Mitch The Minister
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Sample Readings for your ceremony

Readings are another way of adding a personal flavor to your ceremony.  These are only a VERY SMALL sampling of the library of readings I've accumulated over the years.  A great way of honoring someone special is to invite them to participate in the ceremony by sharing a reading, poem or prayer. This adds drama, warmth, connection and joy to your ceremony on your amazing day.


THE KEY TO LOVE
The key to love is understanding…
the ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but those unspoken gestures, the little things that say so much by themselves.
 The key to love is forgiveness…
to accept each other’s faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering what you learn from them.
The key to love is sharing…
facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together, both conquering problems,
forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness.
The key to love is giving…
without thought of return, but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.
The key to love is respect…
realizing that you are two separate people, with different ideas;
that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.
The key to love is inside us all…
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients
that will take you to its threshold,
it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work,
but the rewards are more than worth the effort –
and that is the key to love.



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 times 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




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.

ALL I WANT - BY, RENÉE DUVALL
All I want is to love you for the rest of my life. To wake up every morning with you by my side, knowing that no matter what happens, I'll be able to come home to your loving arms. All I want is to share everything with you. To talk to you about our ideas, our dreams, the little everyday things that make us laugh and the not-so-little things that we can't help worrying about. All I want is to give you my love - as a place you can always come to for acceptance or the simple comfort that silence brings when things left unspoken can still be understood. All I want is to grow old with you. To watch our life unfold, our dreams, one by one, come true. All I want is to love you forever.


THE ART OF MARRIAGE
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage:
The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say I love you at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all your years together.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other,
not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and
demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo,
or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget –and respect one another.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship, in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner,  it is being the right partner.


A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton. 
The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice.
Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
"I like this Dinosaur" thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.   Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny.   He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.
"I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur", thought the Dinosaur.  She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.  She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.
But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
He is also overly fond of things.
Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?
But her mind skips from here to there so quickly thought the Dinosaur.
She is also uncommonly keen on shopping.
Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?
"I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things", thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
"for they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual".
"I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping", thought the Dinosaur.
"for she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides,
I am not unkeen on shopping either."
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are together.    Look at them.
Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
So let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
For the sun is warm.
And the world is a beautiful place.
The End.




Love
Love is a friendship that has caught fire.
It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.
It is loyalty through good and bad.
It settles for less than perfection,
and makes allowances for human weakness.
Love is content with the present.
It hopes for the future and it doesn't brood over the past.
It's the day-in and day-out chronicle of irritations, problems,
compromises, small disappointments, big victories,
and working toward common goals.
If you have love in your life,
it can make up for a great many things you lack.
If you don't have it, no matter what else there is,
it is not enough, so search for it, ask God for it, and share it!



 FIRST GIFTS - THE ROSE CEREMONY
(Minister hands the Bride and Groom each a rose) Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings - which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other. You now have what remains the most honorable title which may exist between a man and a woman - the title of "husband" and "wife." For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose.  In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing - it meant the words "I love you." So it is appropriate that for your first gift - as husband and wife - that gift would be a single rose. Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.  (couple exchanges roses)
In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose - and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - one I hope you always remember - the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage. I would ask that where ever you make your home in the future - whether it be a large and elegant home - or a small and graceful one - that you both pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both may take a rose to that spot both as a re-commitment to your marriage - and a re-commitment that THIS will be a marriage based upon love.  In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. It is easiest to hurt those who we most love. It is easiest to be hurt by those who we most love. It might be difficult some time to be able to express the words "I am sorry" or "I forgive you" or "I need you" or "I am hurting". If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected - for that rose than says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words. That rose says the words: "I still love you." The other should accept this rose for the words which cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today. If there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure. 

WHY MARRIAGE?  BY MARI NICHOLS
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body...
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
who won't hold them against me, who loves me when I'm unlikable,
who sees the small child in me, and who looks for the divine potential of me...
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
with someone who thanks God for me,
with someone I feel blessed to hold...
Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love in friendship...
Because marriage is a discipline to be added to a list of achievements...
Because marriages do not fail, people fail when they enter into marriage
expecting another to make them whole...
Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility for
my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage together we create our marriage...
Because with this understanding the possibilities are limitless.
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person, with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body... Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me, who won't hold them against me, who loves me when I'm unlikable, who sees the small child in me, and who looks for the divine potential of me... Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night with someone who thanks God for me, with someone I feel blessed to hold... Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love in friendship... Because marriage is a discipline to be added to a list of achievements... Because marriages do not fail, people fail when they enter into marriage expecting another to make them whole... Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility for my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage together we create our marriage... Because with this understanding the possibilities are limitless.


THE TRADITIONAL IRISH BLESSING     

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you. 



AN EVERLASTING LIFETIME LOVE - LINDA LEE ELROD
People talk about love all the time,

but most people seldom, if ever,
get to experience the closeness
that you and I share everyday of our lives.
When you and I fell in love,
there was a lot more to it than just hearts and flowers.
And it wasn't long before we knew
that this was no ordinary love.
What we felt for each other was stronger and deeper
and more important than anything we had ever known before.
And now I can honestly say that you are a part of me,
just as I am a part of you.
This is the love that songs and books are written about
 - an everlasting lifetime love, and it's ours to enjoy forever.


COLOR TOGETHER - BOB PERKS
Love is like a box of Crayola crayons created by God. Before you are the blank pages that are drawn through a lifetime of commitment and caring. Although our generation has set the pace for coloring outside the lines, my advice to you both, always color within the lines. Don't look at them as barriers or roadblocks that limit, but guidelines to keep your love strong. You have seen the results of a generation without guidelines.
Be creative. Use your own colors. Roses aren't always red and sunsets are never the same. Relationships too, should be like sharing a coloring book. Decide together what page to work on and then share. Perhaps one is better at coloring the sky and the other the grass and flowers. Never criticize the other's work. If you both desire to use the same crayon, choose a different shade or wait until the other is finished. Compromise and patience are the backbone of a strong union.
It is important at times for both of you to have your own page to color. A strong couple stands together but each casts their own shadow. In coloring, this is accomplished by first agreeing on two connected pages and sitting close together. Keep the crayons sharpened. The joy of love is in the details. At times when you are challenged by life or disagreements pull out the coloring book and sit at your kitchen table and draw. No words need to be spoken. The peace and joy that come from creating beauty will not permit the ugliness of anger to exist. Always be thankful to the God of all colors. He created you both in love and graciously brought you together. Finally, always clean up afterwards. Relationships, like a crayon box, have a place for everything. You will discover that when one is missing the whole box seems incomplete. May your life together be as colorful as you both have made our lives.


EXCERPT FROM THE VELVETEEN RABBIT - MARGERY WILLIAMS
 "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?" "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


MY LOVE - LINDA LEE ELROD
When I met you, I had no idea how much my life was about to be changed
but then, how could I have known?
A love like ours happens once in a lifetime.
You were a miracle to me,
the one who was everything I had ever dreamed of,
the one I thought existed only in my imagination.
And when you came into my life,
I realized that what I had always thought was happiness
couldn't compare to the joy loving you brought me.
You are a part of everything I think and do and feel,
and with you by my side,
I believe that anything is possible.
This day gives me a chance to thank you for the miracle of you,
you are, and always will be,
the love of my life.


ON LOVE - THOMAS KEMPIS
Love is a mighty power,
a great and complete good.
Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders
all bitterness sweet and acceptable.
Nothing is sweeter than love,
Nothing stronger,
Nothing higher,
Nothing wider,
Nothing more pleasant,
Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.
Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.
It is free and unrestrained.
Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,
attempts things beyond its strength.
Love sees nothing as impossible,
for it feels able to achieve all things.
It is strange and effective,
while those who lack love faint and fail.
Love is not fickle and sentimental,
nor is it intent on vanities.
Like a living flame and a burning torch,
it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.



PERFECT LOVE - RENÉ DUVALL
Because you are my love,
I know the joy that comes from feeling closer to someone
than I've ever felt before.
Because you are my love,
I know the passion of wanting to share everything I have,
everything I am with you and only you.
Because you are my friend,
I know that I can count on you to hold my hand through the rough times
and to be there to share the good times, too.
Because you are my friend,
I'll always have someone to make me smile just when I need it most,
to encourage me when I'm feeling confused or doubtful.
And I know that I must be one of the luckiest people in the world
to have someone like you.
The perfect love and the perfect friend.



TAKE MY HAND - DICK JOHNSON
Take my hand, come walk with me along life's winding way.
Take my hand, come stand with me, together we will say.
It's you that I have chosen. It's you with whom I'll stay.
It's you with whom I'll share my life I want no other way.
I want you always by my side through laughter and through tears.
The good, the bad, we'll share it all, through all the coming years.
Because I want this union, to continue to be blessed,
I pray we both will care enough to always give our best.
I know that if we do our best, then when our journey ends,
we'll find that we've come through it all still lovers, ever friends!



THESE I CAN PROMISE - AUTHOR UNKNOWN
I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart's devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that's ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.



THIS DAY I MARRIED MY BEST FRIEND
This day I married my best friend.
The one I laugh with as we share life's wondrous zest,
as we find new enjoyments and experience all that's best.
The one I live for because the world seems brighter
as our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter.
The one I love with every fiber of my soul.
We used to feel vaguely incomplete, now together we are whole.



WHAT I USED TO THINK - TARA J. MORROW
I used to think I wanted to be with someone who shared my same interest and passions, someone who thought like I thought and believed what I believed - and what I found was you. You have your own ideas about life, and they're so different from mine. But you know, I've learned a lot from our differences. Our love challenges my mind and forces me to broaden my horizons - to look beyond my comfort zone. And now we've discovered a new comfort in being together - in learning from one another, in the whole give-and-take of this relationship. Because of you, my world has grown so much, not to mention my heart.


FOUNDATIONS OF MARRIAGE
Love, trust, and forgiveness are the foundations of marriage.
In marriage, many days will bring happiness, while other days may be sad.
But together, two hearts can overcome everything.
In marriage, all of the moments won't be exciting or romantic,
and sometimes worries and anxiety will be overwhelming.
But together, two hearts that accept will find comfort together.
Recollections of past joys, pains,
and shared feelings will be the glue that holds everything together,
during even the worst and most insecure moments.
Reaching out to each other as a friend,
and becoming the confidant and companion
that the other one needs, is the true magic and beauty of any two people together.
It's inspiring in each other a dream or a feeling,
and having faith in each other and not giving up
– even when all the odds say to quit.
It's allowing each other to be vulnerable, to be himself or herself,
even when the opinions or thoughts aren't in total agreement or exactly what you'd like them to be.
It's getting involved and showing interest in each other,
really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be.
Exactly three things need to be remembered in a marriage
if it is to be a mutual bond of sharing, caring,
and loving throughout life: love, trust, and forgiveness.


I LOVE YOU 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.


APACHE MARRIAGE BLESSING
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship - as they threaten all relationships at one time or another - remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storm when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives - remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.


FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
From this day forward, let us laugh together, and plan together, let us find our favorite places, and go together. Let us enjoy the sunshine, and the rain, being alone together, and in crowds together... From this day forward, together, Let us love! Let us walk together yet not as one, but such that our shadows are separate and distinct, such that our souls are unbound and free.
Let us share our time, yet do not give all your time, nor take all of mine for in order to develop to the fullest, to be free, we must have solitude and individuality. Let me wander in solitude, when I need to be alone, yet be near, when I need you. Let us share our love. Give freely of your love, but do not smother me, my soul must breathe a free air. Take my love, but do not demand it, for love given of obligation, is stale and without life. Let us share our lives. Share my life, but do not try to shape it. Let me share your life, but do not let it revolve around me. Let us share ourselves. Accept me as I am, do not attempt to change me to fit your dreams. Respect me for what I am, not for what I was or one day may be. Share yourself with me, but do not allow me to limit your freedom or bind your soul. Let us share our minds, thoughts, goals, values and dreams. Let us develop these within ourselves without any restriction or loss of freedom. Thus our two free souls, may wander together as they develop in freedom. As we share our lives, as we walk through life together, know my love is yours, but not my soul for it must be free.


WEDDING PRAYER
Father of mankind, whose nature is love, look with favor upon this woman and this man who desire to make their vows before you. We are grateful for the providence that has led to this union. Grant this to be more than an outward union, but also the blending of hearts and spirits and purposes. Bless each with the inward qualities of integrity, trust, cooperation and forgiveness, that they may live together in love and peace. Amen.

Genesis Chapter 2, Verses 8-24
The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him. 
Not the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky.  He brought them to the man to see what he would name them;  and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping,  he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,  This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."  That is why a man leaves his father and his mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 
FIRST Corinthians, CHAPTER 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor 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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

MODERN VERSION OF FIRST Corinthians
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.