Harmony in every walk of life is a rare gift of the Lord to a couple. Each partner should be to the other a true companion in every sense of the term. Grihastha ashrama is a safe rung on the ladder of evolution to Godhead. Follow the scriptural laws and enjoy infinite bliss. True union can be established on the spiritual basis. Both of you should aspire to realize the common goal of life - God-realization. Both of you should compete with each other in advancing rapidly in spiritual sadhana. What a novel competition! What a blessing it is to have such a competitor as your life-partner!
Swami Sivananda Saraswati
The child inherits the parents’ external physique as well as internal make-up, thinking pattern, attitudes and personality traits through the genetic structure. One should therefore be vigilant in choosing a marriage partner. Every woman should make sure that the man who is going to father her children is a man of good character and human values. Similarly, every man should look for a woman of good character to bear his children. It is good to know the family background not from the perspective of wealth, power or social status but from the perspective of personality and lifestyle, because family traits are inherited and may manifest in subsequent generations.
Marriage is a great event in one’s life. Many things change drastically. There are innumerable minor and major adjustments to be made by both partners. Even if they have known each other for a long time, living together is different from knowing someone. Each partner needs to dissolve the 'I', the self-identity and become 'we two'. The couple has to strive for perfect harmony, perfect union by ‘giving’ rather than ‘expecting and taking’. The couple should start living a yogic lifestyle with yogic values. Thus, the internal environment of body and mind, as well as the external environment of the home will be pervaded with sattwic qualities. Evolved souls are attracted towards a good, pure environment.
The positive values and habits adopted and practised in the early years of life should be reinforced and strengthened. The partners can help each other to grow by understanding, helping, cooperating, by admiring and appreciating each other. It is unhealthy to live together in the same house with disagreements, suppressions and repressions influencing each other’s unconscious minds. The key is to develop tolerance and understanding without grudges.
Peace and love should radiate in the home. In business associations, there is often an element of doubt; a lack of trust, the feeling that one has to be cautious. At home, there should be no reason for doubt or needing to protect oneself. One should be able to act openly and spontaneously. At home, there should be a deep sense of trust and intimacy which is not always possible in the world outside. An atmosphere of consideration, care, attentiveness, tolerance, patience and generosity should prevail. The only sentiment that can really change someone is love. The person who experiences love radiates love to others. One has to be sincere in loving. Sincerity in turn demands truthfulness and selflessness. The importance of these qualities is understood as love grows between two people.
To be able to impart happiness and love to others, one needs to tap the endless source of happiness within. That is the true secret of happiness. Once one is able to do this, happiness flows. Knowing the source and how to connect to it, one becomes an elevated person in thought and action. Happiness is within everyone's reach and one can hold it firmly through incessant and noble effort. The practice of manahprasad, the conscious effort to develop, cultivate, maintain and radiate happiness, is the first yama or discipline of a yogic lifestyle. The aim is to gradually increase the time of happiness every day, every week and month and at the same time develop the ability to be happy without a cause.
The relationship between husband and wife is multifaceted. They play complementary and supplementary roles to each other in every sphere of their lives. In the vedic era the concept of the ideal wife was:
At home she takes care of the domestic work,
In her appearance she is beautiful like goddess Lakshmi, While preparing and serving food she is a mother,
In official work she is a secretary, During the sexual act she is sensual, In sorrowful times she is a friend, In difficult times she is a navigator,
In righteous activity she is supportive And in tolerance she is like Mother Earth.
In modern times these qualities and attitudes apply equally to the husband as to the wife.
Wife is Shakti, and husband is not husband; he is Shiva. Shiva and Shakti represent two opposite polarities in two individuals. These two opposite polarities are not only between husband and wife, they are anywhere: soil and water together create something. In the same way, in the chemical, mineral, botanical universe, anywhere there are two distinct opposite polarities and they must work together to produce, what I would say, a first class genius.
The only point of unity I see in husband and wife is when both are sincere and aspiring for higher spiritual experience. Shakti holds the superior position in spiritual life – not the man. To become an ideal husband and wife I can only give you one suggestion or advice: go deep into yoga and practise.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati