If you are married, it is better to stick together until it becomes impossible to do so. If your clothes get torn, you stitch them back together. They get torn again, and again you stitch up the torn part. You could continue to repair a dress for as long as possible. However, if you are extravagant, you will throw it away and buy another one. The relationship between a man and woman, husband and wife, should not be based on extravagance. In English it is said that marriage is made in heaven and conducted in church. In India we say that for seven lives we will not leave each other.

I feel that marriage is the only relationship that has endured excellence in history. A man and woman who are total strangers promise to overcome that strangeness and merge into each other physically, mentally and spiritually. This is a promise between two strangers. All other relationships are a familiar part of life, whether father and daughter, brother and sister, etc. A husband and wife are total strangers, they have nothing in common. If you have a brother, you have no choice but to have him as your brother. If you are a daughter, you have no choice but to be the daughter. But when you want to pick up a stranger, you have a choice. Yes? So, that ‘yes’ has to be a permanent ‘yes’.

As far as difficulties in relationships are concerned, they are mostly due to lack of sensual gratification. You can manage that sensuality through spiritual life. Explore music, art, painting, anything. In India, a husband and wife could not divorce each other until 1962. Now the law has changed, but even then divorce is not the first option. If there are problems, the wife will go back to her parents’ house for a while, but she will return. She will go away again and return again. He, too, will return to her.

The important thing, in my opinion, is not the gratification of sensuality. You are alone, incomplete, and when somebody comes into your life, you become complete. So, a complete equation has to be created. What is the essence behind this? Purusha and Prakriti. The man represents spirit and the woman represents matter. Spirit and matter come together and then there is totality, oneness. So, difficulties should be treated with patience, wisdom and endurance. You have to find a way out until you know there is no solution at all.

There are two aspects to married life. In ancient days you married because you needed progeny. Progeny between people of the same genetic code, such as brother and sister, was not favourable. One had to find a partner of another genetic code so that the progeny did not suffer from genetic diseases, etc. Here emotion did not play much of a part. Marriage was a social aspect of life, and this continued for many thousands of years. With the rise of the women’s liberation movement, the basis of that fusion became personal attraction, emotion, friendship, etc. However, the social aspects of marriage are enduring; the emotional aspects fade away like colour. So, one has to decide upon the basis of marriage.