for ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry on April 26, 2013
The Supreme Lord Himself established the Varnashram system so as to maintain a balance in the human society and enable us to cultivate higher consciousness, irrespective of which social and/or spiritual order we find ourselves. Amongst the four ashrams most of us would readily agree that the Grihastha Ashram (house holder) has a lot of responsibilities attached and thus taking up this ashram must be a well-planned, organized and spiritually guided action. The Grihastha Ashram is meant to support all other 3 thus it has a responsibility to the “ashram order’. The individuals have responsibilities towards each other thus having ‘internal responsibilities’, and also responsibilities to the social system in which the individuals find themselves.
Needless to say, we need to be prepared before taking up this service and responsibility. In this regard we, the Congregational Development Ministry, would like to assist youths and intending Grihasthas by providing them with useful information from experts in this field. This edition will cover “Identifying a potential spouse” (from www.vaisnavafamilyresources.org ) .
A Potential Spouse: 7 Important Qualities to Look For
Physically, psychologically and spiritually we will go through many changes in the natural course of our lives and our marital relationship may need to adapt accordingly. Yet some basic, vital qualities are present throughout all healthy marriages. Let’s look at seven of them in relation to our potential spouse and ourselves.
If you have been to a circus you may have seen a tightrope walker constantly adjusting his long pole to keep it horizontal. Without these readjustments, the performer may lose his balance and fall. Similarly, by avoiding extreme views or behaviors that will throw us off our chosen life path, we can remain mentally, physically and spiritually balanced. And we can choose to marry a similarly balanced person.
Respect is crucial to any relationship. A person who respects others will not neglect to respect you, while one who is harsh and critical will, sooner or later, most likely exhibit that same behavior toward you.
3. A good listener
Most relationship problems stem from poor listening habits. There is a saying: “Seek first to understand before trying to be understood.” Our tendency in conversation is to be thinking about what to say next rather than attentively hearing what is being said. If your potential partner and you are either good listeners or committed to practicing the skills necessary to become good listeners, your marriage is more likely to succeed. Good listeners are usually also respectful and balanced individuals.
Look for a person who can admit his or her mistakes, apologize, and make amends for hurtful actions. If we marry Mr. or Ms. Right (they always think they are right), it is difficult to have a satisfying relationship. Humility is good for a relationship and is also a key factor in spiritual progress.
5. Faithful to the Supreme Lord
Faith, the foundation of all spiritual practices, increases individual self-fulfillment and happiness and brings peace and harmony to a marriage, family and community. Research shows that marriages are stronger and more rewarding when both spouses are committed to their personal spiritual development.
6. Free from Addictions
Avoid persons who have excessive attachment to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, computer games or television. Such addictions often overshadow relationships with family members, friends and the Lord. Although counseling and spiritual practice can help addicts, it is risky to start a relationship with the hope of changing another person’s behavior.
Although no two people are 100% compatible, the more compatible you and your future spouse are the easier it will be to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings and the greater the chances that your marriage will be lasting, fulfilling and harmonious. Compatible people have similar natures and share many of the same interests, values and intellectual and philosophical aptitudes. By spending time together you can get an idea of how well the two of you get along, but before attachment sets in, consult people who know the other person well and consult a qualified astrologer.