Sunday, July 3, 2016
What is a Baha'i marriage? I thought I knew, but today, after speaking with our Secretary on the Local Spiritual Assembly, I discovered it was so much more than what I had envisioned!
I am a Baha'i. My husband is a Baha'i. Yet, we did not realize until today that we do not have a "Baha'i marriage" in the technical sense. Oh yes, we are married, and yes, our parents all approved, and we are both Baha'is, but we found out that we can get the consent of our parents in writing and still have yet another ceremony where, specifically, the Baha'i vows are taken.
What this marriage ceremony looks like can vary from culture to culture (ceremonial practices, dress, dance, music, food and drink, prayers and readings, traditions (if any), some modern vows mixed in, etc.). Again, it is the vows and how it occurs that make it a Baha'i marriage.
Baha'i vows are simple... both parties say, "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God." Two witnesses are present to observe this union that promotes love, devotion, fidelity, and especially obedience to God, together. It is meant to be an everlasting union, between two people, in the highest possible way--in spirit.
The Baha'i faith does not have clergy, but the marriage is made legal and binding under the laws of the land (marriage license, ceremony, witnesses, so that all the religious and civil requirements are met).
Another thing I learned today about the Baha'i marriage is that not all "Baha'i marriages" (as per what is mentioned above) consist of both partners being Baha'is. Some are "mixed" marriages, religion-wise. Also, some people get married legally and then may later (even decades later) get married again to renew vows or to be married officially as a Baha'i marriage. Some start out with a Baha'i marriage. Consent in writing is required by all parents (who are still alive), even when the couple may have already been married, although since they are already married this is usually a simple step.
So there it is. Baha'i marriages are very simple to perform, but the consent of the parents in the family is meant to bring families closer together, and so there is full understanding and no contention between family members as the couple moves forward in the marriage. It is to promote harmony and love and support, rather than dissension.
Baha'i marriages are meant and designed to last.
I would love to have a Baha'i marriage...