From "Goodridge Vs. Department of Health" by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations....Without question, civil marriage enhances the "welfare of the community." It is a "social institution of the highest importance."
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.... Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.
EXCERPT FROM "THE GIFT FROM THE SEA"
~ By Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~
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, mot 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.
by C.P. Cavafy
(translated from the Greek)
When you start on your journey to Ithaka,
pray that the road’s a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Do not fear the Cyclops and angry Poseidon -
you will never meet such things on your path
as long as your thoughts are exalted,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your body and your spirit.
Wild Poseidon, Cyclops -
you won’t encounter them
unless you carry them within your soul.
Pray that your road’s a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when -
full of gratitude, full of joy -
you come into harbors seen for the first time.
May you stop at Phoenician markets
and buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfumes of every kind.
May you visit numerous Egyptian cities
to fill yourself with learning from the wise.
Keep Ithaka always in mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it goes on for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would never have set out.
She has nothing more to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
With the great wisdom you’ll have gained, with so much experience,
you’ll understand by then what Ithaka means.
From “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.
i carry your heart with me
~ e.e. cummings ~
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
“TO BE WITH EACH OTHER” by 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?
HINDU MARRIAGE POEM
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, unite.
You are thought and I am sound.
May the nights be honey-sweet for us.
May the mornings be honey-sweet for us.
May the plants be honey-sweet for us.
May the earth be honey-sweet for us.
~ Lau Tzu ~
Your love contains the power Of a thousand suns. It unfolds as naturally and effortlessly As does a flower, And graces the world with its blooming. Its beauty radiates a transforming energy That enlivens all who see it. Because of you, compassion and joy Are added to the world. That is why the stars sing together Because of your love.
From: 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.
Marriage is not a house, or even a tent it is before that, and colder: the edge of the forest, the edge of the desert the unpainted stairs at the back, where we squat outdoors, eating popcorn
the edge of the receding glacier
where painfully and with wonder at having survived even this far we are learning to make fire.
Touched By an Angel
~ Maya Angelou ~
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.
From: The Book Of Love ~ Rumi ~ The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing How blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere They’re in each other all along.
By Michael Blumenthal
You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.
something wonderful happens:
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arms up
to the ceiling beside you.
So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner's arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.
And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.
So Much Happiness
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…..
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are square in your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed down from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving, to hide it, fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon in God’s presence.
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know, or how you came here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.
Union by 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 commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all 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 that 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, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.
When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.
from Walt Whitman's “Song of the Open Road”
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.
However sweet the laid-up stores,
However convenient the dwellings,
You shall not remain there.
However sheltered the port,
And however calm the waters,
You shall not anchor there.
However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you
You are permitted to receive it but a little while
Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you,
leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
Camerado, 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?