I have always wanted to make a difference in the world.  Maybe it was because as a little girl, my grandfather told me that I was going to be a peacemaker. It wasn’t until I met my husband many years later that Grandpa’s vision became a true reality.

I met Dr. Robert Muller at a conference for world leaders at the La Casa DeMaria retreat center. He had traveled to Santa Barbara, CA from Costa Rica where he was Chancellor of the U.N. University for Peace, a Peace University he co-founded with Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo Odio, after having retired as Assistant Secretary General at the United Nations.

As a longtime Board member of La Casa De Maria, it was my pleasure to show Robert the Santa Barbara area. Robert, who had been a widower for several years, was 20 years older than me. Therefore, in my mind, our excursions were merely a form of hospitality, a function of me playing gracious host to a visiting dignitary.

Yet very soon after meeting, it was apparent that “something” was going on between Robert and me. What exactly it was, I couldn’t say for sure. My fellow retreat attendees noticed. “How come the two of you are always together?” they would ask. Indeed, something very important was afoot—something much bigger than me—and it led me to my passion, in all senses of the word.

When I met Robert, it was like he could read my heart. Robert looked at me and saw all I was doing to create a better world. More importantly, he saw my potential. This magnificent man, who was a tireless advocate for peace, knew who I was.

Our hearts were like magnets; we were drawn to each other.

I’ve always known I could do whatever I wanted to do, if God was willing to be there with me. I believed in my destiny, yet I longed for a deeper connection to peace. Robert provided me with a sense of possibility. He was like a key that unlocked all of the wisdom I had accumulated throughout my life.

When he placed his hand on mine, looked deeply into my eyes, and said, “I love you,” it was as if a vista opened up in my mind: I could clearly see my life’s path if I took a leap of faith with Robert.

Here was a man who had devoted his entire life to peace (www.Robertmuller.org). I, too, was passionate about creating a world where there was peace. In that 30 second window of time, between when he professed his love and I gave him a reply, I had a decision to make. How many times do you have 30 seconds to make a decision that will change your life? For me, the decision was clear: Robert was the vehicle to make my dreams come true. I could finally fully step into the role of peacemaker with a partner who could encourage me and show me the way.

In marriage, there are many gifts that spouses give to one another. We often think of the romantic elements of a marital relationship such as companionship, intimacy, and growing together in love. Robert and I shared all of those elements of marriage, and so much more. The poem I wrote for our wedding sums it up perfectly.*

Robert opened the window to my heart’s desire and gave me a glimpse into my peace destiny. His expertise in the peacekeeping community opened many doors for me to make a difference in a much bigger way. His presence in my life was a gift and one for which I will always be grateful.

Many friends have asked how they too can meet a partner that enables them to be all they can be, to live their life’s destiny. “How do I know if he or she is the one for me?”

My first answer is “Spend time where your values are respected and lived, like I did serving on the Board of La Casa de Maria.” And when you meet that special someone, ask yourself one question when you are considering becoming partners. “Am I more of who I am when I am with this person?” If the answer is YES, you may have found your perfect spouse.

*Decide to be Married                              

To become one heart, one body
one mind and one soul

To share your joy
To live life as an art
And to make every moment precious
Whether together or apart

Remember as a couple
You are now more than one
To create harmony and perfect love
that will last through eternity
even after this life is done

Remember there is a power
In this union of two, to protect this planet
And make peace possible for humanity too
As a couple you can do it

It’s in the deciding
To be united in love
To express your joyful oneness
To every person you meet, and
In every action you take
And together a perfect marriage you’ll make.


  • Barbara Gaughen-Muller

    President of the United Nations Association, Santa Barbara Tri-County chapter and co-author of Revolutionary Conversations

    Barbara Gaughen-Muller is President of the United Nations Association, Santa Barbara Tri-County chapter and co-founder and program director of the RotaryEClubofWorldPeace.org. For the United Nations’ 70th Anniversary in 2015, she spoke at the UN in NYC and received the Spirit of the UN award. She is the co-author of the book Revolutionary Conversations: The Tools You Need for the Success You Want and is the Co-CEO of Revolutionary Conversations, LLC. She is co-author with her late husband, Dr. Robert Muller, former UN Assistant Secretary General, of 7500 Ideas for a Better World, shared daily on GoodMorningWorld.org. She is the founder of Gaughen Global Public Relations, now in its 25th year.