Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
I remember the first time I read this poem. I was in Mrs. Samson’s 12th grade AP Literature class, and it was around the middle of the year. We had been reading, and struggling with, many sonnets that week. I was in a place of “kind of understanding” sonnets – it took me a bit of thinking to get at the heart of each message. But then, I read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, and it resonated with me almost instantly. I got it, and though I had had a couple of boyfriends, I knew that I had yet to experience the kind of love that Shakespeare was talking about, the kind of love that survives time and survives struggles, the kind of love that directs and guides.
Today marks three years of marriage for me and Jason, and over seven years of love that has changed and grown and deepened and surprised. My friend Ben read this sonnet for us at our wedding, and as he read, I was taken back to my senior year of high school, when I knew just enough about what love really was to know that I needed to keep waiting for it. Now 12 and a half years removed from AP English, all I can say is, what a lucky girl am I! I am lucky, blessed, thankful. I am so, so thankful for the man whose dreams are my dreams and whose future is my future.
Happy anniversary, my love.
I am so glad that Shakespeare really did know what he was talking about.