Dating and courtship in preparation for marriage
Further, it would appear that the possibility of such an enduring 'friendship' is not limited to the relationship between husband and wife.
Rather, it is dependent on the nurturance and development of 'a deep spiritual bond', which transcends the 'merely physical bonds of human relationship' and is conditional on the establishment of 'unity' in the particular relationship." Some Perspectives from Marriage Transformation: Couples who are in a long-distance relationship must work very hard to have enough experiences together that they can be confident they know one another's character and their compatibility.
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However, we hasten to point out to you that the situation which you describe, in which your sons wish their friends to be involved with your family, is much more in line with the Teachings than the common pattern in Western countries in which many youth virtually exclude their parents from interacting with their peers, sometimes distancing themselves from their families in order to have the freedom to engage in frivolous and even unchaste behavior….” “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.” “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.” Some Perspectives from Marriage Transformation: Becoming thoroughly acquainted with the character of a partner is a primary requirement for Bahá’ís who are dating, courting, and considering marriage.
As you are aware, Bahá’u’lláh ordained that Bahá’í engagement should not exceed 95 days, and, although this law has not yet been applied universally, it highlights the desirability of marrying quickly once the decision to marry has been firmly taken and parental consent obtained.
However, in a relationship in which such a decision has not been taken and in which the law of chastity is strictly observed, there is no objection, in principle, to a prolonged friendship in which the two individuals entertain the possibility of marrying each other at some time in the future.
In almost every other circumstance, the guidance from the Bahá’í Writings to us as individuals is to overlook negative aspects about someone and just focus on the positive good in the person.
Consider how to apply the guidance to only look for the good in others as well as the guidance to be thorough in understanding a potential mate.
Your knowledge of your own character will help you recognize character strengths (and growth areas! Relationships are going through a process of organic culture change.
The Bahá’í teachings encourage friendship, practicing chastity, and focusing on knowing each other's character as aspects of relationships that have marriage as the goal.“Concerning your wish for a marriage partner to enhance your life and service, you are encouraged to trust in God, pursue your purposes with a joyful heart, and identify opportunities, through your own prayerful consideration or through consultation with others, to meet a man to whom you could consider being married.” Guidance from the Universal House of Justice: Letter written by the Universal House of Justice in response to an inquiry from a father about his sons: “As you know, courtship practices differ greatly from one culture to another, and it is not yet known what pattern of courtship will emerge in the future when society has been more influenced by Bahá’í Teachings.
It is also wise to consider how important particular character qualities are for you to have in a spouse.