To Have and To Hold: 24 Quotes About Marriage

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Marriage is an enduring and evolving tradition, and one that each married couple redefines for themselves. While matrimony takes different forms around the globe, it remains one of the most significant personal milestones and universally honored cultural practices in the world. And, slowly but surely, marriage is becoming more inclusive: There are currently 29 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Every day, engaged couples recite their vows and become newlyweds, establishing a commitment to one another that they hope will deepen and grow throughout the years. Many philosophers and writers throughout history have tried to describe this courageous and loving practice of pairing up for life. Some have compared marriage to a ship at sea or a garden passing through the seasons. Passion, friendship, laughter, and the ability to maintain both closeness and individuality are often cited as some of the most important components of a lasting union. Here are 24 quotes that speak to the love and appreciation that underlie and uplift marriage.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
— Mignon McLaughlin, writer

That we have become
as one, deep rooted in the soil
of Life and tangled in the sweet growth.
— J.R.R. Tolkien

However important it is that love shall precede marriage, it is far more important that it shall continue after marriage.
Samson Raphael Hirsch, Jewish theology writer

Marriage is the fullness of time.
— Søren Kierkegaard

So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
— Pablo Neruda

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
— Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony

May this marriage offer fruit and shade like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter, our everyday a day in paradise…
I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles in this marriage.
— Rumi

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

She’s talkin’ to me with her voice down so low, I barely hear her,
but I know what she’s sayin.’
I understand, because my heart and hers are the same,
and in January, we’re gettin’ married.
— The Avett Brothers

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.
— Khalil Gibran

Here’s the advice I give everyone about marriage — is she someone you find interesting? … Does she make you laugh? And I don’t know if you want kids, but if you do, do you think she will be a good mom? Life is long. These are the things that really matter over the long term.
— Barack Obama

can i picture us in old age
conquering the world
like we’ve got young blood
running in our veins
— Rupi Kaur, poet

What is called for is an ability on the part of the couple to “see” each other, to constantly apprehend the essence of the other.
— David Whyte, poet

You are a language I have learned by heart.
— Dana Gioia, poet

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.
— Horace

To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow — this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strength each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow.
— George Eliot

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
when I’m 64?
— The Beatles

There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
— Martin Luther

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.
— André Maurois

The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.
— Julia Child

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.
— Leo Tolstoy

Marriage is a risk; I think it’s a great and glorious risk, as long as you embark on the adventure in the same spirit.
— Cate Blanchett