugh and cry deeply; and be silly as a daisy in spite of the chill and dark times that must come into everyone’s life. That is the love I am wishing you. As much as any of us would wish otherwise, there must be winters in your life, so we pray for your springtimes as well.

 

From the Irrational Season, Madeline 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.

 

I love you, 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
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

 

Love Is, Susan Polis Schutz

Love is
being happy for the other person
when they are happy
being sad for the other person when they are sad
being together in good times
and being together in bad times
Love is the source of strength
Love is
being honest with yourself at all times
being honest with the other person at all times
telling, listening, respecting the truth
and never pretending
Love is the source of reality
Love is
an understanding that is so complete that
you feel as if you are a part of the other person
accepting the other person just the way they are
and not trying to change them to be something else
Love is the source of unity
Love is
the freedom to pursue your own desires
while sharing your experiences with the other person
the growth of one individual alongside of
and together with the growth of another individual
Love is the source of success
Love is
the excitement of planning things together
the excitement of doing things together
Love is the source of the future
Love is
the fury of the storm
the calm of the rainbow
Love is the source of passion
Love is
giving and taking in a daily situation
being patient with each other’s needs and desires
Love is the source of sharing
Love is
knowing that the other person
will always be with you regardless of what happens
missing the other person when they are away
but remaining near in heart at all times
Love is the source of security
Love is the source of life

Vows from a Handfasting Ritual

(Long Version)

These vows are meant to be repeated, first, by the bride and, then, by the groom, after they are spoken by the officiant to each in turn (Grimoire for the Green Witch, A Complete Book of Shadows, Ann Moura, Llewellyn, 2016).

[Officiant, to Bride] Holding the hand of your love, say after me: [pause after each phrase for bride to repeat] By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit; By life and by love, in the Name of the God [and the Goddess], I take thee to my hand, my heart, and my spirit; Through the rising and setting of the Sun, through the phases of the Moon, and through the cycles of the Stars, shall we be one, as long as love shall last.

.[Officiant, to Groom] Holding the hand of your love, say after me: [pause after each phrase for groom to repeat] By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit; By life and by love, in the Name of the Goddess [and the God], I take thee to my hand, my heart, and my spirit; Through the rising and setting of the Sun, through the phases of the Moon, and through the cycles of the Stars, shall we be one, as long as love shall last.

 

Oaths for Rings:

These oaths are meant to be memorized and spoken, first, by the bride, and, then, by the groom, after the officiant invites each one, in turn, to "Place the ring on the finger of your chosen, and pledge your troth" (Grimoire for the Green Witch, A Complete Book of Shadows, Ann Moura, Llewellyn, 2016).

I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Let it remind you always, as it circles your finger, of my eternal love, surrounding you and enfolding you day and night. You are my beloved bridegroom/bride, and I marry you today with this ring as I give you my heart, my body, and my devotion through the years of my life, so long as love remains between us.