This post is in response to some mails I get regarding having a good marital relationship. I agree with my readers that having a good marital life is important in reaching God. Within the Hindu tradition, when two heterosexual people marry, they are exhorted to seek God together. Sex is seen as having both a procreative role as well as bringing two people as much together in spirit and body as possible. In this post I address three issues regarding married couples: their spiritual lives, their intellectual lives and in my mind, the most important ( if the first two are to be lived in harmony), their sexual lives.
The man is no longer the boss of the family. If anyone still thinks in this manner, I pity the guy. A man who cannot share his financial decisions with his wife is to be pitied. The usual excuses are that finances are the business of the men for women are too dumb to understand investments. I say, two hoots to that. a woman has the right and duty to be part of financial decisions of a family and should be aware of what the financial condition of the family is. Spiritual harmony is possible only later and if the couple as a unit is immersed in the day to day functioning of the family. So both of you need to sit down and take financial decisions together. Then spiritual intimacy will follow. How can you pray together when you are out of sync in more worldly matters?
See movies together. Go for walks together. Read the same newspapers. And have a time of the day, in spite of having kids who demand all the world from you, kept aside for sharing all your daily stories. And thus become the best buddies of each other. Share novels you read with each other. And share your trivia. Nothing is too trivial to tell your spouse.
Now matters better avoided but nonetheless crucial:
a) Many men suffer from pre-mature ejaculation. Safe medicines are available to prolong erection. Sometimes SSRIs are prescribed and they are quite useful. Counselling and relaxation techniques work best when augmented with medicines.
b) Couples need to develop their fantasy lives. This can be done by experiencing erotica ( visual/written/oral) together. I feel that one should avoid destructive on-line relationships etc. Couples can experiment with role-plays, BDSM, and write erotic letters to each other. Erotic on-line chats, phone sex between each other can pep up a couple’s sex lives.
c) Women and men who are naturally frigid may need anti-depressants after consulting psychiatrists and then some counselling. Please understand that regular sex is the best thing you can have to cement your personal equation with your spouse. God-seeking cannot be an escape route from committing to a healthy sex life. It is just the reverse; from a healthy sex life springs the resources to move together towards God. The Upanishads equate the orgasmic urge to the creative force of the Godhead.
d) Couples should give freedom to each other to have other friendships. Jealousy finishes off every vestige of mutual respect and sharing.
e) Affairs are so crude and destructive that I cannot stress enough about how one must NEVER even contemplate one. Look at it this way, if you are unhappy with your married spouse today, tomorrow you will tire of another person. The idea is not to have new partners who will supposedly understand you better. The idea is to understand your partner better to the point when you can lay your life down for her/him. St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer about not hankering for being understood rather than understanding is apt here.
f) Exercise, meditate and eat nutritious food to have good sex. Make it a part of your day. Don’t take your spouse for granted. Spontaneity has its uses but routines too have their utilities.