Green-Eyed Baptist Girl Marries Brown-Eyed Baha’i Boy, And They’re Living Happily Ever After

This Sunday I’m speaking at a local spiritual center on how my husband and I have managed to successfully combine two cultures and two religions during our 20-year marriage. I smiled when I saw the write-up in the spiritual center’s newsletter about my talk and how it said that I’ve blended all our differences together to form a harmonious family. Just come to my house some morning as I’m trying to get two middle-school boys out the door to school, and you might re-think that adjective.

But for some reason, what we’ve got as a couple and as a family has worked during our 25-year history. So what makes it work?

I was raised as a Southern Baptist and became a Christian around 7 or 8. My husband, Faramarz, was raised as a Baha’i. My parents had their eyes on me marrying a nice, all-American Baptist boy. What they got instead was something much better – a wonderful, hard-working Persian gentleman who takes excellent care of their daughter and serves as a wonderful husband and terrific father.

“We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.” Those are the Baha’i wedding vows we recited in unison at our Baha’i / Christian ceremony on June 15, 1991. We married at my mother-in-law’s home (where Faramarz was currently living along with his two sisters). My mom read from the love chapter in the Bible – love is patient, love is kind. My mother-in-law beautifully chanted Baha’i prayers. Our ceremony was a touching combination of two completely different worlds coming together. As our ceremony ended, we played the song “Love is a Wonderful Thing” by Michael Bolton and threw confetti all over the place. We even had a double rainbow in the sky as we drove away from our reception.

Some of the advantages of a two-religion, two-culture family: we always spend Christmas with my family in Kansas City since my husband’s family doesn’t celebrate the birth of Jesus. We get more holidays to celebrate, like the Persian New Year called Naw Ruz, the first day of spring. And who can forget the fabulous Persian food? People ask me if I cook Middle Eastern food. I tell them I don’t cook American food unless it follows my 3-ingredient rule. That’s definitely not the case with fesanjun, baklava or gormazabzi. I
do, however, make a pretty mean bowl of Persian rice.

What’s been our secret to being together since 1986 and being married since 1991 (other than the fact that my husband is a very smart man who knows a good deal when he sees one?)

3 things:

We are kind to one another .

We don’t try to change each other – we accept each other for who we are, differences and likenesses.

We are committed to making our relationship work.

My hope for our two boys William and Thomas is this: That they believe in and love God and discover their own spiritual truth. I want them to be kind, loving, honest, respectful boys with generous hearts who give back to their family, their community and their world. I want them to do good works, always do the right thing and leave the world a better place than they found it. Also, I instill in them my mom’s advice: “Always do your best and try your hardest.”

I share with my children my beliefs in God, and we attend Baha’i functions as a family. When the boys were little, I said the following prayer to them each night: “Now I lay me
down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Thy love be with me through the night, and wake me with the morning light. Amen. Oh God, guide me, protect me. Make of me a shining
lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the mighty and the powerful. Abdul-Baha.” I would end by saying, “You are my gift from God.”

I was touched by William’s quote this summer about one of his friend’s moms who is battling cancer. He said to me, “Mom, it’s in God’s hands.” And I stopped for a moment because those weren’t typical words from my first-born. I then said, “You’re right.”

Thomas attended Vacation Bible School this summer with a friend and excitedly told me one day when he got home, “I learned that God is always with us. We just have to ask Him for help.”

God brought my husband and me together 25 years ago, and by God’s grace, we’ve made it work. We’re looking forward to the next 50 years of married life. And like Thomas said, God is always with us. We just have to ask Him for help.

Green-eyed Baptist girl marries brown-eyed Baha’i boy, and they’re living happily ever after. Love is a wonderful thing.

Jan Sperry Astani

About Jan S. Astani

So what would you like to know about Jan S. Astani? I’m a 50-something gal who left the corporate world of marketing, sales and real estate to dance into the entrepreneurial world of motivational speaking, training and writing. I’ve learned that “change” is not a four-letter word, and that you must face your fears in order to grow and learn. I’ve also learned that when God and your heart are trying to tell you something, you’d better listen and do something about it. I love God, my husband, my sons, my awesome family and my countless friends, and I try to live by my Mom’s wonderful words of wisdom: “Always do your best and try your hardest.” My mantra is “Be fun, feisty and fabulous.” Reading, traveling and doing Zumba make me happy. A little ice cream never hurts either. Thank you for getting to know me through my blog. Enjoy. Please visit or email me at
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4 Responses to Green-Eyed Baptist Girl Marries Brown-Eyed Baha’i Boy, And They’re Living Happily Ever After

  1. Tahira says:

    Thanks for your wonderful story it made me cry… in the public library in Topeka, ks :D…. I am a young adult Baha’i maried to a wonderful Lutheran Boy, our first son who sadly passed away after 12hrs was named William too…. I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful tale of Love!!! Your story sounds so much liek ours and it wqas a joy to know others are out there haveing as great a time at life and love as we are!!! Thanks!

    • Oh, Tahira, I am sitting in my kitchen reading your comments while my husband gets chelo kebab and rice ready, and your sweet thoughts made me cry. My heart hurts for the passing of your William, but I know his soul and perfect body are having a grand time in Heaven, and he’s being loved and watched after by all the Baha’i and Christian angels who passed before him. I am honored and thrilled that my blog post touched your heart. While I never dreamed of growing up and marrying someone from a different country, culture and faith, God knew better for my life. All my best to you and your husband, and may you receive Godwinks from your sweet William to let you know that he’s never far away. P.S. If you’re not familiar with “Godwink,” it’s a term I use to refer to signs / messages that loved ones send us from Heaven. Your heart must be open to receive them, and they’re around us all the time. I’ve written a few blog posts about Godwinks from my mom, and her messages always make me smile. God bless you, your family, your Baha’i community and your Lutheran church in Topeka. Thank you for writing.

  2. bilal allam says:

    I was a muslim and secured in christ and I’m baptist and I find that is the richness of our differences of christ
    is us all believe in my core beliefs is not in there is a difference in the diversity of

    • Thank you, Bilal, for reading my post about being married to a Baha’i. We are all, indeed, children of the same God, no matter what religion we follow. May God bless you and your loved ones.

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