Podcast 76: Write Your Manifesto, Bring Your Own Condiments, the Challenges of Being Distracted by Your Phone and Picking a Wedding Reading.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: Elizabeth found a very worthless item in her kitchen. Sorry–she sent me a photo of it, and now I can’t find it anywhere.

Try This at Home: Write your own manifesto. If you want to read my Habits Manifesto or my Happiness Manifesto, just email me at podcast @ gretchenrubin dot com, and I’ll send you a copy.

Happiness Hack: Bring your own condiments. Helen, who inspired Elizabeth with this hack, recommends Yellowbird Sauce and Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.

Happiness Stumbling Block: Feeling distracted by your phone.

Listener Question: Sarah asks for suggestions for great wedding readings. Do you have a recommendation?

Gretchen’s combo Demerit and Gold Star: On a long car trip, I earned a gold star by doing the research ahead to identify a great podcast for us to listen to, which was Limetown;  I earned a demerit for being very short-tempered while driving (which often happens to me in the car, for reason I explain in my book Happier at Home).

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

And if you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #76

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  • Leah Manderson

    My favorite reading at my wedding was “Why Marriage” by Mari Nichols-Haining. Years later, I still tear up when I read it!

    Why Marriage?

    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.

    • Kailynn

      Leah – that made me cry! Wowza!

    • Kimberly R-A

      That is wonderful!

    • Sarah H. Campbell

      This is wonderful, thanks for sharing!

    • gretchenrubin

      Beautiful.

  • Ellie

    Artist’s Manifesto
    1. If it’s not working – walk away
    2. Work hard every day, don’t wait for a lightning bolt
    3. Get out of your own way
    4. Honor the process. Restrain from force.
    5. Trust. Your. Gut.

    • gretchenrubin

      I love this manifesto!

  • Robin A

    Simple quote I used at my wedding – There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved – by George Sand. I added my own filler around this statement. Best wishes to the listener-question listener!

    • gretchenrubin

      One of my favorite lines!

  • Alpha Mom (TM)

    Since you asked for examples. Here is my family’s manifesto. We wrote it after I read your happiness book: http://alphamom.com/parenting/creating-a-family-manifesto/

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it! Love the gorgeous GRAPHIC.

  • Joy Scott

    We had the Blessing of the Hands reading which can be seen here: https://www.myweddingvows.com/romantic-readings/blessing-of-the-hands

  • Amanda

    I’m getting married in a few weeks and we had the same struggle as neither of us are religious, but we wanted something meaningful. We decided on a quote by Albert Einstein- “Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

    And the History of Love by Nicholas Krauss

    • Sarah H. Campbell

      Amanda, the History of Love is one of my favorite books. I love Nicole Krauss’ writing. Which passage are you using?

  • filmgurl6

    My husband and I are non-religious and avid readers and wanted to go non-traditional, so we each picked a short reading for our ceremony. Our guests commented that the readings were beautiful, moving, and somehow very us.

    First is a Margaret Atwood poem that I’ve loved since college twenty years ago:

    I would like to watch you,
    sleeping. I would like to sleep
    with you, to enter
    your sleep as its smooth dark wave
    slides over my head

    and walk with you through that lucent
    wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
    with its watery sun & three moons
    towards the cave where you must descend,
    towards your worst fear

    I would like to give you the silver
    branch, the small white flower, the one
    word that will protect you
    from the grief at the center
    of your dream, from the grief
    at the center. I would like to follow
    you up the long stairway
    again & become
    the boat that would row you back
    carefully, a flame
    in two cupped hands
    to where your body lies
    beside me, and you enter
    it as easily as breathing in

    I would like to be the air
    that inhabits you for a moment.

    And my husband chose a poem by Ranier Maria Rilke:

    Understand, I’ll slip quietly
    away from the noisy crowd
    when I see the pale
    stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

    I’ll pursue solitary pathways
    through the pale twilit meadows,
    with only this one dream:
    You come too.

  • Klokhild

    Just got done listening to this podcast episode while on my morning walk, and wanted to share the life manifesto I hammered out after reading your book. It’s been surprising to discover how much driving force the list has turned out to have.

    1. Maintain human dignity ~ mine and everyone else’s
    2. Honor where honor is due
    3. Champion and assist the young
    4. Pursue wisdom
    5. Be honest
    6. Treasure contentment
    7. Contribute to the health of the ecosystems
    8. Love, and do what you will

    • gretchenrubin

      I love this manifesto!

  • Lauren M

    The dinosaur one is really sweet and unique (I used to gig at A LOT of weddings)
    A Lovely Love Story- 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 old.
    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.
    Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
    For the sun is warm.
    And the world is a beautiful place.

  • pinwheelcookie

    We did an excerpt from the Dalai Lama’s “Instructions for Life in the New Millennium”:

    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.

  • Sarah Vela

    I looked *everywhere* for the poem that was read at my wedding which i think was by Alice Walker and I also think was about two trees, but who even knows anymore. Anyway, in my attempt to find that, I stumbled upon this great resource – a whole thread discussing good poems to read at weddings. 🙂 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2009/03/looking-for-the-perfect-wedding-poem/

  • Dominique Rollandi

    We had a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin:
    Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. that is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.

    I’ve also heard a slightly modified reading from Dr Seuss, Oh The Places You Will Go – it’s really lovely when read in the context of a marriage!

  • Dana

    I was just jogging and thinking about your idea about manifestos from today. I think I would like to use this idea in the beginning of the school year with my students. I teach high school math and am starting at a new school this August. In the first week of class, along with rules and policies I think having the students come up with a class manifesto would be a fun activity to foster class community and goal setting for the year!! ( just remind me in a few weeks when school starts to remember to do this!)

    • gretchenrubin

      Great! I hope it’s a useful classroom exercise.

  • Joanne

    I love the speech Susan Sarandon says in the bar from the movie Shall we Dance – my friend used this as a reading at her wedding – it was perfect. Beverly Clark: We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

  • JB

    At our son’s wedding, the bride’s grandfather read from Hiawatha’s Wooing from an old copy of the book that sat on their coffee table for many years, then gave the couple the book. I found the following part particularly touching:

    And the ancient Arrow-maker
    Turned again unto his labor,
    Sat down by his sunny doorway,
    Murmuring to himself, and saying:
    “Thus it is our daughters leave us,
    Those we love, and those who love us!
    Just when they have learned to help us,
    When we are old and lean upon them,
    Comes a youth with flaunting feathers,
    With his flute of reeds, a stranger
    Wanders piping through the village,
    Beckons to the fairest maiden,
    And she follows where he leads her,
    Leaving all things for the stranger!”

  • Michelle Chalkey

    I was so excited to hear the question about wedding readings on the podcast today! I am getting married in September (one month from today!) and my fiance and I are doing a couple readings from books. Glad to see what everyone else has to share, too!
    The first one is from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It’s on pg 96:

    “It was the pure language of the world. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”

    The second is from Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love:

    “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

    A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

    A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”

  • Kelsey Preciado

    Loved thinking back on this reading from our wedding! Who doesn’t love a good dog reference?

    “Falling In Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali.

    On cold winter nights, love is warm.

    It lies between you and lives and breathes
    and makes funny noises.

    Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.

    But come home and love is always happy to see you.

    It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life, but you can never be mad at love for long.

    But love makes you meet people wherever you go.

    People who have nothing in common but love stop and talk to each other on the street.

    Throw things away and love will bring them back, again, and again, and again.

    But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
    And in return, love loves you and never stops.

    Love the show! XO, Kelsey

    • Jen G.

      I overlooked this, but I posted above that we used the same poem at our wedding six weeks ago. I love it!

  • Dee

    My Manifesto for life chores (e.g. grocery shopping, cleaning, finances, etc):

    * Just Do It! (When I’m hedging on doing a chore…I tell myself to just get it done)

    *Be a Girl Scout! (I will often leave things behind that I might need that day such as an umbrella or sweater. So when I am debating in my head I tell myself to be a Girl Scout — always be prepared.)

    *You Got This! (Whenever something feels hard like climbing the 3 stories up to my apartment carrying groceries.)

    *You’ll Be Glad You Did! (The feeling after I complete a chore)

    *These Feelings Won’t Last (Whether I’m happy, sad, excited, whatever…It won’t last.)

    • Jessyka

      I love “Be a Girl Scout”! I also like to be prepared when I go out. This is definitely going to be my new mantra.

    • Liz G

      wow so helpful! Thanks for sharing

  • Peggy Herman

    My Happiness Manifesto

    Find your own fun.

    Good enough is usually good enough.

    Clean up as you go.

    Under promise and over deliver.

    Take advantage of good weather.

    Audio books count as reading.

    It’s easier to stay in shape, than get in shape.

    If it’s important, put it on the schedule.

    Good nutrition and adequate sleep are essential.

    Misery is usually temporary.

    It’s pointless to measure yourself against others.

    Pets are worth the trouble.

    Simplicity is usually the way to go.

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

    • gretchenrubin

      Great manifesto!

  • Jordan

    For our non-religious wedding we picked:
    “Variations on the word love” by Margaret Atwood

    “This is a word we use to plug / holes with. It’s the right size for those warm / blanks in speech, for those red heart” / shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing / like real hearts. Add lace / and you can sell / it. We insert it also in the one empty / space on the printed form / that comes with no instructions. There are whole / magazines with not much in them / but the word love, you can / rub it all over your body and you / can cook with it too. How do we know / it isn’t what goes on at the cool / debaucheries of slugs under damp / pieces of cardboard? As for the weed”#/#seedlings nosing their tough snouts up / among the lettuces, they shout it. / Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising / their glittering knives in salute.

    “Then there’s the two / of us. This word / is far too short for us, it has only / four letters, too sparse / to fill those deep bare / vacuums between the stars / that press on us with their deafness. / It’s not love we don’t wish / to fall into, but that fear. / this word is not enough but it will / have to do. It’s a single / vowel in this metallic / silence, a mouth that says / O again and again in wonder / and pain, a breath, a finger / grip on a cliffside. You can / hold on or let go.”

    And

    Intro to “The Time of Your Life” by William Saroyan

    “In the time of your life, live – so that in good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

  • TheMindfulEducator

    This episode inspired me to create a manifesto for myself as an educator trying to be more mindful. I wrote about my manifesto on my blog at http://www.themindfuleducator.weebly.com and a few of my favorites are “take a real lunch break”, “allow yourself to say no”, and “make mistakes and forgive yourself”. Thanks for a great episode!

  • ekwacillin

    We had so much trouble (and fun) picking our wedding readings. Below are the ones we chose…and after that, the ones we ALMOST chose! Good luck!

    -Reading #1-
    Thoughts on the universe and love inspired by Carl Sagan:

    The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. Our little planet floats like a mote of dust in the morning sky. All that you see, all that we can see, exploded out of a star billions of years ago, and the particles slowly arranged themselves into living things, including all of us. We are made of star stuff. We are the mechanism by which the universe can comprehend itself. 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. A marriage makes two fractional lives a whole. It gives to two questioning natures a renewed reason for living. It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life.” (source: http://hifiweddings.com/2010/05/15/a-real-hi-fi-wedding-kestrin-jonathans-wedding-of-the-cosmos-2/)

    -Reading #2-
    Two thoughts from author Tom Robbins:

    First, from Still Life with Woodpecker: Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

    Second…The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.

    -Reading #3-
    “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulgham

    All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
    These are the things I learned…
    Share everything.
    Play fair.
    Don’t hit people.
    Put things back where you found them.
    Clean up your own mess.
    Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
    Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Wash your hands before you eat.
    Flush.
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.
    Live a balanced life.
    Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.
    Take a nap every afternoon.
    Be aware of wonder.
    Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

    -Other reading options we loved-

    Falling by Robert Hardy:

    You already know about love. You fall in love. Falling is easy.
    Maybe you don’t see it coming. Maybe you brace yourself against the wind in the door,
    see the earth circling below and jump. Falling is easy. It feels like flight.
    You feel your kinship with clouds, with light, stuff of stars, atoms that float and fall,
    meteors, stars that still glow with the start of everything.
    You raise your arms like wings. Butterfly or belly-flop.
    You feel the earth expanding–don’t look down. Reach for the cord.
    Falling is easy. But is this love or gravity? Pull the cord.
    Yes–love blossoms from the weight you carry, the question, the tug at your heart.
    The parachute pops like a cork. Now you float in the arms of the atmosphere,
    milkweed floss, dandelion seed, no longer afraid to take root in the earth–
    but still floating awhile, ecstasy and trust,
    your high-altitude heart settling back into a steadier beat,
    the tilt of the earth, seasons and days.
    But here you are floating–buoyed by invitations and arrangements.
    Now you look down. The ground looks like a date, circled for landing.
    The fields look like RSVPs. Your feet touch.
    The parachute falls around you like a wedding dress.
    You’ve landed together. Dance while the earth steadies beneath your feet.
    Hold each other up. Now you will walk together in ordinary days.
    Your parachute may become a maternity dress,
    a mortgage, a tissue for your tears.
    It may be divided into diapers, water-proof sheets,
    a layette, stories to tell your grandchildren.
    Days may come when you forget how it felt to float.
    But still this moment of landing lives inside you,
    when the touch of the ground felt like a vow–
    I will always be there. I will catch you if you fall.

    Cherokee Marriage Prayer:

    God in heaven above, please protect the ones we love.
    We honor all that you have created, as we pledge our hearts and lives together.
    We honor mother earth, and ask for our marriage to be abundant and to grow stronger through her seasonal changes.
    We honor fire, and ask that our union be warm and glowing, always with love in our hearts.
    We honor wind, and ask that we sail through life, safe and calm as in our father’s arms.
    We honor water, to clean and soothe our relationship, that it may never thirst for love.
    With all the forces of the universe that you have created, we pray for harmony and happiness as we forever grow young together.

    Give All to Love

    BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON

    Give all to love;
    Obey thy heart;
    Friends, kindred, days,
    Estate, good-fame,
    Plans, credit and the Muse,—
    Nothing refuse.

    ’Tis a brave master;
    Let it have scope:
    Follow it utterly,
    Hope beyond hope:
    High and more high
    It dives into noon,
    With wing unspent,
    Untold intent:
    But it is a god,
    Knows its own path
    And the outlets of the sky.

    It was never for the mean;
    It requireth courage stout.
    Souls above doubt,
    Valor unbending,
    It will reward,—
    They shall return
    More than they were,
    And ever ascending.

    From “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman

    Listen! I will be honest with you. I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but I 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?

    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
    To make me happy.

    You have done it
    Without a touch,
    Without a word,
    Without a sign.
    You have done it
    By being yourself.

  • K.

    We also had a really hard time choosing! We’re not religious, but we both love books and are drawn to Buddhism. After a lot of research (which was actually really fun), we finally ended up with a literary passage I’ve loved since I was a girl and one of our favorite passages from Thich Nhat Hahn’s books. I’ve pasted both below.

    We also considered the e.e. cummings poem the listener chose for her wedding, though – it’s one of my favorite poems of all time, and I emailed it to my now-husband back when we were first dating and long-distance.

    From Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte: “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same… my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”

    From Peace is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh: “We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground of real love.

    From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask,
    Darling, do I understand you enough? Please tell me so that I can learn to love
    you properly. I dont want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy.

    We need courage to ask these questions, but true love needs understanding. With understanding, the one we love will certainly flower.”

  • Anjuli Cruz

    Loved thinking back to a reading from my wedding! We chose parts of a chapter from my favourite book “The Little Prince” (where a fox explains what it means “to tame” and the little prince realises a flower has tamed him). Many think this book is for kids, but the gems you can find in this book are for any age!

    “What does that mean– tame?”
    “It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.”
    “To establish ties?”
    “Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.

    “To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…
    My life is very monotonous,” he said. “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 now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

    • H. Finch

      Oh man, I used this reading for my brother-in-law’s wedding. So good!

  • Robin A

    There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved. George Sand – I used this quote at my wedding and added some other of my own words. Best wishes to the bride-to-be!

  • KB

    Scaffolding, by Seamus Heaney:

    Masons, when they start upon a building,
    Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

    Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
    Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
    And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
    Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

    So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
    Old bridges breaking between you and me

    Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
    Confident that we have built our wall.

    • Sarah H. Campbell

      Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

    • Padma Krishnan

      beautiful

  • Julina S

    Don’t have a wedding reading to share, instead a note about the “phone distractions” – my husband is so good at this that it can be frustrating for me to try to reach him when I actually need to… the phone is often somewhere away from his person, usually charging (or dead).
    So a balance is important.

  • We chose the “Apache Wedding Blessing” for our wedding reading. We loved the imagery it uses and that it is non-denominational. Reading it again made me a little teary!

    The Apache Wedding Blessing

    Now you will feel no storms, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of you is companion to the other, You are two persons, but there is one life before you, and one home. Turn together to look at the road you traveled, to reach this—the hour of your happiness. It stretches behind you into the past. Look to the future that lies ahead. A long and winding, adventure-filled road, whose every turn means discovery, new hopes, new joys, new laughter, and a few shared tears. May happiness be your companion, May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead; And through all the years to come. Go this day to your dwelling place and enter into your days together. May your days be good and long upon the earth. Your adventure has just begun!

    • Marianne Liang

      We used a version of this poem as well. We picked it from a short list of readings that was provided by our officiant, which was much so easier for me than considering every possible reading in the world.

    • Paulina

      My cousins also used that reading. It turns out it IS non-denominational because it isn’t actually Apache or even Native. https://theawl.com/the-fakelore-of-the-apache-wedding-blessing-afff6208b3e8#.ily1nw8qk

    • Ali C

      I used this as well (along with two others)! It is so warm and sweet and simple, I loved that it was non-denominational, and you can easily edit it down to just the lines you like without it losing its poignancy!

  • Angela

    My manifesto:
    – Be honest (except may be about tooth fairy)
    – Be kind
    – Be compassionate

    – Trust, delegate and follow up

  • No manifesto but regarding the segment on “do not disturb”

    Actually DND is more versitile than you’ve yet to discover. On iPhone & IPad, under Settings (the geared wheel icon), you can schedule DND as well as set it manually. Mine is scheduled for 23h 59 min per day every day.

    HOWEVER

    You can then set “numbers that call twice in 2 minutes” to ring through (or not) – likely emergencies

    Plus

    A custom call list you create (or not)
    Or All Contacts (or not) can be set to ring through.

    The rest go to voice mail without notification. This has been a real boon to productivity, especially during election robocalling season and with the new tactic of phantom phone calls checking to see if a live person picks up the line (if so, then your number is put on a “live call” list & sold to telemarketers).

    The only possible downside of leaving DND on all the time is that notifications for Messages & Emails is shut off, too. But I’ve found that it actually enforces a little discipline about compulsively checking those, too.

    Reminders & Calendar events ring through as usual.

    —————–

    Also, for years we’ve shared a family calendar in Apple.

    There are no excuses, everyone must put every event outside of school or work hours on the family calendar at the time they make the appointment or agree to the event for it to count. It appears intantaneously on every device.

    Just a quick notation will do: Bill – ball game 3p or Gayle – dentist 9-10a. Dinner 6-7p is listed every nite. Vac-Hatteras sept xx-xxx, move into dorm VT Aug. xx,

    Most of the time overlaps & conflicts are okay, nowadays. That’s because everyone is older & self-mobile. So it’s really just an awareness device. But I t used to be a lifesaver when mom & dad were doing all the driving.

    We also use it as a reminder device, Rick – RX noon. Gayle – Prom Dress Cleaners 5pm. And, because we can all see every entry, the family calendar serves as an accountability device. “I’m sorry you don’t have a dress for tomorrow night. It says here that you were supposed to pick it up by 5 pm today. How do you think you can fix that?”

    In early Junior & high school days, I’d list my own work project due dates as well as the kids’ school project due dates on the calendar. Then I’d discuss my progress and ask about theirs. After the first few walk-throughs, I’d just tell them about my projects & stopped asking about theirs. The kids had more than a few of the usual weekend panics, like we all did (or still do). Even with me as an example.

    (The real truth is, I think & read a lot about the project beforehand, discuss it over with a lot of experts. I’ll construct a finished project 100 times in my head, but I’ve always been a weekend-allnighter myself. So I only pretended to be Arellano example to the kids.

    A planned, diagrammed, scheduled process leading up to the finished product only made my bosses & coworkers happy, back when I had them. It drove me mad. The end product was never any better, only more expensive. With the kids, I’m afraiD, the nut didn’t fall far from the tree. )

    Also, as long as I’m paying the phone & internet bills, “Find My Phone” is turned on & viewable to each of us & on all of our phones & computers through high school.

    Now that college is involved, the kids deserve some privacy & it’s enough that I have the ability to “brick” their gear if it goes walk about, as well as ping it’s last known location.

    Still, we’ll keep “find my phone” turned on for our iPhones so the kids can always find their parents, even when we wander off following the little animals ;->

    The joys of a 100% Apple household.

    Enjoy the show. Just thought I’d pass this along.

    Rick

    Wait. I do have a Manifesto:

    1. don’t be lazy.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great information!

    • Padma Krishnan

      wow wow
      thank you

      • you’re welcome. Hope you find it helpful.

  • Mama_Skywalker

    On Wedding Quotes:
    I chose “Tin Wedding Whistle” by Ogden Nash, which I find still appropriate today. It has a lot of humor; that’s my husband and me all over. https://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/wedding_whistle.html

    A friend had the section of “The Velveteen Rabbit” about “what is real?” I read that at her wedding and remember it as one of the most perfect passages ever.

    On Manifestos:
    I wrote something this summer, although I thought of it more of as my 4 top priorities. I have it written in my planner and posted on a wall, and put regular reminders to look at it to keep me refreshed.

    ~ Raising my kids to be good global citizens.
    ~ Encouraging and supporting my husband and his goals.
    ~ Keeping a pleasant and healthy home environment.
    ~ Keeping my mind active and my self even.

  • Amy Westervelt

    I love that you talked about wedding readings this week! I’m getting married in six weeks, and was just stressing last night about this very question. My fiance and I are not religious, and I find a lot of the other readings I’ve come across to be very cheesy. But last night we found a poem that we think is GREAT: “Love” by Roy Croft: http://daryld.com/love/

    Maybe you guys can share some happiness tips for planning weddings in an upcoming episode!

    Thanks for the show–I love it.

    -Amy in Aspen, CO

  • Maggie Penton

    I LOVE the idea of a Manifesto!

    I’m going to start with my Marriage Manifesto, so far it only has a few pieces, but I expect I’ll add more.

    1) Say Yes whenever you can (I’m a rebel, so I think it’s important for me to consciously try to overcome my natural inclination…)

    2) Be generous with “thanks” and praise

    3) Say good things behind his back/Don’t make jokes at his expense

    4) Have a secret handshake/code word (for example, when I need help with the kids or have a project I’m having trouble tackling on my own we say “Expecto Potronum!” as a fun way to ask for help…but also serious)

    • gretchenrubin

      Great manifesto – and I love the idea of having a code word/phrase. Especially one from Harry Potter!

  • H. Finch

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned anything from Kahlil Gibran. There are so many good ones. My honey dude and I eloped but on the invites for our get together we had the quote about “the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

    • Kara

      we had this reading at our wedding!

  • gametime2210

    Still love our wedding reading 15 years later. So perfect for that day and every day. It’s called “Look To This Day” by Kalidasa.

    Look to this day, for it is life,
    the very life of life.
    In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence
    the joy of growth
    the splendor of action
    the glory of power.

    For yesterday is but a memory
    And tomorrow is only a vision.
    But today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
    and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

    Look well, therefore, to this day.

  • My husband and I read to each other. I read two things to him: an Edna St Vincent Millay poem from a book of her poetry that he had given me:

    “When we are old and these rejoicing veins
    Are frosty channels to a muted stream,
    And out of all our burning their remains
    No feeblest spark to fire us, even in dream,
    This be our solace: that it was not said
    When we were young and warm and in our prime,
    Upon our couch we lay as lie the dead,
    Sleeping away the unreturning time.
    O sweet, O heavy-lidded, O my love,
    When morning strikes her spear upon the land,
    And we must rise and arm us and reprove
    The insolent daylight with a steady hand,
    Be not discountenanced if the knowing know
    We rose from rapture but an hour ago.”

    And a piece from “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman:

    “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?”

    This is what Bill said to me: (I don’t know where it came from.)

    “Our love has a pattern like a dance. We do not need to hold on tightly because we move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but joyous and swift and free, creating a rhythm together and being nourished by it.
    When I think of what love is and how seldom love is answered by love—marry me—it is one of the moments for which this world was made.”

  • Jayme

    For our reading we had “The Art of Marriage”…still love it.

    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 the years.

    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 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.

    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.

    It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

    The Art of Marriage by Wilferd A. Peterson

  • Jessica

    One of my best friends had me read “A Lovely Love Story,” a children’s book about two dinosaurs falling in love. It was perfect for them–funny, cute and sentimental.

  • Marianne Liang

    A Practical Wedding has great posts about readings and poems (and everything else) for weddings. They talk a lot about doing what will make you happy, instead of what would make someone else happy, which can be rare in the wedding-planning arena. They definitely helped me stay happy and (mostly) sane during the wedding planning process.

    http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/03/sample-wedding-readings/
    http://apracticalwedding.com/2015/05/best-love-poems-for-wedding/

  • Betsy Rumble

    I alleviate digital distraction with knitting. My hairdresser often observes how lovely it is to have someone in the chair that is actively engaged both in an activity and in conversation with her – rather than studying their phone. She is thinking about keeping boxes of squares to knit for charity blankets at the stations in her salon to encourage more of this!

  • Rachel

    Love the Podcast, we had the following reading at our wedding, it still makes me cry:

    A Birthday BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI
    My heart is like a singing bird
    Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
    My heart is like an apple-tree
    Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
    My heart is like a rainbow shell
    That paddles in a halcyon sea;
    My heart is gladder than all these
    Because my love is come to me.

    Raise me a dais of silk and down;
    Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
    Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
    And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
    Work it in gold and silver grapes,
    In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
    Because the birthday of my life
    Is come, my love is come to me.

  • Sarah H. Campbell

    Hi, I’m the Sarah who posed the question about the ceremony readings. I’ve so enjoyed reading all of your suggestions. Thank you all so much! It’s so fun sharing this big moment with the Happier community.

    • Padma Krishnan

      thank you for the question Sarah,
      so fun to read all this

    • Padma Krishnan

      I forgot to add, best wishes!!!

      • Sarah H. Campbell

        Thank you, Padma!

    • gretchenrubin

      Sarah! THANK YOU for posing a question that has provoked such fascinating responses. It is so fun to read people’s suggestions. You’ll have to let us know what you pick for your wedding!

      • Sarah H. Campbell

        You’re welcome, thank you for using it. I love the podcast and look forward to it every week, so it was such a treat to hear my question. I will definitely let you know what we choose! Cheers.

    • Kristie C

      Hi Sarah- I should probably use a “habit” to respond more quickly to podcast requests because I had a similar dilemma and this has been on my ‘to-do’ list because I hope it helps you or someone else who looks here. Ours were:
      1. “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton (it is kind of silly and involves dinosaurs, which was PERFECT for us – we are both pediatricians- and much enjoyed by my 5 year old twin nephew ring-bearers, who were enraptured by a surprise ‘storytime’ segment in this grown-up event
      2. “People are like Cities” excerpt from Wild Awake by Hilary Smith
      3. a poem written by my late grandmother, which really made me feel her presence at the ceremony. Maybe search old love letters for a quote of something written by a relative if these are available?
      All my best wishes to you as you prepare for your special day!

  • Jen G.

    My husband and I just got married six weeks ago, and I loved our readings. We used How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog by Taylor Mali:

    First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
    especially in a city like New York.
    So think long and hard before deciding on love.
    On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
    when you’re walking down the street late at night
    and you have a leash on love
    ain’t no one going to mess with you.
    Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
    Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

    On cold winter nights, love is warm.
    It lies between you and lives and breathes
    and makes funny noises.
    Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
    It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

    Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
    But come home and love is always happy to see you.
    It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
    but you can never be mad at love for long.

    Is love good all the time? No! No!
    Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

    Love makes messes.
    Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
    Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
    Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
    Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
    and swat love on the nose,
    not so much to cause pain,
    just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

    Sometimes love just wants to go out for a nice long walk.
    Because love loves exercise. It will run you around the block
    and leave you panting, breathless. Pull you in different directions
    at once, or wind itself around and around you
    until you’re all wound up and you cannot move.

    But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
    People who have nothing in common but love
    stop and talk to each other on the street.

    Throw things away and love will bring them back,
    again, and again, and again.
    But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
    And in return, love loves you and never stops.

    and sections from The Country of Marriage by Wendell Berry:

    III.

    Sometimes our life reminds me
    of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
    and in that opening a house,
    an orchard and garden,
    comfortable shades, and flowers
    red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
    made in the light for the light to return to.
    The forest is mostly dark, its ways
    to be made anew day after day, the dark
    richer than the light and more blessed,
    provided we stay brave
    enough to keep on going in.

    V.

    Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange
    of my love and work for yours, so much for so much
    of an expendable fund. We don’t know what its limits are–
    that puts us in the dark. We are more together
    than we know, how else could we keep on discovering
    we are more together than we thought?
    You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
    and you are the known place to which the unknown is always
    leading me back. More blessed in you than I know,
    I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing
    not belittled by my saying that I possess it.
    Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing
    a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only
    accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light
    enough to live, and then accepts the dark,
    passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I
    have fallen tine and again from the great strength
    of my desire, helpless, into your arms.

  • Carol

    I loved the idea of the manifesto! Will definitely work on that! I think I’ll do one for life in general, one for challenging situations, one for marriage, and one for my blog/business idea!

    And here’s a quote I love:

    “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”

    ― Robert Fulghum

  • Carol C

    Did my apple podcast app have a glitch? There was an ad spliced right in the middle of your gold star/demerit section in Episode 76.

    • gretchenrubin

      There WAS a glitch, now fixed.

      Good ears!

  • Jessyka

    In relation to your gold star, thank you for helping me discover this Limetown podcast! I just started it after finishing your latest podcast episode and I love it! It’s perfect timing, too: I was about to go on a hunt for a good fictional book to bite into, and this podcast is just what I was looking for.

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! great to hear you enjoy it as much as we do.

  • kaleighcornelison

    Similar to the gal who wrote in, we used e.e. cummings – i carry your heart. We also used Desdirata by Max Ehrman. It’s says so much and is my fave poem. If also suggest checking out Offbeat Bride. They have tons of suggestions for readings.

  • Kristie Byorek

    Love by Roy Croft

  • Rebecca_LGM

    Ithaka, by C.P. Cavafy

    As you set out for Ithaka
    hope the voyage is a long one,
    full of adventure, full of discovery.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
    you’ll never find things like that on your way
    as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
    as long as a rare excitement
    stirs your spirit and your body.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
    unless you bring them along inside your soul,
    unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time;
    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
    to buy fine things,
    mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    sensual perfume of every kind—
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    and may you visit many Egyptian cities
    to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
    Arriving there is what you are destined for.
    But do not hurry the journey at all.
    Better if it lasts for years,
    so you are old by the time you reach the island,
    wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her you would not have set out.
    She has nothing left to give you now.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
    Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
    you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

    Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

    (C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

  • Jessica Burdick

    “Instructions for Life in the New Millenium” by his holiness the 14th Dali 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.”

    “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, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with ”When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” – 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 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 we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover and even teacher. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, for after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.”

  • Emily Herrick

    I am just starting a new second career as a wedding celebrant (one who creates personalized wedding ceremonies with couples, then officiates at their wedding), so I’m excited to contribute to the wedding readings request. Here are the ones my husband and I had at our wedding in 2008.

    “To Be One 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?

    “Touched by an Angel”
    By 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.

    “Excerpt From 100 Love Sonnets”
    By Pablo Neruda

    I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

    I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way

    than this: Where “I” does not exist, nor “You”, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

    “Excerpts From The Couple’s Tao Te Ching”
    By William Martin

    Your love is a great mystery.
    It is like an eternal lake whose waters
    are always still and clear like glass.
    Looking into it, you can see the truth
    about your life.

    It is like a deep well whose waters
    are cool and pure.
    Drinking from it, you can be reborn.

    You do not have to stir the waters
    or dig the well.
    Merely see yourself clearly
    and drink deeply.

    Your love requires space in which to grow.
    This space must be safe enough to allow
    your hearts to be revealed.
    It must offer refreshment for your spirits
    and renewal for your minds.
    It must be a space made sacred by the
    quality of your honesty, attention,
    love and compassion.
    It may be anywhere, inside or out,
    but it must exist.

  • Amber

    We had this excerpt from “Everything is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer read at our wedding.

    “They made for themselves a sanctuary from Trachimbrod, a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn’t have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler’s felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does”

  • Holly

    This is my manifesto, a quote from Amelia Earhart. I shorten it into “the rest is merely tenacity” and “the fears are paper tigers” and “the process is its own reward”, depending on the situation.

    “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
    -Amelia Earhart

  • Kate Viggiano Janich

    Wedding poem by Andrea C. Viggiano

    Say yes.
    As you said it already, on your mountain-top.
    Keep saying yes. Say it today,
    again, meaning it forever.
    But say yes to the small things too—
    yes to that notion, that dream,
    that impulse, that feeling—
    yes to everyday things, every day.
    Yes to the morning.
    Let’s do this. Yes.
    Do you like that? Yes.
    Shall we? Yes.
    Can I? Will you? Yes. Yes.
    Yes lets everything happen.
    Yes is the wide sky,
    the blue air, freedom.
    Yes is joy.
    –Andrea C. Viggiano


    We had a beautiful, sunny wedding in a botanical garden in San Luis Obispo, CA. It was officiated by my close friend, and everyone played a part. My mother wrote a poem for us, and to this day, 7 years later, even after bumps and kids and trials and joys – I read it and think – Yes. We all need to remember to say Yes. (Note, we got engaged on a hike.)

    • Sarah H. Campbell

      Kate,

      This is so lovely and really embodies the spirit of our relationship. We also got married on a hike to our favorite waterfall! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Michael

      That IS lovely.

  • Nancy

    For our wedding we had a reading from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

    On Marriage:

    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But 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 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 the lute are alone 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.

  • Diane Ward

    Thank you for the question about wedding readings…it was really nice to revisit our wedding 17 years ago and to be reminded of the special words that were said. A beautiful day at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park….dressed in our finest hiking clothes.

    We had two readings at our wedding.

    Part of “On Marriage” by Kahlil Gibran
    ….
    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.

    And

    Benediction of the Apaches

    “Now you will feel no rain,
    For each of you will be shelter to the other.
    Now you will feel no cold,
    For each of you will be warmth to the other.
    Now there is no more loneliness for you.
    For each of you will be companion to the other.
    Now you are two bodies,
    But there is only one Life before you.
    Go now to your dwelling place,
    To enter into the days of your togetherness.
    And may your days be good and long upon the earth”

  • Janelle Ciolek

    My husband and I are huge dog lovers, so when we got married last year we wanted to incorporate something dog related. Especially since we had a destination wedding and couldn’t have our dogs there! He found “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali. We adapted/shortened it and had it read during our ceremony. It was fun and unique!

  • Caroline Starr Rose

    I wrote a writer’s manifesto when my first novel debuted four years ago. In talking with a dear friend who released a book in July, I realized many of those ideas had (happily!) taken hold — or at least continued to serve as my ideal. As I was preparing to revisit my manifesto with my blog readers, this podcast appeared in my inbox. I listened in last night.

    Here’s a peek: http://carolinestarrrose.com/writers-manifesto-four-years-later/

  • At our 2010 wedding we included a passage from a then recent ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court giving marriage rights to all. Even though it speak of marriage in a functional way it is still beautiful and reminds me all at once that marriage is a commitment every day and requires work but that what comes from it is so much more than just a “social institution” I love the phrase, “among life’s momentous acts of self definition”:

    “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 benefits, balanced with important obligations. Without question, marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” Marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideal of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…Because it fulfills 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.”

    • ejranville

      I remember reading that and weeping at the beauty of the prose when the decision came down. Most excellent choice!

    • Beverly West

      We included this in our wedding, too, in 2012. I just love it!

  • Hi! Great episode, as always.

    I wanted to share what I had read at my wedding. I got married a little over a year ago, and we had a very light bookish theme. We are not religious, and I wanted something that was very us. Because we love books, and I love dinosaurs, we had A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton read.

    It’s a very sweet story of two dinosaurs that fall in love.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lovely-Love-Story-Edward-Monkton/dp/0740763083

    Good luck!

  • Eleanor

    Hi – Love the podcast! Here is the reading from our wedding, which still moves me today, it’s called ‘The Confirmation’ by Edwin Muir: https://empapers.com/blogs/news/118766085-my-favorite-love-poem – This post has a pic from our wedding, the expression on my face as my sister reads it is a little weird, but it’s because I was on the verge of tears!

    I’ve also got a free mini-poster printable of the poem you can download here: https://empapers.com/blogs/news/valentine-poem-free-printable

  • ejranville

    I like the idea of a manifesto, but have a question on whether each statement is how I currently behave or my desired state? And if the second, how does one get from here to there. Thanks.

  • Beverly West

    Wedding readings:

    At our wedding in 2012, we used the court opinion mentioned by another listener (http://disq.us/p/1as5ovx), and an excerpt from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book True Love (it is a short book, very much worth the time, even if you don’t find something for your wedding readings).

    Also, “Just Be” by Paloma Faith is such an accurate, simple, and sweet reminder of the truth of deep, long-lasting love. An excerpt from it might be a good short reading:

    Let’s get old together
    Let’s be unhappy forever
    ‘Cause there’s no one in this world
    That I’d rather be unhappy with
    Let’s be exposed and unprotected
    Let’s see one another when we’re weak
    Let’s go our separate ways in the night
    Like two moths
    But know that you’re flying home to me.

    I was born thinking
    It would all be dreamy
    But I know that I wouldn’t be happy
    That way
    You wear me out with frustration and
    Heartache and anger
    But we wait for the wave to wash it away

    Don’t say nothing
    Just sit next to me
    Don’t say nothing, shh
    Just be, just be, just be.

    Let’s let go together
    Let us unfold one another
    And watch all the little things that
    Once drew me to you
    Eventually get on my nerves

    I wear you out with frustration
    And heartache and anger
    But we wait for the wave just to wash it away

    Don’t say nothing
    Just sit next to me
    Don’t say nothing shh
    Just be, just be, just be.

    When you’re sick of the every day
    When you’re tired of my voice
    When you tell me
    You’ll walk out that door
    That’s when I know that you’ll stay.

    Don’t say nothing
    Just sit next to me
    Don’t say nothing
    Just be, just be
    Just don’t say nothing
    Just sit next to me,
    Say nothing
    Just be, just be, just be.

    Don’t say nothing, shh.

  • Michael

    A Wedding Reading:

    A modest hut built upon people’s habitat
    Yet noiseless of horse or carriage
    How can this be?
    A simple mind keeps the place remote.

    Picking chrysanthemums along the eastern hedge
    Returning geese come into view
    In this there is truth
    In speaking it I have forgotten the words.

    A Chinese poem, as remembered 25 years later

  • Cindy

    I love the poem “Ithaka” by Constantine Cavafy for a wedding:
    Ithaka

    As you set out for Ithaka
    hope the voyage is a long one,
    full of adventure, full of discovery.
    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
    you’ll never find things like that on your way
    as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
    as long as a rare excitement
    stirs your spirit and your body.

    Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
    wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
    unless you bring them along inside your soul,
    unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time;
    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
    to buy fine things,
    mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    sensual perfume of every kind—
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    and may you visit many Egyptian cities
    to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
    Arriving there is what you are destined for.
    But do not hurry the journey at all.
    Better if it lasts for years,
    so you are old by the time you reach the island,
    wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her you would not have set out.
    She has nothing left to give you now.
    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
    Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
    you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

  • Megan M.

    My husband and I decided on the following poem because we both love dogs. We work for a local shelter and rescue organization through which we foster dogs (and we have two of our own). This poem spoke to us. The poem replaces the word dog with “love” and seems to ring true!

    How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog

    by Taylor Mali

    First of all, it’s a big responsibility,

    especially in a city like New York.

    So think long and hard before deciding on love.

    On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:

    when you’re walking down the street late at night

    and you have a leash on love

    ain’t no one going to mess with you.

    Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.

    Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

    On cold winter nights, love is warm.

    It lies between you and lives and breathes

    and makes funny noises.

    Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.

    It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

    Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.

    But come home and love is always happy to see you.

    It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,

    but you can never be mad at love for long.

    Is love good all the time? No! No!

    Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

    Love makes messes.

    Love leaves you little surprises here and there.

    Love needs lots of cleaning up after.

    Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.

    Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper

    and swat love on the nose,

    not so much to cause pain,

    just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

    Sometimes love just wants to go out for a nice long walk.

    Because love loves exercise. It will run you around the block

    and leave you panting, breathless. Pull you in different directions

    at once, or wind itself around and around you

    until you’re all wound up and you cannot move.

    But love makes you meet people wherever you go.

    People who have nothing in common but love

    stop and talk to each other on the street.

    Throw things away and love will bring them back,

    again, and again, and again.

    But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.

    And in return, love loves you and never stops.

  • Kristin Wellsand

    I just listened to this episode on the way to work this morning and NEEDED to chime in about the Apple Watch…my manager got one last fall and I HATE IT! Most of our interaction is casual (passing in the hall, stopping by each other’s office) and so in the middle of a conversation (work related or not) he is constantly glancing at his watch to check every email that comes in. Previously when it was his phone he had to pull out of his pocket, he would check only if got a text or several email notifications back to back. I’ve started stopping my side of the conversation when he does this in hopes he’ll get the message that it’s rude, but no luck so far. As far as a society norm, are we supposed to accept this compulsive wrist checking in a way most of us would not accept phone checking? Am I being unreasonable? I understand we are in a high-tech production environment, but the rest of us are able to get thru a conversation without this behavior. I’d be curious to see what others think.

    • gretchenrubin

      This is a great point. He’s probably not even aware of it!

  • Sam

    BLESSING FOR A MARRIAGE
    ~ James Dillet Freeman ~

    May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
    May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.

    May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
    May you want one another, but not out of lack.
    May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
    May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
    May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
    May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.

    If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

    May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
    May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
    May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

    • Angela

      this is really beautiful.

  • Katie Jones

    One of the readings at my wedding was an excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit (one of my personal childhood favorites). While the contexts are obviously very different, I love how it frames what real love is.

    Reading:

    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 all 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.”

  • Cherie Louise

    My favorite reading from my wedding is a children’s book called “Your Personal Penguin.” It particularly resonated with my husband and I because we love to travel. It’s short, so here goes . . .

    I like you a lot. You’re funny and kind. So let me explain what I have in mind . . .
    I want to be your personal penguin. I want to walk right by your side.
    I want to be your personal penguin.
    I want to travel with you far and wide.
    Wherever you go, I’ll go there, too.
    Here and there and everywhere and always with you.
    I want to be your personal penguin from now on.
    Now, lots of other penguins seem to do fine in a universe of nothing but ice.
    But if I could be yours and you could be mine, our cozy little world would be twice as nice.
    I want to be your personal penguin. I want to talk to you night and day.
    I want to be your personal penguin. I want to listen to whatever you say.
    Look at these wings, so perfect to hold you. I’d like to say it again what I have already told you.
    Let me be your personal penguin.
    Imagine me, your personal penguin.
    I want to be your personal penguin from now on. (Please?)

    And thank you for a great podcast! It always inspires me!

    • Crystal Mallozzi

      YES! I love this book so much. Great one!

  • Katy K.

    One of our wedding readings was the I Corinthians reading (“Love is patient, love is kind…”), but we had this ee cummings poem printed on the service cards:

    since feeling is first
    who pays any attention
    to the syntax of things
    will never wholly kiss you;
    wholly to be a fool
    while Spring is in the world

    my blood approves,
    and kisses are a better fate
    than wisdom
    lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
    –the best gesture of my brain is less than
    your eyelids’ flutter which says

    we are for each other: then
    laugh, leaning back in my arms
    for life’s not a paragraph

    And death i think is no parenthesis

  • A reading, from the French mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

    “Love is an adventure and a conquest. It survives and develops like the universe itself only by perpetual discovery. The only right love is that between couples whose passion leads them both, one through the other, to a higher possession of their being. Put your faith in the spirit which dwells between the two of you. You have each offered yourself to the other as a boundless field of understanding, of enrichment, of mutually increased sensibility. You will meet above all by entering into and constantly sharing one another’s thoughts, affections, and dreams. There alone, as you know, in spirit, which is arrived through flesh, you will find no disappointments, no limits. There alone the skies are ever open for your love; there alone lies the great road ahead.”

  • santaclams

    Was just at a wedding this weekend and the mothers of the bride and groom read Pablo Neruda’s “Love Sonnet 17” which really spoke to me. Found on and introduced by Stylist.co.uk:

    It was written for Matilde Urrutia, Pablo’s third wife and really gives a taste of love as an elusive concept that is always felt and experienced but never truly captured as a tangible thing.

    I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,

    or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

    I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

    in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

    I love you as the plant that never blooms

    but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

    thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

    risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

    I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

    so I love you because I know no other way

    than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

    so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

    so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

  • Kaitlin

    I saw a few Kahlil Gibran “On Marriage” readings posted. We had his passage “On Love” on our wedding programs. We also had a friend sing “The Irish Wedding song”, which was lovely.

    “When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
    And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
    To know the pain of too much tenderness.
    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
    To return home at eventide with gratitude;
    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips”

  • Linnea Curington

    I spend my days at home teaching our five lovely children, and after listening to your show I was inspired to write a homeschooling manifesto! Here it is:

    1. Get in the sun. (Go outside as much as possible.)

    2. Make it fun. (Painting, projects, experiments, plays, field trips—mix things up and don’t be afraid to get messy or be unconventional.)

    3. Get it done. (Be diligent in the basics—pencil and paper math, writing, grammar, etc.—but be efficient about it. Do it early in the day and NO busy work!)

    4. Read a ton. (Books, books, books! Read on a blanket in the fresh air, read under a big pile of blankets. Read the classics aloud, read all the fun picture books. Read the Bible together in the morning and missionary biographies before bed. Loads of reading time is one of the luxuries of a homeschooling family—enjoy it!)

    5. One-on-one. (Set aside 15 minutes of complete one-on-one time for each child, each day—read together or play a game, but mostly just lavish that child with 100% of your attention and affirm his or her value in the family.)

    It was so fun to write! Thanks for the suggestion and for your podcast. It makes me happy. 🙂

  • David

    In response to searches for wedding readings – here is a poem I wrote for my wife https://rustymidnightramblins.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/i-can-never-love-you/

  • AF

    We had two readings – this one (and then a religious one from Romans):

    ON LOVE
    ~Thomas à Kempis (1379-1471)

    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.

    And we had this printed on our wedding program:

    MARRIAGE
    ~ By Mary Weston Fordham ~

    The die is cast, come weal, come woe,
    Two lives are joined together,
    For better or for worse, the link
    Which naught but death can sever.
    The die is cast, come grief, come joy
    Come richer, or come poorer,
    If love but binds the mystic tie,
    Blest is the bridal hour.

  • chel_seapy

    Just catching up on Happier from the past few weeks, but wanted to share! My husband and I are both musicians/music teachers. A good friend of ours offered to write us a choral piece as our wedding gift from him. We were THRILLED, and obviously accepted his generous offer (compositional commissions can be VERY pricey), and because we already had so many musician friends attending the wedding, we had a choir of about 40 people premier the composition during the ceremony. It was very special. Anyway, he asked us to pick out the text, and even though we used it as a text for a song, I think it would also work beautifully as a reading. It’s called “Wedding Hymn” and it was written by Sidney Lanier.

    Thou God, whose high, eternal Love
    Is the only blue sky of our life,
    Clear all the Heaven that bends above
    The life-road of this man and wife.

    May these two lives be but one note
    In the world’s strange-sounding harmony,
    Whose sacred music e’er shall float
    Through every discord up to Thee.

    As when from separate stars two beams
    Unite to form one tender ray:
    As when two sweet but shadowy dreams
    Explain each other in the day:

    So may these two dear hearts one light
    Emit, and each interpret each.
    Let an angel come and dwell tonight
    In this dear double-heart, and teach.

  • Julie May McDougal

    A non-religious “blessing” that was read at our wedding 5 years ago:
    Blessing of the Hands by Rev. Daniel L. Harris
    To be read while the couple clasps 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 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 aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”

    • Sarah H. Campbell

      Wow, just beautiful!

  • Mary Ellen Mahoney

    The wedding anthology “Into The Garden A Wedding Anthology” by Robert Hass and Stephen Mitchell is where we found all of our wedding readings. It was perfect for us in every way!

  • Meghann Lawrance

    Oh my goodness – picking a reading was the hardest part of our ceremony. Elizabeth you are so right that it feels so stressful when something meaningful doesn’t spring out at you. Our celebrant gave us a ton of options and we ended up spending an afternoon sifting through until we found one we both liked: (it’s unnamed and anonymous)

    Fall in love with someone who promises to make you laugh

    Fall in love with the constant feeling of being anchored to someone

    Who makes the crash of the waves bearable, someone who makes you stronger.

    Fall in love with someone who tells you that if they fall asleep

    Waiting for you to call, they’ll call you in the morning. But not too early.

    Be in love with something greater than the both of you

    That defies your superstitions.

    Be in the arms of someone you can call your lover,

    Someone that completes your heart.

    Be with someone who lets you be wrong and wades in the mistake with you.

    Fall in love and write down in your diaries “we made it through”

    Knowing there is more (good things) to come

    But most of all, hold on to that love with clenched fists and a willing heart

    P.S. Limetown is such a good podcast
    P.P.S. Elizabeth I can’t believe you and Sarah were the showrunners for Dollhouse! Incredible incredible work.

  • Crystal Mallozzi

    My favorite reading at my own wedding was from Dr. Seuss:
    We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

    • Laura Harvey

      Cute 🙂

  • Laura Harvey

    I am often plagued with persistent feelings of inadequacy. I am recently single parent, with a teenage son. My elderly father just passed away after a long and difficult health crisis, and I was a part-time caregiver. I have a demanding job that keeps me moving from the moment I enter the office until the moment I leave, and often follows me home. I have a new puppy that demands attention. I am busy, busy, busy. Yet even with so much busy-ness, I often feel like I am not spending my time wisely or not doing enough. I fret constantly about “wasting time.” This negative thinking drains my energy.

    Recently, I commented to my teenage son that I felt bad about wasting my day off just lounging around the house, and he called me on it. “Mom, you have got to be kidding? You do more than anyone I know. Stop being so damn productive. Everyone needs a rest!”

    It makes me very proud when my son is wiser than me.

    I listened to your podcast a couple of weeks ago about personal manifestos. I was inspired to write one of my own for how I spend my off time.

    Personal Time Manifesto:

    1. You will never be done with everything on your To Do List. So stop trying to be so productive!

    2. Balance free time. Choose something from each category:

    ⁃ Chores/Work/Errands;

    ⁃ Writing/Reading;

    ⁃ Pampering/Rest/Contemplation;

    ⁃ Fun/Social;

    ⁃ Shopping/Eating Out.

    3. Accept yourself and your choices. However you spend your time, stop beating yourself up. Time isn’t wasted. Celebrate the moments that make up your life, whatever they may be.

  • Jamie L

    (Yes – I’m very behind listening to episodes. . .life happens) but I just wanted to say that I got very excited about creating a manifesto. I knew very quickly in that segment that I wanted to work with the team I supervise o write our team/department manifesto together. I think it will be a great way for us to come together and communicate to the rest of the company what we are all about.

    But mostly what I wanted to do is say thank you to Gretchen for talking about creating manifestos in a “rebel-friendly” way. Gretchen basically said, do it or not, it’s OK. I actually laughed out loud because I felt like it was a message crafted (intentionally or not) to go straight to a rebel’s brain!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific!

  • Annie

    Wedding quotes: Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg is a treasure trove of wonderful quotes, reflections, etc. on marriage.

  • Gudrun De Waele

    Hello everyone, and thank you Gretchen for your amazing books and podcasts!

    Instead of ‘bring my own condiment’ I decided to ‘bring my own cinnamon’. I like cinnamon in my coffee, but here in Belgium that’s not yet common, so most coffee bars don’t have it. So I think it’s a great idea to carry a small tin of cinnamon around!
    I would also like to contribute something to the ‘wedding reading’, although I speak Dutch, so my reading is in Dutch. But how we came to it is quite a nice story, so I’ll share that. Our reading was a poem, originally written in French, by a famous Belgian writer, Emile Verhaeren, and translated and re-written by a Belgian poet, Stefaan Van den Bremt. We visited the Emile Verhaeren museum together, the year before our wedding, and the poem was painted on the floor of the museum. We read it, and instantly loved it and thougth we had to have this for our wedding… We had a traditional catholic church wedding, so not much freedom in readings, but we had the poem printed on the first page of the booklets people were given at church. I won’t post the poem, because it is in Dutch (and I don’t have it at hand), but the first line goes like this: “In the garden of our love, the summer lasts forever.” Well, that line did it for us, anyway!

  • Robin A

    After hearing the podcast and looking up Maldon salt online – I saw that it was made in the UK and, as my stepdaughter was shortly coming to visit from there, I asked her to bring a box for me. She picked it up at Morrison’s, a major supermarket chain (for about $2). It hasn’t exactly changed my life, but it is adding a whole new dimension to our home cooking. Not sure I’m ready to bring it with me wherever I go, but it is fantastic and really does make a difference in how food tastes. Thanks so much Elizabeth for sharing!

  • Sam

    I listened to this episode just this morning. While at work this must have been working in the back of my mind because as soon as I got home and saw my note to myself to create a manifesto I realized I already have 2, although I’ve never called them a manifesto, and I use them ALL THE TIME..

    Healthy Eating Manifesto
    1. Eat your veggies (and really all plants – fruit, whole grains, beans, etc)
    2. Cook from scratch (as much as possible and with as unprocessed ingredient as possible)
    3. Eat when you’re hungry (and stop when you’re satisfied)
    4. Indulge wisely (without deprivation or guilt, with enjoyment, be choosy)

    Healthy Lifestyle Manifesto
    1. Be active
    2. Eat well (see healthy eating manifesto)
    3. Sleep well
    4. Manage stress

    It makes me want to make one over-arching manifesto on what a good life means for me. … Then frame it nicely and hang it on the wall!

    • gretchenrubin

      Wonderful! Great ideas.

  • Reena

    Re: Manifestos — I am the co-director of a non-profit that supports musicians who do a specific type of cross-cultural work – our goal is to build the community of musicians who do this work, but of course, my Co-Director and I built the organization because we have dedicated our own careers to this work. It’s a delicate balance, when we put on big events, for us to know how to balance our own work with the work of the other musicians we support. While we don’t have a full manifesto (yet..!!), I realized the other day that this one statement has been guiding us for years:

    “This is not the Reena and Payton show.”

    It’s amazing how this one statement focuses us, and I was thinking a lot about how you and Elizabeth strike this balance so beautifully in your podcast – yes, it’s true, the two of you are running the show, and you do talk about your own lives, but I feel that it is always in service to the goal of helping your listeners strategize about happiness. There is never any of that ridiculous banter that you sometimes hear on podcasts where the hosts just assume you want to spend your time hearing about random minutia of their lives, and yet we do hear enough about your and Elizabeth’s lives to feel like we can relate to what you’re saying.

    In our organization, we think about this balance a lot, and we always ask ourselves, before every large event we do “Is this becoming the Reena and Payton show?” and it focuses us towards the right balance. It’s not that we shouldn’t be represented, because our work is important and valuable to our community, but we want to make sure that, in this particular context, it’s in the service of supporting and encouraging growth within the organization.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks so much for the kind words – and a great phrase to sum up that kind of balance.

  • Ali C

    I went through selecting readings for our wedding three months ago, and I used the “Apache Wedding Blessing” already mentioned, as well as:

    “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.

    * * Another one that didn’t make the cut, but that I found and liked was:

    “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
    And when it subsides, you have to make a decision.
    You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
    Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement,
    it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion.
    That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.
    Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

    – Louis de Bernieres

  • Angela Libby Jankousky

    I loved the listener manifestos. (Connect before you correct. Brilliant!) Will you be collecting them in a pdf? Hint. Hint.

  • ClareyMac

    I know I’m three months behind on this but I really wanted to share one of my wedding readings as I just loved it so much! It was an except from Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist:
    “It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just
    as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the
    boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only
    woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the
    same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He
    had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love
    and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who
    felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when
    you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the
    world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some
    great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their
    eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only
    that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun
    has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and
    creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love,
    one’s dreams would have no meaning.”