Foundation of happy married life is neither education nor wealth. Many incidents of mutual enmity, strained relations and divorce amongst educated couples prove that conjugal happiness does not depend on education. It also does not depend on wealth, because the latter is only a means to fulfill basic needs of life. Even if the needs are fulfilled there is no guarantee that the bonds of mutual love and intimacy will continue to be strong.
For happy married life, noble feelings of mutual sharing and caring and deep soul-level commitment to the sacred bond are the essential factors. The aim of Vedic rituals and rites performed during the solemnization of a sacramental marriage is to stress that marriage is basically a spiritual union of two souls and not a mundane contract breakable at the whim and fancy of either partner. It is an unbreakable bond of soul mates. The homes where these ideals are followed have always a life full of merriment, laughter and joy. In such homes there is always heaven like atmosphere.
The incident belongs to 1912. An English ship named Titanic was sinking in the sea. Rescuers were trying to save precious cargo and passengers by lifeboats. A couple named Mrs. Isadore and Mr. Istas were traveling in that ship. By life boat only one out of them could be saved. Mr. Istas picked up his wife and shifted her to the lifeboat so that her life could be saved. Mrs. Isadore jumped back into the sinking ship and thus spoke to her husband "Dear husband when during the whole of our married life we have remained together then why should we part now? Since we have lived together, we will die together." How much intimacy, love and soul kinship is implied in these words! It is such a mutual bonding that makes married life a happy sacrament.
Love is not based on physical beauty; it requires selfless feelings of glad giving and service. Love story of army commander of America, Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachael is world famous. Rachael was uneducated and had normal features while Jackson was one of the most handsome persons of that time. It was soul level bond of love, which inspired him to be always loyal and dedicated to Rachael’s love.
Usually for some period in the beginning there is so called romantic love between all husbands and wives but slowly as ego centered angularities of each other start clashing, the physical attraction between them starts decreasing and within a short time family life becomes an arena of mutual recrimination. This situation also arises because of over-indulgence in sensual pleasure. Hence there are some basic rules of relationship, which both husband and wife should strictly follow to make the relationship one of mutual respect, love and caring.
Married life is a sacred union of two souls as husband and wife. There must be total commitment and loyalty in the relationship. Distrust and secretiveness creates hatred and bitterness against each other. Sometimes distrust and doubt have no basis. This confusion arises because of ones own weakness. Hence it is essential that husband and wife should gladly share their inmost feelings with each other so that clouds of distrust could be cleared through openhearted discussion.
Sometimes feeling of indifference also creates doubt. If wife is ill or she has some trouble and husband does not show loving concern and care or if husband has some mental or physical problem and wife neglects then such situations make married life poisonous. Both must consciously nurture the relationship through mutual giving, serving, caring and loving. Marriage should become the corner stone for the edifice of all other relationships.
People have a natural tendency to be happy on being praised. People praise God also to get His favors. This is what happens in prayers when Gods are praised for their divine qualities. Similarly people get hurt by criticism and condemnation. Therefore shower praise generously and shun criticism of your life mate. Every body has some qualities and they should be praised and applauded without any reserve. The aim should be to encourage and elevate each other through heart-warming gestures so that dormant divine qualities in both are stimulated and nurtured – making family life a heaven of happiness and joy. In this matter, husbands have greater responsibilities in comparison to wives. They should appreciate their wives for their contribution to home making, caring, cooperating in bringing up of the children. This fills their hearts with loving kindness and warmth.
They should not criticize each other for their physical features, parents or in-laws. One should not say anything that shows more importance to someone else than his/her life companion. People are very expert in praising others before their kins but wise are they who appreciate and praise their own kins before others also. Wives should also keep in mind there financial status while expressing their desires and needs to their husbands. They should never express desires, which their husbands are unable to fulfill.
Aim of emotional purification is to make husband and wife self-sacrificing, gentle and virtuous for a healthy married life. If a man has true qualities of manhood and woman of womanhood, there is no reason of unhappiness in married life. All other plans are means to develop these qualities. A husband should have strength, courage, industriousness, fearlessness, etc. and a wife should have delicacy, humility, kindness, love, modesty, sympathy etc. If both have proper ratio of their individual qualities in their nature then love, faith, intimacy, etc continue getting more and more refined and happy intimacy in married life goes on increasing day by day. It is in such families that virtuous children are born and by them social and national life becomes happy and progressive. Hence it is the basic duty of every couple to sanctify married life by becoming ideal soul mates. This duty should be considered paramount.
Contempt is contradictory to progress and happiness. Generally everybody is prone to make minor mistakes. To snub, scold, curse, disgrace and abuse one’s life companion on some petty pretexts is a sign of foolishness, which leads to disharmony, distress, and sometimes disintegration of family life. It MUST NOT be indulged in.
To conclude, here are some guidelines for healthy and happy marriage as enunciated by Dr. David Goodman:
1. Praise, don’t blame. You can praise a poor marriage partner into much improvement of his (her) behavior. Blame, by contrast, never made anybody any better. Be sure, that your praise is sincere. Artificial compliments boomerang. There is always something to praise in a person if you look for it – so look for it. As one of my readers expressed it, "Half a man’s strength comes from what he reads in his wife’s eyes." The same is, of course, true for a woman.
2. Be faithful. The great, wonderful experience of man-woman love can be built up with only one person. There are many temptations in our present society. Fidelity is not easy. The wise, however know where their real happiness lies. When a husband and wife make good with each other physically and emotionally, they are enjoying the best that life has to offer.
3. Make your spouse and not your children the primary object of your affection. This is not only better for your spouse; it is also better for your children. Your marriage partner can use all the love you can give him and be the better partner for it. The love that is best for your children is the overflow of your affection for each other. This creates cozy, comfortable environment for them, leaving them free to develop according to needs of their own nature. Love with liberty is best for your children. Only as we learn to modify our materialism, working to build a wholesome family rather than a large fortune, will we raise mentally healthy children. Married love and parental love go together. Unless you are happy with each other as husband and wife, you are not likely to raise happy and healthy children.
4. Put enthusiasm into your marriage – not just in spurts but everyday. "Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm. "This rule certainly applies to marriage.
In the beginning, say the beautiful Platonic myth, men and women were one. But then the Gods, out of envy of their happiness, separated them. Since then each seeks his other half in order to be one again.
If there is one true joy in life to compensate for its endless toil and many seeming difficulties and frustrations, it is man-woman love in marriage. Don’t miss it. You have lived well if you have loved well, and you have lived poorly if you have loved poorly.