Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

We will all, verily, abide …


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Thirty-five years ago this week, my husband and I, on one of the coldest nights of our lives, faced each other and declared, “We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.”

There were seven other people in the room with us that night, two of them the witnesses required for our Bahá’í marriage to be legal.

Most of the evening is a blur, quite frankly, though I do remember one especially poignant moment when my mother read a prayer, and these words stood out: “Cause them to become the signs of harmony and unity until the end of time.”

These were still echoing in my head when, as we drove toward Canada for our wedding trip, Jon remarked that he had also noticed the spirit of what those words evoked when he felt a whole new significance about the vow we’d each spoken. The essentials of a Bahá’í marriage ceremony can seem so simple that it’s easy to overlook their depths. Iceland and Mexico and Spring 06 Germany 130

“I realized,” he told me, “that when I said, ‘We will all, verily, abide by the will of God’, I was referring not just to the two of us, but something we were committing to with every one there with us, supporting our marriage, and our future children, and every soul that we’ll know. THAT was the commitment we are making. And our marriage itself is WHERE we’re committing to do that.”

And indeed, the spiritual resonance of that vow has been with us ever since, though we had no idea where it would take us. As another Year of the Horse opens, we’re naturally remembering the last one, 12 years ago, which we spent in China. The spirit of our marriage vow was and is a foundation for us as parents, accompanies our every shared decision, our many travels, the bonds we forge with others, even our reconnection with our mutual childhood home of Germany.

EB pix Germany and more 182In this past year, I finally had the opportunity to dedicate two books to this partner, this soul mate, who abides with me at the very center and core of my life and being. What I recognized as I wrote those dedications is that our marriage is a means by which we help each other learn to be encouraged about the potential in our truest selves, and kind about the struggles and confusions of our very human ones. I’m coming to believe that this is the essence of what that vow we said is pointing to.

There are some things we cannot know or understand without the passing of time, and the accumulation of experience, as well as reflection on that experience. What I feel more deeply each day is that the commitment of our marriage, the fortress for well-being that it is designed to be in the advancing – and spiritualizing – of civilization, seems a little-understood jewel. But it is unquestionably an ever-revealing treasure that illuminates my life, and my heart, each and every day.


15 thoughts on “We will all, verily, abide …

  1. Congratulations Phyllis! You have, in my opinion, captured the import and meaning of that incredibly simple, yet vastly complex phrase: “We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.” Thank you.

  2. How wonderful! Every time I read your post I am always looking for how it can impact or intersect my own life. I was just reading A Fortress for Well-Being last night, so very interesting about the timing. I am glad you mentioned The Year of the Horse. I don’t know very much about the Chinese Zodiac, but it got me googling, and I discovered that I was born in the year of the horse, and not only that, but the exact pairing of the element – wood – with the animal -horse. It takes 60 years for the exact element and animal to arrive again…so I guess I’m being reborn, in a manner of speaking. I also loved your photos of you and Jon.

  3. Love your continuing love story….what an example for the rest of us….thank you for your sharing

  4. Absolutely beautiful and soul-warming. Love abides! 🙂

  5. Thank you, kind Jane. You know it does. 🙂

  6. Thank you Phyllis. My husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this spring. We declared our belief in Baha’u’llah in January and married in May of that year. I am spending time thinking about what our life together has been because of that declaration and that marriage vow, and how best to honor it in our anniversary year. I think we had no idea what any of it meant at that time, and even now I only dimly glimpse what the significance of that vow is and how it can play out. But what a wonderful journey we are on!

  7. What beautiful words on marriage, Phyllis, and on YOUR marriage, which is a bearer of beautiful divine energy. You give me much to think about today. Thank-you.

  8. Happy Anniversary to two of the most beautiful hearts on the planet. Thank you for your commitment to living from love.

  9. Simple but meaningful friends, greetings compassion 🙂

  10. A very special Happy Anniversary to you and Jon.

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