“Feelings of affection may come and go, but as foundational, there should be respect for each other and care for each other.” – Radhanath Swami
Physically we care for each other by providing with necessities: housing, clothing, health and other physical needs. But emotional care is also very essential: we have a responsibility to each other to make each other happy. Everyone needs appreciation and everyone needs encouragement.
So many ladies come to me and say, “My husband doesn’t care about me; he doesn’t like anything I do.” And when I go to the husband I ask him, “Do you care about her?” and he says, “Yes of course.”
“Do you like what she does?”
“Yes, I love what she does.”
“Do ever tell her?”
“Why should I ever tell her? She should know!”
But unless she is on a transcendental platform, your spouse is not going to know what you are feeling unless you tell her.
I learnt a lot watching my mother and father. My mother used to say, “I cook three hours every night and your father doesn’t even like it.” Then would ask my father, “Do you like…..” And he would say, “I love it.”
“Did you ever tell her?”
“Well! I think I did… maybe I didn’t; but she should know.”
“But she doesn’t know!”
Communication is so important. Sometimes in marriage we communicate with everybody except the person we are living with. That communication – honest communication, where we really do express our appreciation for each other, express our affection for each other, express it in such a way that we encourage each other – it is very critical for a proper relationship.
Radhanath Swami quotes the example of Ram and Sita
“These examples may seem extreme. But models are usually extreme. It is the principle that the two of them embody that we should strive to imbibe: devotion to each other and devotion to dharma.” – Radhanath Swami.
Ram was banished to the forest for 14 years. He told Sita, “You please stay here under the care of my mother and father, and I’ll be back in 14 years.”
“I am coming with you.”
“Not possible. You are a princess! Your whole life you have lived in beautiful palaces. If you come with me, we will be living on the ground, under the trees. You wore the most beautiful silks. If you come with me, you’ll be wearing the barks of trees. You’ve been eating the finest meals. In the forest, there are just raw herbs and whatever fruits we happen to find on the trees. And you have been protected on all sides, but in the forest there are snakes and there are scorpions and there are lions and there are tigers and there are all kinds of wicked people. It is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. You have to stay home.”
“For me, to be with you in hell will be like heaven. To be without you in heaven would be worse than hell.”
This was her dedication. Ram was still trying to dissuade her. And ultimately she said, “When I got married to you, my father made a promise that through hard and easy, through prosperity or poverty, I would be with you. Ram you cannot make my father a liar. I am coming with you.” And she came, and she endured all those things on the basis of that dedication.
“Now in India every husband likes his wife to be like Sita, but very few husbands want to be like Ram. But it has to be both ways.” – Radhanath Swami
What was Ram’s faithfulness? What was his dedication? When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana – Ram he was so beautiful, so handsome, there would have been millions of beautiful princesses who would love to be his wife – but Ram searched in the forest for Sita for one full year. And ultimately, for Sita’s welfare he fought an entire world war, just to give happiness and protection to his wife.
These examples may seem extreme. But models are usually extreme. It is the principle that the two of them embody that we should strive to imbibe: devotion to each other and devotion to dharma.
Now over to you! Please share your experiences and realizations about relationships in the commenting section below.