God never does something without some good reason behind it.  Why is it that God has given us two eyes when we can look at only one thing at a time? Have you ever tried to look in two directions at the same time, with both eyes? Try it. If the left eye wants to see what is happening on the left side and the right ease wants to see something on the right,what will you be able to see?  You’ll miss seeing everything, and, not only that, you will have an ugly face!  If both eyes  simultaneously went in different directions, people would get frightened of  you. So it seems  seems that  God could have saved some trouble and made us with one eye. Then, also, our glasses could  have been less expensive!

I am sure that you have some scientific and technical response to this, but I think God wanted to give  us an example of what married life should be like. The partners should live with the same kind of coordination as the two eyes.  Even though they are separate individuals, they should see things in the same way. But when this understanding is absent and when partners try to look in different directions, they won’t see anything except a calamity in their home.  And that is what normally happens in marriage. Rather than learning the lesson from the body and functioning like the two eyes, people come together as two “I’s.” That means there will be trouble.  But if you can live with someone in the true spirit of matrimony, you will evolve very quickly by breaking down the barriers of the ego.

Real marriage is when two individuals come together to proceed on one path. They have the same goal in life, and they want to help each other attain that goal. They sincerely love each other and have made a commitment to give to one another. Marriage becomes difficult if we do not understand its true significance.  Many people think that a marriage means that that we possess somebody.  In that case, each partner f eels, “You are mine—I am marrying you to get the maximum benefit from you.” Coming together with this type of selfish motivation is known as “business marriage.” You are building something on shaky ground.

When we don’t relate from a spiritual level, our relationships become simply physical and mental. Those relationships will always change, because they are based on changing things. Constantly our bank balance changes, our beauty changes, our mind changes, and even our intelligence changes. Everything other than the spirit is constantly changing. Nobody can stop it. That is the way of Nature. So, if we have a relationship between two changing minds or two changing bodies, the relationship will also change. If a marriage is based only on these things, totally ignoring the spirit, chances are it won’t last long.If you marry a person with the same aim, with a spiritual commitment, then you have found something beautiful. If you really want to marry a person, then marry the  real person and let that person marry the real you—not your beauty or your riches. If you love the other person for the sake of the Self of  the person, then your personal love will become a universal love. That will be everlasting. That love brings the real matrimony.  hat kind of matrimony is said to be made in heaven. Heavenly matrimony means that you are marrying on the spiritual level. You are not attracted to that person just for the sake of the things that make a worldly marriage.

What do we mean by spiritual marriage?” To answer this, first we need to know who it is who gets married. Normally, we say two souls have come together. This needs to be properly understood.  The English word “soul” could be translated as jiva in Sanskrit  and the term “Self ” with a capital “S” is termed Atman .The Atman is different from the jiva. Atman  is the pure divine image in you, the God in you. That is the real you. This Atman, or Self, never worries about marrying anyone.  It is always contented, free from all wants.

The jiva is the image of the Atman as it is reflected on your mind.  It is called Chidabasa,  the reflected Self. You reflect on the mirror of the mind. They can look alike, your original and its reflection, but the reflection is not the original—the reflection changes as changes take place in the mirror, but the original never changes. On the human level a wedding takes place between two reflections.  They come together to help each other find the original, to realize the Self. That is known as a spiritual marriage.

Partners should come together with this idea: Love of the Self. All the rest is secondary. In spiritual life, we don’t reject physical love, it’s fine. But the basis should be spiritual love. If that is not there, physical love will not endure.  A couple of wrinkles will mean that the love is over. When you see a gray hair, you will look for someone else who has black hair. That is the reason why there are a lot of disappointments in married life. There should be a marriage of ideals. You each marry your ideal.  That is what makes an ideal couple. You look beyond all the superficial things andtry to fathom the depth of the person’s character to see if he or she is the right partner for you. When the purpose of marriage is lost and when people do not understand the proper reason for marrying, then, from the very beginning, they are coming together on shallow ground. Often, the relationship lacks the depth to keep it from falling apart.  So, know the person well.  Question deeply whether he or she is running after you for your wallet or for your beauty, or whether that person is really interested in your qualities. Analyze everything.

It is better before marrying to open your heart completely. You should not hold on to any secrets, whatever they may be. You just say to the person, “This is me. This is what I have been doing. Do you still love me or not?” That will save you a lot of bother and tension, because if your partner comes to know later on that you kept some secret, it may be difficult for him or her to accept it.  So let your partner know you completely. When you get on an airplane, even for a short, temporary trip, you are thoroughly searched to see if you are carrying anything dangerous.  Marriage is a permanent trip, and it is best to be very frank. Though physically you are two, you are one in heart. There is no “mine” and “yours;” only “ours.” Even in the business world, if you are going to start a partnership as “ours,” each should know what the other is bringing in. Without this openness, your coming together is only a temporary agreement, “Come on, let us be together for a while. You keep what you want from me, and I’ll hold back some things from you. If it doesn’t work out, we can say ‘goodbye.”‘ That is a temporary friendship, not a marriage.  In a real marriage, there are no reservations.  It is similar to the relationship of a devotee of God.  When you go to God, you cannot have reservations and say, “I am keeping this much and giving the rest to You.” It you give everything you will get everything.  In the same way, if partners really want their marriage to be successful, they should have no reservations.  Have complete trust.

Many people do live together even though they have no interest in the spiritual side of life.  Somehow, they are adjusting and adapting, but they are missing the bliss of real marriage.  Theyare just managing to get along. They don’t want to separate from each other so they say, “All right. I accept what you are, and you accept what I am. We agree on certain things and we disagree on many other things.  At least let us agree to disagree. Let’s not fight.” If the marriage can reach even this stage, it is a sign of real progress. Through this attitude, the couple will grow and learn a lot, which is the purpose of married life. But communion in spiritual marriage brings the relationship to a much higher level. In such a partnership, you are intimately bound together by your common interest to realize the Truth. That Truth, at least according to my understanding, is inner peace. That is what is to be realized.  I say “realized” because that inner peace is always with you. Nobody can destroy that. But to realize or experience that peace within, a calm, serene mind is necessary.  When a couple comes together, there should be an agreement to help foster that serenity of mind and to avoid those things that would disturb the peace of each partner. Keep that as your goal, and your marriage will blossom.

The Bible says that what God has brought together should not be undone by anyone. That means that the uniting of your spirits should not be disturbed by your day-to-day, mundane lifeon the physical level.  Don’t allow that to interfere with your deeper union. If you are interested in keeping that inner peace as your goal, then don’t separate yourself from the other person and say, “I want to do this, even if you don’t.” Then your partner will say, “No.  I want to do that” This approach causes the two “I’s” to get into conflict. So instead of two “I”s,  make it “we.” Say, ” We want to do this.” The partners should become like two wings of the same bird or like two oars of the same boat. That is what you call marriage.

If both of you have the same interest in realizing the Self, you have really found something beautiful.  If your love is more than skin deep, if it penetrates to the heart, to the soul, then your marriage will be enjoyable and harmonious. Your love will develop more and more. Then you have realized the inner meaning of marriage. The Sanskrit name for marriage is kalyana, which means auspicious. With such a partnership you can move very quickly, probably faster than a single person. The single person is all alone, but with a partner, you have beautiful company to go with you.  If you sleep a little late, your partner will wake you up and say, “Come on, time to meditate,” or “Hey, you didn’t do your asanas today.” It’s a real good help. With company like that, you can go very far.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda