You need to be clear about the foundation on which you want to build your marriage. You need to have the right values properly in place and focus on the essential elements. Values are like the rudder, the underwater blade at the stern of the ship, controlled by the helm. Without that rudder, the ship can easily shipwreck and sink. Srila Prabhupada explains that “the scriptures are the rudder” (Renunciation Through Wisdom, 5.1) Our values should align with the scriptures; the goal of life, the way to achieve perfection, our own sense of identity should be based on the Vedic information.
Values are the principles that are important for you. Strong spiritual values are essential for a Krishna conscious marriage. You need to identify your motivations, your inner beliefs about marriage, and see how they align with scriptural knowledge. When you are on the shore, desiring to set out, proper values will inspire you to prepare for sailing in the right direction. And those values will keep you sailing on the right course when the storms come. If the temporary, flickering pleasures of the senses is what is important to you, your marriage will likely be sunk by difficulties.
A marriage based on egoism, on the obsession for economic security, or on social convenience is bound to bring unhappiness. Everything based on passion (rajo-guna) turns into pain later. The physical appearance, the economic conditions or the social status of you and your partner may change. Your personality and attitude may evolve. And – all of a sudden – the reasons that brought you together may evaporate and disappear. Circumstances are constantly changing. Our likes and dislikes, our attraction and our repulsion are subject to constant transformation.
You may like someone very much for their sense of humor, thinking how entertained and happy you will be with him; but then you might be bothered by it or feel annoyed and think, “Why can’t he be serious for a change? Why does he need to make jokes out of everything?” Or his sense of humor might just disappear as circumstances change. Marriage actually requires a strong spiritual foundation, a solid sense of duty, patience and tolerance.
This is an excerpt from the Bhakti Marriages Course “Get Ready for Married Life for Women” from ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, prepared by Sri Radha Govinda Dasi.