The Family

Family Baha'is believe that the family is the basic unit of society. It is from the family that morals are adapted and also where vices could be learned which are then taken out to the wider society. Unless the family is healthy and unified, society cannot be healthy and unified. The Baha'i view of the family is best expressed in terms of the position of each individual member to each other to be equivalent to their relationship to God. Thus, the efforts of parents to educate their sons and daughters should be seen in the same light as educating God's children. The family provides a fertile ground to nurture children to love the Creator, to become spiritually minded, to 'conform to the rules of good conduct,' to acquires 'all the graces and praiseworthy qualities of humankind,' amongst other virtues. One important thing affecting families in all cultures, concerns the equality of men and women: What may be viewed as a distinctive Baha'i element of family life is the critical importance of educating daughters which is 'more necessary than that of sons,' if it is not possible to provide an education to all. In the Baha'i view, through educated mothers, the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society. 'Mothers are the first educators of the new generation.


Marriage

What is a Baha'i marriage? It is a physical and spiritual union between two parties. The couple's purpose must be this: to become loving companions and comrades and at one with each other for time and eternity. Monogamous marriage stands at the foundation of family life. Once they have selected a partner, Baha'is are required to obtain their parents' consent of the marriage. This requirement helps preserve unity within the marriage and the extended family. It also serves to honor one's parents and reaffirms the importance of the bond between child and parent. Baha'i wedding ceremonies are simple. In the presence of two witnesses designated by the local Baha'i governing council, the couple recites the following verse: 'We will all, verily, abide by the will of God.' Thus, the vow makes the marriage a contract of three parties, the husband, the wife and God. Beyond the brief Baha'i marriage vow, Baha'is are free to design their own marriage celebration. Depending on personal tastes, family resources and cultural traditions, Baha'i ceremonies can include all manner of music, dance, dress, food and festivity.