Reading – Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?

But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: This quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”

 

 

 

 

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Reading – The Rule of Life, by Buddha – Sermon at Rajagaha

Sermon at Rajagaha, Verses 19-22

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.

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,
whatever you have in mind, the rule of life that is always best
is to be loving-kind.

 

 

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Reading – Carl Sagan on Love

Note: This is not actually a quote from Carl Sagan.  Part of the words are his, the rest are an amalgam from other thinkers.  However, as this quote is generally mis-attributed to Sagan, I have listed it as his, only to aid those who are searching for this quote.

“The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth. We should remain grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. The sum of all our evolution, our thinking and our accomplishments is love.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading – Mark Twain on Marriage

“Marriage makes of two fractional lives a whole, and it gives to two purposeless lives a work […] it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, and something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life.”   – Mark Twain

 

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Reading – The Bible – Ecclesiastes 4

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

9 Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their labor:
10 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.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

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Reading – The Bible – Solomon’s Song of Songs

Solomon’s Song of Songs 8:6-7   (NIV)

6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.

 

 

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Reading – The Bible – Colossians

Colossians 3:12-15  (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

 

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Reading – The Bible – 1 John 4

1 John 4:16-19 (NIV)

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

 

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Reading – The Bible – Ephesians

Ephesians 4:1- 7 New International Version (NIV)

1 I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

Ephesians 5: 21-33 New International Version (NIV)

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

 

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Reading – The Bible – 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

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Ceremony – Vows by Dr Suess

Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold,
Just as I have at this time told,
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife.

Pastor: Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you’re happy or sad?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love through good and bad,
Whether we’re happy or sad,
Yes, I will have and I will hold
Just as I have already told,
Yes, I will love her all my life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love her if you’re rich?
Or if you’re poor, and in a ditch?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her if we’re rich,
And I will love her in a ditch,
I’ll love her through good times and bad,
Whether we are happy or sad,
Yes, I will have, and I will hold
(I could have sworn this has been told!)
I promise to love all my life
This woman, as my lawful wife!

Pastor: Will you love her when you’re fit,
And also when you’re feeling sick?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her when we’re fit,
And when we’re hurt, and when we’re sick,
And I will love her when we’re rich
And I will love her in a ditch
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold
Ten years from now a thousandfold,
Yes, I will love for my whole life
This lovely woman as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death you part?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we’re rich,
And when we’re broke and in a ditch,
And when we’re fit, and when we’re sick,
(Oh, CAN’T we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I’ll love her my entire life,
Yes, I WILL take her as my wife!

Pastor: Then if you’ll take her as your wife,
And if you’ll love her all your life,
And if you’ll have, and if you’ll hold,
From now until the stars grow cold,
And if you’ll love through good and bad,
And whether you’re happy or sad,
And love in sickness, and in health,
And when you’re poor, and when in wealth,
And if you’ll love with all your heart,
From now until death do you part,
Yes, if you’ll love her through and through,
Please answer with these words:

Pastor and Groom: I DO!

Pastor: You’re married now! So kiss the bride,
But please, do keep it dignified.

 

 

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Reading – Taming the Fox from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The fox:”…But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

“Please–tame me!” he said.

“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . .”

 

 

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Reading – quote from Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

The future remains uncertain and so it should, for it is the canvas upon which we paint our desires. Thus always the human condition faces a beautifully empty canvas. We possess only this moment in which to dedicate ourselves continuously to the sacred presence which we share and create.

This would work well for those doing a unity painting as part of their ceremony.

PaintingQuoteFrankHerbert

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Reading – From The Princes Bride by William Goldman

Westley:

“Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches… I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids…

I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I…


Westley: Hear this now; I will always come for you.

Buttercup: But how can you be sure?

Westley: This is true love – you think this happens every day?


The Impressive Clergyman –

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam…And wuv, tru wuv, will fowwow you foweva…So tweasure your wuv.

 

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Reading – The Sandman, Vol. 9 by Neil Gaiman

Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? I makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore.

 

 

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Reading – Vows of Drogo and Daenerys from Game of Thrones

Khal Drogo: You are the moon of my life. That is all I know and all I need to know. And if this is a dream, I will kill the man who tries to wake me.
Daenerys Targaryen: Until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, until the rivers run dry and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves. You are my sun & stars.

 

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Reading – quote from “Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(Note, this is not a traditional Iroquois reading. This is from an epic poem written in 1855, which was inspired by the life of Chief Hiawatha, co-founder of the Iroquois Confederacy.  There is virtually no connection, apart from name, between Longfellow’s hero and the real Chief Hiawatha.   It is a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition.  With that in mind, these are still beautiful words for a wedding, if authenticity to Native American tradition is not a consideration in your ceremony.).

 

Come join us in celebration, those who love sunshine on meadow,Who love shadow of the forest,love the wind among the branches and the palisades of pine trees,and the thunder in the mountains whose innumerable echoes flap like eagles in their eries.
Listen to this song of marriage. How, from another tribe and country came a young man, “give me as my wife this maiden, and our hands be clasped more closely, and our hearts be more united.
Thus it is, our daughters leave us, those we love and those who love us.
When a youth with flaunting feathers beckons to the fairest maiden.
From the sky the sun benignant looked upon them through the branches, Saying to them, “oh, my children life is checkered shade and sunshine.”
The two figures man and woman Standing hand in hand together, with their hands so clasped together that they seem in one united. And the words thus represented are, “I see your heart within you.” Sing them songs of love and longing
Now, let’s feast and be more joyous.

 

 

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Ceremony – Native American Rite of Seven Steps

Here are two variations on the Native American Rite of Seven Steps.  One variation is set up for one speaker at a time, in the manner of vows.  The second variation is said alternating between the bride and groom.

Rite of Seven Steps by a single speaker:

Let us take the first step to provide for our household
a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers.
Let us take the third step to increase our wealth
by righteous means and proper use.
Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge,
happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust.
Let us take the fifth step, so that we be blessed
with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions
and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.”

We have taken the Seven Steps. You have become mine forever.
Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours.
Hereafter, I cannot live without you.
Do not live without me. Let us share the joys.
We are word and meaning, united.
You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey-sweet for us;
may the morning be honey-sweet for us;
may the earth be honey-sweet for us and the heavens
be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us;
may the sun be all honey for us;
may the cows yield us honey-sweet milk.
As the heavens are stable, as the earth is stable,
as the mountains are stable, as the whole universe is stable,
so may our unions be permanently settled.

Rite of Seven Steps with alternating speakers:

GROOM STEP 1: O’ my beloved, our love has become firm by your walking one with me. Together we will share the responsibilities of the lodge, food and children. May the Creator bless noble children to share. May they live long.

BRIDE STEP 1: This is my commitment to you, my husband. Together we will share the responsibility of the home, food and children. I promise that I shall discharge all my share of the responsibilities for the welfare of the family and the children.

GROOM STEP 2: O’ my beloved, now you have walked with me the second step. May the Creator bless you. I will love you and you alone as my wife. I will fill your heart with strength and courage: this is my commitment and my pledge to you. May God protect the lodge and children.

BRIDE STEP 2: My husband, at all times I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your happiness I shall rejoice. May God bless you and our honorable lodge.

GROOM STEP 3: O my beloved, now since you have walked three steps with me, our wealth and prosperity will grow. May God bless us. May we educate our children and may they live long.

BRIDE STEP 3: My husband, I love you with single-minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you is pure and you are my joy. This is my commitment and pledge to you.

GROOM STEP 4: O’ my beloved, it is a great blessing that you have now walked four steps with me. May the Creator bless you. You have brought favor and sacredness in my life.

BRIDE STEP 4: O my husband, in all acts of righteousness, in material prosperity, in every form of enjoyment, and in those divine acts such as fire sacrifice, worship and charity, I promise you that I shall participate and I will always be with you.

GROOM STEP 5: O’ my beloved, now you have walked five steps with me. May the Creator make us prosperous. May the Creator bless us.

BRIDE STEP 5: O my husband, I will share both in your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me very happy.

GROOM STEP 6: O’ my beloved, by walking six steps with me, you have filled my heart with happiness. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace, time and time again. May the Creator bless you.

BRIDE STEP 6: My husband, the Creator blesses you. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace. I promise that I will always be with you.

GROOM STEP 7: O’ my beloved goddess, as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship have become inseparable and firm. We have experienced spiritual union in God. Now you have become completely mine. I offer my total self to you. May our marriage last forever.

BRIDE STEP 7: My husband, by the law of the Creator, and the spirits of our honorable ancestors, I have become your wife. Whatever promises I gave you I have spoken them with a pure heart. All the spirits are witnesses to this fact. I shall never deceive you, nor will I let you down. I shall love you forever.

 

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Reading – Cherokee Prayer

Great Spirit above please protect the ones we love.
We honor all you created as we pledge
our hearts and lives together.
We honor Mother Earth – and ask for our marriage to
be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons;
We honor fire – and ask that our union
be warm and glowing with love in our hearts;
We honor wind – and ask we sail though life
safe and calm as in our father’s arms;
We honor water – to clean and soothe our relationship –
that it may never thirsts for love;
With all the forces of the universe you created,
we pray for harmony and true happiness as
we forever grow young together.

 

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Reading – Commitment Reading of the Pueblo Tribes

Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide
rivers of our minds. We were each other’s distant shore, the
opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not
know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive
the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, yet connected
in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common
tree. Remember?

I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my
freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision
to be swallowed up by the greater need of love. When you came to me,
the sun surged towards the earth and moon escaped from darkness to
bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them
for life’s endless circle. Beloved partner, keeper of my heart’s odd secrets,
clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us.
I thank your patience. Our joining is like a tree to earth,
a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh
on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say,
in this time, this place, this way – I loved you best of all.

 

A Pueblo ceremony may also include using a traditional wedding vase.  You may enjoy this example video.

 

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Reading – Wedding Prayer – Great Plains Tribes

0 Morning Star!
When you look down upon us, give us peace and refreshing sleep.
Great Spirit!
Bless our children, friends, and visitors through a happy life.
May our trails lie straight and level before us.
Let us live to be old.
We are all your children and ask these things with good hearts.

 

 

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Ceremony – Blessing to the Four Directions – Native American Tribe Unknown

Today we call in all the powers of the 4 directions, and ask them to bless and watch over you.

May the powers of the East illuminate your path and bless you and your home with Grandfather Sun’s first light. May it be your inspiration for keeping life fresh and new.

Let the powers of the South protect the child within each of you. Always honor and trust with joy. Let laughter be your giveaway.

May the powers of the West walk with you giving you the strength to release that which no longer serves you, and the vision needed to meet all of your new goals.

The North blesses you with the wisdom of when to speak and when to listen and reminds you to be grateful for every blessing everyday, and to keep forgiveness in you heart. May your words always be sweet upon your lips.

Above the Great Star Nation reminds you; you came from the stars and to the stars you will return. We give our blessing to guard and guide you through your dreams.

The powers below bless you by keeping you grounded and on your path and reminding you to always walk softly on Mother Earth, as she is your heart beat and sustenance.

The powers within honor your hearts joy and help you be faithful to your personal growth.

Pipe to right: May you always accept our protection by walking in courage.
Pipe to left: May you receive abundance as well as nurture yourselves and others.
To Sky: May the Great Spirit watch over you as long as the grass grows, and the waters flow.

 

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