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September 2019
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How to keep a good marriage

Being a monk who grew up in a different environment, it may prove to be difficult to explain how to keep a good marriage as everyone would like. I personally think that, being a monk, I need to keep all my precepts as purely as possible. It may sound easy to many, but once you are in, it is not a laughing matter anymore. I suppose the same logic applies to the marriage contract. First, you are trying work things out between two different individuals, which may be even harder and complicated. For instance, it is like trying to match two different colors to create a unique look and the outcome is not in our hands. Second, once you have a beautiful look, now the difficult part comes into play: how to keep it and why it is important. There are many things involved in marriage. Love, patience, and honesty play the most essential roles. Of course, we are in Samsara, which means that we are sitting on a thorny cushion, not in a comfortable chair. Happy and unhappy moments come and go, but you have chosen each other to mutual share love, care, and respect, similar to that which we received from our parents. Now you wish to share with this each other and eventually with your children. Indeed, it is a wonderful opportunity to have in your hands. After all, the purpose of life in my opinion to be happy and to share happiness with others, without causing harm to anyone else. From a strictly Buddhist point of view, for lay people marriage gives opportunities to bring your learning about Buddhist doctrine into everyday life, and I think you both have to be sincere, honest, respectful, understanding, and loving to each other as much as possible. It is up to individuals how good you can be, however we must give it our best shot because if you always wait for a second chance, then you are already losing. I personally think that you need to share everything in life, but at the same time everybody should have their own space to reflect, mend broken promises, and contemplate how to be better next time. The problems arise due to jealousy, wrong assumption and encroaching into someone’s private space. Most importantly, you should not think of each other as property. You are still different, but are trying to make a unique one. Hopefully, what I have said can be helpful, and please do not think that what I mentioned is the only right solution, because others also can offer wise solutions. Boston . 12/9/13