Two persons who unite their lives to help each other toward divine realization are founding their marriage on the right basis: unconditional friendship. The woman is motivated primarily by feeling, and the man by reason; marriage is meant to balance these qualities.
Swami Paramahansa Yogananda
Do you resist breaking off a relationship that causes pain? Psychologists Baumeister and Leary mention in their research that human beings have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum amount of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships. Since ancient civilization, humans have been seeking belongingness with friends, family, community, and society. The need for belongingness has become the fundamental psychological need for humans.
Marriage is the intimate bond that unites two individuals into a cocoon. It is an uncertain journey to discover our strengths and weaknesses. Life partners share their pain and pleasure and grow together through rich life experiences. This intimate relationship offers opportunities to develop human values and strengthen character. However, married life has its challenges in managing conflicts.
Ask yourself: “Do I self-examine the origins of my conflicts? Do I believe in taking ownership of my well-being? Do I blame the other person or develop guilt and shame for my life circumstances?” If you have answered ‘Yes’ to the first two questions, you shall live a happy married life. We need to investigate the nature and cause of inner conflicts. Let us understand the significant aspects of our mind that shall help you self-examine the causes of disputes.
According to research conducted by Harvard University, child development—particularly from birth to five years of age—is the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society. At this stage, children learn from their external environment by observing and doing the same activities. The atmosphere, including the behavioral response of parents, plays an essential role in shaping the child’s psychological well-being. Consider a girl who grew up in a family where both the parents worked hard to meet their career goals and the needs of the family members. For prioritizing professional commitments, the parents couldn’t give sufficient time to the child’s upbringing. Hence, the girl felt lonely. She created the belief that parents who commit most of their time towards work cannot take care of their families. This belief became one of the prime driving forces in her married life. After marriage, she came to know that her husband was going to expand his business plan. Thus, he wanted to live in another city for a few years. This situation confronted her belief that caused the inner conflict. Consider a boy who grew up in a middle-class family where the father is the only earning member, and the mother is a homemaker. The father went through several financial crises in his business. As a result, the family members had to bear financial stress. The boy created the belief that earning a lot of money is the only way to attain happiness in life. When he grew up, he secured his dream career and became rich after years of hard work. However, he discovered that he remained unhappy. He realized that he held a limiting belief which made him restless. I have included these examples to show that the beliefs created early in life can govern our life choices and behavioral response during married life.
There is an ancient parable in India where a few blind people described an elephant by the touch of their hand. The first person touched the elephant's ear and said, “The elephant is like a fan.” The second person touched the elephant’s tail and said, “The elephant is like a rope.” The third person reached the elephant’s leg and said, “The elephant is like a wall.” He remained rigid in his views. Everyone held on to their views but could not understand the others’ perceptions! Most times, we perceive the external world in such a way that it resonates with our experiences. Sometimes in relationships, we stick to our opinion about the way we see a particular situation, problem, or person. Thus, we limit our perception when we cannot understand the totality of life.