Most people enter into a marriage with the intention of making it work, with the hope of deriving joy together, with the goal of being together. The intentions are as noble as the partners themselves. However, why do marriages that looked solid and iconic as the Taj Mahal once come crumbling down like a sandcastle?
In the last few posts, I have been writing on relationships, especially marriage, and today I bring to you the key to everlasting relationships; my core philosophy that can help you understand relationships better and live the one of your dreams.
A good marriage has four pillars, columns of strength and togetherness. The building of any close relationship stands on these four pillars. Spacious and cozy rooms of faith, love, respect, intimacy, and understanding are built on these pillars. If the foundation is strong, you can withstand, with remarkable ease, storms of mutual and personal crisis, floods of turmoil, tides of emotions, and a whole heap of other unprecedented circumstances and adversities.
The four pillars of a marriage are the four types of securities. Think of a marriage as an individual entity, a building if you will. Your job is to ensure the strength of these four pillars, the four different types of security. Each pillar is equally important. So, here they are:
1. The pillar of financial security
One of the most important factors in the survival of any relationship is financial security. It is your financial well-being alone that will ensure a roof over your head among the fulfillment of other basic requirements. Loving is tough with an empty stomach, and living, next to impossible. If you are not financially secure or you cannot provide financial security to your partner, your relationship can fall apart any day.
In a marriage, if you cannot run the house on one salary, chances are, your borrowing or spending is outside the bounds of affordability, or your finances are poorly managed. If both partners are earning and one were to lose their job, are you able to provide security to the other partner?
In other words, does your partner feel safe that you can provide an umbrella during the rainy days? If yes, give yourself a pat on the back and mark it with a tick. And, if you also have a savings plan you follow, bonus points to you. Twenty-five percent of your relationship is taken care of. A quarter of the harmony in your relationship is resting on a solid foundation.
2. The pillar of physical security
Are you there for each other physically? Physical security is not just about protecting your partner, it is not about being macho or a superhero; that might help though! By physical security I mean much more than that, I am referring to an act of intimacy, of being physically together. Interestingly, people enter into a marital or similar relationship driven by their physical and emotional needs, and as time goes by many either downplay such needs or start seeking gratification from other sources.
Vedic scriptures permit the union of a man and woman only for the purpose of procreation. The upside was that novelty remained in the relationship and the downside was either starvation or too many offspring! If your partner can depend on you for physical protection in their hour of need as well as look up to you for the fulfillment of his physical needs, your relationship can weather a great crisis.
The need for sense gratification goes on the back-burner over a period of time; it continues to simmer and seethe there, I may add. The need for intimacy never goes away completely. Therefore, physical security, both in terms of protection and fulfillment is paramount.
3. The pillar of emotional security
Financial crises can be managed with talent and common sense, physical urges may subside over time, but emotional needs remain just as strong. In fact, even a slight vulnerability in any one of the pillars puts pressure on the other three to make it up. Imagine a dog hurting one of his legs, the pressure of moving, running, and jumping is on the other three legs now. Love, gratitude, tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness are emotions. All these emotions are highly contagious.
If you practice them, nurture such virtues, and imbibe those emotions, you will contribute significantly to the health of your relationship. Repairing any damage to the pillar of financial or physical security is relatively easier, but this one is a pillar of gold.
Any grief you cause your partner on this front with your gestures or words will injure their heart, it will mar their love, and can cause a deep wound. If you are emotionally there for each other, you can be assured of a fulfilling relationship. Predominantly because it is during their weak moments that people lose sight of their human side; losing that is generally enough to trigger a whole heap of monstrous emotions and regrettable actions. You may also want to read Restoring Harmony in a Relationship.
4. The pillar of moral security
This pillar is made of crystal — exquisite but fragile. Can your partner trust you morally? Any damage to this pillar is irreparable. The wounds from moral damage never heal. Never. If you have compromised on morality, your partner will never forget, even if they want to, they are unable to forget. They may forgive out of compassion or compulsion but the relationship now stands on a shaky foundation. Sound morality is the foundation of a fine and fulfilling relationship.
Where to draw the line between moral and immoral? We need not even go as far as infidelity. Is lying always immoral, for example? What if you help someone against your partner’s consent?
Well, there may be no set-in-stone rules for all situations, there are only guiding principles. There is someone you can ask who will never misguide you. And that ‘someone’ is your conscience. When in doubt, ask your conscience. It is easy to drown out the voice of conscience in the loud rumbles of desires or justification. However, you do so at your own peril, at the cost of your own peace and bliss, it may even cost you the relationship.
If you are not the type who can provide moral security, you should seriously consider not entering into a long-term relationship.
That is all there is to a relationship: the four securities.
Marriage is about giving, sharing, and togetherness.
If both partners can act like grown-ups, half the problems will disappear, and, if they can be there for each other, the other half never even appear. If you decide to be happy, no one can stop you.
Marriage, with its price, continues to be a sacred institution like no other. It is like a gym membership; if you really want to, you can go to the gym and work out, make friends and stay fit. However, if you are lazy or cannot find time, membership alone is not going to bestow good health. Similarly, if you want bliss, joy, togetherness, and dependability from your marriage, you have to work for it. Here is an article on 5 Ways to Improve your marriage.
“Do you know mum,” the new bride told her mother, “he gives me everything I ask for.”
“That merely shows,” replied her mother, “you are not asking for enough.”
It is easy to ask, to want, to have, to expect, be sure you are at ease to give and share as well. Nature will reciprocate. It always does. And what if you feel, you are the only one giving in a relationship and you are not getting fulfillment from your relationship? Refer to my last post in that case.
Take care of yourself and each other.
The bond of marriage is a sacred one, one that is capable of withstanding the fiercest tests of time.
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The questions below will provide a deeper insight into the marriage institution that is, even today, a societal landmark:
How do I keep my partner happy in marriage?
The easiest way to make someone happy in a marriage, or otherwise, is to appreciate them. When you make it a point to appreciate each other, the newness never fades away. And when something remains new, you never get bored of it. And when you don’t get bored, you never take it for granted. And when you don’t take the other person for granted, your relationship can never wither away. Yes, never. It’ll continue to blossom and spread fragrance. Appreciation is gratitude in action. By keeping the other person happy, you help yourself remain happy too. Read more here.
What is the secret of a happy marriage?
The truth is building compatibility is a mutual effort for a happy marriage. If you open up to the possibilities, you start adapting to each other’s tastes. While it doesn’t happen overnight, it does come about eventually. Put sincere effort, noble intentions, kind words, and honest actions into your relationship, and you’re rewarded accordingly.
The only caveat, and an important one at that, is that it only works if it’s a joint effort. That’s the key to a happy marriage. Read more here.
How do I save my marriage?
When marriage becomes a contract of responsibility in which the other person is constantly watching out for you, such a marriage is doomed to failure. Why? Because one day he or she will get tired. A sense of tiredness creates distance in a relationship.
If you really want to help yourself and make your marriage work then you must forget all about being possessive. Give freedom to each other so that you may create a positive environment that’s conducive to mutual growth. In that free environment, love and friendship will flourish as creepers do on strong trees. Read more here.
Am I being a bad parent in choosing to leave an abusive marriage?
First of all, there’s no clear evidence to suggest that children brought up by single parents turn out any less in any way compared to those with both parents. Some of the kindest and most adorable people I’ve known were raised by single parents. Never for the sake of a child or for any other reason should you ever put up with a partner who mistreats you.
If you don’t move out of an abusive relationship, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Help yourself. A life of dignity is your birthright. Don’t discount it. Read more here.