Schedule and Purpose of This Live Course

Strengthening Marriages in Your Community

Registration: Open until September 9, 2022; NOW CLOSED AS THE COURSE HAS ENDED

Course Schedule-Weekly on Saturdays, September-October 2022

Please note how long each meeting is on the schedule below.

  • September 10, Discuss Unit 1, Welcome; Orientation; Honoring Spiritual Assemblies – 1.5 hours
  • September 17, Discuss Unit 2, Assembly Role in Supporting Marriages – 1.5 hours
  • September 24, Discuss Unit 3, Responding When a Marriage Is in Difficulty – 2.0 hours
  • October 1, Discuss Unit 4, Couple Healing and Reconciliation – 2.0 hours
  • October 8, Discuss Unit 5, Building Marriage Strength in the Community – 1.5 hours
  • October 15, Overview of Some Resources; Evaluation of Learning – 1.5 hours 

Starting Time: 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

    • Course Schedule and Zoom Link and Phone Numbers for All Course Sessions

    • Unit 1, Lesson 1: About the Course

    • Unit 1, Lesson 2: Guidelines and Principles for Faculty and Participants

    • Unit 1, Lesson 3: Honoring Spiritual Assemblies

    • All Units - Practical Scenarios for Discussion

    • All Units - Scenarios-Download-Oct1-2022

  • 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 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 with your requests.


“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

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).

Faculty Leader

Susanne M. Alexander

Relationship and Marriage Educator and Coach

Hi, I’m Susanne M. Alexander, your course creator 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 ( My company is Marriage Transformation®,, where I am President and also the author and publisher of numerous books. Books authored or coauthored include Couple Vitality, Creating Excellent Relationships, All-in-One Marriage Prep, Marriage Can Be Forever--Preparation Counts!, and Re-Vitalizing Our Marriage. 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 ( I'm also certified to offer the Character Foundations Assessment. I'm a member of the National Alliance for Relationship and Marriage Education and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Media and Writing Experience: Quoted as an expert in,,, Washington Woman, Ladies Home Journal, Inc., and more. I'm also a journalist with a background in freelancing for Newsweek, SimpleMarriage, and many others. I have been creating and offering online relationship and marriage courses for over 10 years.