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 tuition support 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.
For information and courses on Parenting, please visit our 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.
Enhancing Love, Friendship, and Service in Your Marriage
(for engaged and married couples)
Faculty: Susanne Alexander and Wendi Momen
Dates: February 11-March 11, 2019
In happy marriages, couples are intimate and loving companions who know each other well and who provide thoughtful service to each other. However, the press of busy lives can unconsciously lessen your connection. Engaged and married couples will deepen your understanding of each other with practical tools related to friendship, love, and service. You will choose couple practices to have as the culture of your marriage that enhance your unity and help you serve each other, your families, and outward to others.
Faculty: Susanne M. Alexander and Wendi Momen (from Department of Social Transformation)
Dates: May 6-June 23, 2019
“…[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)
Do you sometimes feel your life and the life of the community is a bit too intense and serious? ‘Abdu’l-Bahá encourages laughter, story-telling, social gatherings, and friendship. Come enjoy learning how to deepen friendships, have fun together, extend hospitality, share humorous stories, take a lighter approach to challenges, and more. Open to individuals, groups, couples, and communities. Please invite your friends!
Youth: Learning About Bahá’í-Based Relationships
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Marabeth Lum, Fariba Vahdat, Alex Blakeson
Dates: May 20-June 17, 2019 (Dates to be confirmed. Registration closed until further notice.)
Young Baha’is want to have a serious relationship with a partner that is happy and fulfilling, and it’s possible. However, the toxic environment around dating makes it hard to know how to apply Baha’i principles. The Universal House of Justice encourages living a full, coherent life that includes service, profession, and marriage. When you have seen poor examples of marriage and damaging divorces, it can seem difficult to move forward. On your own or with a study group, come explore the relevant teachings and discuss new approaches to finding and being with a partner. Audience: Ages 15-25.
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Leslie Asplund, and Riaz Mostaghim
Dates: November 4-December 15, 2019
Are you curious what it looks like to have a courtship and marriage based on the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith? This course helps introduce the spiritual concepts that underlie a couple’s choices throughout marriage preparation and as they build a life together in marriage. Materials will include the importance of creating and maintaining spiritual harmony, character, friendship, consultation, family and community service, equal partnership, unity, and more. Everyone is welcome, and please invite your friends.
365 COURSES (REGISTER ANYTIME)
Courses are self-guided study with mentoring support from faculty as needed. They do not have group participation unless participants set up a study group. Members of institutions or their agencies that support the health of relationships and marriages in the community are welcome at any time.
Faculty: Marriage Team
Audience: Single individuals not yet in a relationship or individuals or couples in the early stage of a relationship; can be useful for others doing a relationship well-being check.
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.
Faculty: Marriage Team
Audience: Couples in a serious relationship considering marrying; anyone wanting to better understand marriage preparation.
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: Marriage Team
Audience: Couples who are considering asking parents for consent to marry; parents wanting to understand the teachings about parental consent; anyone wanting to know more about the subject.
Engaging in Parental Consent for Marriage is a 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: Marriage Team
Audience: Couples at any relationship or marriage stage who want to increase their unity and harmony through better understanding of each other’s culture; those who wish to provide encouragement and support to intercultural couples.
It is easy to say that the oneness of humanity is a vital part of peace on the planet. It is another matter to figure out how to unify two people with different cultural backgrounds, races, or languages into a happy relationship or marriage. In Building Intercultural Understanding as a Couple, we 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!
Making Time and Service Choices As a Couple 24/7/365 (starting May 1, 2019)
Faculty: Marriage Team
Audience: Couples (before and after marriage)
Is it possible to meet the challenge of making time and service choices as individuals and as a couple and family? Before and after marriage (and in all of life!) you face time choices. You want to stay connected with each other and your families, and you also want to be of service to your neighbors and community. 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!
Creating Marriage Well-Being from the Beginning (starting June 1, 2019)
Faculty: Marriage Team
Audience: Couples in the first five years of marriage; other couples, including engaged couples
It’s fun and challenging to start and establish a marriage on a firm foundation. 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 marriage partners.
Enhancing Love, Friendship, and Service in Your Marriage (starting July 1, 2019)
Faculty: Marriage Team
Audience: Engaged and married couples
In happy marriages, couples are intimate and loving companions who know each other well and who provide thoughtful service to each other. However, the press of busy lives can unconsciously lessen your connection. Engaged and married couples will deepen their understanding of each other with practical tools related to friendship, love, and service. You will choose couple practices to have as the culture of your marriage that enhance your unity and help you serve each other, your families, and outward to others.
Relationships Department Chair: Susanne Alexander
Marriage Faculty-Mentor Team:
- Susanne Alexander, Coordinator
- Leslie Asplund
- Alex Blakeson
- Hoda Kemp
- Marabeth Lum
- Fiona McDonald
- Wendi Momen
- Riaz Mostaghim
- Furugh Switzer (unavailable)
- Raymond Switzer (unavailable)
- Fariba Vahdat