Anneleis Humphries, who hails from Kiama, New South Wales, south of Sydney, Australia, signed up for her first Wilmette Institute course Thinking of Relationships and Marriage? (faculty: Susanne Alexander, Alex Blakeson, Wendi Momen). One of the goals in her Personal Learning Plan was” to continue meeting and serving more youth and encouraging them to take an active role in transforming their community,” which she did. In discussing her new insights, she said that her thinking about the Bahá’í writings on relationships and marriage had been abstract. After taking the course she finds them “more practical, realistic, and personal.” She also acquired the skill of articulating her feelings more openly and honestly in her “off-line life.” She also has let go of past baggage and her ego (well, at least part of it), which has left her with a sense of being open to “a whole new world of opportunities.” The biggest change in her beliefs is to “realize the importance of working” on her “own self to create successful relationships. To paraphrase a sentence from the 2013 Youth Conference materials, ‘To the extent that we commit to our own spiritual growth, will the effectiveness of our service to others increase.’” In the future she hopes her future partner will be willing to “use some of the worksheets from this course . . . , to explore together their strengths and weaknesses, and use that as a basis to help each other grow and mature together, to serve together, and to make our house a home of love and peace.” Below she shares a poem she wrote, drawing on the 2013 Youth Conference materials and the relationship and marriage course—THE EDITORS
To the extent . . .
by Anneleis Humphries
Doubts about myself, my capacity, my choices
Have I managed to heal?
Doubts about future relationships
That question if its real
A journey into the unknown
Of trust, of love, of self-abnegation
To close one eye and open the other
Leads to complete adoration
The happily ever after tale
Is just that, it’s just a story
I want a life with ups and downs
That continues next worldly
Yet the question remains and always will
Am I up to the challenge of marriage?
The answer is a resounding no,
I am imperfect, but through service we will manage
The only way to achieve this goal
Is for our own ego to cease
For “to the extent that we commit to our own spiritual growth
Will the effectiveness of our service to others increase.”