Here are a few I’ve been thinking about…
Walt Whitman’s Intro to Leaves of Grass (1885 edition): "Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…"
Kahlil Gibran reading from The Prophet: "Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow."
Here is a vow that I love: "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 fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. 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.”
I also really like the ruling of Goodridge v Boston Department of Public Health:
"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. … 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…It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.
Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition."
and finally "Love" by 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.
That’s what I’ve got for now!