Scroll down to the end to hear the talk!
Here are the 12 Signs of Love which Tom Price elaborates on in the following talk:
- Overlook their faults
- See only the good qualities in everyone
- Listening and seeking to understand
- Receive love
- Unconditional (selfless)
- Never be the cause of unhappiness
I think the best way to deepen on them is to have the list handy and in front of you with every consultation, so that before you interact with each other, you can ask if you are doing all of these things in this moment.
Here are some additional thoughts on each:
- Praise: I think when we catch people doing things right, and name it all the time, they feel good about themselves and about the person doing the praise. This is a really important skill in marriage! This is the standard:
Never speak disparagingly of others, but praise without distinction. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 453)
One must see in every human being only that which is worthy of praise. When this is done, one can be a friend to the whole human race. If, however, we look at people from the standpoint of their faults, then being a friend to them is a formidable task. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 92)
If, however, a person setteth about speaking well of another, opening his lips to praise another, he will touch an answering chord in his hearers and they will be stirred up by the breathings of God. Their hearts and souls will rejoice to know that, God be thanked, here is a soul in the Faith who is a focus of human perfections, a very embodiment of the bounties of the Lord, one whose tongue is eloquent, and whose face shineth, in whatever gathering he may be, one who hath victory upon his brow, and who is a being sustained by the sweet savours of God. Now which is the better way? I swear this by the beauty of the Lord: whensoever I hear good of the friends, my heart filleth up with joy; but whensoever I find even a hint that they are on bad terms one with another, I am overwhelmed by grief. Such is the condition of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Then judge from this where your duty lieth. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 231)
It’s one way of fulfilling this Hidden Word:
Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant. (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 5)
- Gratitude: Learning how to be grateful turned my life around! Every morning, before getting out of bed, I think of 5 things I’m grateful for; and every night, before going to sleep, I think of 5 more. I think it follows praising each other – being grateful for all the little things someone does for us can go a long way to helping a marriage.
Do you realize how much you should thank God for His blessings? If you should thank Him a thousand times with each breath, it would not be sufficient because God has created and trained you. He has protected you from every affliction and prepared every gift and bestowal. Consider what a kind Father He is. He bestows His gift before you ask. We were not in the world of existence, but as soon as we were born, we found everything prepared for our needs and comfort without question on our part. He has given us a kind father and compassionate mother, provided for us two springs of salubrious milk, pure atmosphere, refreshing water, gentle breezes and the sun shining above our heads. In brief, He has supplied all the necessities of life although we did not ask for any of these great gifts. With pure mercy and bounty He has prepared this great table. It is a mercy which precedes asking. There is another kind of mercy, which is realized after questioning and supplication. He has bestowed both upon us—without asking and with supplication. He has created us in this radiant century, a century longed for and expected by all the sanctified souls in past periods. It is a blessed century; it is a blessed day. The philosophers of history have agreed that this century is equal to one hundred past centuries. This is true from every standpoint. This is the century of science, inventions, discoveries and universal laws. This is the century of the revelation of the mysteries of God. This is the century of the effulgence of the rays of the Sun of Truth. Therefore, you must render thanks and glorification to God that you were born in this age. Furthermore, you have listened to the call of Bahá’u’lláh. Your nostrils are perfumed with the breezes of the paradise of Abhá. You have caught glimpses of the light from the horizon of the Orient. You were asleep; you are awakened. Your ears are attentive; your hearts are informed. You have acquired the love of God. You have attained to the knowledge of God. This is the most great bestowal of God. This is the breath of the Holy Spirit, and this consists of faith and assurance. This eternal life is the second birth; this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. God has destined this station for you all. He has prepared this for you. You must appreciate the value of this bounty and engage your time in mentioning and thanking the True One. You must live in the utmost happiness. If any trouble or vicissitude comes into your lives, if your heart is depressed on account of health, livelihood or vocation, let not these things affect you. They should not cause unhappiness, for Bahá’u’lláh has brought you divine happiness. He has prepared heavenly food for you; He has destined eternal bounty for you; He has bestowed everlasting glory upon you. Therefore, these glad tidings should cause you to soar in the atmosphere of joy forever and ever. Render continual thanks unto God so that the confirmations of God may encircle you all. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 187-188)
- Forgiveness: I’ve written a whole book on Learning How to Forgive!
- Acceptance: One of my favorite lines comes from a prayer of the Bab:
Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be. (The Bab, Baha’i Prayers, p. 131)
This is the best gift for acceptance there is!
Praying for God’s will is another way to get there.
- Overlook their faults: I’ve written a whole book on Letting Go of Fault-Finding!
- See only the good qualities in everyone: For more information see Letting Go of Fault-Finding!
- Listening and seeking to understand: Linda Popov of the Virtues Project has a slogan that’s always appealed to me: “Don’t get furious, get curious.” We can learn a lot about other people by learning how to listen and not hearing one thing and planning our response.
God promises special help and rewards to those who listen:
O ye rich ones of the earth! Flee not from the face of the poor that lieth in the dust, nay rather befriend him and suffer him to recount the tale of the woes with which God’s inscrutable Decree hath caused him to be afflicted. By the righteousness of God! Whilst ye consort with him, the Concourse on high will be looking upon you, will be interceding for you, will be extolling your names and glorifying your action. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 314-315)
Have a look at this Checklist for Effective Consultation and see how well you’re doing!
- Service: I’ve written lots of articles on service which might find helpful!
- Receive love: When we’ve been hurt, our natural response is to put up a wall that makes it difficult to receive love. Accepting invitations is a law of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.
Miscellaneous Exhortations: . . . To respond to invitations (Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 161)
What better way to receive love than basking in someone’s hospitality!
Some people find it easier to give than receive – but by not receiving, we’re not allowing the other person to give.
Indeed the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need. The Cause of God is endowed with tremendous powers, and the reason the believers do not gain more from it is because they have not learned to draw fully on these mighty forces of love and strength and harmony generated by the Faith. (Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, p.8)
- Unconditional love (selfless): This is how it starts:
The thing the friends need—everywhere—is a greater love for each other, and this can be acquired by greater love for Bahá’u’lláh; for if we love Him deeply enough, we will never allow personal feelings and opinions to hold His Cause back; we will be willing to sacrifice ourselves to each other for the sake of the Faith, and be, as the Master said, one soul in many bodies. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 16)
It reminds me of this diagram, where at the bottom we see how far you and I are from each other, but as we both turn towards God, we automatically become closer to each other:
- Never be the cause of unhappiness
I’ve written a whole book on Learning How to Be Happy!