Chastity in the process of getting to know someone

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Chastity in the process of getting to know someone

Postby Maira » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:25 am


Are there any clear directions on what to do and what not to do while in the process of getting to know someone for marriage? There are obvious things such as no sex, no kissing and no touching in a sexual manner, but there are other things that aren't as clear and can depend on personal and cultural interpretation. For example, what about calling each other things like "dear, honey, baby", saying "I love you", saying the other looks good, holding hands, holding one's arm around the other's shoulders?

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Re: Chastity in the process of getting to know someone

Postby brettz9 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:41 am

Hello and welcome Maira,

I agree it would be interesting to have confirmed whether the spirit of Baha'i courtship (or engagement) is to be more in the vein of sweet but not intimate closeness or in the spirit of more objective distance. Personally I would guess the latter, thinking that it is hard to be objective in ascertaining someone's character, if one is focused too much on trying to make it work.

But to the degree that the following from the Universal House of Justice appear are in the context of physical intimacy, I would still think that they might also apply in general:

"It is neither possible nor desirable for the Universal House of Justice to set forth a set of rules covering every situation. Rather it is the task of the individual believer to determine, according to his own prayerful understanding of the Writings, precisely what his course of conduct should be in relation to situations which he encounters in his daily life. If he is to fulfill his true mission in life as a follower of the Blessed Perfection, he will pattern his life according to the Teachings. The believer cannot attain this objective merely by living according to a set of rigid regulations. When his life is oriented towards service to Bahá'u'lláh, and when every conscious act is performed within this frame of reference, he will not fail to achieve the true purpose of his life.

"Therefore, every believer must continually study the sacred Writings and the instructions of the beloved Guardian, striving always to attain a new and better understanding of their import to him and to his society. He should pray fervently for Divine Guidance, wisdom and strength to do what is pleasing to God, and to serve Him at all times and to the best of his ability."

(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, October 17, 1968: National Bahá'í Review, No. 47, November 1971, p. 3, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1207)

"We have received your letter of 19th June 1973 and can sympathize with the problems that Bahá'í youth face when trying to live up to the Bahá'í standards of behaviour. It is, perhaps, natural that in the bewildering amoral environment in which Bahá'í youth are growing up they feel the need for specific instructions on which intimacies are permissible and which are not. However, we feel it would be most unwise for any Bahá'í institution to issue detailed instructions about this.

"The Bahá'í youth should study the teachings on chastity and, with these in mind, should avoid any behaviour which would arouse passions which would tempt them to violate them. In deciding what acts are permissible to them in the light of these considerations the youth must use their own judgement, following the guidance of their consciences and the advice of their parents.

"If Bahá'í youth combine such personal purity with an attitude of uncensorious forbearance towards others they will find that those who may have criticized or even mocked them will come, in time, to respect them. They will, moreover, be laying a firm foundation for future married happiness."

(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to a Local Spiritual Assembly, July 9, 1973, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1213)

Here are some other resources if they may help:

Best wishes,

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