This past month has afforded us an opportunity to continue to reflect on three years of marriage. As many of you know, our courtship was shy of three months and we are still struck by the profound nature of such an experience. While we are moved thinking about how confirmed we felt in our commitment to one another, we are also overcome with gratitude at the thought of the support we experienced and continue to experience from our family and friends. An example of such support can be found when we consider the unique and distinctive consent process enjoyed upon Bahá’ís once a decision is made to marry:
…[M]arriage is dependent upon the consent of both parties. Desiring to establish love, unity and harmony amidst Our servants, We have conditioned it, once the couple’s wish is known, upon the permission of their parents, lest enmity and rancor should arise amongst them. –Bahá’u’lláh
The consent process deeply impacted our families. It strengthened bonds of love and unity, and it allowed for mutual respect to grow and flourish. Throughout the consent process we came to recognize that our choices, patterns, and paths in life are intimately connected to our families. We also came to realize that our nuclear family is a blueprint for the family we ourselves started on that fateful day January 1, 2011. Ask yourself this question: where do you find a definition comprehensive enough to encompass all that family is? The Oxford English Dictionary defines family as “a group of people related by blood or marriage”. At an elementary level this statement is true; however, when you take into account the intricacies of every day life—the love shared, the challenges faced, the obstacles overcome, the small daily victories that somehow manage to outweigh the seemingly cataclysmic events taking place the world over—one might say that such a definition falls a tad bit short. When we think about our immediate family—our mothers, fathers, and sisters—no definition no matter how well thought-out and articulated can ever do justice to who they truly are to us and who we are today because of them. Our lives is inextricably bound to them, and we would not have it any other way.
In an attempt to pull off the impossible; we will spend the next few months trying to put into words the love, respect, and gratitude we feel for our families. We will share experiences, sentiments, and the lessons we have learned from each of them. We hope to express, from the deepest recesses of our hearts, sincere appreciation for our families. We would like to honor them for assisting us in the acquisition of the positive attributes that are guiding us throughout our daily lives as we do our part in contributing to an ever-advancing civilization.