We really don't get excited enough about vow renewals. But really, they're kind of on another level, aren't they? Not only have you found your soulmate and married them, but that marriage has lasted, and you are celebrating that achievement with a recommitment. Really, is there anything better?
Here are seven of our favourite love poems that speak to the depth, nuance, and reality of building a loving, successful marriage. It's not all about those hot, bright, explosive moments of love—a long marriage is a slow burn. And so it should be: flames are hot but fleeting; it's the coals that will keep you warm the longest.
I'd Marry You Again by Carla Flamm
Do you know how much I love you
How much you mean to me
I can't imagine my life without you
My world would be empty
It seems like only yesterday
I first looked in your eyes
But the years have passed so quickly
Much to my surprise
The life we've made together
Our children and our home
The memories we have to cherish
How much our love has grown
Through the good times and the bad
You've been right by my side
You've made me smile,
made me laugh
And wiped my tears when I have cried
You are my husband,
and my best friend
If I had the chance to do it over
I'd marry you again.
Habitation by Margaret Atwood
Marriage is not
a house, or even a tent
it is before that, and colder:
the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back, where we squat
outdoors, eating popcorn
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived
we are learning to make fire
A Moment of Happiness by Rumi
A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.
The Earth Turned to Bring Us Closer by Eugenio Montejo
The earth turned to bring us closer,
it spun on itself and within us,
and finally joined us together in this dream
as written in the Symposium.
Nights passed by, snowfalls and solstices;
time passed in minutes and millennia.
An ox cart that was on its way to Nineveh
arrived in Nebraska.
A rooster was singing some distance from the world,
in one of the thousand pre-lives of our fathers.
The earth was spinning with its music carrying us on board;
it didn’t stop turning a single moment
as if so much love, so much that’s miraculous
was only an Adagio written long ago
in the Symposium’s score.
I’ll Be There For You by Louise Cuddon
I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.
When life is just threatening to drive you insane
When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
When the forecast said “Fine”, but you’re out in a storm
When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
And your holiday photos show only your thumb
When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
And return to discover you’ve been towed away
When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes
So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
When you break a rule, when you act the fool
When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue ’cause
I’m telling you, I’ll be there.
Sonnet 17 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.
Love is a Temporary Madness by Louis de Bernières
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 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 blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.
What poems are you using at your wedding? Tell us in the comments below!