Ceremony – God’s Knot – adapted by Arwen Freer

As we are told in 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.
SPOUSE2 and SPOUSE2, symbolizing this scripture, you will now be braiding a God’s Knot to represent your relationship. The Cord of Three Strands symbolizes the joining of the two of you by God into a marriage. Marriage takes three; the husband, the wife, and God. It was God who taught us to love. By keeping Him at the center of your relationship, His love will continue to bind you together as one throughout your marriage.  In braiding these strands together, you are committing to a unity not just between the two of you, but also with God, weaving Him into every aspect of your lives together. (Pause for braiding to complete)

And so the knot is tied.

 

OPTIONAL: This additional text can be added, if the traditional cord colors are used:

Gold Strand – Represents God

The divinity of God is represented in Gold. This covenant relationship is initiated by Him, will be built under His authority, and is intended to glorify Him.

Purple Strand – Represents the Groom

As a new creation in Christ, the majesty of the Groom is represented in purple. As the husband loves his wife and submits himself to the Lord, the Lord in turn will demonstrate His great love in the marriage.

White Strand – Represents the Bride

Having been cleansed by salvation in Christ, the purity of the Bride is represented in white. As the wife loves her husband and submits herself to the Lord, the Lord in turn will nurture and strengthen the marriage.

 

Ceremony – Wine Box – adapted by Arwen Freer

SPOUSE2 and SPOUSE1 have decided to dedicate a wine box today. They will be placing into the box a bottle of wine and love letters written to each other.  In the letters, which they have kept secret, they have described what made them fall in love with the other person and what makes them so special, why they chose to get married today, and what they hope for their future together.  They will be sealing this box and it will not be opened until their first anniversary.  When they open the box, they will share the bottle of wine and read the letters for the first time.  Then, and every following anniversary, they will renew the box with a new bottle of wine, and replace their original letters, so that every year they can be reminded of how they feel today.

Reading – Soft Mists Embrace Two Golden Flames by Harold Douglas

“Soft mists embrace two golden flames,
Alone they search the night.
Two souls adrift in dreams of love,
They seek to claim the light.
The path is long from which they came,
But sure they are it’s right.
Two flames embrace in dreams of love,
Two Souls – Two Hearts Unite.”

 

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Ceremony – Unity Candle – adapted by Arwen Freer

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, you have chosen to symbolize your love by the lighting of a unity candle. Each of your separate candles represent the light of your being: your special talents, needs, visions and gifts, all that makes you who you are as an individual and what you bring to this union. As you join your flames to light the third candle, you celebrate the power of your separate lights to ignite a common flame of passion and commitment, and to come together as one, brighter and stronger than you were apart. From this day forward, may you bask in the beauty of the light of your love. May its light shine bright and steady upon your path together and may its heat keep you warm through all the days of your lives.

 

 

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Ceremony – Plant Unity Ceremony with Children – adapted by Arwen Freer

Today is not just about a couple’s commitment to their marriage, but also the commitment of a whole family to support each other. Will the children please join us?

The family will be symbolizing their union by potting a plant together. A healthy family, like a healthy plant, depends on nurturing gardeners.

You must start with a foundation that allows for space and growth, so you begin with a layer of stones. While making a strong foundation, there is space between them to let extra water flow through and ensure your delicate plant does not drown. In your family, also remember that you will need to respect each other and give each other space to be yourselves.

Next you must nurture growth; so you will add a layer of soil. In your family, you have the foundation of love, respect, admiration and teamwork to nurture your bond.  This is the foundation where you will grow the roots of your family strong and deep.

Now that you have prepared your foundation, you can put your plant in this fertile ground, as you plant your family in this foundation of support and love.

Finally, we must remember that relationships require constant replenishment. As you water your plant for the first time, remember also to water your relationships with understanding, patience, support, and attention to each other’s needs.

As you look forward in your relationship, remember to be the constant gardener. Continue to water your plant, and remember to replenish your relationship with ongoing support.  Fertilize your plant, and give your relationship an occasional boots by trying and learning new things together.  Be sure your plant is getting enough light; keep honesty and open communication in your relationship every day.  Prune your plant; continue to better yourselves and your relationships, putting behind you anything that does not support their growth and strength.  With constant care, your family, like this plant, will grow and prosper.

 

 

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Ceremony – Plant Unity Ceremony – adapted by Arwen Freer

A healthy relationship, like a healthy plant depends on nurturing gardeners. The couple will be symbolizing their union by potting a plant together.

You must start with a foundation that allows for space and growth, so you begin with a layer of stones. While making a strong foundation, there is space between them to let extra water flow through and ensure your delicate plant does not drown. In your relationship, also remember that you will need to respect your partner and give them space to be themselves.

Next you must nurture growth; so you add a layer of soil. In your relationship, you have the foundation of love, respect, admiration and teamwork to nurture your bond.  This is the foundation where you will grow the roots of your relationship strong and deep.

Now that you have prepared your foundation, you can put your plant in this fertile ground, as you plant your relationship in this foundation of support and love.

Finally, we must remember that relationships require constant replenishment. As you water your plant for the first time, remember also to water your relationship with understanding, patience, support, and attention to each other’s needs.

As you look forward in your relationship, remember to be the constant gardener. Continue to water your plant, and remember to replenish your relationship with ongoing support.  Fertilize your plant, and give your relationship an occasional boots by trying and learning new things together.  Be sure your plant is getting enough light; keep honesty and open communication in your relationship every day.  Prune your plant; continue to better yourselves and your relationship, putting behind you anything that does not support its growth and strength.  With constant care, your marriage, like this plant will grow and prosper.

 

 

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Ceremony – Collaring – adapted by Arwen Freer

While there are as many variations on collaring ceremonies as there are couples, here is one example of vows that can be incorporated into the ceremony.

D Type:
I NAME1 take you NAME2 as my ROLE2.
I give you my collar, of my own free will, as a symbol of our contract and my love.
I gratefully accept your submission, and your willingness to serve me.
I promise to always remember that submission is a gift and treat it as such.
I promise to love, honor, cherish, protect and guide you.
I promise to consider your well-being in all matters.
I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel, supported, nurtured, and owned.
And I promise carry your love in my heart always.

S Type:
I NAME2 take you NAME1 as my ROLE1.
I accept your collar, of my own free will, as a symbol of our contract and my love.
I gratefully accept your dominance, and your willingness to guide me.
I promise to always remember that dominance is a gift and treat it as such.
I promise to love, honor, cherish, serve and obey you.
I promise to consider your well-being in all matters.
I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel, supported, trusted and worshiped.
And I promise to carry your love in my heart always.

 

 

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Ceremony – Hand Washing

Couple approaches a table with a bowl of water and two hand towels.

Officiant: Today, you start your life together anew as a married couple. It is best to start with a clean slate, putting problems, big and small, behind you. You come acknowledging that the person you have chosen is not perfect, yet fits with you in a way no other person can. Whatever difficulties you may have experienced, today you have decided that your love is bigger than any of them, and you have chosen a life together. Water brings forgiveness and we all need forgiveness. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves.  As you wash your hands in this bowl of water, forgive yourself and each other for any pain in the past. Allow yourself to be forgiven for your human imperfections.  (Couple washes their hands.)

Allowing yourselves to have your hands dried by each other signifies your vulnerability. We all have to be vulnerable; it breaks through isolation, and in our own vulnerability, we become more trusting, caring and understanding of our partner. In a loving and compassionate marriage, to achieve the greatest intimacy, you must have the courage to be open and vulnerable to each other.  (Couple dries each other’s hands.)

Do you begin your lives together with grace and compassion?

Couple: We do.

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – With Guests

Each of you in attendance were asked to be here because you hold a special place in Spouse2’s and Spouse1’s life.  You came to honor and witness their love and commitment. So, SPOUSE2 and SPOUSE1 wanted to make each of you a tangible part of this ceremony. On their behalf, I will now ask each of you to put a spoonful of sand into this container, representing your love and support for them.

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will be symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; each representing all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – With Parents

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will be symbolized through this blending of sand.

However, you are not just uniting with each other, but also joining two families together.  Will the parents come forward first and pour a blended layer to honor the foundation each family gave to the Spouse1 and Spouse2 and to show your blessing for this union.

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

VARIATION:

An additional layer can be added on top by the minister, to represent God’s blessing to the union.

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – With Children

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other and honor your children as well.

Your family relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these individual containers of sand; one, representing you, SPOUSE1 and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be, one representing you, SPOUSE2, and all that you were and all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Each child also has a container, as they also will contribute to this marriage.  As this new family is formed, it will have a deep influence upon them as they will also influence the family. We realize that in order for the home to be a happy one, it is essential that there be love and understanding between the children and the adults being married.

Consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination.

Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – 4 Layer

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will symbolized through this blending of sand.

I will pour the first layer of plain sand, to symbolize that the marriage is grounded on a strong, common foundation and an equal partnership.

Consider your own containers of sand now. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique.

SPOUSE2, please pour a layer of your sand, showing your commitment to brining all of your individual gifts to this union.

Now, SPOUSE1, please pour a layer of your sand, showing your commitment to brining all of your individual gifts to this union.

Now, the two of you, pour together, to combine your sands.  

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

VARIATION:

A 5th layer can be added by the minister, plain or white sand on top of all the rest, to represent God’s blessing to the union.

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Sand Blending – Simple

SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2, today you are making a commitment to share the rest of your lives with each other. Your relationship will be symbolized through the pouring of these two individual containers of sand; each representing all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be.

Consider your containers of sand. Each one holds its own unique beauty, strength, and character. They can stand on their own and be whole, without the need of anything else. These containers represent your lives to this moment; individual and unique. As you now combine your sand together, your lives also join together as one.

When the two are blended, together they represent an entirely new and extraordinary loving relationship. Each grain of sand brings to the mixture a lasting beauty that forever enriches the combination. The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your lives be.

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Wine Blessing

There are two ways to conduct this ceremony.  Either a single glass is poured by the officiant from one bottle of wine, or the couple could each hold a different bottle of wine (usually one white wine and one red wine) which they pour together into a single glass.  In the 2nd type of ceremony, language is added about how their lives will be joined and can never be separated again, like two wines. Below you see the simpler ceremony using one bottle.

————————————————————————

Officiant: A good wine, like a good marriage, is the result of many years of hard work. There is the unhurried nurturing of the vine and tender care of the grape, thoughtful mix of ingredients, patient fermenting — yielding the unique flavors of each passing year.

So let the blessing of this first glass of wine that you taste together celebrate all that has brought you to this moment, expressing hope and faith in the commitments you have made here today. And let it symbolize for you how sharing the partnership of marriage not only doubles the sweetness of life, but also lightens the burden of its bitterness by half.

[ The officiant passes the cup to spouse1, who holds it to spouse2’s lips for them to drink.  Spouse1 then passes the cup to spouse2, who holds it to spouse1’s lips for them to drink.]

 

 

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Ceremony – Handfasting of Six Cords

Officiant: Do you come of your own free will and accord?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: Since your lives first crossed, you have formed ties between each other. The promises you make today will bind your lives together. With full awareness, know that you declare your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family. Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: I bid you look into each others eyes.

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], will you honor him?

Spouse1: I will.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], will you honor her?

Spouse2: I will.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you seek never to give cause to break that honor?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. Join your hands. (First cord is draped across the Spouse1 and Spouse2’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], will you share his dreams?

Spouse1: I will.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], will you share her dreams?

Spouse2: I will .

Officiant: [To Both] Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Second cord is draped across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], will you share his laughter?

Spouse1: I will.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], will you share her laughter?

Spouse2: I will.

Officiant: [To Both] Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape third cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], might you ever burden him?

Spouse1: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse1: No.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], might you ever burden her?

Spouse2: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse2: No.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape fourth cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], might you ever cause him pain?

Spouse1: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse1: No.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], might you ever cause her pain?

Spouse2: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse2: No.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape fifth cord across the couple’s hands.)

Officiant: [Spouse1’s Name], might you ever cause him anger?

Spouse1: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse1: No.

Officiant: [Spouse2’s Name], might you ever cause her anger?

Spouse2: I might…

Officiant: Is that your intent?

Spouse2: No.

Officiant: [To Both] Will you together take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: And so the binding is made. (Drape sixth cord across the couple’s hands. Tie cords together while saying:)

The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords, but rather by your vows. For as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union. You are now handfasted as one.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Handfasting of Four Cords

Officiant: Do you come of your own free will and accord?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: Since your lives first crossed, you have formed ties between each other. The promises you make today will bind your lives together. With full awareness, know that you declare your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family. Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: Yes.

Officiant: Will you share yourselves freely and generously with each other, making time to be together?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The first binding is thus made with blue, symbolic of Water, that your love may flow and fill you to your depths. [The blue cord is draped over the couple’s hands.]

Officiant: Will you each seek to ease the other’s pain and suffering, sharing laughter and joy?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The second binding is thus made with green, symbolic of Earth, that your love may be wise and nurturing, and your happiness abundant. [The green cord is draped over the couple’s hands.]

Officiant: Will you strive to keep your romance alive through daily actions and words of encouragement?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The third binding is thus made with red, symbolic of Fire, that your love may be bright and passionate. [The red cord is draped over the couple’s hands.]

Officiant: Will you both help each other to grow in spirit and wisdom?

Spouse1 & Spouse2: We will.

Officiant: The fourth binding is thus made with white, symbolic of Air, that your love may be as limitless as the sky, and filled with spirit. [The white cord is draped over the couple’s hands. All four cords are tied together.]

Officiant: You are now bound together, your two lives joined by love and trust into one life. The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords, but rather by your vows. For as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.  You are now handfasted as one.

 

 

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Ceremony – Celtic Blessing of Four Elements

In this ceremony, the officiant says a line, and the couple repeats it together at the same time.  This can be accompanied by a handfasting of 4 cords, one representing each element: brown for earth, white for air, red for fire, and blue for water.

————————————————————————-

We ask protection for the ones that we love.

We honor all creation as we pledge our hearts and lives together.

We honor earth and ask our marriage be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons.

We honor air as we sail through life safe and calm in the arms of the universe.

We honor fire and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts.

We honor water to clean and soothe our relationship that it may never thirst for love.

With all the forces of the universe we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together.

Blessed be.

 

 

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Ceremony – Shell or Stone Blessing

Originally used for beach weddings by the ocean, this ceremony can also be used near any body of water such as a lake or river. As guests arrive they are asked to choose a Seashell or Stone from a basket (or you may prefer to have someone handing them out as they arrive).  This is a creative way to bring the ceremony to a close.

——————————————-

Officiant: SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2 before you met, your lives were on different paths with different destinations. But love has brought you together and joined these separate paths into one. Each of your loved ones here today has been given a small seashell that represents their presence at your wedding today, as their individual paths are also joining yours for this ceremony. When a commitment this strong is made by two people, the power of that commitment, of that love, of that courage, reaches out and touches all of us around you, so that our lives are changed and we share a part of your love. Like a seashell dropped in an ocean, the ripple of the love from this celebration extends and changes the world we live in.

I will now ask that everyone please hold the shell you have been given and pause to make a silent wish or blessing for happiness and good will for the couple and for the future of their marriage. (pause for silent blessing)

Now, please follow the couple down to the water’s edge. Once we get there, the couple will count to three. On three, we will all cast our shells into the ocean, and as the ripples touch and intertwine with one another, may our love and blessings also touch and intertwine.

(pause to get everyone to the water’s edge, then couple counts to 3 and the shells are tossed in.)

 

 

 

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Ceremony – Truce Bell

The Bell of Truce originates from west Ireland peasant traditions, believed to be derived from St. Patrick’s Bell of Will. St. Patrick believed that bells were important to his ministry, and helped him in performing miracles. There is also a tradition in many cultures that the sound of ringing bells will ward off evil spirits.  The Truce Bell, is a bell that is blessed by the officiant of the ceremony and presented to the bride and groom for future use to end any arguments that may arise.

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Officiant: SPOUSE1 and SPOUSE2 have an expectation of marriage that is not only romantic but also realistic, and they wish to express this within the context of their wedding ceremony with this bell of truce. Bells have long been associated with weddings as their joyous tones announce good tidings, but this bell will have one more important duty.

(Spouse1)  think of all the most lovely things about (Spouse2), and what sparks your love and makes you want to spend the rest of your lives together.  Think also about all the wonderful things you hope for your future together.  While holding on to these thoughts, give this bell a hardy ring.  (pause for ringing)

(Spouse2) think of all the most lovely things about (Spouse1), and what sparks your love and makes you want to spend the rest of your lives together.  Think also about all the wonderful things you hope for your future together. While holding on to these thoughts, give this bell a hardy ring.  (pause for ringing)

(Spouse1) and (Spouse2), I hereby bless this bell; may its familiar sound always bring back memories of what you were thinking the first time you rang it. Keep this bell in your home to remind you of your wedding day, your love, and your hopes. When arguments arise, and they will, put this bell to its best use. One of you should ring the bell to call a truce. Its sound will remind you of your vows, conjure up the happiest memories from this day and help you resolve your differences in a loving and compassionate way.

 

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Ceremony – Hands

Please face each other and take each other’s hands.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief comes to you.

These are the hands that will wipe the tears from your eyes countless times; tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will join your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, support and encouragement to pursue your dreams, and comfort through difficult times.

And lastly, these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

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