I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot, particularly since reading this epic marriage advice.
I’m a 36 year old single male and it seems to me that all of my friends are either married, engaged or divorced.
Not me. I’m not married and never have been. I like the idea of marriage when it represents a commitment between two people in a loving relationship. But not when you feel pressured into entering marriage.
This is why I found the wisdom of Osho on the subject of marriage so thought provoking. He explains what he sees as the problem with marriage, how it’s become a battlefield and why it’s a way to avoid being comfortable being alone.
For the single people out there, take solace and read on. For those of you who are married, hopefully these words will help you remember why you got married in the first place and connect with this from a place of true love.
Over to Osho.
Is marriage about a union of soul mates?
“Is the concept of soul mates more useful than marriage? Concepts don’t matter. What matters is your understanding. You can change the word marriage to the word soul mates, but you are the same. You will make the same hell out of soul mates as you have been making out of marriage – nothing has changed, only the word, the label. Don’t believe in labels too much.
“Why has marriage failed? In the first place, we raised it to unnatural standards. We tried to make it something permanent, something sacred, without knowing even the abc of sacredness, without knowing anything about the eternal. Our intentions were good but our understanding was very small, almost negligible. So instead of marriage becoming something of a heaven, it has become a hell. Instead of becoming sacred, it has fallen even below profanity.
“And this has been man’s stupidity – a very ancient one: whenever he gets into difficulty, he changes the word. Change the word marriage into soul mates, but don’t change yourself. And you are the problem, not the word; any word will do. A rose is a rose is a rose…you can call it by any name. You are asking to change the concept, you are not asking to change yourself.”
Marriage has become a battlefield
“Marriage has failed because you could not rise to the standard that you were expecting of marriage, of the concept of marriage. You were brutal, you were, you were full of jealousies, you were full of lust; you had never known really what love is. In the name of love, you tried everything which is just the opposite of love: possessiveness, domination, power.
“Marriage has become a battlefield where two persons are fighting for supremacy. Of course, the man has his own way: rough and more primitive. The woman has her own way: feminine, softer, a little more civilized, more subdued. But the situation is the same. Now psychologists are talking about marriage as an intimate enmity. And that’s what it has proved to be. Two enemies are living together pretending to be in love, expecting the other to give love; and the same is being expected by the other. Nobody is ready to give – nobody has it. How can you give love if you don’t have it?”
Marriage basically means you don’t know how to be alone
“Without marriage there will be no misery – and no laughter either. There will be so much silence…it will be Nirvana on the earth! Marriage keeps thousands of things going on: the religion, the state, the nations, the wars, the literature, the movies, the science; everything, in fact, depends on the institution of marriage.
“I am not against marriage; I simply want you to be aware that there is a possibility of going beyond it too. But that possibility also opens up only because marriage creates so much misery for you, so much anguish and anxiety for you, that you have to learn how to transcend it. It is a great push for transcendence. Marriage is not unnecessary; it is needed to bring you to your senses, to bring you to your sanity. Marriage is necessary and yet there comes a point when you have to transcend it too. It is like a ladder. You go up the ladder, it takes you up, but there comes a moment when you have to leave the ladder behind. If you go on clinging to the ladder, then there is danger.
“Learn something from marriage. Marriage represents the whole world in a miniature form: it teaches you many things. It is only the mediocre ones who learn nothing. Otherwise it will teach you that you don’t know what love is, that you don’t know how to relate, that you don’t know how to communicate, that you don’t know how to commune, that you don’t know how to live with another. It is a mirror: it shows your face to you in all its different aspects. And it is all needed for your maturity. But a person who remains clinging to it forever remains immature. One has to go beyond it too.
“Marriage basically means that you are not able yet to be alone; you need the other. Without the other you feel meaningless and with the other you feel miserable. Marriage is really a dilemma! If you are alone you are miserable; if you are together you are miserable. It teaches you your reality, that something deep inside you needs transformation so that you can be blissful alone and you can be blissful together. Then marriage is no more marriage because then it is no more bondage. Then it is sharing, then it is love. Then it gives you freedom and you give the freedom needed for the other’s growth.”
Marriage is an attempt to legalize love
“Marriage is something against nature. Marriage is an imposition, an invention of man – certainly out of necessity, but now even that necessity is out of date. It was a necessary evil in the past, but now it can be dropped. And it should be dropped: man has suffered enough for it, more than enough. It is an ugly institution for the simple reason that love cannot be legalized. Love and law are contradictory phenomena.
“Marriage is an effort to legalize love. It is out of fear. It is thinking about the future, about the tomorrows. Man always thinks of the past and the future, and because of this constant thinking about past and future, he destroys the present. And the present is the only reality there is. One has to live in the present. The past has to die and has to be allowed to die…
“You ask me, ‘What is the secret of remaining happy and married?’
“I don’t know! Nobody has ever known. Why would Jesus have remained unmarried if he had known the secret? He knew the secret of the kingdom of God, but he did not know the secret of remaining happy in marriage. He remained unmarried. Mahavira, Lao Tzu Chuang Tzu, they all remained unmarried for the simple reason that there is no secret; otherwise these people would have discovered it. They could discover the ultimate – marriage is not such a big thing, it is very shallow – they even fathomed God, but they could not fathom marriage.”