What makes relationships unsteady — and how to make them steady?

Suppose two countries with drastically different values come together because of some extrinsic factor such as fighting against a common enemy. They may fight together temporarily, but as soon as that common enemy is subdued, their mutual differences will resurface and undermine their relationship. 

What applies for national relationships also applies for human relationships. We often form relationships based on some extrinsic factors such as looks or bank balances. But soon the initial hormonal attraction wanes with familiarity; then the fate of the relationship rests on the values they share. 

Almost all cultures throughout history recommended marriages within one’s social group, be it caste, race, or class. That’s not so much because of a sectarian mentality that is suspicious of outsiders, but because of an implicit recognition that people belonging to the same social group are more likely to have shared values. 

Of course, that specific criterion may not apply so much in today’s world because urbanization and globalization have made social groups diffused and diverse. Still, the principle remains that shared values are far more important for a sustainable relationship than initial attractors such as looks or finances. Among various shared values, especially sustainable are shared spiritual values because the spiritual is enduring. Such values give us a focus that is enduring . 

The Bhagavad-gita (10.09) states that those who are centered on the ultimate spiritual reality, Krishna, delight forever in discussing his glories and enlightening each other through discussions. Because the Divine is all-pure and all-purifying, a relationship based on the shared value of spiritual service can be not just enduring and enriching, but also uplifting. 

One-sentence summary:

Relationships become sustainable when they are grounded in shared values, not in extrinsic factors.

Think it over:

  • Traditionally, why were marriages recommended within one’s social groups?
  • Why are relationships based on shared values more sustainable?
  • Why are spiritually centered relationships most sustainable?

***

10.09: The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.

 

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  1. Thanks for the audio and podcast.HARE KRISHNA

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