14 July 2014 - QA 6

Gurudev, please guide on how to bring spouses who oppose the path onto the path.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

That is a big test.
Do you know why your spouse opposes your path? Let us analyze this! Let's think about this.
1. Maybe your spouse is very attached to you and wants all your attention, and when your attention is elsewhere, they don’t like it. So if you praise anything, whether it is a course, or a person, they get upset.
The psychology is what? 'I want my spouse all to myself. She or he must praise me all the time'. If you like something, or praise something, they take a stand so that they cut you out from that and you give all your attention back to them. So, don’t go on praising something beyond a certain limit.
Is this correct? How many of you say this is correct? That is a general psychology.

2. Maybe it is out of insecurity.
Sometimes, if you like something so much, your spouse starts thinking that you may leave the house and go away. This insecurity bugs your spouse, and so they oppose the path.

3. Could be an ego issue.
Your spouse does not like being told what they should be doing. They may take it from their friend, but they would not like to take it when it comes from you.
If their close friend tells them, 'Hey, there is a course on mediation which is very nice, why don't you come with me!'
They will say, 'Okay, I will come with you'.
But when you say the same thing, they would like to say no because saying no makes them feel more powerful.
They feel, 'I can do what I want, and I don't have to do what my spouse is telling me to do'.
So it could be a power game, to show one-upmanship they refuse to walk on the path.

4. Money could be the fourth reason.
When the mind is into something, then money is not a problem, one would spend double the money. So it is not mainly the money, but it appears to be time and money. It is just the mind.

5. (From the audience): Could be jealousy of the spouse’s happiness!
Yes, it is strange but true! Jealousy of the spouse’s happiness; can’t see the wife or the husband being happy.
Generally, a spouse does everything to make the other happy. A husband works to make his wife happy. A wife does all the house work to make the husband happy. Yet if one of them is happy, it makes the other uncomfortable, because if someone is happy you cannot control them.
Whom can you control? One who is unhappy; then you have some control.
It is a subtle psychological thing.
When someone is happy they are also free. They find some sort of freedom inside and this is what some people cannot digest. They think freedom means the other is moving away from them and not involving them.
Isn’t it strange? Why they don’t want to see the husband or the wife happy is because happiness implies freedom, and they cannot tolerate freedom. They feel they are losing control.

6. (From the audience): Low self-esteem.
Yes! The spouse feels low self-esteem, that is why they want to control the other.

So what you need to do is, in very measured way, you should tell your spouse when they are in a good mood, 'You know, I want a gift from you. I want you also to come with me and do a course. Let us both do it together?'

In ancient Vedic times, they would always say that if you are married both of you must come. In any spiritual practice, a single person (of a couple) was not even allowed because it would cause an imbalance; one would grow while the other would not grown. When both husband and wife have come, they both grow together.
Otherwise, if one is fulfilled and the other is not fulfilled, there will be conflict in marital life. So they made it a rule, that both of should come.

I usually say, if you partner tells you, 'Don't do meditation', then don't mediate for few days and be very nasty (laughter). Then they will realize that when you meditate you are nice, and when you don’t meditate, you are nasty (laughter).
They will tell you, 'Oh, please go and meditate now'. That is a secret clue (laughter).