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Old 12-26-2015, 05:48 PM   #1
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Question outsider looking for some inside information

I have had very little experience with the Bahá'i faith, even after being with my partner for two years. In the last two years, my partner and I have not followed the vows of chastity and his mother has allowed this within her home, even allowing us to share a bed a few nights a week. However, now that he has moved out of her home she has stared pestering him about whether, or not we're living together. He tells her that we're not living together, and we're not, but every time it comes up she tells him that we better not be or he'll lose his "rights"; which he obviously doesn’t want to happen. We've both seen these words as confusing since she has been aware of what has been going on in her home and as threats to him continuing to participate in religious practices. This is causing tension between him and his mother; I've chosen to ignore the situation as best I can without deserting my partner during this time. I'm curious as to how living with someone is worse than what we've been doing AND I would like to know where I can find out more about these "rights" as I have been searching the internet and haven't been about to find anything. Thank you in advance for any help.
 
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Old 12-26-2015, 06:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondering View Post
I have had very little experience with the Bahá'i faith, even after being with my partner for two years. In the last two years, my partner and I have not followed the vows of chastity and his mother has allowed this within her home, even allowing us to share a bed a few nights a week. However, now that he has moved out of her home she has stared pestering him about whether, or not we're living together. He tells her that we're not living together, and we're not, but every time it comes up she tells him that we better not be or he'll lose his "rights"; which he obviously doesn’t want to happen. We've both seen these words as confusing since she has been aware of what has been going on in her home and as threats to him continuing to participate in religious practices. This is causing tension between him and his mother; I've chosen to ignore the situation as best I can without deserting my partner during this time. I'm curious as to how living with someone is worse than what we've been doing AND I would like to know where I can find out more about these "rights" as I have been searching the internet and haven't been about to find anything. Thank you in advance for any help.
Your so-to-say mother-in-law is referring to your partner's voting rights. You are not excluded from the faith for living together without being married, but he may lose his administrative rights, i. e. his voting rights, etc. If you get married, those rights will be restored. Furthermore, nobody is supposed to go looking into other people's private lives. Basically, the big problem is when it becomes too obvious that you are living together without being married, because then people around you might start to believe that this is allowed within the Faith. It is not.

I'd say that the most constructive approach to this is to look at each other and seriously consider if it's not about time to get married. (Ouch - terrible word, isn't it? :-) )


I hope that this has been helpful.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 12-26-2015 at 07:07 PM.
 
Old 12-26-2015, 09:45 PM   #3
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondering View Post
I have had very little experience with the Bahá'i faith, even after being with my partner for two years. In the last two years, my partner and I have not followed the vows of chastity and his mother has allowed this within her home, even allowing us to share a bed a few nights a week. However, now that he has moved out of her home she has stared pestering him about whether, or not we're living together. He tells her that we're not living together, and we're not, but every time it comes up she tells him that we better not be or he'll lose his "rights"; which he obviously doesn’t want to happen. We've both seen these words as confusing since she has been aware of what has been going on in her home and as threats to him continuing to participate in religious practices. This is causing tension between him and his mother; I've chosen to ignore the situation as best I can without deserting my partner during this time. I'm curious as to how living with someone is worse than what we've been doing AND I would like to know where I can find out more about these "rights" as I have been searching the internet and haven't been about to find anything. Thank you in advance for any help.
The issues that the world today faces are complex, there are laws to which a Baha'i is called upon to observe in Marriage and Chastity.

To those that are Bahai's they are binding and there are ramifications if these laws are not followed. It is up to each Baha'i to try to implement these laws into their lives.

In doing so, some of the complexities of the world are balanced and life will be more fulfilling.

This link has some advice and follow up replies that show that it is not always easy - Sex Before Marriage | Susan Gammage: Bahai-inspired Author

All the best and

Regards Tony
 
Old 12-27-2015, 05:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pondering View Post
I have had very little experience with the Bahá'i faith, even after being with my partner for two years. In the last two years, my partner and I have not followed the vows of chastity and his mother has allowed this within her home, even allowing us to share a bed a few nights a week. However, now that he has moved out of her home she has stared pestering him about whether, or not we're living together. He tells her that we're not living together, and we're not, but every time it comes up she tells him that we better not be or he'll lose his "rights"; which he obviously doesn’t want to happen. We've both seen these words as confusing since she has been aware of what has been going on in her home and as threats to him continuing to participate in religious practices. This is causing tension between him and his mother; I've chosen to ignore the situation as best I can without deserting my partner during this time. I'm curious as to how living with someone is worse than what we've been doing AND I would like to know where I can find out more about these "rights" as I have been searching the internet and haven't been about to find anything. Thank you in advance for any help.
afaik, the "rights" are to vote for people to make up the local spiritual assembly. That may also be tied to the "right" to give money to the fund (not sure on that part). They shouldn't keep him from participating by coming to functions and whatnot, because every Baha'i falls short of the standard. The community itself is usually not too interested in stuff like this, from my understanding and experience, unless you are flagrantly publicizing a "sin" that misrepresents the faith to the public or something.

But, personally, it sounds like his mother is worried about how the situation would look for her. Maybe the community wouldn't have found out if you spent a few nights a week here or there. But living together might get word around and she might feel embarrassed. IMHO, it's more about her insecurity than anything else. It could also be a control thing since he is now leaving the nest and she won't be there to approve or be aware of what is going on anymore.

Even if they wanted to revoke his voting rights, though, I imagine the local spiritual assembly would have to discuss it with him and give him an opportunity to explain or correct, so if and when it becomes an issue, he'll hear from them. Maybe he could mention that to his mom, "If it's a serious issue, the LSA will contact me and we'll go from there."

FWIW, I just got married to a long-term live-in Baha'i boyfriend. Similar situation to you, just I spent years investigating the faith while we lived together. Nobody ever made an issue of it, and we had to deal with some "legal" (religious law) issues to get the Baha'i marriage approved, a situation in which our LSA was very accommodating and understanding.

Last edited by rose; 12-27-2015 at 11:28 PM. Reason: messed up a key word there...
 
Old 12-27-2015, 06:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rose View Post
afaik, the "rights" are to vote for people to make up the local spiritual assembly. That may also be tied to the "right" to give money to the fund (not sure on that part). They shouldn't keep him from participating by coming to functions and whatnot, because every Baha'i falls short of the standard. The community itself is usually not too interested in stuff like this, from my understanding and experience, unless you are flagrantly publicizing a "sin" that misrepresents the faith to the public or something.

But, personally, it sounds like his mother is worried about how the situation would look for her. Maybe the community wouldn't have found out if you spent a few nights a week here or there. But living together might get word around and she might feel embarrassed. IMHO, it's more about her insecurity than anything else. It could also be a control thing since he is not leaving the nest and she won't be there to approve or be aware of what is going on anymore.

Even if they wanted to revoke his voting rights, though, I imagine the local spiritual assembly would have to discuss it with him and give him an opportunity to explain or correct, so if and when it becomes an issue, he'll hear from them. Maybe he could mention that to his mom, "If it's a serious issue, the LSA will contact me and we'll go from there."

FWIW, I just got married to a long-term live-in Baha'i boyfriend. Similar situation to you, just I spent years investigating the faith while we lived together. Nobody ever made an issue of it, and we had to deal with some "legal" (religious law) issues to get the Baha'i marriage approved, a situation in which our LSA was very accommodating and understanding.
Dear Rose,

Thank you very much for your real-world, down-to-earth comments. That's exactly the kind of advice we need more of. We know so much in theory, but putting it into practice in the world that we are living in - that's another game.

And, coming to think of it, there is the opening line: "I have had very little experience with the Bahá'i faith, even after being with my partner for two years." I'd say that this is an important issue. You've spent two years on this guy - that's serious. I'd say that you have a right to get to know more about his faith and what it might mean to you personally and to both of you. Here, it seems, that your relationship has become more of an embarrassment than a a great opportunity. That has to change. Look into the Faith, not just you, but both of you. For some reason, you've been attracted to each other. The Faith might be part of it, witout your considering it. Something tells me that he also needs to learn more about his faith (most Bahá'ís actually do - it's not something that you cn get to know in a fortnight), so it's an opportunity to both of you. It is possible that his mother feels ashamed about your relationship. In such case, go learn about the Faith in another community, to avoid those social aspects.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 12-27-2015 at 06:31 PM.
 
Old 12-27-2015, 11:08 PM   #6
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And, coming to think of it, there is more in the question that reveals that your boyfriend and his family really haven't told you much. There is no such thing as a vow of chastity in our faith. Chastity is seen in a completely different light. I'd say that you have a right to be told about the Faith. There are absolutely no secrets. On the contrary, it's your boyfriend's and his mother's obligation to tell you about the Faith.

But if they don't do it, continue asking here. We will tell you everything.

gnat
 
Old 12-27-2015, 11:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gnat View Post
Dear Rose,

Thank you very much for your real-world, down-to-earth comments. That's exactly the kind of advice we need more of. We know so much in theory, but putting it into practice in the world that we are living in - that's another game.

And, coming to think of it, there is the opening line: "I have had very little experience with the Bahá'i faith, even after being with my partner for two years." I'd say that this is an important issue. You've spent two years on this guy - that's serious. I'd say that you have a right to get to know more about his faith and what it might mean to you personally and to both of you. Here, it seems, that your relationship has become more of an embarrassment than a a great opportunity. That has to change. Look into the Faith, not just you, but both of you. For some reason, you've been attracted to each other. The Faith might be part of it, witout your considering it. Something tells me that he also needs to learn more about his faith (most Bahá'ís actually do - it's not something that you cn get to know in a fortnight), so it's an opportunity to both of you. It is possible that his mother feels ashamed about your relationship. In such case, go learn about the Faith in another community, to avoid those social aspects.

gnat
Sometimes just simple input and perspective from the outside can help clarify the situation. I have a half dozen similar things I could post right about now lol

OP, I agree that this can be a great opportunity for you and your boyfriend to get to know each other a little better, e.g., to find out what role the faith really plays in his life versus what role he wants it to play? He might feel some degree of guilt about moving in/sex before marriage because deep down he believes in these standards. He might feel, OTOH, that he's only keeping up pretenses with the folks wrt religion. So it's a good time to clarify where you both stand, and then he can deal with the situation with his mom. Just, again, an outsider perspective
 
Old 12-30-2015, 05:36 PM   #8
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Congratulations Rose on the wedding!
 
Old 12-30-2015, 05:52 PM   #9
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Yes Rose, congrats on your marriage. Might we look forward to a little rosebud or two?
 
Old 12-30-2015, 08:05 PM   #10
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May I second the previous speaker in the most heartfelt congratulations and the wish to see results in the shape of roselings?

gnat
 
Old 12-31-2015, 01:05 PM   #11
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Thank you. I forgot that my first posts here were about the marriage issue, I should do an update. No rosebuds/roselings planned yet lol I'm terrified to be a mother to anyone more than my dog right now.

OP I hope you can come back and update us soon. Good luck!
 
Old 12-31-2015, 03:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rose View Post
Thank you. I forgot that my first posts here were about the marriage issue, I should do an update. No rosebuds/roselings planned yet lol I'm terrified to be a mother to anyone more than my dog right now.

OP I hope you can come back and update us soon. Good luck!
Congratulations. I hope you both have a very happy year...and life.

Very best regards,

Paul
 
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