“We are not made for each other, we are made for God!” – Radhanath Swami.
A king once offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Of the many entries, he shortlisted two. One was of a calm lake, a perfect mirror for the blue sky, fluffy clouds, and the towering mountains all around. The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But on a closer look the king saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In that bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of rushing angry waters, sat the mother bird on the nest—in perfect peace. The second picture won. The king explained that peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
“Material life is about expectations,” Radhanath Swami notes. The more intimate the relationship, the more we expect from it. Marriage is the most intimate relationship. In the beginning it appears that both partners are willing to do anything for each other. They fall madly in love. It’s a romantic affair: “we are made for each other”; “our marriage was made in heaven”. But many times, the spouses expect the other half to be exactly what they want him or her to be. But nobody is what you want him or her to be. Due to unreasonable expectations from each other, the relationship can become stormy. Actually, we are not really made for each other, but we are made for God!
The material aspect of married life can be a source of great suffering. But if we have a higher purpose for being together, the struggle becomes meaningful. The highest purpose is cooperating together to serve and glorify God. Radhanath Swami explains, “Even if we put God in the center, the material aspect of married life can still cause suffering. But, amazingly, if God is in the center of the relationship, the typical relationship struggles will bring the two spouses closer to God”. When that happens, there will be real happiness, spiritual happiness.
Thus, despite occasional storms in the relationship, the spouses can find immense peace and happiness if only they keep God in the center.