Marriage is perhaps the most important and these days the most daunting change in many of our lives. Marriage changes our lives in many ways on multiple levels – from what we do to how we think and beyond. But it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain a good, healthy marriage in today’s world of high stress, fast pace of life and the resultant atmosphere of tension and conflict. How do we make marriages last in such circumstances? What are the secrets of maintaining a happy, long lasting marriage?
The key is to understand the nature of marriage and the science behind the choice of our life partners. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, an enlightened being explains that our karmic accounts decide whether we marry or not, and whom we marry if we do. If we have sown the seeds of marriage in our past life, only then do we experience marriage in this life and the person for whom we have sown the intent of marriage in the past life, that person becomes our spouse in this life.
This means that whoever we marry, whatever their personality, habits, opinions, behaviour and circumstances, it is the result of what we have asked for. We must always remember this when we face any disagreement or conflict in our marriage. This will help us develop acceptance and encourage us to keep mending the relationship instead of breaking it. It will further allow us to make all the necessary adjustments required to ensure the health and longevity of our marriage.
Param Pujya Dadashri explains that adjustment is key to remain happy in a marriage. We must learn to keep our egos aside and make all sincere efforts for maintaining peace and harmony. If our spouse has made any mistake, we must realise that we could just as easily have been in their position and only if required, gently draw their attention to the mistake, but never scold, tease or argue about it. This will make it easier for everyone to move on from that mistake and resume normality.
In the case of money too, it is very important to ensure that the couple together decides how the money is to be handled, who will earn, how much to spend and on what, and then allocate the responsibilities accordingly. Once that is done, we must take care not to interfere with the other person’s department. Having a system in place and following it diligently would largely reduce the chances of conflict.
One of the main reasons why marriages do not last is conflict and discord. A simple disagreement or difference of opinion turns into conflict, which turns into discord, which ultimately turns into a battle of the egos. Such an escalation in magnitude of a simple disagreement can be prevented if we are very careful every time we face such a situation and are always willing to make adjustments. We must also be very careful with our expectations and learn to forgive whenever our spouse fails to meet them. We must, of course, also always be ready to seek forgiveness for our own mistakes.
Param Pujya Dadashri explains that any problems in marriage stem from ignorance of the true nature of the Self. That is, if we look at our spouse as a person and not as a pure Soul, we are likely to engage in raag-dwesh (attachment-abhorrence) and fail to maintain equanimity in dealing with our spouse. This understanding, along with the solutions explained above, can help us learn how to have happy, long-lasting marriage.