[THROWBACK] Youth Adult's Seminar《HAPPILY WED!》 | 29 OCT | SUN|

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Wondering what kind of Buddhist teachings would fit in the modern day marriage life, I attended the seminar in hope to gain some pointers which might come in handy one day and more perspectives of this intricate dance of life for two.

Beyond romancing and post-honeymoon, come messy diapers, in-law struggles and the woes of everyday life. When that all-special magic fades, when glitter settles like dust to ground and when the entirety of that person is seen; habits, beliefs, quirks, behavior, how long can one hang on? How does a couple hold on?

The journey of the couple invited, Patrick and Mei Lan started as individuals on different ends of the character spectrum – a Type A marrying his quiet and reserved polytechnic classmate. Sometimes the person we end up with may just be someone totally different from ourselves – the quick floor poll also suggested that there are many readily identified differences more so than similarities. 

By observing the merits of her other half, she came to see a fundamental aspect of Patrick that she resonated with – that he too, is really a well-intended kind soul.

Like most marriages, there will be times of conflicts and arguments and in this one, Mei Lan attributed how learning and applying the teachings of Buddhism bit by bit, helped to inject loving kindness into her core beliefs. By observing the merits of her other half, she came to see a fundamental aspect of Patrick that she resonated with – that he too, is really a well-intended kind soul.

But the power struggles are real, just like in any relationship, there will be times when we try to control or try to change our partners. Realizing she can’t change him via her own efforts, the next best thing she could do was to introduce the good teachings to him. With a common ground, further discussion on applying them to everyday life would be easier.

With both of them learning something common, the duration and frequency of conflicts shortened. This too, was in part due to the fact that you always have the choice and you always can make a decision to start by changing yourself first. From learning and looking from another perspective, Patrick changed and rose up to become a dutiful father. Through mutual discussions and dharma workshops, both of them learnt to be better individuals and partners in the face of an additional member. For the child mirrors the role models around them, and so, they too, had to change and try to be an exemplary example to their child.

...take into consideration that in the heat of the argument, neither party would be rational to consider the facts or feelings of the other half.

When a member of the audience asked about the dilemma of addressing issues head-on (which might result in further escalation) versus the common route of going “cold-war” on each other, one suggestion was to take into consideration that in the heat of the argument, neither party would be rational to consider the facts or feelings of the other half. One of the redeeming ways, when enough time has passed for both to calm down and reflect, would be to think things through, be the first to apologize and express the hurt via text messaging. Both parties will talk about it and in the process, understand and become closer to each other. Over time, such incidents will become less frequent and we can minimise the hurt to our loved ones.

...in times of crisis with our spouse, our own mothers, having heard good and positive things of our spouse, might offer an intervening ear, preventing any foolish decision made upon unfounded, biased judgement made at the spur of the moment.

One of the secret tips shared on building good relationships between the spouse and the in-laws is to sing praises. On behalf of your spouse, comment on certain good qualities to one’s own mother, e.g. Patrick might mention to his mother that Mei Lan thinks that his mother cooks well. This will effectively create a happier environment for all the stakeholders in this union.  Let your side of the family know about the good points and strengths of your spouse. This becomes important, when in times of crisis with our spouse, our own mothers, having heard good and positive things of our spouse, might offer an intervening ear, preventing any foolish decision made upon unfounded, biased judgement made at the spur of the moment. Family members, around us, can remind us of the good in our spouses in times of tension. 

Even in marriage, we can all live with compassion for one another.  Communicate , compromise and cherish the little and seemingly mundane things our partners do for us as they are but acts of love too.

Learn and change. 

Apply and be better. 

Keep it glittering.

Wishing you love,
Paper Cup

Yan Ru Teo