Doing the hard work of living happily ever after
Do we need a workshop to help our marriages? If you are married, if you plan to marry, or even if you don’t plan to marry but will be instructing married couples, the answer is a resounding “YES!”
Married life is an asrama and Prabhupada wanted us to make it successful. To be successful in your service and sadhana, but not in your asrama, is not what Prabhupada wants of us.
When I was 24 I foolishly asked Prabhupada to take sannyasa. He said. “I will not give sannyasa to any grhastha who is not first successful in this asrama.”
What does it mean to be successful in the grhastha asrama? Of course, success means becoming Krsna conscious, but there are many factors that contribute to a Krsna conscious marriage. One of the most important is to, as Prabhupada said, “Live peacefully.”
To live peacefully we need know how to make our partner happy.
Many of us are either confused about roles and duties of a husband or wife, or simply have never learned how to be a good spouse. To make matters worse, we tend to act as a spouse according to our conditioned nature rather than according to the guidance of sastra. Plus, it is common for devotees to misunderstand the roles of wife and husband as taught in our scriptures. To top this off, many of us, even though we have been married for years, don’t deeply understand the psychology of our spouse and thus continue to make mistakes in our relationship.
Up until last year, I had no plans to teach courses on married life. I have other important workshops I am busy teaching and I planned to leave this subject for others. But in 2013 I ran into so many devotees who either were having trouble in their marriages, whose marriages were at best okay, or who wanted to marry and had no idea of what they were getting into, that I felt impelled to do something to help.
So I went through Prabhupada’s books on the topic, listened to other devotee experts in the field, studied some God conscious books on relationships, and developed a workshop that I believe is needed for every householder couple – and for every person who plans to marry.
And as I said, even those who don’t plan to marry should understand householder dynamics in order to better minister to householder couples.
I want to emphasize again that good marriages are extremely important for our spiritual life. If home life is disturbed, our spiritual life becomes disturbed. And if we can’t learn to serve our families well, what is the meaning of being servants. If we fail in our family life and succeed in our service, then we have only succeeded by failing.
Krsna consciousness teaches service, compassion, humility, kindness, understanding and empathy. Since these are fundamental qualities of a devotee, and fundamental qualities for a great marriage, one would think we wouldn’t need a marriage workshop since our marriages should all be wonderful.
But, or course, many marriages in our movement are far from wonderful. Why?
I believe a big reason is that we don’t integrate these devotional qualities enough in our married life, that we often live dual lives: we are kind to devotees, kind to new people coming to the temple, and not always kind at home.
A devotee who is a friend to all is challenged to be nice to the one he is supposed to love. Is there something wrong with this picture?
There is. But this is a common problem. So, we all need help in making our marriages work as best they can. I don’t believe for a moment that Prabhupada is happy with marriages in which spouses are not treated as well as they should be, and that either partner is not satisfied and happy. But we can easily learn how to be the kind of partner that anyone would love to be married to. And learning even a few things I teach will make a noticeable difference in your relationship. We shouldn’t be satisfied with marriages that are just “ok.” If they are just “ok” they can easily become less than “ok.”
If you plan to marry, or are newly married, consider this workshop as mandatory for you. In other words, you owe it to your spouse or partner to take this course. It is only an investment of a couple of days , but it will make a huge difference in your life.
So what goes on in the workshop? Sacred Union offers you principles and strategies to make your marriage successful. These principles can even turn around a deeply troubled marriage. Also, learning these principles and understanding the male/female dynamics we teach, will insure the greatest chance of a new marriage succeeding. In fact, these principles are so universal that they will help improve all of your relationships
We know from our sastras that sexual attraction is the basis of material life. So everyone falls in love. But the relationships don’t stay lovely unless you work on them. Even good marriages need work to stay well.
Having a good marriage is not a matter of luck.
It is not even a great mystery.
It is just a matter of knowing clearly the principles that govern good male/female relationships.
When we don’t understand the laws of marital relationships, we inevitably do things that erode the relationship – or even destroy it – without understanding exactly what we are doing to make things worse. Once you understand what actions produce positive responses from your spouse, and what actions don’t, it makes having a successful married life quite simple – more simple than you might think.
We tend to look to our partners to change in order to improve our marriage. But the truth is that focusing on improving ourselves is the only way to make a marriage successful. But you ask, “How can a marriage get better if both partners don’t change, or one partner isn’t willing to attend the workshop?
Let me answer with a question? Would you find it at all difficult to be married to a person just like yourself? If you want a good marriage, don’t make it hard on your spouse.
If you change, your spouse will change.
In this workshop you will learn:
- How to get your spouse to naturally want to serve and respect you.
- What you unknowingly do that hurts your partner.
- How to change behavior that upsets your spouse
- How to take responsibility for your feelings.
- Essential principles that create a successful marriage.
- Why you’re the only one who can improve your marriage.
- How to respond to hurt with affection.
- About your personality type and how it affects your spouse.
- What you need to focus on to build a great relationship.
- Why affection is much more than a feeling, but an action.
- How love and affection are understood in marriage and in Krsna consciousness.
- What makes your partner tick.
And much more!
You will leave this workshop with the essential tools and attitudes you need to create a more successful and happier marriage by learning to make simple changes that will produce dramatic results.