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 email@example.com.
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.
Parenting Section (new): For information and courses on Parenting, please visit our new Parenting Section.
Wilmette Institute Relationship and Marriage Booklist (a valuable free resource)
CURRENT & UPCOMING COURSES
This schedule is subject to change. Courses may shift in dates, some titles will change, new courses will appear, and some courses may be repeated. Registration will open at least 3 months in advance of a course.
FACULTY: Susanne M. Alexander, Leslie Asplund, Alex Blakeson, Hoda Kemp, Wendi Momen, Riaz Mostaghim, Fariba Vahdat
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.
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.
FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, Marabeth Lum
Dates: October 31 – November 17, 2017
Are you clear about what characteristics you’d bring into a marriage? Are you curious about what qualities in a partner would compliment yours? Are you praying the right person just shows up? Are you confused about where to begin your search for a potential partner or overwhelmed by online dating services? Have you already met someone with potential, but are wondering whether they are going to be a good match for marriage? You are not alone! Come and explore these questions and more to empower you in all areas regarding meeting and choosing a potential marriage partner.
Faculty: Relationships and Marriage Team
Dates: Starts December 1, 2017
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 couples’ families, and parental consent to marriage. Thorough preparation for marriage helps couples establish a strong foundation.
FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, Riaz Mostaghim
Dates: November 28 – December 15, 2017
Intimacy in the bedroom is a strong unifying factor in a healthy marriage. In Linking Spiritual and Physical Intimacy in Marriage, couples are invited to expand their understanding of some spiritual principles related to physical 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. All learners will have access to a wide range of marriage enrichment resources.
The course is suitable for engaged and married couples.
FACULTY: Wendi Momen, Fiona McDonald
Dates: December 26, 2017 – February 11, 2018
‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us to “laugh, smile and rejoice in order that others may be made happy” by us (The Promulgation of Universal Peace 218).
In Creating Unity with Friendship, Fun, Social Vitality, and Laughter, 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. The course is excellent preparation for couple dates, neighborhood and family activities, and social events. Please invite your friends.
FACULTY: Leslie Asplund, Marabeth Lum, and Susanne Alexander
Dates: January 8 – February 5, 2018
Relationships are an adventure in a world that seems to keep re-defining them. Come explore the Bahá’í teachings that encourage friendship as a component of relationships and marriage. Learn together about the many ways to know someone’s character and connect with them on a deeper level. Discuss how to apply spiritual principles to developing a relationship that could lead to marriage. Come explore with us!: The course is suitable for people not yet in a relationship or those in the beginning stages of one.
Enhancing Love and Friendship in Your Marriage (new course)
FACULTY: Susanne Alexander, Fariba Vahdat, and Riaz Mostaghim
Dates: February 12 – March 12, 2018
In happy marriages, couples are intimate and loving companions who know each other well. However, the press of busy lives can unconsciously lessen your connection. This course will help you deepen your understanding of each other with practical tools related to friendship and expressing love. You will choose couple practices to have as the culture of your marriage that enhance your unity. Come enjoy re-discovering the special gifts you each bring to your union!
Faculty: Relationships and Marriage Team
Dates: Starts April 1, 2018 Register-As-You-Need-It
You may be uncertain about being in a relationship and also be thinking, “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. Your learning will position you to make significant decisions about 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.
Making Time and Service Choices as a Couple (new course)
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Fiona McDonald, and Fariba Vahdat
Dates: July 8 – July 30, 2018
During dating, courtship, and marriage, couples face choices with how to spend their time. You want to stay connected and be of service to others. We will help you understand the principles that relate to these choices and how to apply them in practical ways. We have made this course deliberately VERY SHORT for those who are time challenged!
Consulting As a Couple: Understanding and Decisions
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Wendi Momen, and Riaz Mostaghim
Dates: September 17 – October 8, 2018
The amazing process of consultation is a gift to couples at all relationship and marriage stages. The better you are at it, the greater your understanding of each other’s mind, heart, and soul. You are able to make and carry out effective decisions that benefit each other and your families. Come join with us in strengthening your skill with this vital contribution to equality and unity!
Building Intercultural Understanding as a Couple (new course)
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Marabeth Lum, and Hoda Kemp
Dates: October 22-November 19, 2018
It’s easy to say that the oneness of humanity is a vital part of peace on the planet. It’s another matter to figure out how to unify two people with different cultural backgrounds, races, or languages into a happy relationship or marriage. This course will enhance understanding of the spiritual principles involved as well as delve into the practical, daily application of them. Practical application includes the impact of your union on your families and current or future children. Come deepen your unity along with us!
Relationships Department Chair: Susanne Alexander
Relationships and Marriage Faculty-Mentor Team:
- Susanne Alexander, Coordinator
- Leslie Asplund
- Alex Blakeson
- Hoda Kemp
- Marabeth Lum
- Fiona McDonald
- Wendi Momen
- Riaz Mostaghim
- Nahid Shams
- Furugh Switzer
- Raymond Switzer
- Fariba Vahdat