for ISKCON News on April 4, 2012
“Mata, I am just a little scared. How will I find right devotee spouse for me? I don’t want to marry the wrong person.” This question in one form or another has been asked scores of times. Getting married fulfills many responsibilities and needs, especially for God conscious people. Though we may be surprised to know, marriage is a sacrifice and also a gift from the Lord. It may be said that Nature is satisfied and man is satisfied by the act of marriage. Nature gets what she wants—the perpetuation of the species in a supportive environment and people get what they want—enjoyment.
For Krsna devotees, finding the right mate may be a little tricky. On the one hand, a devotee wants someone who will walk the path of devotional service with him or her. On the other hand, we are sentient beings with individual likes and dislikes, preferences, karma etc, and so we have desires that sometimes conflict with our best spiritual interests or we may choose someone based primarily on external, superficial attributes. Therefore, getting some help to select a mate is important.
In times past, parents and/or other elder relatives would pick a mate for their dependents. This concept of arranged marriage worked pretty well. Especially, when people were trained in progressive community life. They were encouraged to see the larger picture, where one fit in as part of extended families and the focus was not on the “me” but rather the “we or the us”. Romantic love, in the beginning of marriage was not so much emphasized and people who married learned to love one another with depth and feeling through shared experiences, serving one another and working together.
Today, particularly in western society, there are more nuclear families and media bombardment of overly romanticized and unrealistic relationships occur without cessation. In this atmosphere, any number of non-marital relationships are acceptable: cohabitating, “shacking up”, very, very temporary, non-committed intimate dealings, etc. Frequently, infatuation is often the grounds for getting together and is often mistaken for love. When they do get married, people all too often marry for the wrong reasons, have children and sadly get divorced.
With mother and father bearing the primary responsibility for raising the children there is little help from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even close neighbors. This strains the marital ties even more because the latter relatives would make up the village that is necessary to raise children. And, unfortunately, especially in western culture, marriage is not honored as it was in older times.
Yet for a person who is looking to live a principled, God-conscious life, marriage is the only acceptable, scriptural means of union with a male and female. Done properly, marriage can be a pleasant, spiritually enlivening and happy experience and provides the best environment for raising children. In a marriage where husband and wife view themselves as servants of Krsna (and each other) and where they cooperate to carry out familial duties on this basis, there is growing respect, appreciation, communication, consideration and teamship. Men get tremendous spiritual benefit for lovingly caring for and protecting Krsna’s ladies and children and women get heaps of spiritual benefit for being a chaste, caring and dedicated wife and mother.
There are devotees who want help in this rather daunting task of finding a suitable spouse. The Vaisnava Marriage Services Registry is one of the services that was created in response to the need for some assistance in helping sincere devotees find compatible mates. We encourage people to get premarital education and enter into a “Prepared” marriage. This works for our time, place and circumstances because while many no longer have “arranged” marriages, at least they can have a “prepared” one. For information on how to register for this service and more details see the website www.dzfi.org or email us at Krsna@dzfi.