(Picture from CK Hon's blog)
What is the buddhist perspective on upholding the institution of marriage? Should a married couple strive to keep their marriage intact in spite of numerous hurdles and challenges? We are a small family of 'dormant' buddhists. My wife and I constantly argue due to numerous financial constraints and she cites my irresponsibility as a reason to leave me. She has moved out from our home and is filing for a divorce. As a buddhist, should I be trying my level best to avoid this situation (divorce)? Thank you.
Thank you for asking me.
I too always argue with my wife, and many times over very petty matters. I am very lucky to have a very patient and loving wife; she loves me without imposing any condition. Many times I acted like a fool, and she patiently waited for "time" to be my teacher. I am just fortunate and "lucky" to have such a wife. But how many are as lucky as me?
The Buddha taught us to live a noble and harmless life, by keeping the 5 precepts. Easier said than done. We are all foolish mortals always making mistakes and hurting others. In the end we hurt our own selves. The change has to come from us and not from the other party. We have to face facts squarely and see and realize what we have done wrong, why we are in this predicament. It is very easy to put in words as wise advice, but in reality it is much more than that. This is not a marriage counsel web site, which will be more pertinent to your present predicament. What I can comment is that all of us have faults. Perhaps it may be easier for us to try to correct our faults as best we can, and hope that the other party can understand she may have her faults as well. When both parties can come to terms with each own's faults, the situation may improve for the better, as the atmosphere for reconciliation is there. It is a win-win situation.
AS Buddhists we always try to understand our own weaknesses, and make amends should there be. In this way the other party may sympathize with us knowing that we are trying our best to live a harmonious life. We don't have to be Buddhists to know the importance of family life. All of us know. It is a secular commitment of both parties to live together harmoniously and to raise a family in a happy and loving home. The family is at stake, the children need the loving and harmonious family relationship to grow up to be a happy and confident lot. I speak with experience, for I know what it is like to grow up in a hostile and problematic family. For the sake of the children if nothing else, I would make great effort to safe the marriage and the family. The ball is at your feet, so to say. Have courage to say you are sorry and have the wisdom and compassion to forgive.
I am sorry I am of not much help but just to share with you my thoughts. Please take care, for the sake of the children.