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A Reading for a Wedding

A friend was looking for readings suitable for a wedding. Several acquaintances suggested a number of different ones. Some of them were good; others were impossibly idealistic and probably written by someone who will never find a relationship to be happy with. So I contributed this. I think it's fine advice for newlyweds. Others who have been married longer than I have agreed with me. (And here's some advice for those planning a wedding: Avoid anyone and everyone who specializes in weddings.)

Romance is fun but exhausting. Like drunkenness, you eventually tire of it. Every so often you feel like a bit more again, and a little is fine, but you need to be careful that you don't end up with your head spinning and your stomach lurching, wishing you had been wiser.

It is common but foolish to equate romance with love. Romance is something you can't ignore when it's around. Love is like the air: you're not conscious of it most of the time, except when it's disturbed, but you would notice its absence in one breath. And holding it back is as bad as having it withheld.

When two people are united, they do not become one, contrary to romantic myth. Two hearts do not beat as one; you will always be surprised and comforted to hear a different heartbeat so close to your ear. Two minds do not meet as one; you will always have disagreements – how could you broaden your own mind without another to force it open? Two souls do not join as one; you will on occasion look over and be surprised that you are actually living with this person, this wonderful, beautiful or frustrating person. Two voices do not sing in perfect harmony, especially not without a lot of rehearsal; the singers try to make music even of the discord, and to learn from the off notes.

If you want someone to join you in the fire, very well; be careful not to get burned. If you want someone to join you on the highest peak, make sure to bring ropes and oxygen. If you want someone to swim with you in the deepest ocean, mind you don't get the bends. If you want someone to dance with you in ecstasy for eternity, bring water bottles and linement. Me, I want someone to join me in bed, in the kitchen, for strolls, for dinner, at family events. I want someone who is worth not climbing mountains, swimming oceans, braving fire or dancing in ecstasy if that's not what that person feels like doing at the moment, however much I might want to.

I don't want just a best friend. I don't want just a lover. I want to be husband and wife.


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