Courses for Relationships, Marriage Preparation, and Marriage Strengthening
The Bahá’í teachings refer to marriage as a “fortress for well-being and salvation” and as the foundation for a unified global society. Healthy relationships and marriages are the foundation for creating families. The process of creating and maintaining relationships requires knowledge and skills. Individuals and couples thrive when they are engaged in personal and couple growth and development founded on spiritual teachings. The Relationship and Marriage courses build capacity in the participants to make wise choices and create happy, unified marriages that are of service to those involved and outward to others.
Audience: The Wilmette Institute offers spiritually-based, practical, and participatory courses for:
- Individuals wanting to understand friendship, character, dating, and courtship
- Individuals and couples preparing for the possibility of marriage
- Married individuals and couples who want to engage in marriage building and strengthening
- Members of families and institutions wanting to support the relationships and marriages of others
- Groups of individuals or couples wanting to study and discuss materials together, either in the same geographical location or over the Internet; groups may be organized with the assistance of a Local Spiritual Assembly
Course Content: Courses include the Bahá’í Writings, relationship and marriage education materials, discussion questions and Forum, learning activities, skill-building opportunities, videos, articles, the arts, active faculty-mentoring (available by email, videoconference, or phone as needed), and more.
Language: Course materials are in English, with Google Translate available for approximate translations. Each participant or couple in a course has a faculty mentor for interactive discussions and support. As needed, a mentor can be assigned based on a wish to interact about the content in a common language. Please specify Persian, Spanish, or Portuguese when registering to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical Requirements: Internet access; devices capable of downloading and reading pdf documents, and email. Most of the readings, activities, and discussions are available on the course’s website, the Internet, or transmitted through email.
Registration: The Wilmette Institute provides discounts and scholarships as needed to groups, couples, youth, senior citizens, and pioneers. Please do not register for a course more than three months in advance, because course dates sometimes must change.
Wilmette Institute Relationship and Marriage Booklist (a valuable free resource)
CURRENT (2017) & UPCOMING COURSES
Thinking of Relationships and Marriage?
(registration closed) FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, Alex Blakeson
Are you excited or uncertain about being in a relationship? Are you wondering, “Why get married?” Come explore, and learn new perspectives and ways of preparing for positive experiences. Building a relationship can be a natural part of your life journey to establish a close connection with someone. Thinking of Relationships and Marriage? will help you navigate through a coherent process of building a friendship, assessing character, understanding male-female relationships, and being of service together. Your learning will position you to make significant decisions about dating, courtship, and the broader horizon of marriage. This course is intended primarily for single individuals not yet in a relationship or individuals or couples in a relationship; others are welcome.
Dates: January 13-February 26, 2017
Creating a Coherent Marriage, Family, and Community Life
(Delivered in Portuguese)
FACULTY: Nahid Shams, Fariba Shaikhzadeh Vahdat, and Susanne Alexander
Creating a Coherent Marriage, Family, and Community Life will help to harmonize key facets of life, such as marriage, family, work, service, and individual growth, to empower married couples and families to contribute to flourishing communities. Participants will build capacity to contribute joyfully to the well-being of neighborhoods and society.
This course is a collaboration between the Southeast Bahá’í Regional Council in Brazil (in-person) and the Wilmette Institute (online). The online part will start March 17, 2017. Participants will meet in person March 24-26. There will then be four weeks of online coursework, ending April 30. This format will help you apply the learning and conversations to daily life. All couples will register with the Southeast Bahá’í Regional Council in Brazil. The course will be offered in Portuguese.
Dates (confirmed): March 17-April 30, 2017
Course Name: Criando uma Vida Matrimonial, Familiar e Comunitária Coerente
Criando uma Vida Matrimonial, Familiar e Comunitária Coerente ajudará a harmonizar facetas chave da vida, como o casamento, família, trabalho, serviço e crescimento individual, para empoderar casais e famílias a contribuírem para a prosperidade de suas comunidades. Os participantes construirão capacidade de contribuir alegremente para o bem-estar de suas vizinhanças/comunidades e para a sociedade. Este curso é uma colaboração entre o Conselho Regional Bahá’í do Sudeste no Brasil (presencial) e o Wilmette Institute (online). A parte online começará dia 17 de março. Os participantes se reunirão presencialmente nos dias 24-26 de março, 2017. Haverá 4 semanas de curso online, finalizando no dia April 30, 2017. Este formato ajudará você a aplicar o aprendizado e conversas no seu dia-a-dia. Todos os casais se inscreverão através do Conselho Regional Bahá’í do Sudeste no Brasil. O curso será oferecido em português.
Dates (confirmed): 17 de março – 30 de abril de 2017
Creating Marriage Well-Being from the Beginning (updated)
FACULTY: Susanne M. Alexander, Hoda Kemp, and Riaz Mostaghim
It is fun and challenging to start and establish a marriage on a firm foundation. In Creating Marriage Well-Being from the Beginning, we invite couples in the first five years of marriage (others are welcome too, including engaged couples) to strengthen their experience of the divine institution of marriage. Baha’u’llah refers to marriage as a “fortress for well-being and salvation.” Couples will have opportunities to deepen their friendship, expand communication and consultation skills, enhance spiritual and physical well-being, and establish roles and responsibilities as spouses.
Dates: March 31 to May 21, 2017
Conscious Parenting of 3 and 4 Year Olds (new course)
FACULTY: Swathi Baskaran and Susanne Alexander
Conscious Parenting of 3 and 4 Year Olds is an easy self-guided course for busy adults (or a group of parents) to help strengthen parenting skills. This practical course based on Bahá’í teachings has practical and fun activities on the following topics: parenting roles and responsibilities, raising children of character and values, and building a unified family. It also includes activities for children to help them create a Bahá’í identity and brief practices for parents to strengthen their relationship.
Dates: April 5-May 5, 2017
FACULTY: Susanne M. Alexander, Leslie Asplund, Alex Blakeson, Hoda Kemp, Wendi Momen, Riaz Mostaghim, Fariba Vahdat
Engaging in Parental Consent for Marriage is a four-unit course centered in the Bahá’í belief that marriage is intended to be a unifying experience for a family. It explores the knowledge and skills needed during courtship as well as those that help build family unity throughout the process leading up to a marriage. The course covers the purpose and process of parental consent, a requirement for Bahá’í marriages; the couple’s responsibilities during courtship and before asking parents for consent to marry; parental responsibilities during courtship, consent, and engagement; and building a united family.
Dates: This is a Register-When-You-Need-It course. Participants (individuals, couples, families, and community groups) can register at any time 24/7/365. Study is self-guided, with faculty-mentors available for help as needed. The course includes links to additional materials on relationships and marriage.
FACULTY: Susanne M. Alexander, Wendy Momen, and Riaz Mostaghim
In this two-week course on Sharing Happiness and Laughter, the Relationship and Marriage Faculty invites you and your friends and family of any faith and any relationship status or none to come build unified friendships and relationships of all types. You will have the opportunity to increase your understanding of happiness and joy, discern the difference between constructive and destructive humor, increase the regular incidence of laughter in your life, and strengthen your storytelling skills to increase laughter. You will meet with faculty for discussion videoconferences on June 17 and June 25, 2017, both at 1 p.m. EDT. In between the videoconferences, you will study quotations and articles as well as practice sharing happiness and laughter. There will be a reflection period June 26-29.
Dates: June 16-29, 2017
FACULTY: Susanne M. Alexander and Leslie Asplund
You are in a serious relationship and wondering whether you can be successful together in marriage. Come explore your shared vision of a possible unified future life together. Engage in a rich learning experience about friendship, communication, spiritual unity, being of service, equality, family life with children, money and work, marriage as a divine institution and foundation for world unity, uniting a couple’s families, and parental consent to marriage. Thorough preparation for marriage and certainty about your path forward helps couples establish a strong foundation.
Dates: July 21-September 15, 2017
FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, Leslie Asplund, Riaz Mostaghim, Fariba Vahdat
Marriage is intended to be a place of health, happiness, and refuge. With two individuals in a marriage, diverse family members, and the adventures of life, achieving this goal can sometimes seem quite challenging. This course will help you prevent difficulties and be proactive in applying spiritual principles and consultation. It will also help you achieve a healthy and satisfying sex life, manage your money effectively, and experience unity with your extended family.
Dates: September 8-October 13, 2017
Relationship and Marriage Faculty-Mentor Team:
- Susanne Alexander, Lead Faculty
- Leslie Asplund
- Swathi Baskaran (parenting course)
- Alex Blakeson
- Hoda Kemp
- Wendi Momen
- Riaz Mostaghim
- Nahid Shams
- Fariba Vahdat