Love and Friendship in Marriage: What Seven Couples Learned

Enhancing Love and Friendship in Your Marriage 2018
A new course offered by the Marriage and Family Department
Faculty: Susanne Alexander and Riaz Mostaghim

Generally, we share learners’ Learning Self-Assessments posted at the ends of their courses. In this case, we are sharing a report that the faculty, Susanne Alexander and Riaz Mostaghim, submitted at the end of the new course — Enhancing Love and Friendships in Your Marriage 2018—offered by the Marriage and Family Department. Many of the comments in the article are from learners in the course—THE EDITORS.

by Susanne Alexander

Faculty in the Marriage and Family Department designed Enhancing Love and Friendship in Your Marriage for married couples but were delighted that two premarital couples registered to help prepare for their marriages that happened during the course. One of them said, “My fiancée and I saw this course as a great start to the path we are to walk together, which will, hopefully, be saturated with service to Bahá’u’lláh and devotion to His Cause.” Another reported after the wedding, “We grew exponentially and came out a lot stronger, well informed, and united.” Her partner said, “I’ve learned that a Baha’i marriage is a union of two souls that work together as if one soul.”

Other participants, many of them also first-time Wilmette learners, shared:

  • “This Unit has reminded me I’m not alone during trials and tribulations. The Bahá’í writings will give us guidance. My service project for this unit is practicing going to the writings.”

Couples also studied marriage education materials, such as Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages ( Comments from learners included:

  • “We have finished discussing our love languages and how to use each other’s primary language more intensively/often and made a plan on what to do until Naw-Rúz to fill each other’s ‘love tank.’ We hope/aim that training in these languages will not only pave the way into a more harmonic marriage but also that we will be able to share more love to the people around us.”
  • “We have enjoyed learning about this topic as a couple. I found it interesting to reflect and identify which love languages speak the most to me and which ones speak to my husband. It seems to me that there is much give and take involved, requiring graciousness and gratitude. When he or she speaks his love language to you, you can see and feel the love on his or her terms and rejoice in it.”

Couples made other positive shifts:

  • “We have turned a major corner recently and are really enjoying the manifest bounties of our union.”
  • “I like pleasing other people. But somewhere along the line, it was no longer important to me. And it showed. [This course has] given me pause to shift gears and re-evaluate my part in this relationship. One of the things I hope to do is to take what I’ve read and start applying it to my marriage. I’m going to start asking myself, ‘What can I give?’ And I want to share this with my husband, the love of my life.”
  • “We found the friendship worksheet particularly insightful. The discussions we have had on each section and activity have been very rich, aiding us in connecting. These conversations that the course generates are new for us. We do enjoy the process but have much work to do to refocus our lives on healthier habits. We are both thinking about the application of our new insights day to day and what that might look like.”

We hope to see other participants (new ones and seasoned Wilmette Institute learners) in upcoming courses! Be sure to check out our website. Upcoming courses include:

In addition, The Marriage and Family Department offers three Anytime Courses (sign up anytime; work at your own pace):

  • Are We Ready for Marriage?
  • Thinking of Relationships and Marriage?
  • Engaging in Parental Consent for Marriage

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