Schedule and Purpose of This Live Course

Strengthening Marriages in Your Community

Registration: Open until January 5, 2023

Course Schedule-Weekly on Saturdays, January-February 2023; All sessions are 2 hours long

  • January 7, 2023, Discuss Unit 1, Welcome; Orientation; Honoring Spiritual Assemblies
  • January 14, 2023, Discuss Unit 2, Assembly Role in Supporting Marriages
  • January 21, 2023, Discuss Unit 3, Responding When a Marriage Is in Difficulty
  • January 28, 2023, Discuss Unit 4, Couple Healing and Reconciliation
  • February 4, 2023, Discuss Unit 5, Building Marriage Strength in the Community
  • February 11, 2023, Overview of Some Resources; Evaluation of Learning

Starting Times: 1 p.m. Eastern; Noon Central; 11 a.m. Mountain; 10 a.m. Pacific

This course draws together members of institutions to study and discuss the content in a live weekly Zoom session. Its design is to increase knowledge and skills for Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assemblies, their members, or their representatives (such as a Marriage Task Force or other committee) who are responding to requests from married individuals or couples experiencing challenges in their marriages. The intention is that the Spiritual Assembly and its representatives improve their response and that the marriages they are serving have a greater likelihood of improved functioning and unity.

It is also hoped that when skillfulness improves there is less negative impact from marriages in difficulty on the Assembly itself and on the community that the Assembly serves.

In addition to addressing challenges, this course introduces Assemblies to educational and preventative measures they can take so that individuals and couples are less likely to get into difficulties.

Note: This course is an individual initiative in service to Spiritual Assemblies in support of an ongoing process of maturation of the institutions. It is not part of an official institutional training program. This is one of many efforts to apply the Bahá’í teachings to the strengthening of marriages.

Course Content

  • 1

    Unit 1: Welcome to the Course/Assemblies

  • 2

    Unit 2: Assembly Role in Supporting Marriages

    • Unit 2, Lesson 1: Assemblies and the Institution of Marriage

    • Unit 2, Lesson 2: The Power of the Covenant

    • Unit 2, Lesson 3: Service--Benefits and Balance

  • 3

    Unit 3: Responding When a Marriage Is in Difficulty

    • Unit 3-Year of Waiting and Divorce Flowchart-US NSA

    • Unit 3, Lesson 1: Building a Foundation of Trust

    • Unit 3, Lesson 2: Communication Skills

    • Unit3-TheArtofListeningfromMindfulMatrimony-Copyrighted

    • Unit 3-DevelopingtheSkillsofSendingandReceiving-MindfulMatrimony-Switzer

    • Unit 3, Lesson 3: Meeting with Individuals and Couples

  • 4

    Unit 4: Couple Healing and Reconciliation

    • Unit 4, Lesson 1: Providing Encouragment and Hope

    • Unit 4-Handout for Couples-Encouragement

    • Unit 4, Lesson 2: Resources for Accompanying Couples

    • Unit 4, Lesson 3: Providing Referrals for Help

  • 5

    Unit 5: Prevention - Building Marriage Strength in the Community

    • Unit 5, Lesson 1: Introduction to Relationship, Marriage, and Family Education

    • Unit 5, Lesson 2: Potential Actions for Individuals, Couples, and Assemblies

    • Unit 5, Lesson 3: Potential Lines of Action

    • Relationship-Marriage-FamilyEd-BahaiCommunity-12-6-20

  • 6

    Unit 6: RESOURCES (See US NSA website for updates; Some materials also available in Persian)

    • Unit 6, Lesson 1: Introduction to Resources

    • US Assembly Confidentiality-2013

    • Assemblies and Marriage - US NSA Guidelines - Oct 2021

    • Assemblies and Divorce - US NSA Guidelines - May 2022

    • Domestic Violence Guidelines - US NSA - 2011

    • Character-Courtship-ChoosingPartner-Compilation

    • Quotations-Family-InLaws

    • Some Guidance for Spiritual Assemblies Related to Mental Illness and Its Treatment (permission MK Radpour)

    • Open Circle Network

    • BNASAA-OpenCircle-LessonsLearned2020

    • Alcohol/Addictions in Marriage and Family

    • A Mental Progression for Overcoming Hurt Feelings

    • Consultation Tool for Couples

    • BahaiMarriage Website

    • Intercultural Resources

    • Professionals List-9-30-2022

    • For Non-Baha'i Counselors

  • 7

    Ending Your Course; Course-Ending Survey

    • Thank You for Participating in a TLC.com Course! Please Provide Course Feedback

Ways to Approach This Course

  • You can take this course as an individual member of a Spiritual Assembly or as an appointed individual who is supporting marriages in the community on your own for personal development.

  • Your entire Spiritual Assembly or appointed marriage support team can take this course by individuals registering. If you are unable to afford part or all of the fee, or if more than 5 members of your Spiritual Assembly are participating and you wish to request a discount, then please email susanne@marriagetransformation.com with your requests.

Appreciations!

“As Spiritual Assemblies are being asked by the Universal House of Justice to 'rise to a new stage in the exercise of their responsibilities as channels of divine guidance...', the St. Johns County Assembly feels blessed to have cultivated a relationship with you. Your dedication to develop and implement an educational program that focuses on empowering couples, Assemblies, and individuals, has transformed our local Assembly. Our study with you has increased our capacity to serve our community. This guidance and education we received is allowing our community to begin the process of shaping new patterns of community life that will promote healthy marriages, strengthen the family, and increase bonds of affection in the greater community. We look forward to working with you in the future.”

Spiritual Assembly of St. Johns County, Florida

“The Course was extremely useful and applicable to my personal service in that I serve on a Counselling Committee in the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The quotations, some of which I had never seen before, provided clear insight into many of the challenges that arise during a year of waiting. The course deepened and elevated my appreciation for the fact that a "Baha'i Marriage" is a sacred and divinely ordained eternal institution unlike any other institution in the history of civilization. The quotations provided guidance in what we needed to know and learn. The scenarios gave us practical experience in how to deal with reoccurring and similar situations. The discussions were a bridge to the future in that they inspired many of the participants to engage in supportive activities with the Assemblies in their home communities. Yes, I would highly recommend the course for individuals who serve on those institutions in the communities. I would also highly recommend the course for anybody in a marriage or anyone considering getting in a marriage or anyone considering getting out of a marriage. Thank you very much to all of the faculty who made the course an engaging and rewarding learning experience.”

David Andrews, Member Counselling Committee, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

“The course is a comprehensive and much needed source of information and guidance, especially in this time when relationships are being swept back and forth by a variety of divisive forces. Thanks so much for your gracious hosting and in-depth content. It's a ton of work and we all appreciate it so much.”

Clark Connelly, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Marriage Counseling Committee

“The course offers Local Spiritual Assemblies an excellent opportunity to think about the role of healthy families in the advancement of the Plan and, consequently, the responsibility to help build and maintain these cells of society as points of light that light up and illuminate everyone around them. Grateful for the opportunity.”

Fariba Vahdat, National Spiritual Assembly of Brazil

“This course about marriages in difficulty has offered a wealth of resources, organized in a systematic manner in trying to touch on all essential elements, and grounded in study of the guidance available to us. The exploration also takes into account various research in the field of communication, intimacy, and relationships, thereby offering a scientific input to balance the spiritual approach to very real problems. It was a very useful exercise, one that I recommend for all individuals, couples, and institutions to become familiar with. I hope it becomes available to a greater audience each passing year.”

Hayat Rushdy-Hanna, Spiritual Assembly of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

“I am extremely grateful to Transformation Learning Center for offering this vital course. I was so impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience of the faculty, and their commitment to this field and course. I highly recommend any member of an LSA or individual called on to help with challenged marriages in a community take this course. It provided so much clarity about essential issues--and also provide a valuable space to talk through approaches to issues that have little clarity. Thank you!”

Ley Schleich, Spiritual Assembly of Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Please Register Now! Live Course: $75/person

Faculty/Advising Team:

Susanne M. Alexander (Relationship/Marriage Coach), Leslie Asplund (Counselor), Tina Badiyan (Marriage and Family Therapist), Daniel Dashnaw (Marriage and Family Therapist), Gayle Gonzalez-Johnson (Psychotherapist), Dave Grammer (Marriage and Family Therapist), Wendy Hanevold (Psychologist), Karen Tucker Lynch (Family Coach), Riaz Mostaghim (Marriage Therapist), Jackie Najafian (Marriage and Family Therapist), Taravat Ostovar (Psychologist), Ana Maria Pavon Marin (Clinical Counsellor), Shiva Sabet-Kazilas (Marriage and Family Therapist), Lolita Schmalenberg (Social Worker; Psychotherapist), and Shiva Yan (Individual, Couple, and Family Therapist).

Karen Tucker Lynch

Lead Faculty

Hi, I’m Karen Tucker Lynch, your facilitator and companion on this learning journey helping Assemblies support couples with challenged marriages and prevent marriage problems. For many years I have used and honed my skills to serve the Cause of Baha’u’llah. Some of the roles I have performed include: being an Assembly member, secretary, and chairperson; developing course work 'Applying Consultation for Family Unity' for the Portland Assembly’s Office of Marriage and Family; serving as the Project Coordinator for the Northwest Regional Council’s Office of the Secretariat; coordinating the Portland Metro Bahá’í Sunday school; and children’s class teacher in our community and neighborhood. I’m a professional life coach with Dawn of Well-Being (dawnofwellbeing.net). In addition to helping individuals and families achieve their goals, we provide them opportunities to improve the quality of their lives and relationships in their families. Professionally I’m a certified training developer and trainer. I’ve helped people develop new skills, identify creative solutions to problems, enhance family communication, and explore new opportunities. I hold a Masters degree in group and family communication. Over the years, I have integrated the Bahá’í teachings, laws, and principles into my years of service, education, and professional development. I’ve examined how to strengthen family unity through applying the Bahá’í marriage teachings and laws.

Faculty Leader

Susanne M. Alexander

Relationship and Marriage Educator and Coach

Hi, I’m Susanne M. Alexander, your instructor and companion on this learning journey. While I am a Relationship and Marriage Educator and Coach, I’ve also had a lot of experience. I’ve likely walked in your shoes. I’ve been single, dating, engaged, married, divorced, and widowed (currently married). I am a child, stepchild, sibling, step-sibling, parent, step-parent, grandparent, and step-grandparent. All of this has given me a diversity of experience to share!I meet with clients globally via the Internet for relationship preparation and navigating, marriage preparation, and couple relationship or marriage strengthening. I am the lead instructor here at Transformation Learning Center (www.transformationlearningcenter.com). My company is Marriage Transformation®, www.marriagetransformation.com, where I am President and also the author and publisher of numerous books. I am certified by Prepare-Enrich to offer a research-based assessment to couples at any stage and accompany them through learning about themselves and their readiness for the next stage in their relationship (www.prepare-enrich.com) I'm a member of the National Alliance for Relationship and Marriage Education. Media and Writing Experience: Quoted as an expert in HerCampus.com, eHow.com, Washington Woman, Ladies Home Journal, Inc., and more. Susanne is also a journalist with a background in freelancing for Newsweek, SimpleMarriage, and many others. She has authored or coauthored many books, such as Creating Excellent Relationships, All-in-One Marriage Prep, Marriage Can Be Forever--Preparation Counts!, and Re-Vitalizing Our Marriage. Details: www.marriagetransformation.com.