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Recently someone told me they were having a lot of trouble resisting the temptation of seeing someone else and “courting” them during the year of patience.  They knew the standard required, but felt it was impossible to reach.

First of all, what is the standard?

It is quite contrary to the spirit of the teachings for either party to be courting a new partner during the year of waiting.

Therefore … it is quite contrary to the spirit of the teachings for either party to be courting a new partner during the year of waiting. This should be made clear to the couple and they should be exhorted to conduct themselves as Bahá’ís.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 394)

No marriage is possible during the running of the year of patience unless the parties to the divorce remarry each other in a civil ceremony.

For this reason no marriage is possible during the running of the year of patience unless the parties to the divorce remarry each other in a civil ceremony. (Universal House of Justice, quoted in the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada’s Assembly Resource Compilation, p. DIV-20)

There is no Bahá’í law requiring the removal of voting rights for obtaining a civil divorce before the end of the year of waiting.

There is no Bahá’í law requiring the removal of voting rights for obtaining a civil divorce before the end of the year of waiting. It is, of course, preferred that civil divorce action be not instituted or completed before the end of the year unless there are special circumstances justifying such action.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 399)

If a non-Bahá’í partner, having obtained a civil divorce, marries during the year of waiting, the Bahá’í partner is released from the need to wait further.

On the other hand, if a non-Bahá’í partner, having obtained a civil divorce, marries during the year of waiting, the Bahá’í partner is released from the need to wait further.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 399)

The believer will be subject to sanctions if he marries someone else during the year of patience:

The believer will be subject to sanctions if he should marry a third party within the year of patience, not only because it is a violation of the year of patience itself, but also because even though a civil divorce has been granted, the Bahá’í divorce cannot be granted until the end of the year of patience.  (Universal House of Justice, quoted in the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada’s Assembly Resource Compilation, p. DIV-20)

If a Bahá’í should marry another prior to the end of the year of waiting however, voting rights should be suspended as, under Bahá’í law, he is still regarded as married whether or not the civil divorce has been granted.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 399)

She told me:

I’ve fallen back into what would be considered ‘courting’ with the guy, feeling good when he’s around but knowing that spiritually it’s from my lower nature – I just don’t think I can reach this standard required of me, I feel it’s impossible. I’m not having sex with him, but I know that the way we interact would be considered a relationship.

I’m so fragmented on this, split right down the middle – on one hand, it feels so good and I get butterflies, and I’m so happy to see him and to have his arm around me, but on the other hand afterwards I get feelings of self-loathing, not only because I know that this is directly breaking the laws but also because I seem to stuck in this cycle and am not moving forward or making progress with it, even though I know how to, I just pray to God that I’m not strong enough to end it and could He do it for me, because I feel I can’t and this is beyond a struggle for me, its like resignation and knowing that this means it inhibits my use as an instrument of Baha’u’llah, and that its hypocrisy and renders me an ineffective teacher and unable to champion the Cause, is so sad and painful and yet, I still can’t do it and that makes me disappointed in myself and my choices.

I try and buoy myself up with recognizing the other qualities and other things that I reflect or do that are good, but it just seems like I still feel like a bit of fake and unable to fully connect with the community again because of it.

Can one person really mean that much? I feel like I’m not scared of being on my own, but I’m scared of losing him and I suppose that’s not good, or is it?

I feel like my mentality keeps slipping between societal standards and Baha’i standards, so at one minute I will feel really happy and peachy and at the other minute I will feel really low and anxious and shame.

Unfortunately she was being shamed by her ex-husband, who was spreading gossip in the Baha’i community about her; and her Assembly was being very harsh and judgmental and condemning at a time when she most needed love and compassion.

Let’s look at what advice the Baha’i Writings might give her.  We’ll look at a few quotes, and see what we can pull out of them:

Helpful Quotes to Consider

We suggest you try to see it within the whole spectrum of the qualities that a Bahá’í must develop in his character. Be vigilant against temptation, but do not allow it to claim too great a share of your attention. You should concentrate, rather, on the virtues that you should develop, the services you should strive to render, and, above all, on God and His attributes, and devote your energies to living a full Bahá’í life in all its many aspects.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 363)

Certainly the problem confronting you is a difficult one. However, its solution lies within your power, for Bahá’u’lláh has assured us that God “will never deal unjustly with anyone, neither will He task a soul beyond its power.” And again, “Whensoever he hath fulfilled the conditions implied in the verse: whoso maketh efforts for Us, he shall enjoy the blessings conferred by the words: ‘In Our Way shall We assuredly guide him”‘. You can be confident that with the help of doctors, by prayer and meditation, by self-abnegation and by giving as much time as possible to serving the Cause in your community you can eventually succeed in overcoming your problem.  (Universal House of Justice, Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05)

Such a chaste and holy life, with its implications of modesty, purity, temperance  , decency  , and cleanmindedness, involves no less than the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations. It demands daily vigilance in the control of one’s carnal desires and corrupt inclinations. It calls for the abandonment of a frivolous conduct, with its excessive attachment to trivial and often misdirected pleasures.  (Shoghi Effendi: The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 30)

To be afflicted this way in a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 365)

When his life is oriented towards service to Baha’u’llah, 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.  (Universal House of Justice, 5 June 1988)

Even though you feel that the conflict is more than you can bear, your affirmation “I do know I am a Baha’i” is a positive factor in the battle you must wage.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 366)

Until a being setteth his foot in the plane of sacrifice, he is bereft of every favour and grace; and this plane of sacrifice is the realm of dying to the self.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 76)

The Bahá’í youth should, on the one hand, be taught the lesson of self-control which, when exercised, undoubtedly has a salutary effect on the development of character and of personality in general . . . (Universal House of Justice, Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05)

The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to me.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny, p. 457)

If you are sincerely intent on overcoming your problem, you must yourself determine to resist wayward impulses each time they arise and the House of Justice feels that there is no better way than to turn to the Writings to divert our thoughts into spiritual channels , perhaps to concentrate on what we may do to help others along the way to discovering the Bahá’í Faith. The more we occupy ourselves with teaching the Cause and serving our fellowman in this way, the stronger we become in resisting that which is abhorrent to our spiritual selves.  (Universal House of Justice, Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05)

Through sincere and sustained effort, energized by faith in the validity of the Divine Message, and combined with patience with oneself and the loving support of the Bahá’í community, individuals are able to effect a change in their behaviour; as a consequence of this effort they partake of spiritual benefits which liberate them and which bestow a true happiness beyond description.  (Universal House of Justice, Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05)

The Universal House of Justice lists “the loving support of the Bahá’í community as one of the elements through which “individuals are able to effect a change in their behaviour”  (Universal House of Justice, Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05)

25 Ways to Become Chaste (from the above quotes)

1.  See it within the whole spectrum of the qualities that a Bahá’í must develop in his character.

2.  Be vigilant against temptation, but do not allow it to claim too great a share of your attention.

3.  You should concentrate on

  • the virtues that you should develop
  • the services you should strive to render
  • God and His attributes

4.  Devote your energies to living a full Bahá’í life in all its many aspects

5.  Self-abnegation (means self-rejection); dying to the self.

6.  Exercise of moderation in all that pertains to

  • dress
  • language
  • amusements
  • all artistic and literary avocations

7.  Daily vigilance in the control of one’s carnal desires and corrupt inclinations

8.  Abandonment of a frivolous conduct, with its excessive attachment to trivial and often misdirected pleasures.

9.  Advice and help of doctors

10. Strong and determined effort

11. Life oriented towards service to Baha’u’llah and every conscious act is performed within this frame of reference; serve Him at all times and to the best of his ability; giving as much time as possible to serving the Cause

12. 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.

13. Pray fervently for:

  • divine guidance
  • wisdom
  • strength to do what is pleasing to God

14. Affirmation “I do know I am a Baha’i”

15. Sacrifice

16. Loving support of the Bahá’í community

17. Self-control

18. Turn your back to the darkness and your face to me

19. Determine to resist wayward impulses each time they arise

20. Turn to the Writings to divert our thoughts into spiritual channels

21. Concentrate on what we may do to help others along the way to discovering the Bahá’í Faith (teaching)

22. Make a decision in choosing his way of life

23. Sincere and sustained effort

24. Faith in the validity of the Divine Message

25. Patience with oneself

 

Promise:  whoso maketh efforts for Us, he shall:

  • enjoy the blessings conferred by the words:
  • ‘In Our Way shall We assuredly guide him”‘.

Promise:  When his life is oriented towards service to Baha’u’llah every conscious act is performed within this frame of reference, he will not fail to achieve the true purpose of his life.

 

How has this helped you understand the topic differently?  Post your comments here: