Radhanath Swami recounts one of his childhood impressions. Everydayhis mother cooked a loving meal for his father but she thought that her husband didn’t ever like it. So little Radhanath Swami (then Richard) asked his father whether he liked his dinner. His father replied he loved it. Richard asked whether his father has ever told his wife how he liked the dinner? “Well, I think I did… Maybe I didn’t… but she should know Doesn’t she know?”
Generally, spouses take care of fulfilling each other’s physical needs like good housing, clothing, and health. But it’s the lack of emotional care that tends to push marriages off-track. Everyone needs appreciation and encouragement. Each spouse has a responsibility of making the other partner happy by providing him or her a fulfilling life. Mutual respect and care forms the essential framework that supports any successful marriage; mutual affection may come and go. By always clinging on to this framework, the mutual affection can grow into actual deep love connected to the soul.
For example, many ladies think that their husband just doesn’t care for them, that he just doesn’t like anything they do for the husband. But when asked, the husbands say that they really do appreciate their wife a lot, but why should they tell that to her explicitly? Shouldn’t she already know? Radhanth Swami quips that unless the spouse is a mystic, he or she is not going to know how the other spouse feels. Communication is important. Sometimes in marriage the spouses communicate with everyone except the person they live with. Communication amongst spouses is to really express one’s appreciation and affection for each other in encouraging words. Such honest communication is critical for a healthy relationship; the journey of married life can become dreary and unfulfilling otherwise.
Marriage shouldn’t degenerate to a life sentence of tolerance just to respect the vows taken at the time of marriage. A true marriage is dynamic, flowing, and very connected to the divine. Struggles in married life are not depressants, but invigorating spiritual challenges. By encouraging each other the spouses can face these challenges confidently. Every challenge overcome together takes the spouses to a higher spiritual platform. Indeed, notes Radhanath Swami, such a married life is a path of perfection.