A saint asked his disciples, ‘Why do people shout at each other when they are angry? Why shout when the other person is just next to you?’ Disciples gave some answers but none satisfied the saint. Finally the saint explained, ‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they need to raise their voice. The angrier they are, the greater the heart-distance, and the stronger they have to shout to make themselves heard.’
Everyone in this material world wants to be a little God – “I am the enjoyer, I am the center, I am the controller”. Such egoistic sentiments are like dry sticks of firewood stacked up inside the heart. With both spouses in this mood, many marital problems start as little fights over trifling disagreements. These trifles are the breezes that rub the ego and produce sparks. And it doesn’t take much time for sparks to cause raging fires. Sometimes, even very sweet aromatic breezes with so many fragrances can somehow cause egos to rub and cause a wild fire.
Radhanath Swami notes that whenever pure spiritual topics are discussed, the participants forget all kinds of material hankering, at least for the time being. Not only that, they give up their envy towards one another, and their anxiety and fear evaporates. In the Bhagavat Gita (10.9), Krishna explains: “the thoughts of My pure devotees always dwell in Me, their lives are devoted in serving Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss coming together conversing about Me, discussing about Me, and chanting My names”.
This, then, is the most effective fire extinguisher for the matters of the heart: association of devotees, coming together and discussing God, chanting His names, and inspiring one another to serve Him. This is where real pleasure resides.
The winds of petty disagreements can never ignite a wild fire in the hearts thus drenched by loving sentiments for God and each other. Instead, the soft hearts would easily be able to tolerate the onslaught of stormy disagreements by sticking together in the service of God.