When marriage goes well, it makes the whole world seem right.
Marriage can involve hanging out with a best friend, enjoying lots of loving, talking about anything and everything, building a warm family life together, helping each other through the tough spots, and more. As equal partners, respecting one another and deciding the course of your relationship and family together, a good marriage can give us enormous happiness and satisfaction in life.
Getting there, though? Not so easy.
We get an education to learn how to read, do math, get a job, learn to drive, cut hair, invent a new light bulb, repair a telephone—just about anything and everything. However, we have very little education in knowing how to get and stay married, and in how to be a good parent, two of the most important aspects of life that affect us forever!
Baha’is are quite passionate about the importance of education, and Baha’i parents know that education and training are obligatory and not voluntary. Here is one piece of encouragement from the Baha’i teachings: “It is incumbent upon thee to acquire the various branches of knowledge….” – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 110.
Link the importance of education together with the Baha’i teachings about marriage, and the idea of gaining knowledge and skills for a successful marriage begins to look wise:
And when He [God] 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…. – Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Prayers, p. 105.
Of course, marriage can be a source of well-being—but it doesn’t just happen automatically. Baha’is believe that for marriage to become a haven of contentment, it requires the cooperation of the marriage partners themselves, and the assistance of their families, as well.
The relatively new field of marriage education focuses on strengthening knowledge and skills in individuals and couples, as well as preventing future marital problems. Marriage education aims to empower people in creating unions that provide healthy and happy stability and unity for families and communities. An effective course of education in the art of marriage can include such activities as reading books, studying in groups, taking courses, participating in workshops, and mentoring. It provides important information, often based on extensive research, which helps couples build useful knowledge and skills for healthy relationships, marriage, and re-marriage. Marriage education has the power to foster a gradual and organic transformation process in maintaining marriages and families.
Ultimately, marriage education can help equip people to function as healthy individuals with many character strengths–who can then become successful partners in a relationship, and eventually as spouses. It includes preparation for relationships and marriage for individuals and couples of all ages and experience levels. Marriage education also provides marriage-strengthening tools for healthy married couples who want to continue learning, growing, and developing.
People often question the value of marriage, with so much failure happening in relationships and such rampant divorce. But much of that questioning happens because couples have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to create an excellent marriage. Would you like to get married and stay married? Then it’s worth the time and effort to engage in learning how to make the best possible relationship choices.