Some Bahá’ís have a tendency to use the phrase "We're " invites couples to engage in a wide variety of activities with one another, interact with each other's family, and participate in service together.
The goal is to know one another well enough that there is a high level of confidence in the knowledge you hold of each other's character.
This website is to assist Bahá’ís and those in relationships or marriages with Bahá’ís to turn to Bahá’í administrative bodies for guidance and help and to apply Bahá’í teachings on relationships and marriage in their lives.
Knowing and developing your character (your virtues), resolving issues from your past, building your relationship knowledge and skills, and knowing what is important to you in a marriage and in a spouse are all important.
You are then empowered to be effective in a relationship.
However, there is no indication that it will resemble the practices extant in existing cultures….
In this interim period, the friends are encouraged to make great efforts to live in conformity with the Teachings and to gradually forge a new pattern of behavior, more in keeping with the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. “Although a Bahá’í may, if he chooses, seek his parents’ advice on the choice of a partner, and although Bahá’í parents may give such advice if asked, it is clear from the Teachings that parents do not have the right to interfere in their children’s actual choice of a prospective partner until approached for their consent to marry.
However, we hasten to point out to you that the situation which you describe, in which your sons wish their friends to be involved with your family, is much more in line with the Teachings than the common pattern in Western countries in which many youth virtually exclude their parents from interacting with their peers, sometimes distancing themselves from their families in order to have the freedom to engage in frivolous and even unchaste behavior….” “Bahá’í marriage is the commitment of the two parties one to the other, and their mutual attachment of mind and heart.
Each must, however, exercise the utmost care to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other, that the binding covenant between them may be a tie that will endure forever.” “Bahá’í law places the responsibility for ascertaining knowledge of the character of those entering into the marriage contract on the two parties involved, and on the parents, who must give consent to the marriage.” Some Perspectives from Marriage Transformation: Becoming thoroughly acquainted with the character of a partner is a primary requirement for Bahá’ís who are dating, courting, and considering marriage.
Further, it would appear that the possibility of such an enduring 'friendship' is not limited to the relationship between husband and wife.
Rather, it is dependent on the nurturance and development of 'a deep spiritual bond', which transcends the 'merely physical bonds of human relationship' and is conditional on the establishment of 'unity' in the particular relationship." Some Perspectives from Marriage Transformation: Couples who are in a long-distance relationship must work very hard to have enough experiences together that they can be confident they know one another's character and their compatibility.
Therefore, when discussing the issue of courtship with your sons, it would be best to discuss it on the level of principle without reference to individuals.
“In the context of the society in which your family now lives, a society in which materialism, self-centeredness and failing marriages are all too common, your sons may well feel that it is wise to have a long period of courtship in which the prospective partners spend much time together and become thoroughly acquainted with each other’s character, background and family.
For some couples, going through parental consent (see below) may then be another level of check, as parents can also know the characters of both partners.