What does it take to create and actualise a happy married life? After a long search, I found the answer I was seeking in the Buddha. The Buddha was a religious leader and he represents the Enlightened Mind.

It is a state that we all can reach if we tackle the mind and harness its true power and potential. We need not surrender our material lives to practise mindfulness. Rather, we need to integrate the two and live a united life.

The Opportunity

Why do we have so many unhappy relationships?

Relationships trigger aspects in our minds that do not get trigged when we are alone. Any relationship can trigger this in you–be it with a boss, a parent or anyone else that pushes our buttons. In a marriage, we become susceptible to triggering the most vulnerable parts of ourselves, especially if we harbour insecurities of which we are unaware.

A marriage is a partnership. It is meant to allow the two individuals who have taken on the responsibility of the partnership the opportunity to grow as well as fulfil their shared destiny together.

If we are not Enlightened regarding what marriage entails, we are setting ourselves up for a situation where we feel we ‘need’ the other person to feel secure and to perform and live out our duties and obligations.

According to Buddhist teachings, marriage means understanding and respecting each other’s beliefs. If we were to look closely at the root problems of our social problems, they stem from an unhappy union that took place between two people. From unwanted pregnancies to divorces, from domestic violence to adultery; the Buddhist belief is that these occur due to selfishness, lack of patience as well as a lack of compatibility and mutual understanding.

As our awareness grows–and as our minds quieten down to the noise we needlessly create–we become Enlightened to what a truly great opportunity a marriage is.


The human ability to love takes on a variety of different forms. There’s motherly love, brotherly love, sensual love, selfish love, selfless love and universal love. In a truly loving relationship, both people are in an Enlightened state where they ask, “How can I develop my capacity to love so that I may express my care for another human being?”

In an ideal scenario, sex is the expression of a deeply satisfying emotional relationship, where both partners can give and take equally. In a good relationship, the two are inseparable. Almost everyday, we hear sob stories regarding a relationship that has soured. In the Kama Sutra, sexual compatibility is cited as a key ingredient to a happy and healthy relationship.

In Vedic Astrology, Bhaga and Aryaman are the two Vedic deities that bestow blessings upon a marriage. They represent luck and long-term friendship respectively. We need luck to meet the right person. That is the beginning. Then, we need to manifest a long-term relationship that takes into account the two people who are coming together to actualise a shared destiny.

Young people who romanticise and feel drawn to the idea of a soul mate think that marriage will resemble a bed of roses. It can, at times, feel that way. That feeling, however, will not last. When two people get married, they will have to face problems and responsibilities that they have never expected, let alone experienced. They also have the opportunity to become more Enlightened through the experience.

It is truly a blessing if we open our eyes to the opportunity to express our love.


One of the major causes of marital problems is suspicion and mistrust that has its roots in our perceived insecurities. To have trust between two parties requires us to surrender our secrets–but not our privacy. Secrets lead us to be suspicious. This can manifest as anger that has its roots in jealousy. Anger in turn causes enmity that can result in separation, murder and suicide. We hear stories such as these in the news all day.

When two people first fall in love, they are tempted to reveal only the good sides of themselves. They hide their true self in order to project a certain impression. They may even feel the need to project a public image of their relationship that does not correspond with what is going on at home. When they are called to account, they may deny it and push the blame to the other person.

Why has this happened? Our Shadow Side has come out. It cannot stay in the dark forever. Our Shadow is always seeking to come into the Light. Why do we hide this part of ourselves away? We feel insecure about losing the other person. In a way, that is a sign that this person is important to us. That is why we have hidden away what we perceive to be our personal shortcomings.

This, however, conversely ruins any chance at having an intimate relationship based on trust. We have closeted away any chance at the growth that could have ensued had we been more open. Sometimes, we end up with partners who shut us down when we are in the process of becoming more open.

Religion and societal conditioning have been the two biggest roadblocks to a happy and healthy marriage. Why? It outlines–in clear details, no less–the roles and responsibilities that marriage entails for both the man and woman. It does this without taking into account the individual characteristics of the two people entering into a partnership. Often times, one person follows the pre-written script and the other person doesn’t.

Religious laws and social norms do not account for the ways in which two people will change, grow and evolve–especially in the event that the marriage happened earlier in life. While marriage should be a permanent state of affairs, it cannot always be. It sometimes needs to be dissolved.

Religious leaders have misled people by saying that simply by following certain religious vows, rituals, precepts of commandments–we will be able to create a happy marriage. Sometimes, this even requires one person to convert or change their religion in order to enter into a marriage that is sanctified in the eyes of God.

Blind faith or condemnation is not enough to inculcate within us the importance of loving each other. All it does is give us a false model that we never seem to be able to live up to. It is a false teaching and we should label it as such.

All relationship woes begin in the mind. When we fail to understand one another, our relationships fail. When we fail to respect another person’s boundaries, relationships fail. In a marriage, this has repercussions on future generations. It can continue to manifest as a pattern that passes itself down till someone decides that enough is enough.

It is better to invest time understanding each other rather than to spend time figuring out the religious ideal of marriage that has never been actualised.

And it all begins in The Mind…

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