My name is Folashade Josiah (née Sule Odu). I am a princess from the Fidipote Ruling House of Ijebu Ode, Nigeria. I was born into a Muslim family and went to a Muslim school where I learnt about Islam and how to recite the Holy Quran in Arabic.
At the age of 27 years I met Alfred Josiah who was from a Christian family. We met in northern Nigeria in a city called Katsina. He was with some of his friends talking in the street, when he saw me passing, followed me and began talking to me. Despite our religious differences, we got to know each other, became friends and fell in love.
I discussed this with my family, as well as our wish to marry. However, my father’s older brother, my uncle, who was head of the family at that time, was clear that this should not happen. He said that love alone was not enough to unite people, but that our religion should also be the same. Continue reading
Cross-cultural marriages and children born from these marriages appear to be part of creating one human family. When my American stepdaughter married a Norwegian-Swede last year and moved to Norway, we really didn’t understand this. During the wedding, our home became decorated with a few things in Norwegian flag colors, which happen to be red, white, and blue, just like our flags in the US. Now, however, a granddaughter has arrived, and suddenly our perspective is very different.
The concept of being world citizens and building one human family is large and complex. It’s far more than having treaties across borders of homogenous countries for example. Here is a view from Abdu’l-Baha: Continue reading
You and your sweetie are talking about marriage. Being in a happy marriage builds love, promotes well-being, and creates an ever-expanding unity. In comparison, being in a conflicted marriage is misery. The good news is you have a lot of control over the outcome; “Careful preparation for marriage is an essential first step in the preservation of Baha’i marriage.”
Asking for and receiving consent from all living parents is a requirement of Baha’i marriage. It’s a new concept to have couples independently arrive at the decision to marry and then to have parents respond. I’m always striving to understand the guidance from the Baha’i Writings on the subject. I’ve considered and given consent, and I’ve also asked for it from my own parents. I am exploring the topics of consent and marriage with couples and parents globally as a marriage and relationship educator and coach. However, everyone involved in consent is in a learning mode and simply trying to do their best. One way I am learning is by asking couples in difficulty what they could have done differently before they asked for consent and got married. Here is my checklist of 5 things to consider as potentially helpful for you before asking for consent: Continue reading
The Universal House of Justice, in its 26 November 1999 letter to the Baha’is of the world, defines the principal actors needed to build vibrant and open communities that will advance humanity towards realizing its oneness. These three protagonists are: the individual, the institutions, and the local community (and you can read an introduction to this concept here). Through their collaborations, advancement is possible in all our endeavors.
As a mother with love for the world and concern for the wellbeing of all children, I continually find the need to pause and reflect on what’s happening around us. It is hard to ignore the implications of raising children in this period of history. I wanted to explore this subject as it relates to the three protagonists and how they advance civilization. Continue reading
Horns honk, text messages ding, there’s a new deadline to meet, college assignment to complete, a relative needing attention, a service commitment to carry out, or sadness to process with a friend who just got divorced. Our minds get so full of noise that becoming conscious of something can be difficult. I find it takes me a lot of quiet, alone time to even focus on something for a short time.
I recently re-read a quotation that I’ve read countless times before, and the phrase “acutely conscious” struck me. The passage relates to how young people can consciously create a better future, but I think it’s worth everyone’s time and attention. The Universal House of Justice tells us (the bolding is mine): Continue reading
I got married about 8 months ago but I realise I have no advice yet to give on marriage itself. I am a bit clueless and my husband and I are just trying to deepen our very limited understanding of what marriage is and how to keep building our fortress of well-being. Marriage is a beautiful adventure that we cherish and enjoy so much, and I know many of us also want to embark on this journey. However, it is the pre-courtship and courtship phase that many of my friends have challenges with. How many times have you said or heard someone say, “there is no one, no one I could get to know in the Baha’i community or elsewhere”? Continue reading
The path to finding a mate for life is not easy. Through my personal life and my work as a marriage and relationship educator and coach, I have seen how perseverance, courage, discernment, and commitment are all essential. We and the world need strong, happy marriages that are fortresses of well-being.
We are not yet living in a world that has established a common pattern of courtship based on the Baha’i Teachings. As a result, individuals and couples are experimenting and trying to find their way – sometimes joyfully and sometimes with more difficulty.
As you know, courtship practices differ greatly from one culture to another, and it is not yet known what pattern of courtship will emerge in the future when society has been more influenced by Baha’i Teachings. 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 Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.
The challenge we face is how to engage in patterns of courtship that strive to implement Baha’i principles in a world that is “a bewildering moral environment” and in “a society in which materialism, self-centeredness and failing marriages are all too common.”
So, when we look at what possibly aligns with Baha’i courtship, what is important? Continue reading
The Baha’i Faith teaches us that humanity is all one family. However, thankfully they don’t all come over for holiday dinners, call at all hours on the phone, or get annoyed when you forget their birthday! Yet Abdu’l-Baha tells us:
God has created the world as one–the boundaries are marked out by man. God has not divided the lands… That is why Baha’u’llah says: ‘Let not a man glory in that he loves his country, but that he loves his kind.’ All are of one family, one race; all are human beings.
I love being in a happy marriage. I love the quotations from the Baha’i Writings that talk about the wonderfulness of marriage. Sometimes though the guidance is challenging to understand and follow. I’m currently striving to grasp this particular quotation below, especially the second sentence:
Baha’is should be profoundly aware of the sanctity of marriage and should strive to make their marriages an eternal bond of unity and harmony. This requires effort and sacrifice and wisdom and self-abnegation.
These are my thoughts on that sentence, based on my personal experience and my work as a marriage and relationship educator and coach based in the United States and working with couples in many countries. Continue reading
When Baha’i institutions ask me to give a workshop about marriage or couples come for support… can you guess the MOST requested topic?
You guessed it: consultation. Continue reading