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…those souls whose inner being is lit by the love of God are even as spreading rays of light, and they shine out like stars of holiness in a pure and crystalline sky. For true love, real love, is the love for God, and this is sanctified beyond the notions and imaginings of men. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 202-203.
This good advice can help husbands and wives. Perhaps this is why, at a Baha’i marriage ceremony, the one simple vow spoken by both bride and groom doesn’t take the form of a promise to the spouse, but rather a simple pledge addressed directly to God:
Animosity between spouses and God’s will are antithetical. But how do you deal with the unavoidable clashes and contention that arise in just about every marriage? The Baha’i teachings say that a truly spiritual marriage encourages both husband and wife to:
…with utter sanctity, with one accord, rise up in the spirit, in unity with one another, to such a degree that they will become even as one being and one soul. On such a plane as this, physical bodies play no part, rather doth the spirit take over and rule; and when its power encompasseth all then is spiritual union achieved. Strive ye by day and night to cultivate your unity to the fullest degree. Let your thoughts dwell on your own spiritual development, and close your eyes to the deficiencies of other souls. Act ye in such wise, showing forth pure and goodly deeds, and modesty and humility, that ye will cause others to be awakened.
Never is it the wish of Abdu’l-Baha to see any being hurt, nor will He make anyone to grieve; for man can receive no greater gift than this, that he rejoice another’s heart. I beg of God that ye will be bringers of joy, even as are the angels in Heaven. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 203-204.
The Baha’i writings warn us to “Beware lest ye prefer yourselves above your neighbors.” – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 315.
Where better to begin than with the “neighbor” with whom you share your meals, your bed, your deepest thoughts and longings? How can we face our loving God if we subvert his will by not seeing the face of the Beloved in the face of our beloved? If more people took this injunction to heart, many marriages could be saved.
This series of four short essays on marriage will focus on the deep and profound spiritual counsel from the Baha’i teachings about unity and union. Baha’i marriage, because it centers on the spiritual aspects of the relationship, has enormous relevance for everyone. Applying the Baha’i principles of marriage to any union can result in a happier, more elevated and more lasting unity between the spouses:
Baha’i marriage is union and cordial affection between the two parties. They must, however, exercise the utmost care and become acquainted with each other’s character. This eternal bond should be made secure by a firm covenant, and the intention should be to foster harmony, fellowship and unity and to attain everlasting life. – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, p. 102.