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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 & UPCOMING COURSES
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, Leslie Asplund, Fiona McDonald
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 17, 2017
FACULTY: Swathi Baskaran
Sharing Bahá’u’lláh’s Birthday with Children is designed to help parents, teachers, and other adults share Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday with children in ways that will help children understand the significance of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth and instill in their minds and hearts the greatness of the day. It will also help children celebrate this very special birthday in a fun and uplifting way. The course will focus on the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the childhood and youth of Bahá’u’lláh, and the early adulthood of Bahá’u’lláh. It will include stories from the history of the Baha’i Faith, service project ideas, activities, and songs to help children understand the underlying spirit of the special two hundredth anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth.
Dates: September 8 – October 5, 2017
FACULTY: Swathi Baskaran
Nurturing your Baby during Pregnancy is a self-guided course for expectant parents who have embarked on a journey with a new soul to help the parents understand the significant role they have undertaken. Parents will work at their own pace, exploring pregnancy-related topics from a Bahá’í perspective. One goal is to explore the importance of prayer and meditation during pregnancy and the importance of family bonding and the spiritual well-being of the parents and the unborn child. Additional topics include the role of the father during pregnancy, naming the newborn, and understanding how external influences can affect the unborn baby. Another goal is building a community of moms who can share their experiences of being pregnant and discuss the world of birth.
Dates: October 4 – 25, 2017
FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, Marabeth Lum
Do you make a list for what you want in a partner? Pray the right person just shows up? Pick someone that reminds you of Mom or Dad? Rely on electronic matching services? Then, after you meet someone with potential, how do you tell whether they are going to be a good match for marriage? Come explore these questions and more to empower you to make a great choice.
Dates: October 31 – November 17, 2017
FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, TBA
Intimacy in the bedroom is a strong unifying factor in a healthy marriage. Couples are welcome to expand their understanding of some spiritual principles related to sexual intimacy. Participants will learn about practical ways to enhance marital unity and move towards a rich, passionate, and enjoyable intimate relationship. Note: Personal privacy boundaries means there will be no requirement to discuss specifics about your relationship in the course Forum.
Dates: November 28 – December 15, 2017
FACULTY: Wendi Momen, Fiona McDonald
“…[L]augh, smile and rejoice in order that others may be made happy by you.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 218)
Come build unified friendships, relationships, marriages, and communities with this light-hearted skill-building course. Expand your ability to deepen friendships, have fun together, extend hospitality, share humorous stories, take a lighter approach to challenges, and more. Excellent preparation for couple dates, neighborhood and family activities, and social events. Please invite your friends!
Dates: December 26, 2017 – February 9, 2018
Relationship Department Chair: Susanne Alexander
Relationship and Marriage Faculty-Mentor Team:
- Susanne Alexander, Lead Faculty
- Leslie Asplund
- Alex Blakeson
- Hoda Kemp
- Marabeth Lum
- Fiona McDonald
- Wendi Momen
- Riaz Mostaghim
- Nahid Shams
- Furugh Switzer
- Raymond Switzer
- Fariba Vahdat