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First Readings

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

1. “this is the moment” - Ashton Jack

this is it.

at once a culmination and a beginning

a high point, an apex—a midpoint—a crossroads

a chance to both reflect and envision.


to recognize, see, and give thanks for the love

that you’ve built and nurtured together

to recognize, see, and give thanks

for all that brought you here:

the wonderful, the magical,

the easy, the good

the harrowing, the challenging

the hard, the bad

despite – and because – of it all,

you two have made it here

to this day

to this moment

to this mountaintop (alternatively: to this river / to this rainforest / to this canyon / to this summit / to this sea — customize for your location!)


to gaze forward, to set your sights

toward your entwined future together.


to imagine, envision, and promise

that each year to follow may bring you adventures

even greater than this one.


to make promises, big and small,

and to keep them.


to become at once two, and one.

this is the moment.


(are you ready?)


2. 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."


3. Today

Today is a day you will always remember The greatest in anyone’s life You’ll start off the day just two people in love And end it as Husband and Wife

It’s a brand new beginning the start of a journey With moments to cherish and treasure And although there’ll be time when you both disagree These will surely be outweighed by pleasure

You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past When the secrets of marriage were spoken But you know that the answers lie hidden inside, where the bond of true love lies unbroken

So live happy forever as lovers and friends It’s the dawn of a new life for you As you stand there together with love in your eyes From the moment you whisper ‘I do’

And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real May success find its way to your hearts Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys But today is the day it all starts.


4. A Marriage ~ by Mark Twain


A marriage makes of two fractional lives a whole;

It gives two purposeless lives a work,

And doubles the strength of each to perform it.

It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living

And something to live for.

It will give new gladness to the sunshine,

A new fragrance to the flowers,

a new beauty to the earth

And a new mystery to life.


5. “Maybe”


Maybe...We are supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.


Maybe...it is true that we don't know what we have got until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.


Maybe...the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.


Maybe...the best kind of love is the kind you can sit on a sofa together and never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.


Maybe...you shouldn't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.


Maybe...you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy.


Maybe... Love is not about finding the perfect person, it's about learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.'


6. A History of Love ~ by Diane Ackerman

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 spreading into deep 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.


7. A reflection on marriage ~ by Neil Gaiman:


This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.

This is everything I've learned about marriage: nothing.


Only that the world out there is complicated,

and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,

and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,

is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,

and not to be alone.


It's not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it's what they mean.

Somebody's got your back.

Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn't want to rescue you

or send for the army to rescue them.


It's not two broken halves becoming one.

It's the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home

because home is wherever you are both together.


So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,

like a book without pages or a forest without trees.


Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.

Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.

Because nobody else's love, nobody else's marriage, is like yours,

and it's a road you can only learn by walking it,

a dance you cannot be taught,

a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.


And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,

not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.

And your hands will meet,

and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.


And that's all I know about love.




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