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One day I got an email from someone, who had a question I’m sure many people have had:

I am 23 and a few months ago I met a girl and we have become very good friends. We have a very similar way of thinking but I am not sure how to go ahead from this stage of friendship to the next. Sometimes I think I should go and tell her what I’m feeling but then I talk myself out of it because of fear and uncertainty. I don’t want to do anything that would cause misunderstanding so I would lose what we already have. I don’t know how to proceed and it would be of great help if you could guide me to a Bahá’í perspective, please.

Get to Know Each Other First

As a Bahá’í, an elder and a woman, I would caution you to go slow and assess her character.

A book I highly recommend to help with assessing character is

Marriage Can Be Forever: Preparation Counts! Walking a Path to a Spiritually-Based Marriage

It’s full of questions and exercises you and your friend can work through to get to know each other better.

Don’t Confuse Lust with Love

The biggest danger for you is to confuse love with lust and if you move too quickly you will move into lust . . .

This physical world of man is subject to the power of the lusts, and sin is the consequence of this power of the lusts, for it is not subject to the laws of justice and holiness. The body of man is a captive of nature; it will act in accordance with whatever nature orders. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 119)

For desire is a flame that has reduced to ashes uncounted lifetime harvests of the learned, a devouring fire that even the vast sea of their accumulated knowledge could never quench. How often has it happened that an individual who was graced with every attribute of humanity and wore the jewel of true understanding, nevertheless followed after his passions until his excellent qualities passed beyond moderation and he was forced into excess. His pure intentions changed to evil ones, his attributes were no longer put to uses worthy of them, and the power of his desires turned him aside from righteousness and its rewards into ways that were dangerous and dark. A good character is in the sight of God and His chosen ones and the possessors of insight, the most excellent and praiseworthy of all things, but always on condition that its centre of emanation should be reason and knowledge and its base should be true moderation. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 59-60)

. . . and then any chance you have for a happy and successful marital life will be impossible!

Briefly stated the Bahá’í conception of sex is based on the belief that chastity should be strictly practised by both sexes, not only because it is in itself highly commendable ethically, but also due to its being the only way to a happy and successful marital life. Sex relationships of any form, outside marriage, are not permissible therefor, and whoso violates this rule will not only be responsible to God, but will incur the necessary punishment from society. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 344)

Articles which you might find helpful include:

Sex before Marriage

Temptation

Making God your Best Lover

You’ll also want to make sure that whatever happens between the two of you, you MUST keep God as your primary relationship and turn to Him as your “Best Lover”.

You might find these articles helpful:

Relationships without God at the Core

Primary Relationships

Finally, here are some other Bahá’í books which you might find helpful:

Assessing Expectations and Meeting Needs, by Susanne Alexander

Becoming Relationship Ready – Preparing for a Future Partner, by Susanne Alexander

Becoming Unified Partners – Assessing Harmony Between You and a Partner, by Susanne Alexander

Conscious Courtship: Finding Someone to Love for the Rest of Your Life, by Raymond Switzer

Creating Excellent Relationships – The Power of Character Choices, by Susanne Alexander

Making Time and Service Choices, by Susanne Alexander

Making Time and Service Choices (Baha’i Faith), by Susanne Alexander

Partnership Decision-Making, by Susanne Alexander

Passionate and Spiritual Sex, by Susanne Alexander:

Remaining Faithful: Meditations on Being True to Yourself, Your Relationships and Your Principles by Phyllis Peterson

Strengthening Your Marriage Bond, by Susanne Alexander

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