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In this series of articles we’re looking at how the Bahá’í Marriage Vow “We will all verily abide by the Will of God” can help solve the 10 most common marriage problems.  In this article we will explore the topic of love and effort in marriage.

I don’t know about you but I was raised on a diet of fairy tales, where the woman always got her man, and “they lived happily ever after”!  I believed this!  I had no idea that marriages took work, and didn’t survive on good intentions or “just happened”.  Needless to say, my marriage didn’t last!

Both parties need to do everything in their power to preserve the marriage:

As Bahá’u’lláh was so very much against divorce (even though He permits it) and considered marriage a most sacred responsibility, believers should do everything in their power to preserve the marriages they have contracted, and to make of them exemplary unions, governed by the noblest motives.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 448)

It takes strenuous and determined effort:

 The House of Justice advises you to continue the strenuous efforts you are making to overcome the difficulties in your marriage . . . Such endeavours, when combined with a strong and determined effort, improve greatly the prospects that your marriage can be maintained. (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 457)

Whenever we’re baffled by how to behave, we can always turn to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as an example:

 He feels you should by all means show your husband the greatest love and sympathy; if we are ever in any doubts as to how we should conduct ourselves as Bahá’ís we should think of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and study His life and ask ourselves what would He have done, for He is our perfect example in every way. And you know how tender He was, and how His affection and kindness shone like sunlight on everyone. “Your husband and your child have a right to your love, and give you a wonderful opportunity of demonstrating your faith in the Cause.” “Also you should pray to Bahá’u’lláh to help unite you with your husband and make your home a true and happy home.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)

If you’ve grown up with poor role models or if your parents were divorced, you may need marriage counselling to show you how to strengthen your marriage:

The House of Justice is distressed to learn that you and your husband are continuing to experience marital difficulties. It has frequently advised believers in such situations to turn to the Spiritual Assemblies for advice and counsel, and to follow this advice in their efforts to preserve the unity of their marital relationship. It has been found useful in many instances to also seek the assistance of competent professional marriage counsellors, who can provide useful insights and guidance in the use of constructive measures to bring about a greater degree of unity.  (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 458)

You don’t need to wait until the marriage is in trouble.  You can start early and build on what you’re learning.

Love and kindness are hallmarks:

 Hold thy husband dear and always show forth an amiable temper towards him, no matter how ill tempered he may be. Even if thy kindness maketh him more bitter, manifest thou more kindliness, more tenderness, be more loving and tolerate his cruel actions and ill-treatment.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)

Love Languages

There are five main ways of giving and receiving love:  words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, service and touch.  Often the way one person demonstrates their love, is not what the other person needs.

For example, I feel loved when someone spends time with me and does things for me.  If they are always saying “I love you”; or giving me gifts, I don’t feel their love, however sincere they might be in giving me these gifts.  The best way to understand your love language and that of your spouse is to do the assessment questionnaires.

Affirmation:

 If I love you, I need not continually speak of my love — you will know without any words. On the other hand if I love you not, that also will you know — and you would not believe me, were I to tell you in a thousand words, that I loved you.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 16)

Quality Time Together:

 The House of Justice feels it most essential for your husband and you to understand that marriage can be a source of well-being, conveying a sense of security and spiritual happiness. However, it is not something that just happens. For marriage to become a haven of contentment it requires the cooperation of the marriage partners themselves, and the assistance of their families. (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 453)

Gifts:

Material progress insures the happiness of the human world. Spiritual progress insures the happiness and eternal continuance of the soul.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 227)

Service to each other and to others:

This bond of common service to the Cause which is has proved such an effective solution of your personal problems, he hopes, and indeed will fervently pray, will be further cemented by the passing of years and through your increased and joint participation in the teaching work … (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 448)

Touch:

 The primary purpose of sexual relations is, clearly, to perpetuate the species. The fact that personal pleasure is derived therefrom is one of the bounties of God. (The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality, p. 11)

For more information please see:

Role Confusion 

Money 

Sex 

In-laws and Children

Communication 

Spending Time Together

Unresolved Baggage from Childhood

Gossip and Backbiting

For more on this topic, please see:

Introduction to Marriage Vows

We Will All Verily Abide by the Will of God

Sex Before Marriage 

Sex Inside Marriage 

Using the Year of Patience 

 How has understanding the will of God regarding the importance of love and effort needed in a marriage helped you?  Post your comments here: