I have often discussed with friends what makes a marriage successful and enjoy asking long time married couples any secrets they would like to share about their relationship. In order to explore this topic further and to hear from your experiences, I am having a lucky draw!
In the comment section below, please write about what you think makes a marriage/relationship successful. You can share qualities you think are important, experiences you have had or pretty much anything you feel helps couples become closer and stronger. I hope this will be invaluable for friends who are single, those who are newly married and even for those couples who have been married for a very long time (as we can always strive to better our relationships).
All submissions should be posted in the comments section below. I will be sharing the most insightful comments in a separate blog as well as announcing the winner of the lucky draw.
Everyone who submits a comment will receive a Valentines Day gift (to be announced later) and there will be a lucky draw for the grand prize (photos below) which consists of a limited edition Birds of Love gift set and my latest album, Infinite Bounty.
The deadline for the submissions is February 10th. Looking forward to reading your inspiring comments below.
[NOTE: Lucky draw has ended]
Any wisdom I may have on this topic….I have gleaned from the Bahai Writings….thank you…sincerely Allen Zed…Canada.
A successful marriage, in my experience, begins first with being aware and open to the divine arrangement that may be the force of the bringing the two together. This spiritual perception, I believe, comes from constancy of prayers and the purifying of the heart. In addition to the reality of His will in the matter, other things from our experience that contribute to successful coming together on a daily basis: prayer and service as center; agreeing not to communicate when one is angry or tired; loving-kindness when attempting to communicate something difficult; seeing and honoring the differences of the personalities and finding the “teamwork”; giving with and appreciating the other in every action of love; and lots of listening and sharing time. It helps also when one or both partners have a warm-hearted sense of humor, something we can develop. Above all, love love love.
in my opinion, a happy marriage is that both sides to keep live together in a peace, attract each other, and the most important thing is that keeping pay your love, patience to each other to create a harmonious family with kids and parents.
From my limited experience of marriage so far some advice I would give is, to think more about the wellbeing of your partner than your own; learn how to see and acknowledge the virtues in eachother; learn to be a good listener; pray together and don’t criticize the other person but encourage them to reach their goals.
Kindness, mutual respect, forgiveness, plus a good sense of humour. Combine these with an abiding appreciation that out of all the sons of Adam another soul has chosen to walk life’s journey with me and thus acknowledge my existence. How fortunate am I.
In a nutsheel, when my wife and I put our personal interests first, we tend to disagree at every turning point. But when we place service at the top of our lives, a shared vision and perfect harmony permeates our married life. We are thankful to God that our two daughters have both captured this perspective and d live with service occupying first place in their lives.
A good marriage starts before the wedding day, with an honest assessment of each other’s character. This isn’t in a judgemental sense – you can have two beautiful, wonderful people who simply aren’t suited for each other. This assessment requires putting romantic emotion on the back burner.
After marriage, the assessment stops, and shifts into focusing on service, supporting each other’s spiritual development, forgiving each other’s faults, seeking to make the other happy, and sharing open, honest and gentle communication.
And finally: “Before marriage, eyes wide open. After marriage, eyes half shut!”
What I keep coming back to again and again to fix any “problems” I see in my husband is “The imperfect eye beholds imperfection.” And so I have to turn my sight unto myself and realize it is me that needs “fixing,” and seeing with a fault-covering eye begins at home. If I can’t master this quality with the people I love most, what chance do I have of loving humanity with all its imperfections? Next, I must master speaking with “words as mild as milk.” If I can do these two things, everything else falls into place.
Marriage is a very complicated thing. Love in it’s greater and more profound sense is what keeps it alive and protected. However both husband and wife have to bee aware that there are positive and negative forces that will influence the way the relationship is taken through the course of the years, which is why communication is very important. It is very important to remind each other of the healthy habits and attitudes and mention the ones that are not so good as soon as they appear. The longer you let time pass the harder it is to express these things and make a positive change. That is what marriage is all about, learning to grow spiritually with someone else… for eternity!
My own experience in marriage does not entitle me for an opinion but my observations of other long and successful marriages do. I firmly believe that a couple should enter this stage of their life with selfless and pure thoughts. One of the commonest mistakes young people do is to think that they can change their partners. Couples must have absolute trust in each other, not only in being faithful to one another but in all aspects of married life. Lies and deceits will sooner or later show their ugly face. When there is no trust love suffers. There is a lot more that I could say but I think it is better that I stop now.
Married couples need to become the closest companions to each other. They should become two best friends, who are concerned about the welfare of each other.
They should truly be friends, and should have sympathy for one another. Their focus and goals for the family should be based on service to others and their life together must have a spiritual foundation based on all the vitues…..
They must be happy, and laugh together in order to make others happy around them. Laughter is spiritual relaxation.
In the busy lives that we have in this world we must make time to spend quality time together as couples. We need to listen to each other, help each other, show each other that “I’m here for you,” to be your “rock” and always maintain the physical attraction that is part of a healthy marriage…
Most importantly you have to let go of your own ego and be concerned with the unity of the relationship. When you get married you have to realize there’s no more “I” it’s a “WE.”
To conclude, I just want to say that none of us are perfect, we have bad days, and we make mistakes in our marriage sometimes. The most important thing for all married couples to remember is, don’t react with fear, anger, or frustration…be loving in times of difficulties and never get into “tit for tat!” Love and nurture each other.
Marriage is not a 50/50, but a 100/100 proposition. The 50/50 eventually produces an environment of power struggle, resulting tension and conflicts. In the administrative process of the institution, either party demonstrating a superior talent should be allowed to take charge while mentoring the other. Marriage is entering a journey having packed all physical and spiritual belongings essential to sustenance, with a one way ticket and a 100% commitment to be an exemplary traveler to the end.
In addition to all the comments mentioned above I like to add the word “commitment”. I said this because when two persons decide to start a life together as husband and wife they become commit to each other and that commitment should be respected and worked on at all time.
My Dear Elika,
These are the elements in my opinion, Love, Chemistry,Religion,
Love is just a word and means nothing if you don’t show the love in your marriage towards one another. Chemistry is part of the showing of love and how we relate to one another in sexual attraction when having sex we become one not only to have children but to pleasure each other in the union of oneness. Religion is important in how we see and worship our Creator and our belief in Him is never the same for we are all human beings and think independly. The good thing is that we have a manifestions that shows us a path that we can follow. So if you and your loved ones have the elements a marriage can be long lasting even into the next world of God. In my opinion and of course we all must abide my Gods bidding. LOve and Pease to you and yours
My insights may or may not be of value to you Elika. I have been single since I was 38 and I am now 60 years old and have not had a gentleman friend in nearly 8 years. That being said, you asked for it so here goes. The first and most important part of a lasting relationship must begin as friends. Real friendships take time and it is important to cultivate the friendship and not think about a courtship until the friendship is solid. The friendship and ensuing respect that comes with it will take over when there are disagreements. I think that it is vitally important to never go to sleep when you are upset with your spouse. Communication is key to a healthy relationship and that includes listening as well as verbalizing in a kind way what is on your mind. Change and growth go hand in hand for a healthy relationship. Becoming the kind of spouse that your loved one wants is not a bad thing as long as you are not changing your core beliefs and values. For example if your spouse does not like salt on food, prepare it without salt and add it at the table to your own plate. This now brings us to compromise. Healthy compromise is a two way street. When one person does all the compromising it is not in balance and the other may feel drained and unfulfilled. On the other hand if you meet in the middle then you have grown and journeyed together. You both feel as if you are winners in the issue at hand. Tact is next on my list of important things in a marriage. Think before you speak. Once spoken, words cannot be taken back and if they are hurtful words it creates disharmony. Fidelity and commitment are also of the utmost importance to me. Trust, If you have trust that your spouse is taking care of your commitment and well being then there is never a jealous thought in your heart because you are secure in his or her love and commitment to you. Finally do not ignore your spouse or look down upon them for mistakes they make. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Do not harp on it every time there is a disagreement. When you have a disagreement resolve it and move past it and leave it alone. Be demonstrative in your love to the level that is comfortable for both of you. This does not mean that you have to be all over each other in public but hand holding is a nice way to say to the world, This is my chosen one and I am happy and proud to be seen with him or her. Finally give your mate unconditional love and forgiveness. I hope this helps you Elika. Written with love for my fellow human family.
It all happens with Falling in Love which in my opinion is obssessive attachment .When one looks in to his or her partner to be completed that would be the end of their togetherness. Falling in love without losing your identity or the need to be completed by your partner will bring lasting and forever happiness. I am not yet married and know deep in my heart it will happen because I feel whole and complete and not looking for a partner to make that happen for me . When that need ( To be completed by your partner) is not fulfilled then you start looking for faults in your partner and the love that once existed will changes ….
Creating a loving relationship requires self love not selfish love. Partners must feel a deep connection and joy to be of service to one another rather than expecting to be served .Then all their wishes and hopes become a reality and their partner will see the purity of their love and service and in return willingly will do the same …
Really enjoyed reading all the above comments.
Love is the very powerful energy capable of keeping the marriage togather. Saving the marriage is to allow the llove abundantly in both the party. But earning the love is not easy task. Love is a light and all the noble spiritual qualities are race of that eternal light. Efforts and sacrifices are required to aquire them. One has to connect to the source of LOVE(God). Create a athirst for love, work hard to aquire it and share it between the partner and with others who support the relationship. Love being the basic principle that binds together and let it keep going without much friction. If this task is achieved everything will fall into line all challenges can resolved amicably. In absence of this reality discussing other technicalities is of no avail. Love in level of knowledge and skill is insufficient to confront life’s severe ordeals. True, pure and selfless love is needed to cope with life which has become complex and complicated. So the master key is undeniably Love. This love will in due time will give birth to mutual respect and understanding , sacrifice, forbearance, kindness, tolerance, sharing and caring, willingness to serve and othe spiritual ingredients. If a couple succeed in attaining this goal, they needn’t have to make effort to love and save the marriage. Everything will occur naturally.
He is God! O peerless Lord! In Thine almighty wisdom Thou hast enjoined marriage upon the peoples,
that the generations of men may succeed one another in this contingent world, and that ever, so long as the world shall last, they may busy themselves at the Threshold of Thy oneness with servitude and worship, with salutation, adoration and praise. “I have not created spirits and men, but that they should worship me.” 1 Wherefore, wed Thou in the heaven of Thy mercy these two birds of the nest of Thy love, and make them the means of attracting perpetual grace; that from the union of these two seas of love a wave of tenderness may surge and cast the pearls of pure and goodly issue on the shore of life. “He hath let loose the two seas, that they meet each other: Between them is a barrier which they overpass not. Which then of the bounties of your Lord will ye deny? From each He bringeth up greater and lesser pearls.”2
2 Quran 55:19-20
These two seas are separate and distinct.
Between them is a barrier which they overpass not.
As I stand on the edge of Delane’s sea, I am graced by her generous sharing with me.
I also witness innumerable coral and pearls on the shore, the lustrous colors on the ever-moving surface, the range in dimensions of each wave that I can see.
It is exquisite, glorious, exhilarating. Yet I am only aware of these elements of her sea.
Her sea’s true breadth and depth, it’s deep mysteries, are unknown to me.
The miracle is that our union brings forth coral and pearls.
Both literally, such as our children Katurah and Lukas, and their familes,
and figuratively, our collaborative processes, services, creations.
O Thou kind Lord!
My wife of just days shy of 48 years, Marilyn, told me to write that the secret to marriage is that I’ve loved her forever and dote on her every word and thought. Now that that is taken care of and properly reported, I believe that lasting marriage comes down to humility, humor, patience (with yourself and others), respect and forgiveness. As for the mystery of love (the power of attraction that holds the universe together), for me it remains a mystery—you can’t explain why you suddenly ‘feel’ love though you can’t touch it, but like oxygen, you know when it isn’t there. Other than that, Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.” So while we may know that “love is the answer” the only way to apply that answer is to make yourself a living conduit for the application of the virtues by ‘abiding by the Will of God.’
Honesty and truthfulness seem to be at the heart of trusting relationships, relationship that blossom into abiding love. This is true for us.
For us there has always been trust and service to the Cause. Actually, service brought us together. We worked to serve others. We prayed regularly and exercised respectful manner. We both tried to consider others, before ourselves.
As my dear husband says, “It is your spirit that I love; you are a ball of light.” I guess that is seeing my virtuous-self, what I can be and do. I try to mirror that back to him, and see his potential to do good. I am always attracted to his spirit of service and honesty.
We strive to be lovingly kind and respectful. At times, it is easier with strangers. Thank God, for the four core activities. We arise to serve and magic happens, harmony and appreciation burnishing our gratitude to God and each other.
We have learned to rely on prayer and consultation. We try to practice every day as we pray and consult honestly about the complexities of life and our service to humanity. In time, we learned to reflect on effectiveness and arise to serve again improving, little by little day by day.
Wei and I have found that service to the Cause best suits our marriage. Marriage should be a blessing and a fortress for well-being. This becomes true when partners continually nurture their union with service, courtesy, respect and loving kindness. And, we trust that all is as it should be, thanks be to God. Respectfully submitted by Lili Shang
I am the wrong person to ask about love. I’m 50 and never been in love or those I was interested in with were not interested with me and if there was someone interested in me I either didn’t know or wasn’t interested in her. when I was a new Baha’i I wrote a poem called the Search For Love. I think it is a wonderful thing that love is and I think it is awesome that some have been married for many years and are still in love with each other. I sometimes thing that love and marriage is some illusive thing that is not in my cards. Don’t get me wrong,I haven’t given up on it, there’s always a possibility. It’s one of those dreams that keeps going. I like Abdu’l-Baha’s 4 meanings of love!
Congrats on your annivetsary. I wasn’t blessed to have a good marriage. So nice to finally connect.
My perspective on marriage and love at my age (43) and after 21 years of being part of that institution is drastically different than when I made the commitment at 22. Marriage is a commitment with a capital C to a relationship that is so uniquely pursued by most of us to have or to be part of, with such determination. Marriage is a practice of compassion, of compromise, of vulnerability, of raw honesty, of courage, all of which require one main ingredient, if not the only one, LOVE. The love in a marriage is not the romantic love that many couples start out with, although great care to nurture romantic love in a marriage will always enhance your relationship. The love I’m referring to starts with self love. Self love in a marriage means you are mindful of your own well being, you take responsibility for your contributions to the relationship, you bring yourself as a whole person to the relationship, not as someone looking to to her/his companion to complete her/him (don’t be dazzled by Jerry Maguire’s “You complete me” non-sense). We may not step into a marriage with the awareness that we are are whole already, that our companion does not complete us, that they are not our other half. After all the notion of our spouse completing this missing part of us is a belief that most of us have bought into and our pursuit for a mate is based on that belief. We also don’t enter marriage having a strong sense that we can keep being our own person and not shape shift our identity into becoming the relationship. Marriage is not co-dependence. It is a constant growth towards inter-dependence. Within a marriage, we become mirrors for each other. We can with compassion and unconditional love – now that’s a challenge that time and courage will help develop – allow each other to see the light within ourselves and let our spirit shine through. I have found that self love, self care, self esteem, self confidence, truly loving oneself without judgement, accepting one’s own human flaws and one’s shadow self allows one to show up in a relationship, in a marriage, in a commitment with an ability to love this other person unconditionally. Our companion becomes a reflection of the aspects of ourselves where we can grow and aspects of us that shine. Our partner gives us endless opportunities to become aware of our behavior patterns (parenting also does that in other ways) and if we are willing to take responsibility for the ones we wish to change, our relationship, all of our relationships will also change as a result. So, our companion are willing participants in our growth process. Without our partner we may not see aspects of us that no longer serve us in life. And without us, our partner would not be able to do the same. It’s a kind of give and take that no other relationship can provide so intensely at times. Marriage or commitment to a partner can be the safest place to practice vulnerability, to value boundaries, to truly listen to the other person, to become conscious and awakened beings. Think about it. There is no other relationship that we choose where our mind, our heart, our finances, our sexuality, our spirituality, everything about us gets combined and gets to live side by side with someone else’s…voluntarily (at least in most of the Western world), out of a desire to share life with someone in particular. It takes work, but work on ourselves first and foremost. For me marriage is a commitment to love ourselves and in doing so, we are capable of giving and receiving love. It’s a commitment to love because love is what we came to earth for. And don’t forget to have fun in your marriage, to have a sense of humor, light heartedness and complicity!
A deep compatibility is the first thing. Second is absolute love towards each other, not only just for the partner’s sake but also for the sake of harmony, God and oneness. I am still looking!
My husband and I will soon be married 10 years. the first 7 years were quite rocky and the last three years we’ve been living seperated, making things work again. Its been quite a journey during which our children, 2 and 3 now were born. I grew up Bahai and had a VERY idealistic view on marriage :). But during the darkes times the only thing that kept me going was that Baha’u’llah “abhorres” divorce. Now we are at a point better than ever before and are both excited about our future together, although we are still ways away from my idealistic view on marriage :)… What have I learnt in that process? Here are some ways I managed to change myself… I don’t know if that will make any sense to the “outsider”, but I’ll give it a try:
1. “Truthfulness is…”: It took me a long time to discover how much I projected my own fears and insecurities onto my husband… observing and listening to my inner dialogues, (an easy example: “You are ugly, fat, not good enough, not important enough, etc.) replacing myself with what I had imagined my husband would say to me, then diving into the pain that this simple replacement caused, allowing old memories to surface that had created those inner beliefs and cry… helped me to distinguish between reality and my own construct of it… because ultimately most of us behave in a way that we confirm our own beliefs about ourselves and the world. Anything else is easily blended out.
2. “Look with thine own eyes”: Its been quite a process to free myself of the need to have my husband be always happy with me – in order to feel good about myself. This is what the great sextherapist David Schnarch calls “Differentiation”: I felt awful when he wasn’t doing well and so did he: we were completely emotionally fused and angst and tension was passed on like a virus. It was quite a process to learn to take responsibiloity for my own feelings and let my husband own his. And as I write this it sounds so easy, but it was a very hard and long path for us as we learnt to heal our “triggers”.
3. “Not everything can be said…”: learning to calm myself down when I’m in emotional upheaval, find back to a calm mind on my own (usually after a short prayer and cleaning the house), then focusing my thoughts on stating my needs and wishes in a way that my husband can relate to and then waiting for the right moment to do so in a humurous way… again: sounds easy but boy!! is it hard to do when the other triggers your every fears or unhealed childhood pains…
these are some snippits of my own healing process… now: when it comes to living a happy, lasting marriage, I can’t really contribute as we are just starting on our way. Therapy has helped both of us greatly and the growth together has been truly encouraging if not absolutely exciting to keep us going. What’s helped me greatly were the insights I gained from David Schnarchs book “Intimacy and Desire in longterm relationship” – its all about learning to rely on my own inner integrity for making choices about what I say and do and willingness for own personal growth that makes for great sex in the end 🙂 which… what I know now… almost all committed couples get to a point where (at least one of the partners) experiences sexual dysfunction due to the personal growth that is or is not taking place… which is something that should be talked about much more in the Bahai community, I find! 🙂
I have asked some people who have been married for long periods of time for their advice. The key insights: knowing oneself well before choosing a spouse, compatibility (spiritual, physical and practical–see the book “Will Our Love Last”), listening to one’s mind, heart, and “gut” when deciding to get married, support of family, forgiveness (instant if possible!), honesty balanced with tact and kindness, loving consultation, and unity of purpose. Needless to say all of this is not easy to find/achieve. But, as I have seen from these long and fruitful unions, it is of course well worth the (sometimes very challenging) search before choosing a partner, and the unwavering efforts throughout the marriage.
I think the 2 most important qualities for a succesful relationship are respect and trust. I was fortunate that my father set an excelent example of these two qualities in his marriage, so it hasn’t been so difficut for me.
The biggest thing about keeping a relationship I think is to work on the small problems while they are small. If they become big they are hard to deal with. Mh wife made sure about these things in the early days of our marriage and then it was natural for us to resolve small matters and therefore we never had any big matters to resolve. I can not emphaxize this enough.
I could go on and on, but of course this requires good communication skills.
Marriage will be safe and secured when it is based on true love, care, kindness & respect. Giving some space for each other’s creativity, while practicing faithfulness, chastity & purity in all aspects of life.
In a true marriage relationship the couple will endeavor to improve the spiritual life of each other. And together have higher spiritual aims.
Many a times, cultural differences and communication styles may create misunderstandings between the couple. We need to fully acquaint ourselves with each other’s character, cultural backgrounds and upbringing, while constantly trying to improve our communication styles and conflict resolution skills.
We need to remember that after marriage, wife and husband merge together and make one single reality with united ideas and thoughts. Its then only that the bird of their life of which wife and husband are its two wings, can fly and soar in the highest realms of human perfection, and will be able to create a safe and healthy environment for the upbringing of lovely children.
Though there are many factors that are important to keep a marriage together, I believe one of those factors is to spend a minimum of 5 minutes connecting with the other. “Connecting” can mean different things. In my marriage, I find it deeply beneficial to just take a break from our busy lives and sit/lay with each other. Sometimes we talk about things on our mind or things that happened during the day. Sometimes we don’t talk at all, but I feel like it is a physical/emotional/spiritual recharge that helps me get through the rest of the day, knowing I have the support from my other half of our “fortress for well-being”.
I think there are four important points. First, each should get to know well the value system & life priorities of the other; otherwise, it will become a problem eventually, especially when children come along. Second, each should be the biggest supporter of the other. At the end of the day, no matter how bad, to know that when you go home, your partner will be there to comfort & support you & love you is paramount. Third, trust is key to a successful relationship; and equally so, is forgiveness. Fourth, intimacy, intimacy, intimacy- plan time together to preserve & maintain it.
What is keeping our marriage is the power of prayer and forgiveness. My husband and I, always borrows example of a beautiful rose plant to understand the day to day experiences in our lives. that marriage is not only a bed of roses but also there thornes involved, that whenever our days are of roses we cherish them and if they come with thornes, we don’t curse of why we are married but rather learn from our mistakes to make it better. Abdul-baha asserts, that in every difficult situations there are always golden lessons to learn.
It seems to me that helping to build a secure and blissful marriage is virtually synonymous with striving to improve oneself spiritually and as a Baha’i. So divine is the institution that one’s marriage is a sign of one’s relationship with the Covenant. Marriage so becomes the context of daily life, as the two existences merge, that even the lowest earthly terms of one’s being play a part in it, and the marriage can falter and even founder as a result of weaknessnes one hardly knew one had. Physical life is gradually sacralized through marriage. An example of how states of being that formerly seemed almost normal and trivial can loom large and begin to undermine a marriage is implied in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s statement that we should “count annoyance as hellfire.” The couple should pray together, daily if possible. They should share in serving the community together. They should continually remind themselves of their partners virtues and noble qualities. I must say, too, in the midst of the pervasive norm of married life, which it is impossible not sometimes to take for granted, it helps to be jolted back into appreciation for the spouse’s preciousness through the separations caused by the exigencies of modern life–business trips, etc.–for any vivid imagining of that loved one taken from you awakens you to the pricelss bounty of the marriage.
When love helps you to make that leap forward in your life into marriage, you are embracing changes in your life that you hope through your faith will give you a new path to grow in your spiritual maturity. I feel the measure of success in that marriage is not just the outward signs of happiness that that marriage brings but rather your own evolution towards spiritual maturity that it promotes. Sometimes that success come about even when outwardly the marriage itself does not show any evidence of success and through insurmountable difficulties enters the darkened world of estrangement.
I think prayers and service are of utmost importance in the success of relationships. All the things mentioned above are extremely important as well. Laughter, communicating and consulting in the right spirit (not holding on to your point of view, using kind words and a gentle tone), apologizing and appreciating each other are equally important. Avoid sleeping on a problem and constantly making an effort to bring happiness to the family should be our goal.
To develop a successful marriage/relationship is likened to the relationship one has with God. All of the attributes of God should be reflected in the relationship with a partner. Then there will be coexistence on this plane as there will be in the world to come.
My past marriage lasted for 34 years because of our trust, communication, and compassion for each other. That is not to say that we didn’t disagree or even argue about circumstances or discipline of children. Those problems were solved or a concensus was arrived at through our dedication to the power of consultation.
Love of God and of each other was the glue that allowed us to ride the roller coaster of life.
I need to explain my opinion a bit clearer it looked to me a bit short.
My wife and I have been married for thirty years. The love we showed for one another and not just the word created all the things we needed like Communication,respect, trust,the independence of thought and career goals and more. The sexual attraction opened the doors for us to be one in spirit and body it is a beautful thing to be open to our true feelings as husband and wife as it is meant to be. Sex is not tabboo it is human nature and brings two soul together in the showing of love and oneness. Love is a feeling not a word. Religion is a big part but think, at the time of Adam and Eve, there was no religion there was only God and God was the word and It was Love in the begining. But after, God saw that Man needed guidance thus our Manifestions were brought about to guide up in to all truth. When my wife and I married I was a Christian and my wife was Baha’i There was no difference God granted us this feeling towards each other and the union was created. We now are both Baha’i and follow the faith to the best of our ability as human beings. We all must acknowledge the fact we as human beings will always fall short of Gods will but we all know there is a place for us in the worlds of GOD!
Pease and Love be with you all
Interesting , your question comes just 3 weeks before my daughters wedding ,We talked about it a lot .Her marriage will be a mixed marriage , there are 6 different cultural backgrounds united.
Important is that before marriage to get to know each other and each others backgrounds as much as possible. Qualities like Trust , Patience, Respect, Faith, Commitment Sacrifice . Service , Consultations and above all Love to love another for the sake of God.
If two people marry, two families become connected , so we are all part of a bigger whole.
I think that one of the key elements in a good marriage is not taking our spouse for granted. It is easy to get caught up with pursuing careers and or raising children. It is important to make time for one another so that when careers are set and children are grown we don’t end up strangers to each other. Also, it is important to verbalize our thanks and acknowledge what we do for one another no matter how small.
I think that success in couple’s relationship, especially if they have children, is to keep as much close as possible. Even though they have less time for each other, they will have to strive and find those little moments that make their life together special.
Service together remains priority for the couple if they’d like to further move closer to each other and create strong united family.
ALWAYS appreciate even little things and NEVER take each other for granted as we are here for a short while.
Thanks for the attention,
Use Baha’i consultation. Eat dinner together as a family…. whoever does the cooking does not have to do dishes. (married in February for 47 years)
Dear Elika, I am very happy to see that you provided this opportunity for all of us to share our comments with you on a successful marriage based on Valentine’s Day celebration which may provide the opportunity for our youth to perhaps read and maybe broaden their perspective of their married life in the future!
I have to start my comments from a children show emphasizing that “IT IS NOT HOW IT SEEMS!” Meaning that while the majority of the people of this world get fascinated with Disney Characters as a child and grow up thinking that life is just a fairy tale and may follow the values of the society and spend even hundreds of dollars on a Valentine’s Day bouquet of flowers which is usually being sold for ten times less, I strongly believe that the real clue to a happy and healthy marriage can only be found in establishing strong spiritual bonds through Obedience to all the rules of Kitab-i-Aqdas such as Obligatory prayer, Fasting, Reading the holy tablets of Baha’u’llah and other magnificent writings of Shoghi Effendi, Abdu’l-Baha’, The Bab and guidance from The Universal House of Justice on a daily basis, participating in all Baha’i core activities like providing spiritual classes for the neighborhood children, holding devotional, Firesides, reaching out to the poor by donating to the Food Bank and creating an environment of detachment from the luxuries of this world and dedicating yourself to the betterment of the society and community you live in, are the keys to the happiness to a successful marriage. Building sincere and trusting communication channels can help a married couple overcome all life challenges as their pure intentions for serving humanity in the most sincere ways, can bring their minds and their hearts together and can help them keep a happy relationship eternally and as our beloved Amat’u’l-Baha’ Ruhiyeh Khanum has emphasized many times, “Be Prepared when at the Presence of God for all we have accomplished in this world!”
From my experience having celebrated 20 years so far in my second marriage, I would have to say that clear, open and honest communication are key to a healthy and happy relationship. Prayer and consultation are vital when it comes to solving difficulties. It also helps to have shared dreams and a common philosophy of the purpose of life, which is to abide by the will of God. Ultimately, it is the friendship and companionship of two people who have a strong desire to grow old together that I believe will result in a successful marriage.
Dearest Elika — I have been thinking about your question. I’ve enjoyed reading what others have posted. So many lovely thoughts! I find myself thinking not of “Love and Marriage” but of “Love of Marriage” — a deep and abiding appreciation for the importance of this most foundational Institution for the advancement of human civilization. The skills and sacrifices needed for most of us to make our marriages last are exactly those needed in all other levels of human social organization. A wedding, then, is much like the first day of school! Where sometimes we get to play on the playground or work together on some interesting and fun project. And where sometimes we have to study by ourselves. Or keep from throwing things at each other while we try to get some very unwelcome group project finished. When love for each other seems hard to feel, submission to our service to this Institution can keep us going until either or both of us learn what we need to learn to be able to move on. Or until the situation itself changes.
We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last October and I can humbly acknowledged that we survived the 10 years because I have an awesome hubby 🙂 Jokes apart, for me marriage is a union of three entities: God, man and woman. Even I read about that and people told me about it, I experienced that wisdom through various experiences (some hard ones too). Since the very beginning of our union, due to the fact we come from different countries, we had to deal with some culture shocks. My husband always told me that when we got married we testified “We will all verily abide by the will of God” and whenever we put our own will ahead, we had some tensions. We kind of realize there was no point of fighting about this and nowadays all our consultations are pretty smooth.
Another big element for our marriage to work was the decision to go serve together at the Baha’i World Centre. It was the bestest decision ever. In the midst of the Holy Land, we learnt more about our own characters, about each other and most importantly about our relation with God, which is also service to humanity.
Be there in times of sorrows and joys. Again you hear it from others, but when you live it then you understand the power behind these words. We unfortunately had to go through a few miscarriages and without the support of my hubby, I don’t think I would have been able to get out of it. It made us become stronger as individuals and as a couple. After six years in our marriage, God blessed us with a sweet soul and once again our lives were filled with joy and new challenges. As a couple and new parents our lives were directed towards raising our child and keep serving humanity.
Even after ten years, we are still learning how to consult properly and definitely without proper communication in a marriage, it will lead to misunderstandings.
Humour also is one of the most important factors for us to make our marriage work. My hubby works for long hours, but when we are together as a family we enjoy the quality time and we laugh a lot together.
in my limited opinion love n marriage takes an organic process to grow n develope. It grows n develops through stages of infancy-romantic blindness, junioryouth stage-discovery n adaptation, then maturity- time of union with equality justice n unity becoming d family norm.
It begins with the realization that from the very beginning, it’s about abiding by the will of God. Not just collectively, but individually as well. When I align myself to the teachings of Baha’u’llah, striving to keep my actions within the Covenant,I’m promised spiritual growth. If my mate is doing the same, she is promised spiritual growth. Together, our spiritual growth strengthens and protects our marriage. To gain that well-being, we realize it takes compromise, sacrifice, letting go and giving up false pride. Learning to calm the insistent self by using the energy provided by tests and difficulties in service, becomes the road for marital success.
As an unmarried person, I think the most important thing before entering marriage is not only to be certain of the love you feel for the other person but also certain of your own strengths and weaknesses in order to know your character and self and how you can complement your future partner as well as what you need to work on together.
Loyalty is everything in a stable and chaste relationship, demonstrating your commitment to your partner before and after marriage.
One of my favorite quotations on love and marriage comes from Khalil Gibran’s book The Prophet which beautifully says ‘You were born together and together you shall be forevermore…but let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls…’. Meaning that although you are united by love and bonded by marriage do not let it become an all consuming force which wraps you together too tightly for ‘even as the strings of a lute are alone…they quiver with the same music.’
To conclude I believe that a strong marriage and love comes from loyalty, knowing oneself in order to recognize our own faults and being able to retain your own identity with confidence so that your focal point in life is not your relationship.
I feel our marriage flows the best when we both act from a basis of self-respect with deep respect for each other. We both have different gifts that we bring to our marriage and to our service to others, and we feel mutual appreciation for those gifts. We experience a strong sense of equality and partnership as we pray together, hug often, and consult about every topic that affects our lives. We love experiencing God’s will for us manifesting itself as we consult in unity together. Our commitment to be truthful in our words and have a high standard of integrity in our actions helps us to trust that we will each do our best every day. On days when we struggle, love and compassion for each other keeps us going and helps us re-balance for the next day. We have also learned to respond to each other’s “foibles” with loving humor.
Understand that we love differently. If you measure his love for you by the way you express your love for him, he will never love you enough even though he loves you as much.
What a wonderful Valentines gift, or I should say treasure you and your community have created here dear Elika! I am in awe.
Here are my favorite comments from others on this blog who are more knowledgeable than I, in summary:
– prayer and service as center
– agreeing not to communicate when one is angry or tired
– loving-kindness when attempting to communicate something difficult
– to think more about the wellbeing of your partner than your own
– don’t criticize the other person but encourage them to reach their goals
– Before marriage, eyes wide open. After marriage, eyes half shut
– and these must be practiced by BOTH in the relationship, a one sided relationship is roommates, not a union.
– clear, open and honest Communication is key to a healthy relationship and that includes listening as well as verbalizing
– Knowing when to admit your wrong and ask for forgiveness
fully acquaint ourselves with each other’s character, cultural backgrounds and upbringing, while constantly trying to improve our communication styles and conflict resolution skills
– get to know well the value system & life priorities of the other
– the realization that from the very beginning, it’s about abiding by the will of God collectively, AND individually
2 things I feel are extremely important but were not emphasized so much as a solid foundation on which to build a love relationship:
– Be with someone, and also practice yourself, constantly improving oneself to be a better, more spiritual and selfless person
– Choose someone who is compatible with you, however you find that out, numerology, astrology, psychological personality analysis, it all helps. Make sure they are a good match with you! Sometimes the only way to tell, for sure is to date enough to know the right one. When you meet the right one, the relationship should flow smoothly and require little effort for the person to feel valued, loved, and happy. Here are some fun ways to gauge compatibility:
I don’t have a magic formula, but this is what I have learned so far.
Knowing ones self is the first step to a successful marriage. Then, knowing the partner. Trust is built over many years, and many experiences. Forgiveness is key, as none of us is perfect and we all will make mistakes, and sometimes they are most hurtful. We grow from those mistakes, and hopefully develop a good kind of humility. Humour is important in this process. Physical love, children, raising a family, illness and good health, birth, death, joy and pain all need a trusted friend to share with and to rely on, and marriage can foster that friendship. Building a life together is made of all these things. The relationship becomes a shelter for the couple, for the family, for friends and even for those who wish us harm. It becomes the crucible which allows us to develop the compassion and love to serve those around us in our daily lives, and to grow our souls.
Ultimately, my partner is my best friend who knows my heart, my mind and shares in my values, and is able to change with me, and I with him. We discover something about each other and the wonderful world we live in each day. We have learned the wisdom of when to speak….and when it is kind to remain silent.
This year we celebrate 40 years of marriage. We will commemorate it quietly together, and be thankful for the gifts we have been given by God.
I got married in my mid-30’s – and though I wish my husband and I had met much earlier, I also recognise that our happy marriage comes partly because of our respective maturity and life experiences. We were both happy in ourselves, and understood our own strengths and weaknesses.
Before we got married, we spent time getting to know each other – my husband is not a Baha’i, but recognised that this was an important aspect of my life – so he investigated to make sure it was something he would be able to accept. I believe he is more supportive of me and my religion than many of the same faith would have been. I similarly considered his habits, hobbies and attitude to life, and was happy that they were things I was happy with and would support. We spent a week travelling to somewhere neither of us had ever been to before – Greece – to see how we got on. We had separate rooms, and knew that if we wanted, we could do things on our own. It was a great way of really getting to know each other, seeing how we each coped with minor stress, with new experiences, and what we enjoyed doing in our free time. I had heard of others suggesting that an opportunity to travel or do a service project with someone is a good way of getting to know them – and our experience reinforced that. I would highly recommend this for any couple who are considering marriage!
Throughout our 10 years of marriage, we find time to talk every day – even at work, we ususally manage to find a few minutes to chat and catch up. We talk and discuss world affairs, our work and challenges, our successes, and our family.We laugh together, enjoy time together, and have a deep respect for each other. We have a united vision of what we want in life, a shared approach to how we bring up our son, and make sure that we put our family first.
I consider my husband my best friend, and sharing all that life throws our way in a loving way has helped to cement our love and friendship.
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
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!
Reflections on 48 years of marriage:
This list is not necessarily in order of importance, but it is in the order that these insights came to us through our relationship of half a century.
1. Know yourself and select a spouse of good character. Although Michael and I married at the “surprisingly” young age (these days) of 18 and 19, we had already known each other for half our lives at that point, and dated for more than three years. We could not see the future clearly, but we had a pretty good sense of each other’s character, our direction and our ambitions, and a good, supportive foundation of communication about our beliefs, hopes, and challenges. Loyalty and trustworthiness are the key virtues for a sustainable relationship. Humor, affection, kindness, and response-ability nourish and add sweetness to the bonds.
2. Be flexible and have lots of overlaps in the household roles: We never had a sense of “women’s work” or “men’s work”. There was only work that needed to be done and who took it on was more about who had the time, energy, inclination, and what seemed to be a fair division of labor than about “who’s job” it was. Try to make sure that either person can do most (if not all) tasks so that roles can be switched as needed. Mutual support is the key.
3. Learn to resolve differences fairly. We were lucky that early in our marriage, when differences did start to creep in, we attended a workshop on “fighting fair”. We benefited well from practicing what we learned. These days there are many good workshops available on YOU TUBE about communicating and resolving differences in ways that support the partnership. If a couple finds they are spending an increasing amount of time in anger or complaint mode, they might do well to learn from the experts. Empathy is the key.
4. Look at your relationship from a spiritual perspective. The historical, social and spiritual perspective gained through the sacred texts helps us to realize that the institution of marriage is not just about a couple’s personal preferences, but about the continuation of society and family bonds. When things seem difficult we turn to the Higher Power and the recall the Higher reasons for the marriage bond. The breakdown in relationships in the current world is often the result of misunderstanding human nature, and the true purpose and nature of marriage.
5. Think of the relationship as two pebbles dropped into a pond, each growing outward in mutually overlapping, ever widening, but never wholly consuming concentric circles. Just as there is a part of the two circles that grows in center of the the overlapping lives, there is also a part that grows wider, but independently. Relationships in which one is totally consumed or contained by the other are rare, and often not the most healthy ones. Baha’u’llah quotes in one of the marriage prayers: “I have let loose two seas that they should meet each other. Between them is a barrier which they overpass not. Which of the bounties of your Lord will ye deny?” We have always appreciated the aspects of our lives that we have in common, as well as those that each one has as an individual.
6. Appreciate the reality that marriage, like any living, enduring, sustainable thing, has its ebb and flow, its “diastolic and systolic” phases. At times a couple is very close, drawn together by forces both outside and within themselves. At other times the couple seems to be walking a parallel path, but wider apart. Each partner has his or her own rhythm of high or low, close or distant. The life cycle itself has its challenging passages to navigate. It is helpful to have a basic understanding of the dynamics of the life cycle and human development. If the fundamental goals and values of the couple are the same, and there is honest communication, the ebb and flow in life’s phases need not be seen as a problem. Time and tide will turn.
7. Appreciate that there are different “languages of love” such as touch, words, gifts, acts of service, and simple accompaniment, for example. The language in which on tries to convey love is not necessarily the one the partner “hears” or receives love most easily. A “lover” has many languages at his/her command!
Hope that helps!
I think that communication is one of the things that makes a marriage successful. Without it there’s only confusion and frustration. Honesty and respect are big ones too. And if there are children, being on the same page and working as a team keeps peace in the home and with each other.
Human beings are constantly evolving and along with it marriage relationships too evolve. What married couples need to understand is that both of them are not perfect and therefore refrain from having expectations; understand that each of them have their shortcomings and are entitled to it. With this in mind the next thing to do is to focus on progressing together spiritually. The Baha’i community provides the means for couples to serve together for the betterment of mankind. As long as they focus on bettering their neighbours lives and are not focused on each other there will be less cause for problems and a lasting marriage becomes a possibility.
Dear Elika ,
Your blogs are very beautiful . Plainly said , the peace is the vision within us the mind and comes with action within our heart. In marriage ,the couple striving to fly high , must daily get their inner selves enlighten to the apex as in prayer we read of prosperity with token of accomplishment to service mankind with love and attributes of compassion. The answer is plentiful and the examples are vast as the ocean .
But element of joy for me is by way of Art , and performing arts, like music when done in a tranquil and meaningful manner through practice life will be engaged with enchanting melodies.
You see, anyone is destined to be a part of God’s plan. Not sure what else to say except to reading The Hidden Words of Bahaullah and His Writings.
Keep up the lovely music as you do .
Have a blessed night and day .
Even thought I’m not married, still want to share ideas. The most important part is love I think. With love couples can overcome all the difficulties.
When my husband and I first talked about marriage and family, one thing we both agreed on the most: accepting each other as we are, both physically and spiritually; and realizing that there will be times when we are not our own selves due to being overwhelmed or unwell. We both are very similar but also very different in certain things. I strongly believe that successful marriage is the one where both partners are comfortable with who they are, yet ready and willing to compromise and sacrifice themselves for the family, their partners and children. Of course, love, respect, trust, appreciation and other virtues are the must between a husband and a wife. And the most important is communication – without it we can never grow in harmony.
Generosity and gratitude and a gentleness of spirit assuming the others actions have the best of intentions. Easier said than done, but the beauty and joy is in the striving.
Not taking each other for granted and showing appreciation for everyday tasks – sounds simple but it’s challenging in today’s busy world.
Being present when you talk with each other and not being distracted by gadgets!
Finding activities that are enjoyable for both of you – we enjoy walking/jogging/biking together!
Not losing yourself in the relationship – I find that when I take the time to do activities that I value, enjoy and are important to me I become a better partner in our marriage!
The words om Marriage by the poet Kahlil Gibran ring so true and more so as the years pass!
“You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your
Yes, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but each one of you be
alone–even as the strings of a lute are alone though the quiver
with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not in 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 Cyprus grow not in each other’s shadows”.
I think being true to yourself as a couple and to God is the first step to a happier marriage. Marriage is a contract that starts here but has no end! Provided the love and unity between them grow stronger at all time. By taking your husband or wife along the path of growth and sharing the journey together prevents a gap between you. After all the fruit of true love can’t be bitter!
This is a very timely post for me since I just made a video about this exact topic on my blog!
I think “willingness” is one of the most important traits to have in order to keep your marriage growing. If one person states “I am what I am, take it or leave it”, it makes growth and transformation pretty difficult! The willingness to take a look at your own shortcomings and try to take action to improve shows incredible commitment and dedication to the marriage. But, it’s hard to do sometimes, isn’t it?
Love this topic and all the great responses. I’m feeling inspired!
What a lovely idea! My beloved Varya and I have been married for almost 7 years now, and it has been an incredible journey since that blessed day at your lovely home in April 2008.
There are two sources I draw my inspiration from. One is the quote: where there is love, nothing is too much trouble, and there is always time. The other is the compilation often referred to as the Marriage Tablet. While not authoritative or considered scripture, it is simply beautiful.
The bond that unites hearts most perfectly is loyalty. True lovers once united must show forth the utmost faithfulness one to another. You must dedicate your knowledge, your talents, your fortunes, your titles, your bodies and your spirits to God, to Bah�’u’ll�h and to each other. Let your hearts be spacious, as spacious as the universe of God!
Allow no trace of jealousy to creep between you, for jealousy, like unto poison, vitiates the very essence of love. Let not the ephemeral incidents and accidents of this changeful life cause a rift between you. When differences present themselves, take counsel together in secret, lest others magnify a speck into a mountain. Harbour not in your hearts any grievance, but rather explain its nature to each other with such frankness and understanding that it will disappear, leaving no remembrance. Choose fellowship and amity and turn away from jealousy and hypocrisy.
Your thoughts must be lofty, your ideals luminous, your minds spiritual, so that your souls may become a dawning-place for the Sun of Reality. Let your hearts be like unto two pure mirrors reflecting the stars of the heaven of love and beauty.
Together make mention of noble aspirations and heavenly concepts. Let there be no secrets one from another. Make your home a haven of rest and peace. Be hospitable, and let the doors of your house be open to the faces of friends and strangers. Welcome every guest with radiant grace and let each feel that it is his own home.
No mortal can conceive the union and harmony which God has designed for man and wife. Nourish continually the tree of your union with love and affection, so that it will remain ever green and verdant throughout all seasons and bring forth luscious fruits for the healing of the nations.
O beloved of God, may your home be a vision of the paradise of Abha, so that whosoever enters there may feel the essence of purity and harmony, and cry out from the heart: Here is the home of love! Here is the palace of love! Here is the nest of love! Here is the garden of love!
Be like two sweet-singing birds perched upon the highest branches of the tree of life, filling the air with songs of love and rapture.
Lay the foundation of your affection in the very center of your spiritual being, at the very heart of your consciousness, and let it not be shaken by adverse winds.
And, when God gives you sweet and lovely children, consecrate yourselves to their instruction and guidance, so that they may become imperishable flowers of the divine rose-garden, nightingales of the ideal paradise, servants of the world of humanity, and the fruit of the tree of your life.
Live in such harmony that others may take your lives for an example and may say one to another: Look how they live like two doves in one nest, in perfect love, affinity and union. It is as though God had kneaded the very essence of their beings for the love of one another.
Attain the ideal love that God has destined for you, so that you may become partakers of eternal life forthwith. Quaff deeply from the fountain of truth, and dwell all the days of your life in the paradise of glory, gathering immortal flowers from the garden of divine mysteries.
Be to each other as heavenly lovers and divine beloved ones dwelling in a paradise of love. Build your nest on the leafy branches of the tree of love. Sail upon the shoreless sea of love. Walk in the eternal rose-garden of love. Bathe in the shining rays of the sun of love. Be firm and steadfast in the path of love. Perfume your nostrils with the fragrances from the flowers of love. Attune your ears to the soul-entrancing melodies of love. Let your aims be as generous as the banquets of love, and your words as a string of white pearls from the ocean of love. Drink deeply of the elixir of love, so that you may live continually in the reality of Divine Love.
Much love to your very dear family! 🙂
I am single and never married.
But I have been seeing on my parents marriage and others also that THE MARRIAGE VOW ( We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God) is something that MUST BE EXERCISED FOR THE REST OF LIFE.
And below is my APES lesson I have got of how to exercise it (I think):
1. A= Accompany
Like on The ridvan Message year 2010: “a word that is being endowed with new meaning as it is integrated into the common vocabulary of the Bahá’í community”.
And I think it is not my right to explain more what is the new meaning.
2. P= Prayer
Have a daily family dawn or evening prayer. and get 3 level of understanding as we do in ruhi institute process; and apply to the family challenge(s).
3. E= Enjoy
Enjoy the process of reaching new capacity(s) with accompany and prayer spirit above. Use a sense of humor(s) to enjoy the process(es).
4. S= Service
Service is the heart of our life.
remember of how are apes characteristic naturally (playful, intelligent animal etc), so it is happen to our relationships life.
Respect for each other, honest regular consultation and of course, real love which means putting the other one first! ‘Abdu’l Bahá says (approximately) Where there is love nothing is too much trouble. (I must check the actual words!)
Found this: “Whatever is done in love is never any trouble, and — there is always time.” (Diarys, Goodall – Cooper — Daily Lessons Received at ‘Akka January 1908, p. 42)
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Thank you all for your inspiring, honest and open comments. I loved reading through each of them and have compiled your thoughts into a blog post called ‘100 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Marriage’. Enjoy! http://www.elikamahony.com/2015/02/14/100-tips-for-a-happy-and-healthy-marriage/
What make a relationship work?
1. Learning to focus on your partner’s good qualities and to overlook his or her faults, while seeking wise and practical ways to help overcome bad qualities.
2. Learning to derive pleasure in serving each other and in serving your Creator together.
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