Bahá'í Faith
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The Báb · `Abdu'l-Bahá

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Kitáb-i-Aqdas · Kitáb-i-Íqán

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Index of Bahá'í Articles

Bahá'í marriage is union of a man and a woman. Its purpose is mainly spiritual and is to foster harmony, fellowship and unity between the two partners. The Bahá'í teachings on marriage call it a fortress for well-being and salvation and place marriage and the family as the foundation of the structure of human society.

Spiritual nature

The Bahá'í teachings on marriage see it as an eternal bond that survives past the lives of the partners in the physical life, and into the spiritual worlds. Thus the teachings stress that during courting the partners must take the utmost care to become acquainted with each other's character. Furthermore, the husband and wife should be united not only physically, but also spiritually, so that they can improve the spiritual life of each other, and that they can spiritually advance towards God.


For the two partners to become engaged they must obtain consent of all living biological parents. Before getting married, the parents cannot interfere with the selection of the person their child wants to get married to, but to be engaged all living parents must give approval of the marriage. The purpose of this law is to foster unity between the two families, since the Bahá'í teachings see marriage and the family as the foundation of the structure and society, and having disunity between two families is not conducive to that. The consent of all parents is needed even if one of the partners is not a Bahá'í.

Bahá'ís see this aspect of Bahá'í marriage as combining marriages practices from the East and West; in the East arranged marriage is common, and in the west marriages sometimes go forward with no input from the parents. The Bahá'í marriage gives full freedom of the individuals to select their partner, but places certain gratitude and respect to the parents.

"A couple should study each other's character and spend time getting to know each other before they decide to marry, and when they do marry it should be with the intention of establishing an eternal bond."
(The Universal House of Justice, November 2, 1982, in Baha'i Marriage and Family Life, p. 20)

Waiting period

From the time that the consent of all parents is obtained to the time of the marriage ceremony should not exceed 95 days. The 95-day period of engagement is currently applicable only to Persian believers. [1]


The Bahá'í marriage ceremony is done differently in each culture. The only compulsory part of the wedding is the reading of the wedding vows prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh which both the groom and the bride read,

We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God. [2]

in the presence of two witnesses.

Most Bahá'í marriage ceremonies consist of the reading of Bahá'í writings, prayers and music followed by a talk about the spiritual nature of Bahá'í marriage, and then the reading of the vows.


There are a number of laws that concern Bahá'í marriage

  • Marriage is not obligatory, but is highly recommended.
  • Marriage is defined between a man and a woman (see Homosexuality and Bahá'í Faith).
  • Only married couples may engage in sexual activity.
  • Having more than one wife or husband is forbidden.
  • Both partners must be at least 15 years of age at the time of engagement. (The civil laws of their country must be obeyed)
  • Marriage is conditional on the consent of both parties and their parents.
  • Marriage with non-Bahá'ís is permitted (see Interreligious marriage).
  • The period of engagement must not exceed ninety-five days. (Not currently universally applicable)
  • A marriage should condition a payment of a dowry. The payment, if the husband lives in a city, is nineteen mithqáls (approx. 2.22 troy ounces) of pure gold, and if the husband lives outside a city the same amount in silver. Bahá'u'lláh also set a maximum permitted dowry amount of 95 mithqáls (approx. 11.1 troy ounces). (Not currently universally applicable)

Children and parenting

Following the natural and appropriate extension of the union of marriage, children, whether adopted or biological, should be raised in this same spiritual atmosphere. Formal duties exist between parents and children (of education and obedience, training and respect.) Second to discovering God for oneself is respect for one's parents. Reversing the degradation of women and children is a subject of much attention in the Bahá'í Faith.


  • Universal House of Justice (2001). Letter: Applicability of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Haifa, Israel: The Bahá'í World Centre Department of the Secretariat. 

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