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 favour in the Kingdom of heaven. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 122.
Baha’is consider truly spiritual marriage a holy and sacred union that will last beyond this physical plane and continue through all the worlds of God. Both husband and wife must work diligently to make their marriage a source of well-being by building a sense of security and spiritual happiness—and ideally, by raising children:
O peerless Lord! In Thine almighty wisdom Thou hast enjoined marriage upon the peoples, that the generations of men may succeed one another in this contingent world… – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Prayers, pp. 104–105.
The Baha’i teachings not only encourage married life as the natural and normal way of human existence, but raise marriage to the status of a divine institution, a fortress for well-being. Marriage perpetuates the human race, which Baha’is consider a sacred spiritual trust. The Baha’i writings praise and honor the nobility of bringing children into the world and educating them:
These children must be reared with infinite, loving care, and tenderly fostered in the embraces of mercy, so that they may taste the spiritual honey-sweetness of God’s love; that they may become like unto candles shedding their beams across this darksome world… – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 21-22.
Training in morals and good conduct is far more important than book learning. A child that is cleanly, agreeable, of good character, well-behaved — even though he be ignorant — is preferable to a child that is rude, unwashed, ill-natured, and yet becoming deeply versed in all the sciences and arts. The reason for this is that the child who conducts himself well, even though he be ignorant, is of benefit to others, while an ill-natured, ill-behaved child is corrupted and harmful to others, even though he be learned. If, however, the child be trained to be both learned and good, the result is light upon light.
Children are even as a branch that is fresh and green; they will grow up in whatever way ye train them. Take the utmost care to give them high ideals and goals, so that once they come of age, they will cast their beams like brilliant candles on the world, and will not be defiled by lusts and passions in the way of animals, heedless and unaware, but instead will set their hearts on achieving everlasting honour and acquiring all the excellences of humankind. – Ibid., pp. 135-136.
O ye loving mothers, know ye that in God’s sight, the best of all ways to worship Him is to educate the children and train them in all the perfections of humankind; and no nobler deed than this can be imagined. – Ibid., p. 139.
Parents who nurture their children’s spiritual essence both by training and by example, the Baha’i teachings say, will create lovingly devoted families:
…how easily, where unity existeth in a given family, the affairs of that family are conducted; what progress the members of that family make, how they prosper in the world. Their concerns are in order, they enjoy comfort and tranquillity, they are secure, their position is assured, they come to be envied by all. Such a family but addeth to its stature and its lasting honour, as day succeedeth day… – Ibid., p. 279.
Glory be unto Thee, O my God! Verily, this thy servant and this Thy maidservant have gathered under the shadow of Thy mercy and they are united through Thy favor and generosity. O Lord! Assist them in this Thy world and Thy kingdom and destine for them every good through Thy bounty and grace. O Lord! Confirm them in Thy servitude and assist them in Thy service. Suffer them to become the signs of Thy Name in Thy world and protect them through Thy bestowals which are inexhaustible in this world and the world to come. O Lord! They are supplicating the kingdom of Thy mercifulness and invoking the realm of Thy singleness. Verily, they are married in obedience to Thy command. Cause them to become the signs of harmony and unity until the end of time. Verily, Thou art the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent and the Almighty! – Baha’i Prayers, p. 105.