Relationship Advice from Gurudev
Chapter 3 Marriage Advice

Life energy, like water, needs two banks to flow. When water flows between two banks, it has a direction. Similarly, life force needs a direction, and the bank that gives it direction is commitment. Marriage is one such commitment.

Marriage is a commitment to share one's life and care for another. It helps one to come out of self-centeredness. In a marriage, you cannot always think about only yourself. After being married you have to also think about your spouse. If you want to go on a vacation, you cannot just wander around, you have to consult your better half, and all decisions need to be taken in consultation with one another.

Marriage is a very sacred institution where you tell your partner, "All my desires I give to you and I take all your desires". So each one has the responsibility to fulfill the other's desires and not their own. Growing in marriage is growing in responsibility, and love and responsibility go together.

Marriage is also that institution of commitment to serve the society together. If you are married only to serve yourself, then you start demanding from each other, and demand destroys love. If you both have a goal to serve society, to make a difference in the world, then it is like two parallel lines that can move together till infinity. Then, there is satisfaction; life finds a fulfillment.

Do's and Don'ts to a Happy Marriage

#1 Don't Police Each Other

Don't doubt your spouse's sincerity, or be suspicious. Sometimes, people call their spouse's office and find out what time they left work. Don’t do this. Don’t be suspicious about them If someone doubts your sincerity and love, and you would have to prove it to them again and again, isn’t that a big burden for you? Know that love is difficult to express and don't be suspicious, because suspicion and fear will bring you misery which in turn brings dejection and disappointment.

#2 Don't Demand Proof of Love

Do not ask your spouse, ‘Do you really love me?’ You should not ask such questions. Even if you do have a doubt, don't ask for proof of love, instead you should ask, "Why do you love me so much? You love me so much more that what I really deserve!” When you say this, your love grows.

Always remember, demand destroys relationships. Any demand on any one person will destroy that relationship, so do not demand. You are here on the planet only to give and contribute, not to take. When you take this step, you will see that whatever you need will simply come to you; you will receive ten times more of whatever you need or desire. This is the law of nature.

#3 Don't Go on Complaining

Many times when one spouse comes back from work and is exhausted, the other will complain and taunt them by saying, "You did not do this", or "This is not right", etc. So they end up facing problems at work and also at home. Similarly, if one spouse does not work, but stays home, and the other comes back home in the evenings and does not share quality time with them, how will they feel? There needs to be understanding from both sides.

If a person comes and sits next to you, or if you sit next to someone who goes on complaining about something or the other, and finds faults in everything, do you feel like sitting with them? No! You feel like running away from them that very instant. When you sit with someone, you want to feel uplifted in their company.

You should have this firm resolve in your mind that whoever comes to me should only go back happier and lighter, no matter what my own condition may be like.

Life is a mix of pleasant and unpleasant times, and it goes on. Do you think that everything will happen to your liking? Will everyone only keep praising you all the time? No, sometimes some people may insult you as well, and you have to listen to that also. What is so disappointing about it? It is nothing. Be strong and brave.

#4 Don’t Step on the Ego or Emotions

A person should never step on the emotions of their partner. You need to respect their emotions, and not dictate terms to them. Similarly, you should not step on the ego of your partner. The whole world may say to them that they have no brains, but you should never say that, or their self-esteem will go down and they will become like that. You should compliment and support them. Your spouse shouldn’t have to prove their talents or competency to you. Instead, with a sense of belonging, give them relief and comfort.

#5 Don't Get Upset at the Same Time

However compatible, no two people can think the same things all the time. There will be arguments and difference of opinions. So the best way to deal with this is to take turns getting upset. When one gets upset the other should be quiet. If both get upset at the same time, it is a problem. And if you compete by saying, "You got upset, now I will get more upset than you", then there is a bigger problem. So if one is getting annoyed, the other should keep quiet. The other can take their turn the  

next time. If you want, you can give back twice as much, but not at the same time and same place. To one bad day, you can add another bad day, but don’t make the days so horrible that you can’t continue anymore.

Marriage is give and take, or compromise. You cannot say, "I want it only this way!” You have to let go of your wishes and desires and listen to what the other person wants. You have to compromise. If there is no compromise, then there are arguments.

#6 Don't Make Your Spouse Feel Guilty

Never make your spouse feel guilty. This is very important. Anyone whom you make feel guilty will cease to be your friend somewhere deep inside. The bond gets loosened. Just imagine yourself in a position where you make a mistake and someone keeps asking for an explanation about your mistake. It is such a burden to explain to somebody or to justify oneself.

There is a skill in making a person aware of his mistake without making him feel guilty. However, the normal tendency in human beings is to make someone feel guilty and then feel happy about it. We have to rise above this normal tendency, and not make the other feel guilty; then your relationship will be longstanding.

#7 Be Willing to Sacrifice

If you only keep thinking about your own wants then no marriage will work. You should see what “we” want. How “we” can progress and bring happiness to the family. When there is a willingness to sacrifice, and when there is no selfishness in the relationship, then such a relationship becomes very beautiful; there will be a lot of love and peace.

In life, we need to have a sense of sacrifice. Sacrifice brings us great strength. In fact, nothing else can give you the kind of strength that sacrifice does. And the greater the sacrifices, the greater is the strength that comes.

"Life is so short so be happy at all times and spread that happiness to everyone around you".


#1 Being Devoted In Marriage

Q: How can one be devoted to one's marriage?

Devotion is nothing but love. It needs maturity.

You love somebody because you like something in that person. But likes and dislikes always change. Suppose tomorrow your likes change, then your love turns into hatred. But when your love matures and does not turn into hatred, then that love is called devotion. When one says, "I am so devoted to my wife", that means, however she is, I am committed to her.

First comes attraction on the physical level. Attraction dies down very fast. Then on the mental level, there is love. And it is on this mental level that there are also jealousy, hatred, possessiveness, and all the distortions of love. When you surpass that level, then you come to devotion. It is akin to the love of the mother for her child. A mother does not bother what the child thinks or does. If the child kicks the mother, or screams at the mother, she is not perturbed at all. She still carries her child, bathes it, feeds it, and does everything. The mother does not get emotional, but she is after the best for that child, and this is what devotion is - that which is independent of the reaction or response. The love which is independent of response is called devotion.

Every love relationship can mature and become devotion - where there is no grumbling, or complaints. It happens in a marriage of many years as well, people become so devoted towards each other.

Q: How can I take my marital relationship to the next level, rather than it just being an ordinary relationship of a husband and wife?

Both should move ahead together and support each other. Sometimes, it may happen that one partner may lose interest in a marital relationship, while the other may still be interested. Then it may seem like things are not working out. But even then, you need to support each other. Both should move ahead together.

Q: I could not marry the person I was in love with because of certain circumstances. Now I am not able to give all of my love to the person I am married to. How do I fix this struggle?

Look, you have made this relationship, so now give your 100% and see. Otherwise you will only keep dreaming.

If a husband thinks that 'I did not get the kind of wife I wanted', and the wife thinks that 'I didn’t get the kind of husband I wanted', then both are going in different directions. This one relationship alone is not life; besides this there is so much to do in this world. So settle this one issue completely and move on.

You should think what I can do for this world, what I can do for the people around me, how much knowledge can I attain, and how much love can I give to others, instead of getting stuck from one relationship to another. You didn’t like one relationship so you went to the second one, then third one. There is no point in being a rolling stone. There is nothing called a perfect match. Whatever match you have gotten, you should be happy and move on with it. One area of your life is settled, so now move forward. No point of jumping from one relationship to another.

An elderly lady is Canada once said to me, "Gurudev, You know that my husband is a very tough man and I have to manage him. I thought I would leave, but then I thought, “if I don’t know how to row one boat then I cannot row the other boat as well.” So if you don’t know how to row one boat, changing the boat is not going to help you.

Q: My wife always complains that I do not tell her ‘I love you’. But it is not in my nature to express love through words. Is it necessary to express love?

See, there are different ways of saying and expressing love. Just find a way that suits you and say it. If you cannot say it in words, then express it by making some hand gestures. Or you can write it and give it to her. You can send her a text message. Nowadays you do not even have to write complete words in the text message. Just sending those emoticons does the job! So just send those to her, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. See, it is our duty to try and keep everyone happy. Whether they choose to be happy or not is up to them.

Some people will not believe it, even if you express. After receiving your text they might ask, "Do you really mean what you sent?" The mind is really very mysterious.

Love is said to be Anirvachaniya (that which is beyond words, or cannot be expressed completely through words). You go ahead and do it!

#2 Interfaith Marriages

Q: I want to get married to a Christian guy. Is it necessary for me to get converted into Christianity?

I think you should keep your own faith. Whatever is your own faith, stick to it. I don't think you should compromise on that. You should keep to your faith because that is healthy in many ways -- psychologically and spiritually, and you should also have respect for the religion of your partner. So don't drop the festivals and other rituals of your religion.

Q: I love a boy from another faith. His parents are okay with it, but my parents are strongly opposing it. What should I do?

Take some time to decide, weight the consequences. There is no point in angering and upsetting your family. Best is when there is harmony. It does not matter what religion, but harmony is very important. Later on, you should not regret, "Oh, I subjected my parents to so much suffering and sadness.” 
After causing so much sadness, even if you get married, your mind will never be reconciled. Then everyone will remain unhappy. So it is best to seek everybody's consent


Quotes on Marriage Advice

"Marriage means sacrifice. Sacrificing your desires for the good of the other and for the sake of the whole family. Marriage is compromise.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
"Marriage means compromise. You have to let go of your wishes and desires and listen to what the other person wants. If there is no compromise, then there are arguments. When there are arguments, fights happen.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
"If your partner has made a mistake, you should forgive them and give them another chance. You expect your partner to behave like an enlightened person. This is expecting too much from your side.” GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
Well Done! You made it through Chapter One! Are you ready for Chapter Four: Sex and Spirituality?