Sunday, June 10, 2012

Marriage and Friendship

A friend of mine recently posted on FB, asking whether Friendship was a subset of Marriage or vice versa! An interesting thought that set me on self reflection. In my case the sequence and set arrangement is simple... friendship came first, marriage in between and friendship continues... to be the super set! But why then do we see all around us failed marriages and failed friendships? What is the formula for a successful relationship? My guide in this regard was actually things taught by my parents and very aptly role modelled by them, and in some cases demonstrated by their non compliance of the values. Some of them which I was able to sort, assimilate and imbibe were:

Friendship first
It is important to be a friend to any human being... caring, compassionate and empathetic. Brought up in a home   that was always open to friends and visitors, emphasised to me early on the importance to be there for others. Most friendships are built on a healthy balance of give and take, but what I learnt from the way my parents lived was this: Give without expecting anything in return. Be it the unmeasured rice being cooked for lunch, or meetings with friends at odd hours, even leaving a meal to attend to phone calls... all acts of Buddhist compassion.

Marriage is an agreement
Marriage can be either through love or by arrangement. In my parents' case and mine and all my siblings, it stemmed from a relationship of love. However, witnessing the relationship in my parents unfold taught me things to be done as well as things not to be done. My mother, a victim of marital ignorance, taught me one thing that in a way connects to the above. Be good to your woman and give her all the attention and care she deserves. Marriage is an agreement to live by social norms, to live together in spite of differences, to agree to disagree, to fight and make up, to make adjustments and compromises and when children come into the picture, make sacrifices. And yet, in spite of all its low points, people commit to marriages, almost as mundanely, as buying a cold drink to quench one's thirst on a hot, summer afternoon! Unless, marriage is firmly founded on friendship, the journey that needs selflessness at its core, can often get rough and sometimes dirty. Unconditional love is idealistic and one feels it only for one's own child... but one must strive to give and give in marriage without expecting much in return, to make it successful. Much like one would do in friendship

Do good to others and God will do good to you
An intuitive trust in a super power has always guided my pseudo religious mother and atheist father. Taking religion out of the picture, and replacing it with the beliefs, ideals and thoughts of Tagore would probably be more befitting. I learnt to have faith from my mother, and to question from my father. Together, these qualities, are like a double edged sword... a useful weapon on my inner journey to find Buddhahood. 

Summing it all up, a life without compassion, is a life fraught with the devilish emotions of greed, insecurity, possessiveness, jealousy and hate, which can not only wreck a married relationship, but also do the same to a good friendship! 


sandeep ingilela said...

What a fantastic post, it looks it is written just for me. Thanks.

Chandreyee said...

Can't resist one of my signature 'hmmmmss' :)... how come you left out love out of both friendship and marriage? Over used and a trite image the word might have garnered but it still exists as the ultimate glue!