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10 Things you should know about Baha'i Marriage

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

Baha'i Marriage

Baha'i Marriage

In the Baha'i writings it is written that:

"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.... "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." - Universal House of Justice

With that lofty ideal in mind, what else do you need to know about Baha'i Marriage? We've created a quick top 10 things you should know about Baha'i Marriage:

1. First You Must Select One

"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-Baha

2. The Bahá'í Teachings Raise Marriage to the Status of a Divine Institution

"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

3. Bahá'í marriage is practically void of all ceremonies

"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 conceptions and forms current amongst existing religions, the Bahá'í conception of marriage is practically void of all ceremonies. - From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of India, July 6, 1935

There is a short formula which they have to pronounce and a marriage certificate which they both have to sign.

4. In Reality No Individual Performs the Marriage Ceremony

When a Bahá'í marriage ceremony takes place, there is no individual, strictly speaking, who 'performs' it--no Bahá'í equivalent to a minister of the Church.

5. It only takes one line

"The couple themselves perform the ceremony by each saying, in the presence of at least two witnesses, the prescribed verse:

'We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.'

This ceremony is performed under the authority of a Spiritual Assembly which has the responsibility for ensuring that the various requirements of Bahá'í law, such as obtaining the consent of the parents, are met, to whom the witnesses must be acceptable, and which issues the marriage certificate." - The Universal House of Justice

6. Knowledge of Character Responsibility of Two Parties and Parents

"Bahá'í law places the responsibility for ascertaining knowledge of the character of those entering into the marriage contract on the two parties involved, and on the parents, who must give consent to the marriage." - Universal House of Justice

7. The Law of Parental Consent is to Strengthen Family Relationships

"Bahá'u'lláh has clearly stated the consent of all living parents is required for a Bahá'í marriage. This applies whether the parents are Bahá'ís or non-Bahá'ís, divorced for years or not. This great law He has laid down to strengthen the social fabric, to knit closer the ties of the home, to place a certain gratitude and respect in the hearts of children for those who have given them life and sent their souls out on the eternal journey towards their Creator. We Bahá'ís must realize that in present-day society the exact opposite process is taking place: young people care less and less for their parents' wishes, divorce is considered a natural right, and obtained on the flimsiest and most unwarrantable and shabby pretexts. People separated from each other, especially if one of them has had full custody of the children, are only too willing to belittle the importance of the partner in marriage also responsible as a parent for bringing those children into this world. The Bahá'ís must, through rigid adherence to the Bahá'í laws and teachings, combat these corrosive forces which are so rapidly destroying home life and the beauty of family relationships, and tearing down the moral structure of society." - From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, October 25, 1947

8. Consent of All Living Parents Places a Grave Responsibility on Each Parent

"It is perfectly true that Bahá'u'lláh's statement that the consent of all living parents is required for marriage places a grave responsibility on each parent. When the parents are Bahá'ís they should, of course, act objectively in withholding or granting their approval. They cannot evade this responsibility by merely acquiescing in their child's wish, nor should they be swayed by prejudice; but, whether they be Bahá'í or non-Bahá'í, the parents' decision is binding, whatever the reason that may have motivated it. Children must recognize and understand that this act of consenting is the duty of a parent. They must have respect in their hearts for those who have given them life, and whose good pleasure they must at all times strive to win." - Universal House of Justice

9. There Are No Grounds for Divorce in the Faith--Divorce Should Only Be Considered if There is a Strong "Aversion" to One's Partner

"Concerning the definition of the term 'aversion' in relation to Bahá'í divorce law, the Universal House of Justice points out that there are no specific 'grounds' for Bahá'í divorce such as there are in some codes of civil law. Bahá'í law permits divorce but, as both Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá have made very clear, divorce is abhorred. Thus, from the point of view of the individual believer he should do all he can to refrain from divorce. Bahá'ís should be profoundly aware of the sanctity of marriage and should strive to make their marriages an eternal bond of unity and harmony. This requires effort and sacrifice and wisdom and self-abnegation. A Bahá'í should consider the possibility of divorce only if the situation is intolerable and he or she has a strong aversion to being married to the other partner. This is the standard held up to the individual. It is not a law, but an exhortation. It is a goal to which we should strive." - Universal House of Justice

10. Baha'is can Marry Anyone

"With reference to your question regarding mixed marriages, that is to say between Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís, in all such cases the believer must insist that the Bahá'í ceremony should, as far as he is concerned, be performed in its entirety, but should also give full freedom to the other contracting party to carry out the non-Bahá'í rite or ceremony be it Muslim, Christian or otherwise, provided the latter does not invalidate the Bahá'í marriage act." - From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi


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