Engagement and Cohabitation

Jun 2014
1,079
Wisconsin
#11
Dear Walrus,
it's interesting that some NSA's have ruled that cohabitation is permissible. Do you have any documents available in this regard?

I have been in a similar situation before I married my wife and our NSA gave us a deadline to either separate or marry. Sadly the reason we couldn't get married at that stage was not that we were unwilling but that my mother-in-law did not accept the law of consent at all and refused to give us an answer.
Britain's NSA stated the following, based on the already stated UHJ guidance, and noted that economical or practical reasons might necessitate such living arrangements:

"With regard to mixed sex accommodation, in general, the National Spiritual Assembly understands the situation of people of opposite sexes who share accommodation for financial or other practical reasons. In these somewhat dangerous times, it is even sometimes advisable for a group of young women to share accommodation with young men as a protection against intruders and those who might threaten them, providing, of course, that they are clearly accommodated in separate bedrooms and there is no suggestion that there is a sexual relationship among them."
 
Jul 2017
414
Olympia, WA, USA
#12
Actually, the UHJ says: "what Bahá'ís would consider immoral is people who are not married living together as husband and wife, and indulging in sexual relations." and makes it clear that this is what crosses the line and makes a situation unacceptable.

If you have a problem with that instruction, you should write the UHJ. Until you have done that, the advisory statement is that a living situation only becomes immoral once the condition clearly listed comes about.

I'd say it is rather clear, but even if the statement was ambiguous, then it is permissible until the UHJ chooses to clear such ambiguity up. If you can't cite Scripture or UHJ guidance that forbids a thing, that thing is assumed to be permitted, and it is not proper to present ones own opinion on immorality as authoritative.
You quoted: "what Bahá'ís would consider immoral is people who are not married living together as husband and wife, and indulging in sexual relations."

The issue here is not only one of immorality, another issue is of the reputation of the Baha'i Faith. What kind of example does this set when a couple lives together before marriage?

Obviously that is immoral for a Baha'i to have sexual relations before marriage, since it is against Baha'i Law, but the UHJ did not say it is a good idea or even permissible for unmarried people to live together as husband and wife without indulging in sexual relations.

Frankly, I think the whole idea of a man and woman living together before marriage is ridiculous, but my personal opinion is not what matters. What matters is what the Baha'i administration rules on it. Clearly, it sets a very bad example for the Baha'i Faith, because who is going to believe that a man and woman who live together as a couple are not engaging in sexual relations. To live together out of wedlock for convenience or financial reasons is clearly putting one's personal interests above the reputation of the Baha'i Faith. Why not just go and hang out in a bar and say you are not drinking? Who is going to believe that?
 
Mar 2013
562
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#13
Aside from the discussion of whether chaste cohabitation is permissible or not for engaged couples, a separate question is whether it is advisable, or whether you are missing out on something by deciding to move in before the wedding. I would argue that there is something to gain from making the extra effort to live separately while engaged to be married. It can be (and traditionally has been) part of the psychological and emotional preparation for spending the rest of your life with someone. It represents in a formal way the demarcation between single life and married life. It is a public demonstration of one's intention to observe chastity before marriage (although obviously doesn't prove it).

So, what are the costs and benefits? You may have to spend some extra money to have separate accommodations. For people short on cash that may be a sacrifice. Depending on how far it is from the fiance's place, it requires some extra logistics to go back and forth. On the other hand, it provides a reason to reach out to friends and family to help. If you have a friend or family in the area, and say that you need a place to stay for a month or two, and say the reason is because you don't want to move in together before marriage, they may say you are crazy, but they will probably be happy to offer a spare bed or couch. Or even a couple of months rent for one room in an Air B&B, or whatever. If you don't have any close friends there or much money, and there is a local Baha'i community don't be afraid to ask if anyone has a spare room and is willing to let you stay with them. What are the benefits? In addition to making a statement that you are willing to go against the practices of a society that places no value on chastity, you additionally have a bonding experience with those who reach out to help. When you are preparing for a wedding you definitely need help, and it creates wonderful memories and connections that you can keep for the rest of your life.
 
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Sep 2018
79
usa
#14
oh god :coldsweat:

Frankly, I think the whole idea of a man and woman living together before marriage is ridiculous,
what harm is there if two people wanna share the same roof and nurture the seed of love?

who is going to believe that a man and woman who live together as a couple are not engaging in sexual relations.
Who cares about the opinion of the ignorant, who choose to believe in their own ill sighted imaginations towards others? leave them to their false imaginings, and don't let their ignorance obstruct your path.

To live together out of wedlock for convenience or financial reasons is clearly putting one's personal interests above the reputation of the Baha'i Faith.
what kind of faith is so weak, that it rather see it's own followers suffer, then to uphold its fragile reputation? How pathetic.

Why not just go and hang out in a bar and say you are not drinking?
i have done that many times, its called being the designated driver.

Who is going to believe that?
Those who don't judge blindly. The followers of truth.
 
Jul 2017
414
Olympia, WA, USA
#15
oh god :coldsweat:

what harm is there if two people wanna share the same roof and nurture the seed of love?

Who cares about the opinion of the ignorant, who choose to believe in their own ill sighted imaginations towards others? leave them to their false imaginings, and don't let their ignorance obstruct your path.

what kind of faith is so weak, that it rather see it's own followers suffer, then to uphold its fragile reputation? How pathetic.
What kind of person is so weak that *what they want* is more important than the reputation of the Baha'i Faith? How pathetic. :upsidedown:

I think it is up to the Baha'i institutions to legislate on this matter. Most people are so selfish, they just want what they want, and that is *one reason* why we need the Baha'i institutions. Baha'u'llah knew that. :rolleyes:

If people do not *like* doing what the Baha'i institutions say they are not really Baha'is, as they have broken with the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.

1211. Bahá’ís Must Set the Example and Lead the Way to a True Human Standard of Life

"The world today is submerged, amongst other things, in an over-exaggeration of the importance of physical love, and a dearth of spiritual values. In as far as possible the believers should try to realize this and rise above the level of their fellow-men who are, typical of all decadent periods in history, placing so much over-emphasis on the purely physical side of mating. Outside of their normal, legitimate married life they should seek to establish bonds of comradeship and love which are eternal and founded on the spiritual life of man, not on his physical life. This is one of the many fields in which it is incumbent on the Bahá’ís to set the example and lead the way to a true human standard of life, when the soul of man is exalted and his body but the tool for his enlightened spirit. Needless to say this does not preclude the living of a perfectly normal sex life in its legitimate channel of marriage."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, September 28, 1941: Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973, pp. 108-109)
Lights of Guidance/Chastity and Sex Education - Bahaiworks, a library of works about the Bahá’í Faith
 
Jul 2017
414
Olympia, WA, USA
#16
Aside from the discussion of whether chaste cohabitation is permissible or not for engaged couples, a separate question is whether it is advisable, or whether you are missing out on something by deciding to move in before the wedding. I would argue that there is something to gain from making the extra effort to live separately while engaged to be married. It can be (and traditionally has been) part of the psychological and emotional preparation for spending the rest of your life with someone. It represents in a formal way the demarcation between single life and married life. It is a public demonstration of one's intention to observe chastity before marriage (although obviously doesn't prove it).

So, what are the costs and benefits? You may have to spend some extra money to have separate accommodations. For people short on cash that may be a sacrifice. Depending on how far it is from the fiance's place, it requires some extra logistics to go back and forth. On the other hand, it provides a reason to reach out to friends and family to help. If you have a friend or family in the area, and say that you need a place to stay for a month or two, and say the reason is because you don't want to move in together before marriage, they may say you are crazy, but they will probably be happy to offer a spare bed or couch. Or even a couple of months rent for one room in an Air B&B, or whatever. If you don't have any close friends there or much money, and there is a local Baha'i community don't be afraid to ask if anyone has a spare room and is willing to let you stay with them. What are the benefits? In addition to making a statement that you are willing to go against the practices of a society that places no value on chastity, you additionally have a bonding experience with those who reach out to help. When you are preparing for a wedding you definitely need help, and it creates wonderful memories and connections that you can keep for the rest of your life.
Perhaps the *standards* of the Baha'i Faith have dropped since I became a Baha'i in 1970. :(
Back then, this question would have never even arisen. A man and woman were not allowed to live together before they got married, period. If the LSA found out they would be counseled to cease and desist living together. I don't know what happened after that.

If people do not *like* the high standards of the Baha'i Faith, maybe they should not be Baha'is. :think:

I hear from non-Baha'is about Baha'is they know who have sex out of wedlock, and of course this is setting a bad example. One person who told me about this is a man who has been looking at whether the Baha'i Faith is true since the early 1970s. He is still looking yet undecided. These kinds of things can sway a person's decision.

I do not care what people think of me personally, as long as I know I am adhering to the teachings of the Baha'i Faith to the best of my ability. As I Baha'i I have a responsibility to set an example. Of course it matters what others think of us. How else is the Baha'i Faith ever going to grow?

“Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching—no matter how worldwide and elaborate in its character—not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abhá Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh.”
 
Sep 2018
79
usa
#17
If people do not *like* doing what the Baha'i institutions say they are not really Baha'is, as they have broken with the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.
so if the Baha'i institutions decide we start punching babies, we have to start punching babies?
religion is just a tool to make life better. society is constantly growing and changing, we must not become dictators.
 
Jul 2017
414
Olympia, WA, USA
#18
so if the Baha'i institutions decide we start punching babies, we have to start punching babies?
religion is just a tool to make life better. society is constantly growing and changing, we must not become dictators.
The Baha'i institutions are not going to say to punch babies.
The Baha'i institutions are not dictators, they offer guidance.
The Baha'i institutions do not meddle in our lives unless we are doing something that could reflect badly on the Faith, just like policemen do not pull you over unless you are doing something that is endangering other drivers.
 
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