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How can couples build lasting and joyful spiritual unity from the beginning of a relationship—regardless of their beliefs?
The Baha’i teachings center on a belief in God and an honoring, reverence, and respect for the many Messengers and religions that God has given the world over time. With this view of the essential oneness and harmony of religion, Baha’is don’t only marry other Baha’is—they often create interfaith marriages, too.
As individuals with differing belief systems get to know one another, they will usually explore how to unify as a couple around their spiritual or religious practices, beliefs, and values. They will begin learning how to share these with one another, and what their spiritual life together as a couple in marriage and while parenting might include. Beliefs and values affect individual and couple decision-making in all circumstances. They will influence interactions with other family members, raising any children they have, managing money, their social lifestyle, and all other aspects of married life. An up-front agreement on key core spiritual values will contribute to a harmonious marriage.
Marriage, no matter what the religions of the partners, should stand for a spiritually and physically intimate union. The couple creates a union of their souls as well as their bodies, with the spiritual union intended to last for eternity. The Baha’i teachings say:
…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. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 118.
Discussions during courtship can include exploring ways that this physical and spiritual union might happen. For example, regular couple prayer can build a connection that leads to spiritual unity. If a couple prays often during courtship, it will help them determine whether this joint spiritual communion can become a permanent part of the culture of their marriage.
But the spiritual connections possible in marriage aren’t limited to prayer–helping each other grow and live together smoothly also requires a spiritual effort. This means building a close tie of friendship between the couple. Consider this concept:
The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 122.
Baha’is believe that spiritual principles are designed to bring people together and create harmony. Where a couple has a commitment to carry out spiritual principles in their married life, their marriage will be stronger, healthier, and happier.