There is a case recorded where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to a Western believer who had sought His advice. She was told that she should remain faithful and forbearing towards her husband but, should his cruelty become unendurable, she should leave him to himself and live separately from him, as this was better and more acceptable. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 July, 1987)
We know from the Bahá’í Writings that even though divorce is “abhorred by God; “strongly condemned”; “very strongly frowned upon; “only under rare and urgent, very exceptional and unbearable circumstances be resorted to”; and that “you should … make every effort to hold your marriage together, especially for the sake of your children”, it’s also “permissible after “prayer and self-sacrificing effort” and after “the lapse of one full year”. When my marriage was over, I often wondered: Are there exceptions to the rule? That’s why this quote was so helpful.
Although my husband wasn’t deliberately cruel, his actions inadvertently triggered my childhood trauma and I no longer felt safe in the marriage. It was a great comfort to know that while being faithful and forbearing towards him, that leaving him to himself and living separately was better and more acceptable in God’s eyes. This year of patience (or year of waiting) gave me the time I needed to consult with the Institutions, deepen in the Writings on marriage and divorce, pray and determine whether or not I felt “irreconcilable aversion and antipathy”.
Knowing I belong to a Faith that understands my situation and gives me guidance on what to do, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Overcoming Abuse and Violence Kindle