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 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.
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!
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.
Youth: Learning About Baha’i-Based Relationships
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Marabeth Lum, Fariba Vahdat, Alex Blakeson
Dates: May 20-June 17, 2019
Learn and begin to share with younger youth how to actively apply Bahá’í teachings about dating, character, sex and chastity. Orient your life toward living a coherent full life that includes service, profession, and marriage. As the Universal House of Justice has said, “This generation of youth will form families that secure the foundations of flourishing communities.” Quotations, videos, conversation guides, and more will empower you to share and listen about the challenges and confusions young people are experiencing with this topic. Local study groups strongly encouraged.
What Is Baha’i Courtship and Marriage?
Faculty: Susanne Alexander, Leslie Asplund, and Riaz Mostaghim
Dates: November 4-December 16, 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)
Faculty: Relationships and Marriage Team
Dates: Starting 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.
Faculty: Relationships and Marriage Team
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: Relationships and Marriage Team
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.
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
- Furugh Switzer
- Raymond Switzer
- Fariba Vahdat