Archive for August, 2006

Tarazát (Ornaments)
August 4, 2006

The first Taráz (Ornament)

“[It] is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty. Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples. They are, in truth, cup-bearers of the life-giving water of knowledge and guides unto the ideal way. They direct the peoples of the world to the straight path and acquaint them with that which is conducive to human upliftment and exaltation. The straight path is the one which guideth man to the dayspring of perception and to the dawning-place of true understanding and leadeth him to that which will redound to glory, honour and greatness.” *

The second Taráz (Ornament)

“The second Taráz is to consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, to proclaim that which the Speaker on Sinai hath set forth and to observe fairness in all matters. They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations. Blessed are such as hold fast to the cord of kindliness and tender mercy and are free from animosity and hatred. This Wronged One exhorteth the peoples of the world to observe tolerance and righteousness, which are two lights amidst the darkness of the world and two educators for the edification of mankind. Happy are they who have attained thereto and woe betide the heedless.” *

The third Taráz (Ornament)

“[It] concerneth good character. A good character is, verily, the best mantle for men from God. With it He adorneth the temples of His loved ones. By My life! The light of a good character surpasseth the light of the sun and the radiance thereof. Whoso attaineth unto it is accounted as a jewel among men. The glory and the upliftment of the world must needs depend upon it. A goodly character is a means whereby men are guided to the Straight Path and are led to the Great Announcement. Well is it with him who is adorned with the saintly attributes and character of the Concourse on High.” *

The fourth Taráz (Ornament)

“[It] concerneth trustworthiness. Verily it is the door of security for all that dwell on earth and a token of glory on the part of the All-Merciful. He who partaketh thereof hath indeed partaken of the treasures of wealth and prosperity. Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquillity and security of the people. In truth the stability of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light.” *

The fifth Taráz (Ornament)

“The fifth Taráz concerneth the protection and preservation of the stations of God’s servants. One should not ignore the truth of any matter, rather should one give expression to that which is right and true. The people of Bahá should not deny any soul the reward due to him, should treat craftsmen with deference, and, unlike the people aforetime, should not defile their tongues with abuse.” *

The sixth Taráz (Ornament)

“Knowledge is one of the wondrous gifts of God. It is incumbent upon everyone to acquire it. Such arts and material means as are now manifest have been achieved by virtue of His knowledge and wisdom which have been revealed in Epistles and Tablets through His Most Exalted Pen—a Pen out of whose treasury pearls of wisdom and utterance and the arts and crafts of the world are brought to light.” *

* Extract from the holy tablet of TARAZÁT (Ornaments) by Bahá’u’lláh — prophet founder of the Bahá’í Faith. To read the whole tablet go to http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/TB/tb-5.html.

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What is your success potential?
August 3, 2006

Let Palmistry Analyze Your Thumb Angle for Success

1. For best hand reading hold both hands out in a natural and relaxed position.  
2. Observe the natural resting angle your thumbs make with your hand center lines.  
3. See the hands below and identify which one has the resting thumb angle closest to yours. (That is, the zone where your thumb rests most comfortably.)

Small Angle

In palmistry a small angle reveals a cautious person.
 
Your small angle reveals that you are a person who does not rush into doing things – physically or mentally. You don’t need to check your horoscope. You are always cautious and wisely observe the situation before taking action. This is true, no matter what your horoscope says, whenever you are holding your thumb at a small angle: You are going to be very cautious and slowly make your decisions to do your chores and go about your daily activities. This is your way but it may bother your friends who have big thumb angles.

You are not pushy about getting your own way. You are patient and if you do not get the desired results you are open to accepting help. You feel more comfortable letting another person take the lead so that you can provide support. You are a good “team player” and it is not important for you to “take charge” in order to get the job done. Successfully reaching your goal is more important than who gets the credit. You work hard to minimize chances of failure. You don’t need an astrologer to tell you how to live your life because success is always your goal and it is not important who gets the credit as long as the project does not fail.

This is not your horoscope for only today because it is always true: You are a loyal, trusted, and valued team member who cooperates especially well in completing group activities to reach worthwhile goals. Your patience and your insights contribute significantly to the success of the group. You are wise to take your time and consider all possibilities before tackling big projects.

Medium Angle

In palmistry a medium angle reveals a balanced planner and organizer with reserved leadership abilities.

Your medium thumb angle reveals that you are balanced, confident and self-reliant. You work well both alone and with others. It is not necessary to be a “take charge” person who dominates all the activities of others around you. You can take the leadership role if necessary but being the leader is not your goal. Your satisfaction comes from getting results, no matter how they are achieved or who gets the credit.

You are not overly mental about what you are going to do, so you don’t waste a lot of time doing unnecessary planning. You do things when the time is right for you. You seldom need help but if you do, you accept it graciously.

If you have friends with a small angled thumb you may notice they seem to you to be a little slower getting started doing things. No problem, you generally call on your own inner leadership and jump in to get them started. One of your virtues is that you are resourceful and can be depended on by others to take the leadership role when needed. You conserve your energy and resources until you need them and then you produce results that surprise others.

Big Angle

You are a person who gets results!

In palmistry a big angle reveals a person who always gets things done fast and efficiently.

Your BIG angle reveals that you are eager to jump in and get things done right away. No matter what your horoscope says, you do things quickly, confidently, and pleasurably because you like to take charge and get the job done! You are very good at taking action to produce results that you and others can see and appreciate. Regardless of what your astrology chart shows, your big angle proves you are confident, self-reliant, and a “doer”.

Hints for getting more things done and better results in life:

Holding your thumb out at a big angle greatly helps to raise your energies for doing things. This is similar to throwing your shoulders back and expanding your chest when you are depressed. That change in body posture is opposite to the posture of a depressed person so the mind and the hormones it produces change to match the new body posture and you aren’t so depressed. The same thing happens when holding your thumb out at a big angle when it wants to be in close to the palm. The mind and the hormones are revved up for action when the thump is out at a big angle!

(Source: HandAnalysis.com)

The Development and Dimensions of Love in Marriage – a Baha’i inspired perspective
August 2, 2006

INTRODUCTION

To love is a universal human attribute. There exists in man an eternal quest, a quest which is the motivating force impelling man to seek knowledge, to search for truth, to behold beauty, to experience the most, to reach the highest, to create the best, and above all to achieve union with the Beloved. This fundamental quest is the manifestation of the basic, eternal love with which every human being is endowed.

Given the central role of love in human relationships, the many attempts to understand love, to explain its nature, to describe its characteristics, and to unravel its mysteries are not surprising. Nevertheless, love remains poorly understood. Many believe that love cannot be explained but only experienced, while others consider love to be merely another human emotion. In this paper, I will attempt to describe love both from an experiential and a phenomenological perspective. The concepts presented are derived from the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith on this issue and from my clinical observations pertaining to love at the individual and marital levels under healthy and pathological conditions in the context of various social and cultural settings.

Although the main focus of the presentation is on love in marriage, the concepts presented are also applicable, with some modification, to other types of human love relationships. My main thesis is that love is developmental in its nature and conditional in its quality.

The developmental quality of love is self-explanatory. It refers to the fact that a confident, mature love manifests itself differently from an infantile, possessive type of love, or that self-centered love is an indication of an earlier stage of growth than an unconditional love. The conditional aspect of love refers to the fact that human love can be creative or destructive, enlightened or ignorant, universal or limited, and material or spiritual. These diverse, opposite qualities of love are due to the qualities of the object of the person’s love. In other words, if the object of human love is beauty, knowledge, or life, love is manifested in its most beautiful, enlightened and creative manner. If the object of the person’s love is untruth, cruelty, and materialism, then falsehood and destruction are the outcome. The ultimate aim of this process is the love of God which is the source of human joy and glory:

If one possesses the love of God, everything that he undertakes is useful, but if the undertaking is without the Love of God, then it is hurtful and the cause of veiling one’s self from the Lord of the Kingdom…. With the love of God all sciences are accepted and beloved, but without it, are fruitless; nay, rather the cause of insanity….1

It should be clear that the developmental nature of love and the choice of love object are totally interrelated. In other words, the more mature an individual’s love, the more sublime the object of his love will be. Of all the types of love between human beings, love in marriage seems to be the most complicated but potentially the most rewarding.

While parent-child, sibling and familial types of love draw their validity and strength from already established biological, psychosocial, and spiritual bonds, the partners in marital love have to establish all these facets of their love from the beginning. Thus, the marital partners, through their own choices, create for themselves immense challenges and opportunities for the development of a unique relationship which can either withstand the vagaries of life or disintegrate in the face of relationship’s tests and demands.

Love is the main force which brings the husband and wife together in the context of marriage. However, it should be remembered that love and marriage are not synonymous. There have been, and continue to be, marriages in which love is lacking or even completely absent. Conversely there are many situations in which love exists between a man and a woman, but they do not marry. The reasons for these conditions lie in the nature and expression of love, both generally and specifically in the context of marriage.

These points will be discussed more fully in the text, however, the reader should be cautioned that the stages and dimensions of love described here are not as rigid or predictable as might be inferred from reading them in outline form. Human beings are creative beings; therefore, love relationships in different couples will be unique according to each couple’s qualities and characteristics. The classifications and stages of love presented in this paper are intended to facilitate study of the phenomenon of love and not to relegate it to a rigid and calcified condition.

DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF LOVE

O Son of Man!
Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.
Bahá’u’lláh

Unidirectional Love

Love is developmental in nature. Its development is closely related to the process of maturation in the individual and parallels the stages of life – birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and maturity. At birth, and for some time thereafter, the normal human infant is totally self-centered, while at the same time dependent upon his parents and environment for well-being, growth, and security. Even at this stage of dependence and helplessness, however, the child is endowed with qualities that facilitate the development of love relationships with others. Love at this level is unidirectional. The child receives the love of his parents, grows as a result of this love’s nurturing properties, and displays signs of satisfaction, comfort, and enjoyment. At this level, the parent’s love is also unidirectional: giving attention, care, and comfort to the child. The parent’s love is given with full awareness and consciousness, and the child accepts with total unconditional trust. At this level, unidirectional love is both healthy and essential. Other similar, but not identical circumstances, that call for unidirectional love are severe illness, extreme danger, or serious handicaps. The ultimate manifestation of unidirectional love occurs between God and man. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in his discourses on love, identifies four kinds of love, two of which (love of God for man and love of man for God) are the best examples of unidirectional love: God giving and man receiving.

…The first is the love that flows from God to man; it consists of the inexhaustible graces, the Divine effulgence and heavenly illumination. Through this love the world of being receives life….This love is the origin of all the love in the world of creation.
The second is the love the flows from man to God. This is faith, attraction to the Divine, enkindlement, progress, entrance into the Kingdom of God, receiving the Bounties of God….This love is the origin of all philanthropy….2

Unidirectional love can become quite unhealthy in a relationship between two adults who have equal conditions and opportunities. Examples of this type of love occur quite often in those relationships and cultures in which bestowing love is considered meritorious and receiving love is viewed as a sign of selfishness and/or weakness. Consequently, the giver of such love under these circumstances gives with some degree of resentment and an aura of self- sacrifice, and the recipients of such love often feel manipulated, indebted, and humiliated. The feelings of humiliation are due to the fact that their attempts to reciprocate love are not accepted or valued. In such a relationship, unidirectional love becomes ineffective and arouses feelings of anger, resentment, and mistrust. These conditions are fertile grounds for the development of resentment and anger, which in turn become obstacles to the demonstration of love for the other person. Similar unhealthy conditions exist in marriages in which one partner assumes the role of the giver and the other that of the receiver of love.

Competitive Love

Under healthy conditions, the unidirectional love of infancy and early childhood gives way to the type of love which is most characteristic of late childhood and adolescent stages of human development. This type of love is basically intense, erratic, and often irrational. It is characterized by competitive behaviour and an “all or nothing” quality. To adolescents, both giving and receiving love are indications of their worth, ability, capacity, desirability, lovability, and goodness – in short, signs of their identity. Young individuals gradually establish their identity by comparing their own experiences and accomplishments with those of their peers. Love is no exception to this process of comparison.

The young lovers show their love by competing with their peers both with respect to giving and receiving love. They feel that they must constantly prove themselves. They tend to demand love in an absolute, exclusive manner. They, and only they, should be loved; they should love one and only one person. This “all or nothing” love is limited in scope, rigid in the way it is shown and extreme in practice, and confused in the nature and type of emotions which it creates in the minds and hearts of the lovers.

The love relationship under these circumstances becomes erratic. Competition results in the development of unhealthy extremes in behaviour and demands. An example of such a process is the manner in which a competitive lover tries to prove the extent and depth of his love by showering the other person with gifts beyond his means; by actions obviously injurious to himself and others; and by making demands which are unfruitful if not impossible. At this level, the lovers “love each other to death.” Consequently their love, instead of becoming a creative, life engendering force in their relationship, becomes a basically rigid and destructive process. They prove their identity by showing themselves more capable of love than the other person, or as it happens quite frequently, by proving the other person less capable of loving. Furthermore, the erratic nature of competitive love results in insecurity and mistrust.

This type of love, although characteristic of the developmental years of childhood and adolescence, can be modified by guidance and support so that the young individuals gradually learn that it is unnecessary to compete in their love relationship and hence gradually develop cooperative love. The phenomenon of falling in love, with its intensity, fervour, and blindness, occurs at all levels of the human love experience, but is usually most dramatic in the competitive stage. A healthy, extremely powerful and constructive version of this is the love manifested in the life of mystics and saints — a powerful, blinding and intense love, painful and all-consuming. The object of this love is God, and its intensity heralds the beginning stages of the spiritual journey of the human soul. In reality all other types of love, such as love for another individual or love for material things, are but a reflection of this fundamental and all pervasive love. Bahá’u’lláh, in The Seven Valleys, outlining this spiritual journey describes the Valley of Love in this manner:
In this city the heaven of ecstacy is upraised and the world illumining sun of yearning shineth, and the fire of love is ablaze; and when the fire of love is ablaze, it burneth to ashes the harvest of reason. Now is the traveller unaware of himself, and of aught else besides himself. He seeth neither ignorance nor knowledge, neither doubt nor certitude….The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end. In this station the lover hath no thought save the Beloved, and seeketh no refuge save the Friend.3

Cooperative Love

Gradually, with further maturity, love begins to be manifested in a cooperative manner At this stage which characteristically corresponds to adulthood in the individual, the love relationship becomes a sharing process. The lovers are now more certain of their own identity, more aware of their basic capacities, more assured of their experiences, and less threatened by the possibility of rejection. Furthermore, rejection at this level becomes more tolerable, and the ability to be objective in the evaluation of such circumstances becomes more refined and strong. A sharing relationship is indeed one of the most sought after types of love relationship. Ideally, marriage should take place at this level, or, if it occurs at an earlier stage in the love relationship, should be guided towards this objective. As a consequence of these efforts, the resultant marital relationship is characterized by a strong positive sense of identity for both the husband and the wife, a high capacity for cooperation and sharing, a fundamental belief in the integrity and nobility of each person, and a deep sense of respect for one another. Under such circumstances, love is manifested in a cooperative, assured, calm, and creative manner free from the competition, uncertainty, anxiety, and rigidity of the adolescent stage of development. During all these stages of development – unidirectional love, competitive love, and cooperative love – preoccupation with self steadily decreases. In fact, to the degree that the individual is able to focus his attention, energies, and capacities on others and at the same time maintain a basic sense of self, his strengths, and his positive capacities, he is able to engage in a higher level of love relationship and experience.

The cooperative type of love is not only possible in marriage, but also in other forms of relationship, including his relationship with his Creator. Bahá’u’lláh, in many of his utterances, challenges man to establish a higher level of relationship with his Creator. Until now, the relationship between man and God has been likened to that of a parent and child. But Bahá’u’lláh now puts forward a challenge:

O Son of Being
Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.4

With this statement, a new era in the relationship between God and man has begun. Humanity has finally arrived at the stage of adulthood, a stage characterized by sharing.

Within the context of marriage, however, love relationships gradually move from the level of cooperation to an unconditional type of love. The husband and wife then relate to one another with such a degree of respect and comfort that the conditions usually imposed in the love relationship become less frequent, less intense, and less necessary At this level, couples are able to broaden the scope of their love to include their children, parents, relatives, friends and eventually all of humanity, while at the same time being able to safeguard completely the sanctity of their marriage and fidelity.

Unconditional Love

Aside from these stages in the development of love, all of which require one-to- one types of relationship, there is a final stage of growth characterized by the capacity for unconditional love. In this stage, the highly matured individual no longer needs constantly to prove his abilities or to establish his identity. His capacity to love becomes unconditional and universal. Unconditional love refers to that process in which the individual loves others because of their inherent nobility, beauty, uniqueness, and his oneness with all other members of the human race. Every human being is created noble in essence, beautiful in countenance, and unique in capacities.

Furthermore, all people are like the cells of one body – the body of humanity. In order for the body to survive, there must exist a fundamental unity and harmony on the part of each cell towards all other cells. This unity is a requirement for existence and therefore must take place in an unconditional manner. At the level of human relationships, unity and harmony are manifested in the form of love. Each individual, by virtue of his will and power of decision making, is able to develop both the ability and the will to love others in an unconditional and other-directed (as opposed to self-centered) manner. However, attainment of this state is not an easy task and requires a lifelong, intensive effort on the part of the individual.

Such a love may be likened to sunshine. The sun shines on everything, without any discrimination. However, not everything which is exposed to the rays of the sun is capable of taking advantage of it in the same manner. Under the influence of sunshine both the rosebush and the brambles grow, but each responds according to its nature and the degree of its ability. However, the sun is neither encouraged by one, nor dismayed by the other. Such a level of loving is not easy to acquire and as a prerequisite, the person needs to be fully cognizant of the nobility and spiritual reality of man, the basic goodness of all creation, and the developmental nature of his love. Furthermore, he must be willing to strive fully towards this achievement, a process which requires both constant diligence and the willingness to tolerate the pain of growth. Within the marital relationship, the cooperative and the unconditional types of love are required and essential.

The following words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set forth the essential aspects of an unconditional love:

When you love a member of your family or a compatriot, let it be with a ray of the Infinite Love….Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, colour or shade of political opinion.5

DIMENSIONS OF LOVE IN MARRIAGE

Real love is impossible unless one turn his face towards God and be attracted to His beauty.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá

In the context of marriage, love needs to be manifested in a cooperative and sharing manner. These qualities are directly related to the overall maturity of the husband and wife and are, paradoxically, best achieved in the context of the intimate and growth-inducing environment of a healthy marriage.

A close study of love in marriage shows that in addition to different stages in the development of love, there are also various dimensions or components of marital love. These dimensions consist of mutual attraction and gratification which, as a result of mutual growth of the couple, are augmented by mutual purpose and meaning for life and existence. At first glance, it is difficult to consider such issues as attraction, gratification, purpose, and meaning as constituting dimensions of love in marriage; however, as will be seen, love is a multidimensional force with physical (mutual attraction), emotional (mutual gratification), intellectual (mutual purpose), and spiritual (mutual point of attraction) facets, all of which are manifested in the context of a healthy marriage in a developmental manner.

From Mutual Attraction to Mutual Point of Attraction
 
The first dimension of love between a man and a woman is attraction. The beauty of an individual attracts the attention of another, encourages an approach, and prepares the way for a response on the part of the attractive individual. If there is considerable mutual attraction a love relationship begins.

Physical attraction, however, is only the first dimension of love in any marriage. once an individual falls in love, the beloved becomes a constant companion in the lover’s mind and heart. Pangs of desire and pain engulf him. All other events and activities gain new meaning in light of this love. If love is returned, there is potential for a more permanent relationship. Gradually other attractive aspects of the person, such as thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations assume greater significance. This process leads to a higher level of closeness and intimacy between the husband and wife and results, not infrequently, in each choosing the other as his point of attraction. Here, “point of attraction” refers to a state in which all of the interest, attention, and yearning, in short, all of a person’s love, is directed towards one object, person, or idea. Under such circumstances, the capacity for reality testing, objectivity, independence, and sense of individuality is greatly hampered.

For the husband and wife to love one another in a healthy growth-inducing and lasting manner, they need to remain individual entities, distinct from one another – each responsible for his or her own activities, decisions, and growth, and at the same time cognizant of the needs and desires of the other person. If the husband and wife, in their attempt to create total integration and union with one another, choose each other as their mutual point of attraction, they become nonentities. Such an integration and union demand the sacrifice of one’s basic self-hood and are basically unhealthy processes.

Thus, the couple must gradually find a mutual point of attraction which transcends finite limitations. They should not substitute other people, their children, or their wealth and fame, as points of attraction. In many marriages, the mutual point of attraction at first is the couple itself, then their children, wealth, position, and possessions, and finally in old age the couple itself again. The final outcome of such a love relationship is separation, loss, and grief. However, in a healthy marriage love finally reaches that height of maturity which not only includes complete and unconditional love for one’s spouse but also allows the couple to share a love for the Absolute and the ultimate. Under such circumstances the husband and wife are able to continue their individual growth and at the same time contribute to the growth of their marriage. The concept of a mutual point of attraction could best be understood by a triangular schema in which the husband, the wife, and the mutual point of attraction each constitute one of its three points. As the husband and wife approach their mutual point of attraction, the distance between them decreases.

The ultimate point of attraction is, essentially, that which is called variously God, Ultimate Truth, Absolute Love. Such a point of attraction can never fully be attained, and therefore, the couple, in their mutual quest, can never lose their identities.

The progress of the mutual attraction and its gradual evolution to a mutual point of attraction, therefore, means that in the context of a healthy marriage, the couple is able to behold each other’s beauty more comprehensively and to transcend the prevalent concepts of and attitudes towards beauty. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in his description of the four kinds of love, addresses this issue and points out that true love between people is only possible through a mutual point of attraction, i.e., knowledge and love of God. Otherwise, according to ‘Abdu’l- Bahá, what people usually call love is nothing but fascination, and is, therefore, temporary. He says:

The fourth is the love of man for man. The love which exists between the hearts of believers is prompted by the ideal of the unity of spirits. This love is attained through the knowledge of God, so that men see the Divine Love reflected in the heart. Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the waves of one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity.

But the love which sometimes exists between friends is not true) love, because it is subject to transmutation; this is merely fascination. As the breeze blows, the slender trees yield. If the wind is in the East the tree leans to the West, and if the wind turns to the West the tree leans to the East. This kind of love is originated by the accidental conditions of life, This is not love, it is merely acquaintanceship; it is subject to change.
Today you will see two souls apparently in close friendship; tomorrow all this may be changed. Yesterday they were ready to die for one another, today they shun one another’s society This is not love; it is the yielding of the hearts to the accidents of life. When that which has caused this “love” to exist passes, the love passes also; this is not in reality love.6

We live in a world which is composed of societies either already experiencing their collective adolescence or rapidly approaching that level of growth. In an adolescent world the standards of attractiveness are similar to those of adolescent individuals. Physical beauty, youth, and sex appeal are some of the qualities considered as hallmarks of attractiveness by both adolescent individuals and adolescent societies. unless a couple progresses beyond an adolescent level in their marital love relationship, their mutual attraction will fade, and gradually their “love,” which was primarily based on outward qualities, will weaken and disappear. It is only within the framework of a meaningful, enduring mutual point of attraction that marital love can become gratifying and lasting.

From Mutual Need Gratification to Mutual Purpose

Next to mutual attraction, the first common dimension of what couples usually call love is mutual need gratification. Every human being has diverse needs which can best be fulfilled in the context of an intimate relationship. Some of these needs may be due to a deprived or troubled life history of either or both persons involved in the relationship, while other needs are basic requirements for the overall growth and quality of life of any individual. Some examples of the first are such conditions as extreme dependency, loneliness, isolation, alienation, poor self image, and fear of rejection. These conditions all require another person who undertakes either to satisfy these needs or at least to decrease the extent and intensity of their effects.

The second category of needs relating to the direction and quality of life are also of considerable importance with respect to individual growth. Human conditions and functions such as intimacy, sharing, giving and receiving, encouraging and being encouraged, desiring and being desirable, helping and being helped, as well as caring and being cared for, all require the existence of a meaningful, trusting relationship which is best achieved in the context of a healthy marriage.

Many couples marry as a direct response to one or both of these categories of needs. The combination of mutual attraction and mutual need gratification creates an overcharged emotional bond and fosters an illusion of eternal, romantic, and unconditional love. However, in the same manner that attraction has both hidden and obvious sides and is subject to considerable change, the needs of each individual are complex and evolving. In a healthy marriage, the couple create an atmosphere in which both husband and wife have the opportunity and courage for further growth and maturity. Growth is painful and requires will and courage.

When the husband and wife are cognizant of these processes and coordinate their mutual growth, they further strengthen their love relationship. However, many contemporary marriages are based on mutual attraction and mutual need gratification alone. These marriages are usually characterized by fiery, intense, romantic love which soon reaches its peak of excitement, not infrequently even before marriage or during the honeymoon, and then begins to wither and either continues as a boring relationship or ends in separation and divorce.

The choice of continuation or separation is dependent on many factors. Some couples continue to live a highly dependent and parasitic life, others find their duties and responsibilities towards their children a legitimate reason for continuing their marriage, and still a third group try desperately to improve the love relationship and to strengthen the marriage. Separation and divorce, nevertheless, are common and usually occur under the guise of a need for individual freedom and growth. A closer look at these divorces, however, clearly shows that a large percentage of couples separate in the hope that they will find another individual with whom they could reestablish a love relationship characterized by mutual attraction and gratification and thus repeat the once exciting relationship they usually call “true love.” In pursuit of this elusive goal they engage in intense relationships, erratic and erotic at the beginning but boring, monotonous, and isolating in the end.

The main reason for this tragic result is that “true love” requires that mutual attraction becomes a mutual point of attraction and mutual gratification evolves into mutual purpose. Mutual purpose is closely related to our goals, plans, and work. It is natural for human beings to pursue goals and make plans. In fact, when a person is without plans and goals, he becomes disheartened, depressed, and disinterested in life and all that it entails. Due to this fundamental need, there must be opportunities in the context of marriage for both husband and wife to pursue plans and goals both individually and as a couple.

Individual goals and projects shape our life processes, giving direction and meaning, as well as creating motivation for further achievement with a consequent sense of satisfaction and pride. Every human being needs such experiences on an ongoing basis. Through these experiences, the individual gains a sense of identity and worth and contributes to his own and society’s progress and growth.

Work is an indispensable part of life, and when performed in a spirit of service it is the single most important goal and project that a human being can undertake. Work, however, has a profound effect only if it is judged to be a meaningful, productive activity both by the individual, his family and society. However, quite often a person’s work is judged according to its monetary value or the power, authority, and prestige which it confers rather than according to its true value, being a cause of service, unity, harmony, cooperation, creativity, progress, assistance, and happiness to others. Any type of work which does not have such an orientation discourages closeness and cooperation, and instead, fosters isolation and competition. These latter conditions are not conducive to the development of an intimate and loving marriage.

In the future, no doubt, societies will reevaluate their views of work, especially of work performed within the framework of marriage and the family, and such activities as raising children, creating a happy home, and contributing to the stability and peace of the family and the community, will be exalted as the most meaningful, valuable and honoured type of work. The struggle to avoid such activities as is in vogue in some contemporary societies will be replaced by a desire and excitement to partake in them. Bahá’u’lláh places considerable value on work within the framework of marital and family relationships. He says:

The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.7

Returning to the theme of personal goals and plans, it is obvious that both husband and wife must create opportunities in their marriage for the achievement of their personal objectives and projects. In a healthy marriage, these objectives and projects need to be in harmony and coordination with the goals and plans of the marriage. Some of the most obvious prevalent goals in contemporary marriage are: the accumulation of wealth, social advancement, bearing and educating children, and finally providing for retirement. Many couples spend all their efforts and time in the pursuit of these goals.

These goals and objectives are both meritorious and useful, and when combined with a mutual sense of direction and view of life, they provide the couple with a mutual purpose. Purpose connotes an intentional design for affecting the direction and nature of one’s activities, and can encompass a number of projects, goals, and plans. In the developmental scheme of love, however, mutual purpose is, in fact, a matured and developed version of mutual gratification. As a direct result of mutual growth, the couple becomes less self-centered and preoccupied with the immediate. The partners transcend the limitations of instant gratification and begin to develop purpose in their lives. Initially, the purpose is merely a collection of individual and shared hopes, aspirations, goals, plans, and objectives. Within the framework of a growing love relationship, the mutual purpose becomes more universal in scope, more spiritual in orientation, and less materialistic in outlook. This issue is at the heart of the Bahá’í view of marriage and its purpose:

In a true Bahá’í marriage the two parties must become fully united both spiritually and physically, so that they may attain eternal union throughout all the worlds of God, and improve the spiritual life of each other. This is Bahá’í matrimony.8

A materialistic life which is devoted to the accumulation of wealth, power, and fame within the framework of competition, struggle, and domination ultimately results, under the best of circumstances, in a partnership rather than a love relationship, in isolation rather than involvement, and in boredom rather than fulfillment. This partnership, by virtue of its objectives, is limited both in scope and duration. Whereas, mutual purpose not only provides the couple with meaningful direction but also bestows peace of mind and certitude; allows the couple to transcend the limitations of temporary, youthful attraction, self-centered gratification, and isolated self-growth; and finally, creates opportunities for achieving the final, most crucial dimension of the love relationship: a marriage characterized by a transcendent mutual purpose and a mutual point of attraction.

SUMMARY

This paper has attempted to show that love is an essential human attribute which matures as the individual matures. Marriage is a natural, extremely effective milieu for the development of love, provided that the husband and wife are aware of the dynamics of the development of love in human relationships and make conscious, enlightened efforts to facilitate the development and refinement of their love. Such a process requires willingness on the part of the husband and wife to assist each other in their attempts at growth, to choose meaningful mutual purpose and direction, to be willing to suffer the pain of love and growth, and to sacrifice, whenever necessary, their material pursuits for spiritual objectives. These lofty and difficult tasks are within the reach of the marital partners if only they combine their love for each other with enlightenment and wisdom and their knowledge of each other with care and compassion.

References

1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith: Selected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1976), p. 366.
2. Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1975), p. 6.
3. Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1978), p. 8.
4. Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, p. 6.
5. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1972), p.38.
6. Ibid., pp. 180-81.
7. Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, p. 51.
8. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 372.
[By Hossain B. Danesh, MD., FRCP(C), an associate professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Ottawa.]

Introduction to Palmistry
August 2, 2006

What is hand analysis?

Palmistry and hand analysis are different ways of looking at hands. Traditional palmistry is based on astrological symbolism, with the fingers and mounts named after planets. The main emphasis of traditional palmistry is prediction, specific markings having specific meanings.

Elemental hand analysis uses different terminology and takes a more holistic approach. It uses the principles of the five elements Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether to interpret all features of the hand at all levels – physical, emotional, creative, intellectual and spiritual. We can see how problems at one level can affect the other levels, the interaction of mind and body, for example emotional upsets causing physical illness.

Hand analysis, or chirology, involves looking at all aspects of the hand – handshape, skin texture, flexibility, size and shape of fingers and thumbs, nails, knuckles, fingerprints, and the patterns, lines and markings on the palm. By analysing and interpreting these features, the reader can put it all together like a jigsaw and build up a picture of the individual.

Prediction

Because of its 5000 year history and it’s association with fortune telling, there are a lot of misconceptions as to what you can see from the hand. For example, you can’t foretell the length of someone’s life – a short lifeline does not mean a short life. Hand reading is not a psychic thing, it’s an ‘analytical art’ – some of it is a science- that anyone can learn.

Although the fingerprints never change, the palmar lines and markings change throughout life, so you can’t predict a set future from the hand. Looking at a hand is like a snapshot in time, a map of the person as they are now, shaped by the past and sowing seeds for the future. The type of person you are plays a major part in the way you lead your life and kind of future you might have, but anything relating to the future is only potential or possibility. It’s not all set in stone e.g. you might see a tendency to develop digestive problems, but if they look after their diet etc, they may avoid ill health later on.

I feel that making predictions perpetrates a fatalistic approach and takes the power away from the individual. The most important thing is free will – we can make choices and changes that can alter or control our direction and life experience.

C15th palmistry

Many of the predictive markings date back to 15th century – an age of superstition, myth and fatalism. Documents show that the emphasis was on prediction, especially when and how you would die. They foretold all manners of death, e.g. by stone, bloody flux, or at the sword of your enemy, calamities such as imprisonment, poverty, various perils and ways you could suffer wasting of the liver.

The child lines and relationship/marriage lines also date from C15th. These days palmistry experts agree that the marriage and child lines are not reliable with regard to the number of relationships/children you will have. I have seen distinct child lines on hands of women over childbearing age who never had a pregnancy. Or people with one marriage line who are on their third marriage. Although many palmists still read these lines, (and sometimes get them right!), any prediction about children or marriage from the hand shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Modern Palmistry

Modern hand analysis has moved away from the “fortune telling” image to a more accurate and useful understanding of what hands can reveal about us. Hand analysis is an amazing diagnostic tool and navigational aid to help guide us in the right direction. The hand tells us a lot about our character and psychology, it helps us understand and accept ourselves.

Hand Analysis can help you to take stock of your life, gain clarity, insight, identify your habitual patterns, childhood conditioning, where you are now, how you arrived here, and your current direction for the future.

You might recognise things that you can do to improve your quality of life, whether that is in health matters, finding types of work or study that suit you best, understanding your patterns of interacting in relationships. An in depth reading can help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, provide guidance as to how to make the most of your abilities, transcend difficulties and limitations, break old patterns, develop your latent potentials and make some changes in order to feel more balanced and fulfilled in life.

Which hand do you read?

If you are right handed, traditional palmistry says “The left is what the gods gave you, the right is what you do with it” (reversed if left handed). This is simplistic and misleading – we were given both hands, we do something with both hands! Your dominant hand reflects your public side ‘out in the world’, what you have actively developed. The other hand is more about the inner you, your private side, instincts, latent abilities. So we have to compare both hands to see the ‘whole’ person.

Lines

Sceptics, and even scientists, say that the palmar lines are just creases where the hand folds, but this is not true. The lines develop when the foetus 7-10 weeks old, but the muscles don’t form until 11 weeks. So the lines are there before movement of the hand is possible.

Every hand has a lifeline, head line and heart line. The number of other lines differs according to the person’s temperament, health and stress. The more lines, the more the tendency to be highly strung, emotional, sensitive, prone to stress and anxiety. People with empty hands (few lines) are often practical, even tempered, tend not to worry too much.

No one really knows why the lines are there, but they seem to be associated with the nerve endings. There are more neural connections between the brain and hand than any other part of the body – if our bodies were proportioned according to the number of nerves, we’d have hands the size of beach umbrellas! I think of the lines as rivers of energy flowing across the hand, and the markings like pulses of electricity (nerve impulses) – like a coded computer print out of the information exchange between the brain and the hand. What a palmist does is to crack this code for you.

Hand Analysis and Science

It is only in the last hundred years that a serious interest in hands has grown, with scientific research into subjects such as dermatoglyphics, finger lengths and palmar lines. Particular hand features are more common in certain chromosomal disorders e.g. Down’s syndrome. Research has been done into the hand and heart conditions, diabetes, autism, depression, fertility etc. So gradually, the analysis of the hand is moving away from its fortune telling image into something much more useful and relevant to our lives today.

(By Lynn Seal. Lynn has studied and practised palmistry and hand analysis for 15 years.)

In Microsoft Plan for Future, All Roads Lead to Internet
August 2, 2006

In a daylong meeting with analysts on Thursday, Microsoft executives detailed how the company was spending heavily to build Internet services into all its products, from operating systems to video games. But they cautioned that any big payoff from those investments would not come for a few years.

Internet search, according to Microsoft, will increasingly become seamlessly integrated into the Windows desktop operating system, Office productivity software, cellphones powered by Windows and Xbox video games.

“Search will not be a destination, but it will become a utility” that is more and more “woven into the fabric of all kinds of computing experiences,” said Kevin Johnson, co-president of Microsoft’s platforms and services division.

The company lags well behind Google in tapping online advertising so far, but Microsoft is optimistic about its prospects. The $27 billion online advertising market, analysts predict, will double in size over the next three years. “That’s a great opportunity,” Mr. Johnson said, “and Microsoft is uniquely positioned.”

Analysts attending the meeting said the Microsoft strategy, presented in greater detail than in the past, was a pragmatic one.

“It’s not really about beating Google,” said Richard Sherlund, an analyst at Goldman Sachs & Company. “But Microsoft has to do well enough to keep people in the Microsoft environment — on the desktop, the Web or gaming online — so they don’t leave the Microsoft environment to go to Google for search.”

As a business, Internet search is crucial because ads linked to search words have been such a fast-growing advertising market — and Google has been the runaway leader.

Microsoft has spent the last two years, and hundreds of millions of dollars, building its own search advertising technology, called AdCenter. The new advertising system was introduced only two months ago. In a demonstration, Microsoft showed how the AdCenter system lets advertisers measure clicks on the keywords they purchase by time of day, day of the week and often by the age, gender and geographic location of the person seeing the ad. Microsoft’s MSN services like Web e-mail require users to register and submit some personal information, which Google does not.

“You get better information on what’s working in your ad campaign and better return on investment,” said Yusuf Mehdi, chief of advertising strategy for Microsoft’s Internet services. “That’s something you can’t do on other systems.”

In a demonstration, Mr. Mehdi showed some of the work being done by a group exploring the future of advertising in Microsoft’s research labs. In a digital television prototype, a viewer who liked a dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in an episode of “Sex and the City” could click on it, automatically pausing the video, and on the screen an Internet search result would appear, identifying the dress, its maker and a link to buy it.

Still, Microsoft expects its progress in advertising to be gradual. The company projected that in fiscal 2007, which began this month, the revenue from its online services business would grow 7 percent to 11 percent, to $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion. That would be an improvement from last year, when online services revenue fell 2 percent, to $2.3 billion, and the unit lost $77 million.

By contrast, Google, in its recent quarter alone, reported that profit doubled to $721 million while revenue grew 77 percent to $2.4 billion.

Microsoft executives acknowledge that as computing increasingly gravitates to the Web and often toward ad-supported services, it creates both a technical and business challenge for a company whose great strength is in personal computer desktop software.

But the Microsoft vision is that Internet services can complement rather than cannibalize the company’s traditional business if they are built into products like Windows.

“Microsoft’s current offerings represent a huge advantage that we can migrate into this services world,” said Ray Ozzie, the chief software architect.

Despite its struggle to adapt to Internet services, Microsoft as a whole is performing quite well. In the year ended last month, the company’s revenue grew 11 percent, to $44.3 billion, and its operating profit rose 13 percent. to $16.5 billion.

Even though Microsoft has grown fairly strongly for years, its stock price has been stagnant. Investors worry that the future of computing belongs to new Internet-based rivals, like Google.

In private conversations, Microsoft executives said that the skeptics were taking a short-term perspective and that Microsoft had repeatedly proved skeptics wrong.

Craig Mundie, the chief research and strategy officer, noted that in the 1990’s, when Microsoft began to move into corporate data centers with server software, many industry experts scoffed. Microsoft, they predicted, would surely fail.

Last year, Microsoft’s server and tools business reported revenue of $11.5 billion and operating profit of $4.3 billion.

“It took real research and development and a long time to get there,” Mr. Mundie said. “We’re doing that all the time. We make big long-term bets. That’s what’s going on here now, and it’s very different than this general perception that the company isn’t really doing anything interesting.”

At the meeting, Microsoft declined to pledge that Windows Vista, its new operating system, would be shipped to consumers in January, the most recent prediction given. Vista has been repeatedly delayed, and Microsoft said there was no reason yet to push the schedule back further.

But Mr. Johnson, co-president of the platforms and services group, said, “We will ship Windows Vista when the product is ready,” leaving open the possibility of added delays.

Microsoft’s shares fell 2 percent, to $23.87, on Thursday amid concern about the timing of Vista’s debut.

Steven A. Ballmer, the chief executive, said the company’s pace of Windows releases would accelerate. “We will never repeat the experience of Windows Vista again,” Mr. Ballmer said. “We will never have a five-year gap in major releases again.”

(REDMOND, Wash., July 27)

Google launches open-source repository
August 2, 2006

In its latest effort to further the open-source programming movement, Google opened a site Thursday where programmers can host their software projects.

As expected, Google engineering manager Greg Stein announced the project hosting site during a talk at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Ore.

“One of our goals is to encourage healthy, productive open-source communities. Developers can always benefit from more choices in project hosting,” Google said on a frequently-asked-questions site.

One choice for programmers is VA Software’s SourceForge.net, which hosts more than 100,000 open-source projects.

Google’s hosting service, which accumulated dozens of new projects on its opening day, features mechanisms to store software, discuss it with mailing lists and track bugs. Google permits projects under a variety of open-source licenses–but not the full range.

“We’d like to see projects standardize on the most popular, time-tested ones. The selected licenses offer diversity to meet most developer needs,” Google said.

Google’s service uses hosting software called Subversion, which Stein had worked on in his previous job at CollabNet. That start-up, which still oversees Subversion development and sells hosts distributed programming projects for its clients, welcomed Google’s move.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said CollabNet co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Brian Behlendorf, who added that Google still contributes to the Subversion project. “It’s not too often that Google can deploy something they didn’t entirely write.”

(By Stephen Shankland, Staff Writer, CNET News.com, July 27, 2006)

Selection of a Life Partner
August 1, 2006

Naturally, the selection of a mate is an important step in building a good marriage. During the courtship, the man and woman must make every effort to become well acquainted with one another’s character. They must study and seek to understand one another’s character. They must communicate honestly and openly. They must study and seek to understand one another’s personality, disposition, background, education, lifestyle, habits, tastes, hobbies, capacities, and aspirations.
 
It is important that physical attraction not become the only focus of energy and thought. After all, sooner or later the excitement and passion of “falling in love” must give way to a more practical and stable bond. A couple considering marriage must feel certain that they will be able to find a basis for a permanent relationship.

One way to learn about one another is to share a wide variety of experiences under different circumstances and in different surroundings. Visit an art gallery, go for a walk in the country, organize a picnic, plan a dinner party, go shopping together, visit the elderly and the sick. Do other things together. By sharing these activities you will learn important things about your intended spouse.

Remember that marriage is a twenty-four hour arrangement. You will see your husband or wife, not only dressed up and on the best behavior for a date, but also under more trying circumstances. How does your fiancé express anger? How does he or she react to frustration, or disappointment, or other pressures? How does your future mate behave around children? Around your friends? Around
people of different races and religions?

Since each of us is, at least partially, a product of family upbringing, we must seek to understand the family of our intended spouse. Visit your future in-laws before the marriage. If possible, spend two or three days in their home. This will certainly give you new insights and awareness, and may even clarify some things for you.

Marriage requires a certain compatibility of tastes and habits. If your lifestyles are very different, there may be trouble ahead. For example, we knew a man who was nocturnal: he worked nights and rarely retired before 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock in the morning. In contrast, his wife loved the daylight hours and retired around 9:00 o’clock, in the evening. Their marriage required constant, difficult adjustments.

(Extract from the book “Thoughts on Marriage” by Margaret Ruhe.)

Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk on Marriage
August 1, 2006

The bond that unites hearts most perfectly is loyalty. True lovers once united most 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 Baha’u’llah, 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. Harbor 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 evergreen and verdant throughout all seasons and bring forth luscious fruits for the healing of nations.

O beloved of God, may your home be a vision of a 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!

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 from all eternity 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 a 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. Soar into the clear atmosphere of love. Sail upon the shore less 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 fragrance 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.

(Abdu’l-Bahá was the son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. To read more about Abdu’l-Bahá, follow this link.)

Ten points of a happy and enduring Marriage
August 1, 2006

1. Work on your marriage everyday! Cultivate and nurture it with tender LOVE, unceasing COURTESY, and infinite PATIENCE. It is a life-time.

2. Communicate! LISTEN to each other and consult together. When differences arise, as they always do, tell each other how you feel.

3. Laugh together and have fun together. Plan week-end outings and excursions.

4. Learn to give in …selflessly and happily.

5. Always remember that marriage is a commitment: this means steadfast loyalty to each other AT ALL TIMES and UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

6. Encourage each other. PRAISE your partner and give him or her support and assistance, and do so frequently.

7. Be positive. Try to avoid being negative.

8. Accept your partner as he or she is. In time, as you live together, both of you will change and you will draw closer to each other.

9. Be loving and affectionate. Show your love by your actions. Hold hands and hug each other. Remember to say “I love you!” There is a magic in these words.

10. Establish a home of love, warmth and hospitality.

(Extract from the book “Thoughts on Marriage” by Margaret Ruhe.)