Chapter 7: The Nature of Longing
Hence wherever arranged marriages have disappeared and love marriages have become prevalent there is more frustration. In an arranged marriage your expectations are not very big; it is not a romantic affair at all, you are not hoping to reach to paradise through it. It is a mundane phenomenon, arranged by your parents, grandparents, arranged by the society, the family, the priest, the astrologer, arranged by others. Your dreams are not very involved in it. Hence the arranged marriage moves on far smoother ground: it has no peaks, no ups and no downs. It is just like a plain superhighway - not even an Indian one but a German superhighway. Nothing grows on it, it is dead; made of asphalt or tarmac or cement - utterly dead, but safe. It is not a hilly track. You are not moving in the unknown. You can have a map and there are milestones everywhere, pointers indicating where you are, where you are moving, how far the destination is, how far you have moved from your place. Everything is clear; that’s how the arranged marriage functions.
And if the arranged marriage happens when you are just a small child, with no idea of love, of sex, of romance, then you start taking your wife for granted or your husband for granted, just as you take your brothers and sisters for granted. Nobody ever thinks of changing one’s mother. If the marriage happens when you are a child, a small child, then you never think of divorce. You grow together; the husband and the wife grow together just as brothers and sisters grow together. They have lived together so long, as long as they can remember.
When my mother got married she was only seven years old. My father was not more than twelve years old. Now what dreams are possible? What can they hope for? In fact they were enjoying the whole show of marriage, they were enchanted: the music, the bands and all kinds of fireworks - it was a really enjoyable experience - with no idea of what they were getting into. And by the time they became aware they were already rooted; they had become indispensable to each other.
But in a love marriage it is going to be difficult. In America, out of two marriages one is going to be shattered. That is the proportion of divorce: one divorce out of two marriages. And remember, the one marriage that has not shattered is not moving in a joyous world; it is not moving. It is simply because of cowardice, security, safety that people go on clinging. As they become more courageous, the divorce rate is going to become higher and higher, it is going to become bigger and bigger.
Why do love marriages fail? - for the simple reason that there is deep expectation and it cannot be fulfilled. Soon you have to realize that you have been a fool. Soon, even before the honeymoon is over, the marriage is over. It may linger on.it depends how much courage you have. If you are a coward it may linger on your whole life. If you are courageous and if you can see the point you may divorce immediately after your honeymoon is over because the marriage will also be over, because you will have seen that all those illusions that you were carrying were just illusions. You were living in a world of rainbows, you were living in a world of poetry, not of reality.
But Sartre is not right when he says that the other is hell.but in an unconscious way he has come very close to the truth.
The buddhas say: “Not the other but the desire for the other is hell.” To make the other responsible is a very common characteristic of human beings. One of Murphy’s maxims says: “To err is human and to blame the other for it is even far more human.”