Beauty and the Beast,Tamas (philosophy),Evolution,Marriage

Beauty and the Beast: The Higher Purpose of Marriage

January 16, 2017

he other day, I was lucky enough to observe an elderly couple taking a stroll along the river in Princeton, their steps totally in sync. You could see they had been together a long time. They hardly spoke, communicating their togetherness in more subtle ways. Eventually they reached a park bench overlooking the river, pulled out a flask of tea and some sandwiches, and together enjoyed their little feast in perfect silence. Their movements were so in tune it seemed for a moment like one person was moving. The way she poured the tea was full of gentleness and care, as was the way he received the cup. They ate their sandwiches and enjoyed the stillness of the riverside. They had reached a stage in their marriage of purity in connection and communion. Did this happen as a result of a life full of perfect harmony and ease? I doubt it. Did they have arguments about how to discipline their children, and how much money was spent last month? Probably. Most couples evolve to this stage in their relationship by going through struggles and difficulties, by sacrificing their personal wishes, and by raising children, grandchildren and sometimes great grandchildren. This is the other end of the spectrum from the heady days of the young love of newly-weds, when a couple is much more physical and verbal in their demonstration of love. That is, if there is love in the relationship. We will get to that later on. So which one is better – the exciting early days of romance, or the halcyon days of an elderly couple? This seems like a silly question, given that it is obvious they are different stages in the evolution of a marriage, both relevant and both important. It would be a silly question, except for the fact that today most marriages in the West, and an increasing number in the East, do not last the distance! It is worth examining why. What comes between the beginning and the end? Why is it that in today’s world so many marriages end in divorce? Is it because marriage is an outdated institution? I would say “No,” it is because we do not understand the purpose and stages of marriages, and the nature of love. It is easy to see how problems happen. The daily grind of modern life is not kind to relationships. Often both parents work long hours in order to save enough money to pay for their children’s education and buy a house, and city dwellers are bombarded by all sorts of environmental pollution and stress. So by the end of a hectic day, there is little energy left to take care of each other and be kind. But do you think this is any harder than living with war, famine, plagues or slavery – all situations that existed for our ancestors? We can easily blame circumstances for the failing marriages of today, but in many ways human beings have never had it easier. It is also that after the joyous whirlwind of a wedding, there comes the reality of living together, accepting each other’s imperfections and learning how to adjust to the new dynamics of a relationship. When two imperfect beings come together, there is bound to be some friction and adjustment....

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