Buddhism, love and marriage

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

~ Kahlil Gibran

I read an interesting article today on the Buddhist notion of love, and it’s really made me pause and re-evaluate my concept of what love is… and what it should be.

I must admit that in love, I can turn inwards, become insular, and all consumed.  However I am coming to realise that love is really about helping one another to face outward, not merely inward.

“In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” There’s no two candles, two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another, completing one another (Jerry Maguire) and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction and even then they never show, they just tell), the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this:

Two friends (who want to make out constantly) facing the same direction together, symbolically east—the direction of the rising sun—as in our awakening, fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit.

Waylon Lewis

I realise now that love is about more than the 2 people involved.  It’s about loving each other enough to give each other freedom.  And I know that’s an old cliché “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free. If They Come Back They’re Yours”.  However the older I get, and the more experience I have, the more I see the truth in this statement.

But it’s not just letting them go, it’s about giving them freedom always.

It’s about sharing life together, but apart.  Maintaining individuality whilst  nurturing a relationship.

And that’s a balance.  Too much “together” is stifling.  Too much “apart” and really what’s the point?

I guess love is about having the internal strength to say to your other half: “be free.  Do your own thing, and I will do my own thing.   I give you the space to be yourself, to do what makes you happy, and I will do the same.  And yet I will be loyal to you, to our relationship, and to our future.  At the end of the day I will come home to you, and to us “.

It’s about spending as much time nurturing yourself  as you do the relationship.  Creating a strong foundation within yourself – so that you bring strength and stability into the relationship instead of looking for that in your partner.

“PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.” Gerald Rogers

Maybe this is truly the way to build a strong relationship.



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18 responses to “Buddhism, love and marriage

  1. Such truth and wisdom. I always believed and did this.

  2. brendamarroy

    Part of my journey in relationships has been to see my need to take a hostage, instead of establish a relationship. As I continue to heal my life I notice I have less need to have a hostage and more need to have a beautiful, supportive relationship. I appreciate Kahlil Gibran’s words. Thank you for posting this. Hugs to you. Brenda

    • Oh Brenda, there is so much wisdom in what you have written! I notice that in relationships I tend to give 110%, or even more. And that full 110% goes to the other person, leaving nothing for myself. Then when it ends, I’m left completely broken. My intention going forward is to have a bit more balance. Much love to you, Meg

  3. This is an insightful post, especially ensuring that we are protector of ourselves.

  4. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    My Beloved was much more in tune with this wisdom since the beginning of our marriage 34 years go. It took me a long time and considerable effort and discomfort to evolve to it. Ultimately, we both found we needed to adjust expectations, and find the sweet spot between too much time together and too little. But when we found it and stay within it, it can be sweet indeed.
    With Love,

  5. I love the writings of Kahlil Gibran. I introduced his writing to my kids and one of the had his “Speak to us off Marriage” story read as part of their wedding ceremony. Nice article, Russ. beebee

  6. This was very interesting for me… I could never protect myself and was hurt a lot in love. But now I have found the perfect person I don’t want to protect myself and DO feel one.

    I guess like everyone it is personal. I think if I had protected myself I would have avoided a lot of pain in my past BUT without having my guard completely down I wouldn’t be experiencing the perfect marriage I am now… AND another side to it is would I have been able to have this relationship if I wasn’t made stronger by all the previous pain?

    It is all very complex. I guess I would choose to live 1000 lives of pain for this 1 life of bliss with my husband.

    Thank you for the lovely and interesting post! 😀 x

    • Oh Lauren, that’s so thought provoking! And so true! Although the pain of the last relationship breakdowns seemed unbearable at the time, it has lead to great strength and growth, and I wouldn’t change it. Those mistakes have made me who I am today. And hopefully one day the same kind of bliss will be waiting for me. I am so happy for you :-). Much love, Meg

  7. Lovely post 🙂 Really enjoyed the perspective though i think it is probably people (myself included) may find hard to do at times.

  8. Reblogged this on dharma | yoga arts and commented:
    This insightful post on nurturing love and skillful understanding in our relationships offers a timely contemplation for practice as our sanghas at Just B Yoga and the Lansing Area Mindfulness Community are, respectively, exploring mindfulness of feelings–working with difficult emotions and experiences–and preparing for LAMC’s annual Day of Mindfulness with Jack Lawlor, who will give a dharma talk on “Mindful Communication, Mindful Relationships.”

    As we apply the foundations of mindfulness and bear witness to what arises in the form of sensation, thought, word, image, impulse, and subsequent action, may we skillfully and compassionately discern the shape and sensations of love, fear, doubt, rage, disappointment, compassion and equanimity in our bodies, hearts, minds and relationships. May we listen deeply and see clearly into the heart of our intentions that they nourish and sustain skillfulness in our thoughts, words, and deeds.

    ❤ dhammamama

  9. Reblogged this on Fresh Melons and commented:
    Khalil Gibran ❤

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