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This is not a tablet at all, but is an unauthenticated record by Ahmad Sohrab of a talk by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The friends may use it, but it should be made clear that this is not Bahá’í scripture.  (Universal House of Justice, published in American Bahá’í, 1992-09)

What follows is a perfect prescription for marriage and a tool to use whenever tests present themselves.  I’ve separated each thought into single “prescriptions” which you can also use as a meditation.  I haven’t changed the tablet in any way except to group it into separate thoughts.  If you want to put it back in order, you will have the tablet as written.

As a shower gift to a young Baha’i couple, I put each one on a separate index card and put them into a recipe box, with the idea that anytime they had a problem, they could pull a card at random and see how it might solve the problem they were having.  If you want to do this for yourself, let me know and I can send you the file.

If you are having trouble in your marriage, ask yourselves the questions following each prescription.  Some people have found that journalling their answers is helpful for providing a breakthrough.

 

The bond that unites hearts most perfectly is loyalty.  True lovers once united must show forth the utmost faithfulness one to another.

  • What are you doing to show perfect loyalty to your spouse?
  • How are you working towards unity?
  • How are you being faithful?
  • What could you do differently?

You must dedicate your knowledge, your talents, your fortunes, your titles, your bodies and your spirits to God, to Baha’u’llah and to each other.

  • What talents have you brought to the marriage and when was the last time you shared them?
  • How are you sharing your fortunes?  Your titles?  Your bodies?  Your spirits?
  • How are yous dedicating these to God?  To Baha’u’llah?  To each other?
  • What could you do differently?

Let your hearts be spacious, as spacious as the universe of God!

  • How spacious is your heart?
  • What has closed it down?
  • What could you do to increase it’s spaciousness?

Allow no trace of jealousy to creep between you, for jealousy, like unto poison, vitiates the very essence of love.

  • How does jealousy manifest itself in your marriage?
  • What effect has childhood experiences had on making you more susceptible to jealousy?
  • How have you shared this with your spouse?
  • What steps could you take to rid yourself of it?

Let not the ephemeral incidents and accidents of this changeful life cause a rift between you.

  • What incidents and accidents of life have caused a rift between you?
  • What can you do to forgive yourself, your spouse, other people, and God?
  • What victories have come from these experiences?
  • What virtues have been strengthened as a result?

When differences present themselves, take counsel together in secret, lest others magnify a speck into a mountain.

  • What differences are between you right now?
  • Who have you shared them with?
  • How have others magnified them into a mountain on your behalf?
  • How can you make amends?
  • What would help you consult with your spouse on them?
  • What could you do to take you closer to unity on these issues?

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.

  • Make a list of all the grievances you’re harboring in your heart.
  • Ask your spouse for dedicated time where you can explain the nature of each one, with a view to finding a unified solution.
  • Ask God for the courage to speak with frankness; and be heard with understanding
  • Forgive each one and let it go.
  • Ask God to forgive you for harboring the grievance.

Choose fellowship and amity and turn away from jealousy and hypocrisy.

  • Where and how are jealousy and hypocrisy causing problems in your relationship?
  • Where are you being insincere, false or two-faced?
  • How are double standards causing problems?
  • What steps could take you towards fellowship and amity?

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.

  • What thoughts are going round and round the hamster wheel inside your head?
  • How could you make them more lofty?
  • Have you identified the virtues and spiritual principles needed for each one; and asked God to transmute them?
  • What veils are between you and God, preventing Him from being the only thing in your heart?
  • What steps can you take so your soul can become a dawning place for the Sun of Reality?

Let your hearts be like unto pure mirrors reflecting the stars of the heaven of love and beauty.

  • What is the dust and dross obscuring the mirror of your heart?
  • What steps can you take to reflect the stars of the heaven of love and beauty?
  • When was the last time you said your obligatory prayer and 95 Alla’u’Abhas?
  • When was the last time you said your prayers morning and night?
  • When was the last time you read the Writings morning and night?
  • When was the last time you prayed and read the Writings together?
  • What changes can you make in this area?

Together make mention of noble aspirations and heavenly concepts.

  • What is the nature of conversation between you?
  • What are the noble aspirations and heavenly concepts that are important to you?
  • When was the last time you shared them with your spouse?
  • When was the last time you made mention of more general noble aspirations and heavenly concepts together?
  • What changes need to happen so that you can have these kinds of conversations?
  • What changes are you willing to make so this can happen?

Let there be no secrets one from another.

  • What secrets are you keeping from your spouse?
  • How has this created a barrier between you?
  • What changes need to be made on your part, so there is no need for secrets?
  • Knowing that without truthfulness, progress and success in your marriage is impossible, what would give you the courage to share these secrets?

Make your home a haven of rest and peace.

  • Is your home a haven of rest and peace for you?  For your spouse?
  • What are you doing to prevent your home from being a haven of rest and peace?
  • What are you doing to make your home a haven of rest and peace?
  • What changes can you make?
  • What can your spouse do that would help and what would give you the courage to ask for it?

Be hospitable, and let the doors of your house be open to the faces of friends and strangers.

  • When was the last time you invited a friend to your home? A stranger?
  • What steps did you take to make them feel welcome?
  • Which strangers could you be hospitable to?
  • What barriers can you remove to open your house to friends and strangers?

Welcome every guest with radiant grace and let each feel that it is his own home.

  • How many of your guests feel your radiant grace and consider your home their home?
  • Who are the guests that you have trouble reaching this standard with?
  • What needs to change in order for you to meet this standard with all guests?
  • What do you need to detach from, in order to reach this standard?
  • What virtues are you developing by striving to achieve this standard with all guests?

No mortal can conceive the union and harmony which God has designed for man and wife.

  • Although you may not be able to conceive the union and harmony which God has designed for you; what steps are you taking towards increasing the union and harmony in your marriage?
  • What is limiting the union and harmony in your marriage?
  • What can you change in order to bring more union and harmony to your life?

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 nations.

  • How are you nourishing your marriage with love and affection?
  • What behaviors of yours are limiting the love and affection your spouse may feel towards you?
  • What changes can you make to increase the love and affection in your marriage?

O beloved of God, may your home be a vision of the paradise of Abhá, 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!”

  • If your home was a vision of the paradise of Abhá, what would it look like? Name at least 5 qualities.
  • In what ways is your home a vision of the paradise of Abhá?
  • What are you doing so your guests feel the essence of purity when they visit? What needs to change?
  • What are you doing so your guests feel the essence of harmony when they visit? What needs to change?
  • What are you doing so your guests feel love when they visit? What needs to change?

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.

  • When people look at your marriage, do they see two sweet-singing birds perched upon the highest branches of the tree of life?
  • What needs to change?

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.

  • What are you doing to make sure you’ve laid the foundation of your affection in the very center of your spiritual being?
  • Which adverse winds have shaken your foundation?
  • How would truthfulness firm up your foundation?
  • What can you do to bring more truthfulness into your marriage?

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.

  • How have you consecrated yourself to the instruction and guidance of your children?
  • What changes need to be made?

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 from all eternity God had kneaded the very essence of their beings for the love of one another.”

  • In what ways is this true about your marriage?
  • What needs to change?

Attain the ideal love that God has destined for you, so that you may become partakers of eternal life forth-with.

  • What would the ideal love that God has destined for you look like?
  • What can you do to attain it?

Quaff deeply from the fountain of truth, and dwell all the days of your life in a paradise of glory, gathering immortal flowers from the garden of divine mysteries.

  • How truthful are you with your spouse?
  • What do you need to be truthful about? How could you make that conversation a priority?
  • How can you gather immortal flowers from the garden of divine mysteries?
  • How much time are you spending reading and meditating on the Writings?

Be to each other as heavenly lovers and divine beloved ones dwelling in a paradise of love.

  • What steps are you taking so you can be a heavenly lover and divine beloved one?
  • What needs to change, in order for you to be as heavenly lovers dwelling in the paradise of love?

Build your nest on the leafy branches of the tree of love.

  • How have you built your marriage in the tree of love?
  • How are you building your nest? How are you weaving love into it?
  • What steps could you take today to be more loving?

Soar into the clear atmosphere of love.

  • How much have you made love a priority in your atmosphere today?
  • What steps can you take so you can sour into the clear atmosphere of love?

Sail upon the shoreless sea of love.

  • What limits have you put on the shore of your love?
  • What needs to be detached from; and forgiven?

Walk in the eternal rose-garden of love.

  • What have you done to get some exercise by walking in love?
  • What can you do to achieve this objective?

Bathe in the shining rays of the sun of love.

  • How have you immersed yourself in the shining rays of the sun of love?
  • What can you do to achieve this objective?

Be firm and steadfast in the path of Love.

  • What has caused you to waver in your steadfastness in the path of love?
  • How can you get your firmness and steadfastness back?
  • What can you do to achieve this objective?

Perfume your nostrils with the fragrance from the flowers of love.

  • When was the last time you took the time to “stop and smell the roses” in your marriage?
  • What can you do to achieve this objective?
  • Can you identify at least 10 flowers of love in your partner?       Try hard!
  • What can you do to see only the good in them?
  • What would it take for you to detach yourself from their negative qualities and forgive them for the sake of God?

Attune your ears to the soul-entrancing melodies of love.

  • How does your spouse demonstrate their love for you? If it’s been some time since you felt their love; how was it done in the early days of your relationship?
  • What caused you to stop seeing their love?
  • What is your love language? Take the quiz here if you don’t know. You don’t need to give your email address – just click “skip this step”.
  • Now that you know your love language; how will this help you understand that your way of showing love may not be received as love by your spouse, and vice versa?
  • What will you do differently?

Let your aims be as generous as the banquets of love.

  • What are your aims for your own spiritual growth?
  • What are your aims for your marriage?
  • How can you make your aims be as generous as the banquets of love?

Drink deeply of the elixir of love, so that your may live continually in the reality of Divine Love.

  • How are you drinking in the love from your spouse?
  • What might cause you to hold yourself aloof from drinking it in?
  • What needs to be forgiven so you can drink deeply of the elixir of love?

Now that you’ve read through each one, go back through and make some goals which will help strengthen your relationship.

Some people might think that they can’t do all the work of the marriage on their own – their partners are equally responsible; and to some extent, that’s true.

On the other hand, in the Hidden Words, Bahá’u’lláh has told us:

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant. (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words, 5)

I think this applies to marriage too. When your partner really feels loved by you, it’s easier for them to feel loving back. Give it a try!

We also know that one person CAN turn things around, because of the following quote:

There have been many instances in which a couple, through a consecrated and determined effort, aided by the power of prayer and the advice of experts, succeeded in overcoming seemingly insuperable obstacles to their reconciliation and in reconstructing a strong foundation for their marriage. There are also innumerable examples of individuals who have been able to effect drastic and enduring changes in their behaviour, through drawing on the spiritual powers available by the bounty of God.  (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 458)

So it seems to me that when we effect drastic and enduring changes in our own behavior, by drawing on the spiritual powers available by the bounty of God, we’ve already removed an obstacle to reconciliation; and taken a giant step towards reconstructing a strong foundation for marriage.

There may be times, though, when you can honestly say you’ve tried all of these and your marriage is still in trouble. At that point, a consultation with a Spiritual Assembly or a marriage counsellor might be in order. It might also be time to look at a year of patience, and if things still haven’t improved, to go on to divorce.

These articles might be of assistance:

Why Do Good Relationships Go Bad and How Can we Get them Back?

How to Transform a Lifeless Marriage 

When Marriage Becomes Abusive

How to Know when it’s Time to Divorce

 

Let me know how this has helped you better understand the Baha’i concept of marriage. Post your comments below.