Collecting articles and insights on marriage, with the Baha'i Writings in mind.

Blog List

Aug 17, 2015

Love, No Matter What (Ted): Accept Yourself (and of course, others)

Last week I was attending some programs on reducing anxiety and depression. 
Developed within a coherent theoretical and philosophical framework, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in the service of chosen values.

Jul 27, 2015

What to look for in a spouse (Elika)

What to look for in a Spouse?

Several friends have approached me with questions about what to look for in a spouse.  My husband and I came up with a list of questions to ask yourself when getting to know someone.  Please add more to the list.
  1. Do they give you the space and support to be the person you are supposed to be not the person they want you to be?
  2. Are they kind?
  3. Do they create unity around them (what is their relationship with friends and family)?
  4. Do they bring out the best in you?
  5. Do you communicate well together?
  6. What are the things about them that annoy you or you don’t like and can you live with those?
  7. What are the spiritual qualities you see in them?
  8. Do they put their faith at the centre of their lives?
  9. Are they in a learning mode and are they trying to overcome their challenges?
  10. How do they deal with challenges?
  11. What is their attitude towards life? Are they optimistic, positive thinkers?
  12. Do they see stumbling blocks or do they see stepping stones? Do they see the problem or do they see the opportunity?
  13. Do they bring you peace of mind?
I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have more ideas of what to look for please post them below.

Jul 26, 2015

Helping Families Cope, Heal and Deal With Domestic Violence

Some interesting resources here:

When you google the above you will find lots of resources online in the US and probably in other countries around the world.

Safe houses and Shelters often have resources for women, men and children to find safe places, and places to start to heal, rebuild lives and relationships with themselves and others.

May 15, 2015

Two Traits for Long Lasting Relationships (Business Insider)

Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.

Every day in June, the most popular wedding month of the year, about 13,000 American couples will say “I do,” committing to a lifelong relationship that will be full of friendship, joy, and love that will carry them forward to their final days on this earth.
Except, of course, it doesn’t work out that way for most people.
The majority of marriages fail, either ending in divorce and separation or devolving into bitterness and dysfunction.
Of all the people who get married, only three in ten remain in healthy, happy marriages, as psychologist Ty Tashiro points out in his book "The Science of Happily Ever After," which was published earlier this year.
Social scientists first started studying marriages by observing them in action in the 1970s in response to a crisis: Married couples were divorcing at unprecedented rates. Worried about the impact these divorces would have on the children of the broken marriages, psychologists decided to cast their scientific net on couples, bringing them into the lab to observe them and determine what the ingredients of a healthy, lasting relationship were.
Was each unhappy family unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy claimed, or did the miserable marriages all share something toxic in common?
Psychologist John Gottman was one of those researchers. For the past four decades, he has studied thousands of couples in a quest to figure out what makes relationships work. I recently had the chance to interview Gottman and his wife Julie, also a psychologist, in New York City. Together, the renowned experts on marital stability run The Gottman Institute, which is devoted to helping couples build and maintain loving, healthy relationships based on scientific studies.

May 8, 2015

Giving Up or Gaining? The Mystery of Sacrifice in Marriage

Remember to stay connected with each other no matter what is going on in your lives! 

Sacrifice is an essential element of a strong marriage. We give up the lesser important for the most important.
I have been grappling with sacrifice for the last few weeks. In consultation and prayer we decided that my husband needed to work towards being self-employed. In part to accomplish fulfilling his passion, I have chosen to help set up his home office, take on managing our finances and tax preparation, and help with creating his business. Website design, contracts, copyright issues, and more have become my world.
It has required sacrifice to accomplish this goal, which is about jointly creating our future together. We are viewing this process like the sacrifice a seed must make to become a mighty tree. What a challenge this has been when my work related to serving relationships and marriage is definitely not “less important”! We decided that this temporary sacrifice was vital, however.

The Single Life | The Science of Love

How To Connect With Anyone

Apr 30, 2015

Teaching Ourselves to Let Go Lovingly

‘Abdu’l-Baha tells us what to do with angry thoughts:
When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.6
In a pilgrim note attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, we’re told that the best antidote to anger is to sacrifice our self, our talent, our time, and even our rest to someone who has to bear a heavier load than we do:
Be not the slave of your moods, but their master. But if you are so angry, so depressed and so sore that your spirit cannot find deliverance and peace even in prayer, then quickly go and give some pleasure to someone lowly or sorrowful, or to a guilty or innocent sufferer! Sacrifice yourself, your talent, your time, your rest to another, to one who has to bear a heavier load than you.13

Apr 29, 2015

When a Woman/Man Feels Respected - Everything (I mean everything) is Better

This is a great video from a professor in Arizona.

Putting our partners needs before our own.
Usually there is one giver and one taker.
The taker likes taking. The giver is left depleted.
But if both partners have the idea of being of service to the other, then there is a possibility of good marriage.

"Oh, I accidentally hurt you. I'm really sorry, let me take ownership of this."

This has beautiful ripple effects.

The payoff is great...

Apr 27, 2015

Let the Learning Begin: The Work by Byron Katie

Found a cool place recently, RUAH.  RUAH is a Hebrew word for "Breath of God". RUAH is also an acronym that founder Ms. Jo named the house she bought and transformed into a healing center - right in my hometown, Naperville. Respite for Understanding, Acceptance and Healing.

Loved seeing it - the lovely backyard, the different rooms for education and healing, the two little dogs running around. The children of different practitioners or visitors playing with the dogs. The different rooms, including a movie room, library, massage room, future yoga room, warmly decorated, available for use by different teachers and trainers to offer a class or course.

Have been interested in using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) of releasing negative thoughts and emotions through tapping on accupressure points along the meridians. I learned about EFT back in 2002. I've known that my emotions of feeling angry, hurt, jealous, etc. have overwhelmed me and my thinking, decision making, choices, relationships for years, just wasn't sure how to tackle it effectively all this time with all the resources available: prayer, trust in God, exercise, diet, physical and emotional balance, learning to put the thoughts in the right place...

Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.  (Baha’u’llah, Hidden Words, Arabic 22)
Talked with a nice person I met at an EFT meeting there (more about EFT and nobility later), about my goals and she recommended that I learn about Byron Katie's journey and work as well. So that is what I'm doing. I'm listening to her talks and doing a worksheet called "Judge Your Neighbor" in order to acknowledge a painful thought/idea and then learn how to 'turn it around' where you take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings.

 Learning not to concern oneself with the faults of others seems to be one of the most difficult lessons for people to master, and that failing in this is a fertile cause of disputes among Bahá’ís as it is among men and women in general.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 89)

Apr 18, 2015

Advice given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha to a believer about marriage and family life

‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a talk, December 22, 1918, Haifa; Star of the West, vol. 11, no. 1, March 21, 1920

Now that thou art returning to America thou must think of taking unto thyself a wife. Do thou choose a girl who may be suitable to thy intellectual and spiritual ideals. She must be wise, intelligent, and a symbol of aspiring perfection. She must take an interest in all the problems pertaining to thy life, and be thy companion and partner in every phase of thy existence. She must be sympathetic, kind-hearted, happy, and endowed with a joyful disposition. Then thou must devote thyself to her happiness and love her with a glorious, spiritual love.

Before choosing a wife a man must think soberly and seriously that this girl will be his friend throughout all his life. It is not a temporary matter. She is a soul with whom he must associate all the days of his life; she will be his mate and his intimate confidant; therefore, day by day their love and their attachment to each other must increase.

The greatest bond that will unite the hearts of man and wife is faithfulness and loyalty. Both must exercise toward each other the utmost faithfulness and loyalty and not let any trace of jealousy creep between them; for this thing like unto poison vitiates the very foundation of love.

Apr 3, 2015

Oprah| Secret to a Great Marriage - Honesty, Sacrifice...

This just in [click link] ... hope you can enjoy:
  1. We get to be on this adventure called life together
  2. Honesty and healing and dealing with our own selves, bringing a strong, healthy person to the relationship...Marriage is as happy as the least healthy person in it...
  3. 3rd kind of love: Sacrifice for their thriving....Wanting to the best for each other and doing things for that
  4. Learn to fight well together... "Help me see what you're seeing that I'm not seeing" *When you get married you get a 2nd set of eyes.  When you get children... even more....
21. O SON OF MAN! 
Upon the tree of effulgent glory I have hung for thee the choicest fruits, wherefore hast thou turned away and contented thyself with that which is less good? Return then unto that which is better for thee in the realm on high.

Mar 15, 2015

The Marriage of Shoghi Effendi with Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum

The Marriage of Shoghi Effendi – recalled by his wife Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum (nee, Mary Maxwell) in The Priceless Pearl (taken from Baha'i Stories)

The marriage of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, with Mary Maxwell of Canada (later to be known as Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum - which means: Maidservant of Bahá, Lady Ruhiyyih) took place on 25 March 1937 in Haifa, Israel. Many years later in her book about Shoghi Effendi, ‘The Priceless Pearl’, Ruhiyyih Khanum describes the circumstances surrounding her wedding and help us appreciate the incredible simplicity of the event - reminiscent of the simplicity of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own marriage in the prison-city of 'Akká – and its thought-provoking example to Bahá'ís everywhere:

No one, with the exception of his parents, my parents and a brother and two sisters of his living in Haifa, knew it was to take place. He felt strongly urged to keep it a secret, knowing from past experience how much trouble any major event in the Cause invariably stirred up. It was therefore a stunning surprise to both the servants and the local Baha'is when his chauffeur drove him off, with me beside him, to visit the Holy Tomb of Baha'u'llah on the afternoon of 25 March 1937. His heart drew him to that Most Sacred Spot on earth at such a moment in his life.. . .

Feb 16, 2015

M.A.R.R.I.A.G.E. (Elika)

And I’ll leave you with a creative comment:
M ake allowances for the other’s weaknesses and shortcomings
A ccept your spouse with all his/her smooth and rough edges
R espond to the other’s needs with a heart full of love and compassion
R eason issues out 2gether and the day and night can only get better
I f the fire of love seems to be dimming out and you find that you cannot love him/her the way you used to
A t least try to be loveable and be present for the other in body, soul, heart and spirit
G ive, give and give more of yourself and also remember that God is the third being in that relationship. Finally, know that husband and wife should be as two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of
E ach other!
Also see my related post, ‘What to look for in a spouse’? which discusses how to prepare for a successful marriage by finding a suitable mate.