New Courses for Challenged Marriages

by Susanne M. Alexander, Marriage and Family Department Chair 

We are growing again! Healthy, happy, and unified marriages and families is the vision of the Relationships, Marriage, Parenting, and Family Department of the Wilmette Institute. Our goal is to have all courses be practical application of the Bahá’í teachings and research. Fulfilling that vision, though, involves all of you, and we invite you to join us.

In 2013 we began offering courses about relationships and marriage, guiding people from being single and learning about character and friendship, through to marriage preparation/parental consent, and then focusing on building strong marriages. In 2017, we converted some courses to run 24/7/365, and we added a parenting and family section, including a course on pregnancy.

In 2020, the Department will increase our focus on the family, and we are launching new courses for marriages experiencing challenges. Courses will address the strengthening of individual partners, increasing couple connection, navigating differences, consultation skills, money issues, and more. Our approach is building knowledge and skills to help couples and families function in unity. Our experienced faculty team is available to confidentially accompany participants throughout their learning in all our courses.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá encourages us to keep marriages and families strong:

“The true marriage of Bahá’ís is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God.” (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, #86)

“Note ye how easily, where unity existeth in a given family, the affairs of that family are conducted; what progress the members of that family make, how they prosper in the world.” (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, #221)

Achieving these states in a world that often displays the opposite is not easy. We are part of your support team.


The first four Marriage and Family courses for 2020 are listed below. You may pre-register (and save 10% on tuition fees) online right now. Clicking on the course titles will take you to the registration pages.

January 6 to February 16, 2020
MF035 Strengthening Married Individuals
Faculty: Susanne M. Alexander,  Leslie Asplund

When individual partners strive to be emotionally and spiritually healthy, it contributes to the strength of their marriage. We invite individuals to refresh their understanding of the Bahá’í teachings about marriage and gain insights into how their feelings, thoughts, words, actions, self-respect, happiness, and spiritual practices affect themselves and their marriage partner. As individuals increase in well-being, they benefit their marriage.

January 20 to March 8, 2020
MF057 Communication Skills for Spiritually Minded Families
Faculty: Chelsea Lee SmithSwathi Baskaran

Family unity is linked to the quality of respectful and effective communication between all family members. Inspired by quotations from the Bahá’í Writings as well as stories from the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the course materials invite you and your family to explore different techniques for communicating effectively, understand the importance of encouragement, foster a learning mode, and implement and carry out family meetings. This course is appropriate for those with children 14 years old and under.

March 9 to April 19, 2020
MF036 Re-Connecting As Marriage Partners
Faculty: Wendi MomenRiaz MostaghimFariba Vahdat

Sometimes couples can lose some of their connection with each other in the course of busy marriage and family life, work, and service. Participants will learn practical ways to build greater closeness, intimacy, and unity, while strengthening their love and friendship. They will also assess and improve their practice of equality, justice, and respect in their marriage. Couples who learn new skills and approaches can stay together for the long-term.

March 30 to May 24, 2020
MF060 Fostering a Bahá’í Identity in Families
Faculty: Chelsea Lee Smith, Julie Iraninejad

How can we help children place love for Bahá’u’lláh and the desire to be of service to others as the foundation of their lives? This course enables parents to explore how they can foster a child’s connection to the Bahá’í Faith through developing spiritually uplifting routines at home, engaging in service within the home as well as in their communities, and aligning family activities with the current goals of their communities. Participants will be given positive parenting tools inspired by the Bahá’í Writings as well as hands-on strategies for implementing spiritual practices at home. Materials are suited for those with children 14 years old and under.

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