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Bahai Faith and MarriageThe Bahá'í teachings recommend marriage, but it is not obligatory. Marriage is emphasized as an assistance to one's self, as well as for the benefit of society; it is seen as both a physical relationship and a spiritual relationship that would continue in all the worlds of God.
Marriage and the Laws of Bahai Faith
The requirements of Bahá'í marriage include that the partners be over the age of 15, and is dependent on the consent of the couple and all their living biological parents, so to strengthen the ties between the families. According to the Bahá'í teachings, sexuality is a normal part of married life and is intended to enhance the relationship. However, sexual relationships are permitted only between a man and woman who are married. This precludes marriages that are homosexual or polygamous as well as any sexual relationship outside of marriage. Interreligious marriages are permitted, and interracial marriages are encouraged. Divorce is permitted, although discouraged, and is granted after a year of separation if the couple is unable to reconcile their differences.
The Bahá'í teachings state that parents need to raise their children to be moral and religious, but not fanatical. Parents are required to provide an education to their children, and children have a duty to obey their parents, which is seen as obeying God. Shoghi Effendi stated that preserving family unity is of utmost importance, and Bahá'ís are counselled to balance their desire to serve the religion with their responsibilities as parents, spouses and children.
The Bahá'í teachings on marriage see it as an eternal bond that survives past the lives of the partners in the physical life, and into the spiritual worlds. Thus the teachings stress that during courting the partners must take the utmost care to become acquainted with each other's character. Furthermore, the husband and wife should be united not only physically, but also spiritually, so that they can improve the spiritual life of each other, and that they can spiritually advance towards God.
"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."
Bahai Marriage Waiting Period
Bahai Wedding Ceremony
Most Bahá'í marriage ceremonies consist of the reading of Bahá'í writings, prayers and music followed by a talk about the spiritual nature of Bahá'í marriage, and then the reading of the vows.
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