Marriage is an institution of patience, sacrifice, caring for each other, and sharing. Our ancient people spoke about saptapadi—the seven steps one takes in life. The hallmarks of a happy marriage are a sense of commitment, co-operation, compassion, caring and less ego. The relationship can bring us strength or weakness depending on the mind. If the mind is strong then relationships are a gift to us, but if the mind is weak and not in control, then relationships can feel like bondage. If you hold each other’s necks, it will feel like bondage. If you walk together, shoulder-to-shoulder with each other, it will serve as a support. So be a support each other, be a companion and move forward.

In marriage you should consider the other person as your own part—like your arm, or leg. It’s two bodies, one mind, one soul. So, whatever your spouse desires, you make it your own desire. Your spouse’s taste, consider it as your own taste. The conflict arises when your tastes start moving apart. You should start saying your taste is my taste; your pleasure is my pleasure. I am here for you, rather than, what can you do for me? When we approach the relationship with ‘What can you do for me?’, then both partners become unhappy. In a happy marriage each couple resolves “I’m here for you, come what may, happy times or unhappy times! In life sometimes there are disappointments, sometimes there is success. In either case, ‘I’m with you.”

Let us address some common issues in Marriage:

Possessiveness: Many times it could be the way your own mind functions because of possessiveness. Whether it’s before or after marriage, if you are too possessive, the other person will run away. Trying to control or possess somebody may not be a very intelligent idea. When you are possessive, the whole chain of negative thoughts is triggered.

Appease yourself: Often you like to be pleased, appeased and cajoled. So you put up a tough, upset face and act difficult to please. Lovers often do this. They expend a lot of energy in cajoling and this brings down the joy and celebration of the moment. People who keep a long face and expect others to cajole and appease them make others run away. It is okay for you to show your upset mood or tendency once in a while, but doing it over and over again is taxing for you and the people you love. If you feel down, appease and please yourself. Your need to be appeased by someone else is a sign of grossness. If you want attention, all you get is tension.

The hallmarks of a happy marriage are a sense of commitment, co-operation, compassion, caring and less ego. Click To Tweet

Horoscope matching: If you feel like matching horoscopes, then get it done. Otherwise, you will always have a doubt in mind whether it will match or not. Now, suppose you like the other person in all ways but just something doesn’t match in the horoscope, then there is a solution to it. Meditate, pray, and do havan (fire rituals) and everything will be sorted out. It is not difficult to please all the planets. Chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and it is done.

Misunderstandings/mistakes: There is a proverb which says, ‘It is only through words that conflicts begin. It is only through words that people have fun. It is only through words that people gain wealth. So, words should be used sparingly.’ Usually, when people have some misunderstanding, they say, ‘Let us talk it out.’ This does not work at all. Just move on. Don’t sit and discuss or ask any explanation about the past. When a mistake happens, it happens, that’s it. Move on. Just imagine yourself in a position where you do a mistake and someone keeps asking for an explanation about it. It is such a burden to explain or to justify oneself. Never make the other person feel guilty. The bond of friendship gets loosened. There is a skill in making a person aware of his mistake without making him feel guilty. If one is upset, the other partner should keep quiet and wait for his/her turn to get upset. If both get upset at the same time, then there is a problem! And in front of kids, one should be civilised. Know that ‘Oh, my spouse is upset! Okay.’ Give him or her the time to be upset. Don’t question ‘Why are you so upset?’ If someone is upset, the other gets angry and expects them not to be upset. This is a big mistake! Someone is upset, give them that space.

Never doubt their love: Do not question their love. If you find that they are not being loving, instead of accusing them, ‘You do not love me’, ask them, ‘Why do you love me so much?’ Just imagine, if someone keeps accusing you, saying you are not kind to them, you are not pleasant with them, you are not friendly, you feel nagged. Nobody wants to be in the company of a person who complains all the time. Does anybody want to be in the company of a person who nags you, and to whom you have to explain and give proof of your love all the time? No! It is such a burden, such boredom! A good company is one who always uplifts the spirit. If somebody is not in a good mood, they say, ‘Hey, come on! Forget about it. Let’s move on.’ Someone who has enthusiasm, someone who always pushes you forward is good company. Someone who asks for explanations, doubts and questions you is not good company. So never doubt someone’s love for you. Never question or complain all the time. Demand destroys love. Never demand love from your spouse. Take it for granted they love you, but that’s it, finished, you know! So when we start demanding and policing our spouse, we get into a mess.

Just be yourself: Be natural and be simple. Relationships develop naturally. If you try to build a relationship that is when you become a little artificial. Then your behaviour becomes artificial which is not natural. Just imagine someone is trying to impress you, don’t you notice that? If someone is trying to impress you, what do you do? You move away. See what you like, that is what others like as well. You like someone to be very honest, open, natural, unassuming with you, correct?! That is exactly what others also want from you. Don’t try hard to impress them. Then everything goes bad. Best is to be yourself, to be natural, to be forgiving and to be in the present moment. It makes a big difference.

As time passes in a relationship, a couple witnesses that expectations and attitudes change. The relationship can become better with more yoga and meditation practice. We can learn how to communicate better in the relationship, to be more patient and forgiving. Again and again, the cycle rotates from rosy and glorious bliss to momentary shakiness. Commitment is what holds it together, when you decide not to fall. Spirituality is what gives the strength to see it through.

Happy Valentine’s Day!