A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Marriage

A couple who are physically incapable of having children may, of course, marry, since the procreation of children is not the only purpose of marriage. However, it would be contrary to the spirit of the Teachings for a couple to decide voluntarily never to have any children.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 379)


A marriage between two souls, alive to the Message of God in this day, dedicated to the service of His Cause, working for the good humanity, can be a potent force in the lives of others and an example and inspiration to other Bahá’ís, as well as to non-believers.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 377)


And when He desired to manifest grace and beneficence to men, and to set the world in order, He revealed observances and created laws; among them He established the law of marriage, made it as a fortress for well-being and salvation, and enjoined it upon us in that which was sent down out of the heaven of sanctity in His Most Holy Book.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 104)


As for the question regarding marriage under the Law of God: first thou must choose one who is pleasing to thee, and then the matter is subject to the consent of father and mother. Before thou makest thy choice, they have no right to interfere.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 118)


As to thy question concerning the husband and wife, the tie between them and the children given to them by God: Know thou, verily, the husband is one who hath sincerely turned unto God, is awakened by the call of the Beauty of El-Bahá and chanteth the verses of Oneness in the great assemblies; the wife is a being who wisheth to be overflowing with and seeketh after the attributes of God and His names; and the tie between them is none other than the Word of God. Verily, it [the Word of God] causeth the multitudes to assemble together and the remote ones to be united. Thus the husband and wife are brought into affinity, are united and harmonized, even as though they were one person. Through their mutual union, companionship and love great results are produced in the world, both material and spiritual. The spiritual result is the appearance of divine bounties. The material result is the children who are born in the cradle of love of God, who are nurtured by the breast of the knowledge of God, and who are brought up in the bosom of the gift of God, and who are fostered in the lap of the training of God. Such children are those of whom it was said by Christ, “Verily, they are the children of the Kingdom!”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 605-606)


As to thy question, “If the husband preventeth his wife from entering into the Light, or the wife preventeth the husband from entering into the Kingdom of God.” In reality neither one of them preventeth the other from entering into the Kingdom of God, except when the husband hath a great attachment to the wife, or the wife to the husband. When either one of the two adoreth the other to the exclusion of God, then each will prevent the other from entering into the Kingdom of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 609)


As to thy respected husband: it is incumbent upon thee to treat him with great kindness, to consider his wishes and be conciliatory with him at all times, till he seeth that because thou hast directed thyself toward the Kingdom of God, thy tenderness for him and thy love for God have but increased, as well as thy concern for his wishes under all conditions.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selected Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 122)


Bahá’í marriage is union and cordial affection between the two parties. They must, however, exercise the utmost care and become acquainted with each other’s character. This eternal bond should be made secure by a firm covenant, and the intention should be to foster harmony, fellowship and unity and to attain everlasting life.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 103)


Bahá’u’lláh also stressed the importance of consultation. We should not think this worthwhile method of seeking solutions is confined to the administrative institutions of the Cause. Family consultation employing full and frank discussion, and animated by awareness of the need for moderation and balance, can be the panacea for domestic conflict. Wives should not attempt to dominate their husbands, nor husbands their wives.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 453)


Bahá’í marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart. Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding covenant between them may be a tie that will endure forever. Their purpose must be this: to become loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 118)


Before the coming of the spring, the earth looks as if dead and lifeless, but when it appears, all the world seems to spring into life and brightness —into a new existence of beauty and joy. All nature is clad in fresh green, the grass springs up, the leaves bud, and the trees are covered with blossoms. But the spring passes, and then comes the summer, in which the promise of the spring is fulfilled; the spring blossoms ripen into fruit, and the fields are covered with yellow grain; the result of the new life of the spring is manifested. Then comes the autumn, in which the life of the spring and summer begins slowly to fade, and finally winter comes round, and the life of the earth seems to be completely extinct—dead.
(Bahá’í Prayers 9, p. 57)


Compared to matrimonial conception and forms current among existing religions, the Bahá’í conception of marriage is practically void of all ceremonies. There is no officiating priesthood. The two contracting parties simply appear before the Spiritual Assembly and express their desire to be united with the bonds of marriage. There is a short formula which they have to pronounce before the members, and a marriage certificate which they both have to sign. In the Cause we do not have what is commonly called the ‘Aqid‘. The appearance of the two parties before the Assembly has even only an Administrative importance. It carries with it no spiritual or sacramental obligation of significance. I mean only the mere act of appearing before the Assembly, not marriage itself which is of course essentially a spiritual and moral act of union.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 377)


Concerning the three definitions of ‘companionate marriage’ which you give in your letter, the first, which is defined as living together without being married, on either a trial or immoral basis, is obviously unacceptable in Bahá’í teachings and is, moreover, an offence which, if persisted in, could call for deprivation of voting rights. The second and third, namely (2) a marriage where the couple agree ahead of time that they will not have children, ever, and (3) an marriage in which the couple would not have children until they are sure that they wish to stay married, divorce by mutual consent being envisaged before children are born, are private situations which would be undetectable by anyone who has not been confided in by either the husband or the wife. thus, unlike the first type of “companionate marriage” they do not constitute blatant immorality and no question of removal of voting rights would arise. Nevertheless they are also both contrary to the spirit of Bahá’í Law. The Bahá’í Teachings do not contemplate any form of ‘trial marriage‘. A couple should study each other’s character and spend time getting to know each other before they decide to marry, and when they do marry it should be with the intention of establishing an eternal bond. They should realize, moreover, that the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children. A couple who are physically incapable of having children may, of course, marry, since the procreation of children is not the only purpose of marriage. However, it would be contrary to the spirit of the Teachings for a couple to decide voluntarily never to have any children.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 378)


Do not expect too much of marriage, or too little. Water cannot rise above its own level. Your union cannot produce more than you two contribute to it. If you are full of imperfections, intolerant, impatient, exacting, dictatorial, suspicious, short-tempered, selfish, do, not imagine that these characteristics are going to make your marriage happy or that by changing your partner a new union will be more successful! Marriage, like all our other relationships in life, is a process which, among other things, serves to grind the sharp edges off us. The grinding often hurts, the adjustment to another person’s character is difficult at first, that is why love is needed here more than in any other relationship. Love, being essentially a divine force, binds; it leaps like a spark the gap between people’s thoughts and conflicting desires, between perhaps widely different temperaments. It heals the wounds we all inflict on each other whether inadvertently or in moments of rage, jealousy or spite. To the influence of love in marriage is gradually added another powerful catalyst: habit. The common home, the daily association, produces a common framework, and habit, one of the most powerful forces in life, begins to knit husband and wife together. It acts as a wonderful stabilizer; if love is allowed to fail, habit itself may be strong enough to preserve the union.
(Ruhiyyih Rabbani, Prescription for Living, p. 69)


Every institution in the Faith has certain matters which it considers should be kept confidential, and any member who is privy to such confidential information is obliged to preserve the confidentiality within the institution where he learned it. Such matters, however, are but a small portion of the business of any Bahá’í institution. Most subjects dealt with are of common interest and can be discussed openly with anyone. Where no confidentiality is involved the institutions must strive to avoid the stifling atmosphere of secrecy; on the other hand, every believer mist know that he can confide a personal problem to an institution of the Faith, with the assurance that knowledge of the matter will remain confidential.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 334)


Every institution of this Divinely created Order is one more refuge for a distraught populace; every soul illumined by the light of the sacred Message is one more link in the oneness of mankind, one more servant ministering to the needs of an ailing world.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 327)


For Bahá’u’lláh explicitly reveals in His Book of Laws that the very purpose of marriage is the procreation of children who, when grown up, will be able to know God and to recognize and observe His Commandments and Laws as revealed through His Messengers. Marriage is thus, according to the Bahá’í Teachings, primarily a social and moral act. It has purpose which transcends the immediate personal needs and interests of the parties.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 345)


From separation doth every kind of hurt and harm proceed, but the union of created things doth ever yield most laudable results. From the pairing of even the smallest particles in the world of being are the grace and bounty of God made manifest; and the higher the degree, the more momentous is the union. ‘Glory be to Him Who hath created all the pairs, of such things as earth produceth, and out of men themselves, and of things beyond their ken.’ And above all other unions is that between human beings, especially when it cometh to pass in the love of God. Thus is the primal oneness made to appear; thus is laid the foundation of love in the spirit. It is certain that such a marriage as yours will cause the bestowals of God to be revealed. Wherefore do we offer you felicitations and call down blessings upon you and beg of the Blessed Beauty, through His aid and favour, to make that wedding feast a joy to all and adorn it with the harmony of Heaven.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 119)


He feels you should by all means show your husband the greatest love and sympathy; if we are ever in any doubts as to how we should conduct ourselves as Bahá’ís we should think of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and study His life and ask ourselves what would He have done, for He is our perfect example in every way. And you know how tender He was, and how His affection and kindness shone like sunlight on everyone. “Your husband and your child have a right to your love, and give you a wonderful opportunity of demonstrating your faith in the Cause.” “Also you should pray to Bahá’u’lláh to help unite you with your husband and make your home a true and happy home.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)


He has noted the question you had asked concerning the problem of marriage, and its infrequency among the believers in general. It is indeed a matter of deep regret to him that some of our young believers do not attach due importance to the question of marriage, and seem, as you state, to be under the impression that marital life has been discouraged in the Cause. This is certainly an erroneous conception, and whosoever takes the pain to carefully and intelligently read the words of Bahá’u’lláh, and to ponder over their implications, cannot but be convinced of the truth that in the Bahá’í Faith marriage, and family life, in particular, are both not only commendable, but constitute a social function of highest and indeed vital importance, as through them alone the human race is perpetuated. The believers should well know that whereas Bahá’u’lláh has not made marriage a binding obligation, He has nevertheless attributed to it such spiritual and social significance as no individual believer, under normal circumstances, can well be justified in disregarding it. In fact, in His Book of Laws (the “Kitáb-i-Aqdas") He emphatically stresses its importance, and defines its essential purpose, namely the procreation of children and their training in the Religion of God, that they may know and adore Him, and mention and praise His Name.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 447-448)


He realizes your desire to get married is quite a natural one, and he will pray that God will assist you to find a suitable companion with whom you can be truly happy and united in the service of the Faith. Bahá’u’lláh has urged marriage upon all people as the natural and rightful way of life. He has also, however, placed strong emphasis on its spiritual nature, which, while in no way precluding a normal physical life, is the most essential aspect of marriage. That two people should live their lives in love and harmony is of far greater importance than that they should be consumed with passion for each other. The one is a great rock of strength on which to learn in time of need; the other a purely temporary thing which may at any time die out.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 378-379)


Hold thy husband dear and always show forth an amiable temper towards him, no matter how ill tempered he may be. Even if thy kindness maketh him more bitter, manifest thou more kindliness, more tenderness, be more loving and tolerate his cruel actions and ill-treatment.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)


If a Bahá’í marries a non-Bahá’í who wishes to have the religious ceremony of his own sect carried out, it must be quite clear that, first, the Bahá’í partner is understood to be a Bahá’í by religion, and not to accept the religion of the other party to the marriage through having his or her religious ceremony; and, second, the ceremony must be of a nature which does not commit the Bahá’í to any declaration of faith in a religion other than his own.
(NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


In a true Bahá’í marriage the two parties must become fully united both spiritually and physically, so that they may attain eternal union throughout all the worlds of God, and improve the spiritual life of each other. This is Bahá’í matrimony.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 372)


In considering the problems that you and your wife are experiencing, the House of Justice points out that the unity of your family should take priority over any other consideration. Bahá’u’lláh came to bring unity to the world, and a fundamental unity is that of the family. Therefore, we must believe that the Faith is intended to strengthen the family, not weaken it. For example, service to the Cause should not produce neglect of the family. It is important for you to arrange your time so that your family life is harmonious and your household receives the attention it requires.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 453)


In this glorious [Bahá’í] Cause the life of a married couple should resemble the life of the angels in heaven—a life full of joy and spiritual delight, a life of unity and concord, a friendship both mental and physical.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I, p. 397)


It is highly important for man to raise a family. So long as he is young, because of youthful self-complacency, he does not realize its significance, but this will be a source of regret when he grows old.... In this glorious Cause the life of a married couple should resemble the life of the angels in heaven — a life full of joy and spiritual delight, a life of unity and concord, a friendship both mental and physical. The home should be orderly and well-organized. Their ideas and thoughts should be like the rays of the sun of truth and the radiance of the brilliant stars in the heavens. Even as two birds they should warble melodies upon the branches of the tree of fellowship and harmony. They should always be elated with joy and gladness and be a source of happiness to the hearts of others. They should set an example to their fellow-men, manifest a true and sincere love towards each other and educate their children in such a manner as to blazon the fame and glory of their family.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet-translated from the Persian)


It is unlawful to become engaged to a girl before she reaches the age of maturity.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 39)


It must be first clearly emphasized that the institution of marriage as conceived and established by Bahá’u’lláh, is extremely simple though of a vital social importance, constituting as it does the very foundation of social life. Compared to matrimonial conception and forms current among existing religions, the Bahá’í conception of marriage is practically void of all ceremonies. There is no officiating priesthood. The two contracting parties simply appear before the Spiritual Assembly and express their desire to be united with the bonds of marriage. There is a short formula which they have to pronounce before the members, and a marriage certificate which they both have to sign. In the Cause we do not have what is commonly called the ‘Aqid‘. The appearance of the two parties before the Assembly has even only an Administrative importance. It carries with it no spiritual or sacramental obligation of significance. I mean only the mere act of appearing before the Assembly, not marriage itself which is of course essentially a spiritual and moral act of union.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 377)


It should, moreover, be borne in mind that although to be married is highly desirable, and Bahá’u’lláh has strongly recommended it, it is not the central purpose of life. If a person has to wait a considerable period before finding a spouse, or if ultimately, he or she must remain single, it does not mean that he or she is thereby unable to fulfill his or her life’s purpose.
(Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice, p. 110-111)



Know thou that the command of marriage is eternal. It will never be changed nor altered. This is divine creation and there is not the slightest possibility that change or alteration affect this divine creation.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 474).


Marriage, among the mass of the people, is a physical bond, and this union can only be temporary, since it is foredoomed to a physical separation at the close. Among the people of Bahá, however, marriage must be a union of the body and of the spirit as well, for here both husband and wife are aglow with the same wine, both are enamoured of the same matchless Face, both live and move through the same spirit, both are illumined by the same glory. This connection between them is a spiritual one, hence it is a bond that will abide forever. Likewise do they enjoy strong and lasting ties in the physical world as well, for if the marriage is based both on the spirit and the body, that union is a true one, hence it will endure. If, however, the bond is physical and nothing more, it is sure to be only temporary, and must inexorably end in separation.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 117)


Marriage, for instance, need not be long delayed, as it is in some parts of the world where the maturity and responsibilities of adulthood are deferred in pursuit of the license that a socially prolonged adolescence grants. For the individual, who both contributes to and draws strength from the environment that is the Bahá’í community, adhering to Bahá’í law is endowed with meaning and, though perhaps still difficult on occasion, does not pose the insurmountable challenge that you fear it will.
(Universal House of Justice to an individual, 19 April 2013)


Marriage is a holy institution and much encouraged in this blessed cause. Now you two are no longer two, but one. Bahá’u’lláh’s wish is that all men be of one mind and consider themselves of one great household, that the mind of mankind be not divided against itself.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 78)


Marriage is conditioned upon both parties having attained the age of maturity which is fixed at 15.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 39)


Marriage is conditioned on the consent of both parties and their parents, whether the woman be a maiden or not.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 149)


Marriage should lead to a profound friendship of spirit….
(Shoghi Effendi: The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II, p. 452)


Of course, under normal circumstances, every person should consider it his moral duty to marry. And this is what Bahá’u’lláh has encouraged the believers to do. But marriage is by no means an obligation. In the last resort it is for the individual to decide whether he wishes to lead a family life or live in a state of celibacy.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 378)


QUESTION: In a treatise in Persian on various questions, the age of maturity hath been set at fifteen; is marriage likewise conditional upon the reaching of maturity, or is it permissible before that time? ANSWER: Since the consent of both parties is required in the Book of God, and since, before maturity, their consent or lack of it cannot be ascertained, marriage is therefore conditional upon reaching the age of maturity, and is not permissible before that time.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 133)


Regarding the question of whether or not same-sex marriages would ever be permitted by the Universal House of Justice, the enclosed extracts indicate clearly that it would not.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice,
Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality)


Regarding your other question concerning the strained relationship between you and your mother-in-law and what you can do to alleviate the situation, we feel you should, with the help and consultation of your husband, persevere in your efforts to achieve unity in the family. From your description of the unfriendly attitude your mother-in-law displays toward you it is clear that you, will not have an easy task. However, the important thing is that you, as a Bahá’í, are aware of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s admonition to concentrate on an individual’s good qualities and that this approach to your mother-in-law can strengthen you in your resolve to achieve unity. And furthermore, perseverance in prayer will give you the strength to continue your efforts.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 220)


Surely Shoghi Effendi would like to see you and the other friends give their whole time and energy to the Cause, for we are in great need for competent workers, but the home is an institution that Bahá’u’lláh has come to strengthen and not to weaken. Many unfortunate things have happened in Bahá’í homes just for neglecting this point. Serve the Cause but also remember your duties towards your home. It is for you to find the balance and see that neither makes you neglect the other. We would have many more husbands in the Cause were the wives more thoughtful and moderate in their Bahá’í activities.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 220)


That there should be, however, certain individuals, who by reason of some serious deficiency, physical or mental, would be incapacitated to contract marriage and enjoy the blessings of an enduring and successful marital life, is only too evident, but these constitute only a very small section of humanity, and are therefore merely an exception, and their condition cannot possibly invalidate what an all-wise and loving Providence has decreed to be the normal way to the fruitful and constructive social existence. That exact conditions and circumstances under which such incapacitated individuals should be advised or even prevented perhaps from entering into any sort of marital existence have not been specified in the Bahá’í Writings, but will have to be defined later on by the Universal House of Justice. In the meantime, those believers who consider themselves as falling into the above category would do well, before taking any final decision themselves, to consult medical experts, who are both conscientious and competent, and to abide by their recommendation.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281


The Bahá’í Teachings do not only encourage marital life, considering it the natural and normal way of existence for every sane, healthy and socially-conscious and responsible person, but raise marriage to the status of a divine institution, its chief and sacred purpose being the perpetuation of the human race—which is the very flower of the entire creation—and its elevation to the true station destined for it by God.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 446)


The Bahá’í youth should, on the one hand, be taught the lesson of self-control which, when exercised, undoubtedly has a salutary effect on the development of character and of personality in general, and on the other should be advised, nay even encouraged, to contract marriage while still young and in full possession of their physical vigour. Economic factors, no doubt, are often a serious hindrance to early marriage but in most cases are only an excuse, and as such should not be over stressed.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 361)


The Bahá’í Teachings do not only encourage marital life, considering it the natural and normal way of existence for every sane, healthy and socially-conscious and responsible person, but raise marriage to the status of a Divine institution, its chief and sacred purpose being the perpetuation of the human race—which is the very flower of the entire creation—and its elevation to the true station destined for it by God.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)


The Guardian has the impression that your husband is a fine man, and he is very pleased to hear you two are arranging to be reunited. He feels very strongly that Bahá’ís, if possible, more especially Bahá’ís who serve the Cause as actively and conspicuously as you and your family do, should set the newer believers and the young Bahá’ís a high example in every way. As Bahá’u’lláh was so very much against divorce (even though He permits it) and considered marriage a most sacred responsibility, believers should do everything in their power to preserve the marriages they have contracted, and to make of them exemplary unions, governed by the noblest motives.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 448)


The House of Justice advises you to continue the strenuous efforts you are making to overcome the difficulties in your marriage. It is pleased to note that you and your husband have turned to the Local Spiritual Assembly for guidance and have sought help from a Bahá’í who is a marriage counsellor. Such endeavours, when combined with a strong and determined effort, improve greatly the prospects that your marriage can be maintained. However, it must also be borne in mind that the fact that Bahá’u’lláh has permitted divorce is, no doubt, an indication that in certain circumstances it is unavoidable. If your earnest efforts to maintain your marriage do not yield the desired result, you should not be distraught.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 457)


The House of Justice feels it most essential for your husband and you to understand that marriage can be a source of well-being, conveying a sense of security and spiritual happiness. However, it is not something that just happens. For marriage to become a haven of contentment it requires the cooperation of the marriage partners themselves, and the assistance of their families. You mention your concern over your eldest daughter. It is suggested that you include her and perhaps your younger children in family consultations. As Bahá’ís we understand the importance of the consultative process and we should not feel it is to be used only by the Spiritual Assemblies. (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 453)


The House of Justice is distressed to learn that you and your husband are continuing to experience marital difficulties. It has frequently advised believers in such situations to turn to the Spiritual Assemblies for advice and counsel, and to follow this advice in their efforts to preserve the unity of their marital relationship. It has been found useful in many instances to also seek the assistance of competent professional marriage counsellors, who can provide useful insights and guidance in the use of constructive measures to bring about a greater degree of unity.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 458)


The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favour in the Kingdom of heaven. But if they do other than this, they will live out their lives in great bitterness, longing at every moment for death, and will be shamefaced in the heavenly realm.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 122)


The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. “If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of Divine grace and favour in the Kingdom of heaven. But if they do other than this, they will live out their lives in great bitterness, longing at every moment for death, and will be shamefaced in the heavenly realm. “Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)


The atmosphere within a Bahá’í family as within the community as a whole should express ‘the keynote of the Cause of God’ which, the beloved Guardian has stated, ‘is not dictatorial authority but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation’.
(Universal House of Justice December 28, 1980)


The carrying out of the Bahá’í marriage laws, as given to the friends throughout the world, is a vital obligation of every believer who wishes to marry, and it is an important duty of every Local Spiritual Assembly to ensure that these laws are known to, and obeyed by, the believers within their jurisdiction, whether or not the Bahá’í marriage ceremony is recognized by civil law. Each Assembly, therefore, must conscientiously carry out its responsibilities in connection with the holding of Bahá’í marriage ceremonies, the recording of Bahá’í marriages in a register kept for this purpose, and the issuing of Bahá’í marriage certificates.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 488-489)


The institution of marriage, as established by Bahá’u’lláh, while giving due importance to the physical aspect of marital union considers it as subordinate to the moral and spiritual purposes and functions with which it has been invested by an All-Wise and loving Providence. Only when these different values are given each their due importance, and only on the basis of the subordination of the physical to the moral, and the carnal to the spiritual can such excesses and laxity in marital relations as our decadent age is so sadly witnessing be avoided, and family life be restored to its original purity, and fulfill the true function for which it has been instituted by God.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)



The kind of sexuality purposed by God is the love between a man and a woman.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 3 May 1994)


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. This is Bahá’í marriage.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 118)


This exhortation to the utmost degree of spirituality and self-abnegation should not be read as a legal definition giving the husband absolute authority over his wife, for, in a letter written to an individual believer on 22 July 1943, the Beloved Guardian’s secretary wrote on his behalf: The Guardian, in his remarks...about parents” and children’s, wives” and husbands” relations in America, meant that there is a tendency in that country for children to be too independent of the wishes of their parents and lacking in the respect due to them. Also wives, in some cases, have a tendency to exert an unjust degree of domination over their husbands, which, of course, is not right, any more than that the husband should unjustly dominate his wife.
(Universal House of Justice, Messages of the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986, p. 471)


When, therefore, the people of Bahá undertake to marry, the union must be a true relationship, a spiritual coming together as well as physical one, so that throughout every phase of life, and in all the worlds of God, their union will endure; for this real oneness is a gleaming out of the love of God.
(Selections from the Writings of “‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 117)


You have asked, however, for specific rules of conduct to govern the relationships of husbands and wives. This the House of Justice does not wish to do, and it feels that there is already adequate guidance included in the compilation on this subject; for example, the principle that the rights of each and all in the family unit must be upheld, and the advice that loving consultation should be the keynote, that all matters must be settled in harmony and love, and that there are times when the husband and wife should defer to the wishes of the other. Exactly under what circumstances such deference should take place is a matter for each couple to determine. If, God forbid, they fail to agree, and their disagreement leads to estrangement, they should seek counsel from those they trust and in whose sincerity and sound judgement they have confidence, in order to preserve and strengthen their ties as a united family.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 455)


Your letter of ... to the Universal House of Justice makes clear that you are seeking to re-establish your marriage through study of the Writings and through various modes of consultation and assistance. We are asked to convey its advice on this vital subject of reconciliation of partners in marriage in the context of understanding of yourself and your relationship to others. You are urged to persevere in your studies, in your prayers for resolution of your problems, and in your meditation which may provide guidance and confidence, inasmuch as the understanding of self and of relationships to others are contained in the Writings and in the example of the Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Neither you nor your husband should hesitate to continue consulting professional marriage counsellors, individually and together if possible, and also to take advantage of the supportive counselling which can come from wise and mature friends. Non-Bahá’í counselling can be useful but it is usually necessary to temper it with Bahá’í insight. You ask how to deal with anger. The House of Justice suggests that you call to mind the admonitions found in our Writings on the need to overlook the shortcomings of others; to forgive and conceal their misdeeds, not to expose their bad qualities, but to search for and affirm their praiseworthy ones, and to endeavour to be always forbearing, patient, and merciful. Such passages as the following extracts from letters written on behalf of the beloved Guardian will be helpful: There are qualities in everyone which we can appreciate and admire, and for which we can love them; and perhaps, if you determine to think only of these qualities which your husband possesses, this will help to improve the situation .... You should turn your thoughts away from the things which upset you, and constantly pray to Bahá’u’lláh to help you. Then you will find how that pure love, enkindled by God, which burns in the soul when we read and study the Teachings, will warm and heal, more than anything else. Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being “perfect as our heavenly father is perfect” and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 454-455)


... he indeed feels rejoiced at the happy news of the settlement of your domestic differences with Mrs.... and particularly to know that you have jointly undertaken a most successful teaching tour .. This bond of common service to the Cause which is has proved such an effective solution of your personal problems, he hopes, and indeed will fervently pray, will be further cemented by the passing of years and through your increased and joint participation in the teaching work ...
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 448)