Is marriage a help or a hindrance in spiritual and intellectual pursuits?
Marriage teaches a person to love another person. According to the Bible, loving our fellow humans and loving God are the two things we are expected to do.
Marriage also implies the responsibility to bring up children, which is one of the great privileges of life.
A person contemplating marriage may wonder whether she/he will get solitude and peace of mind. Well, solitude is desirable, but not for all the time. A married person can remember Kahlil Gibran’s suggestion: Let there be spaces in your togetherness.
What do authors and spiritual leaders say on whether one should get married?
Leo Tolstoy suggested that it is best to stay celibate; but if one cannot do so, one should get married and be faithful.
As the vast majority of people are not inclined towards celibacy, marriage seems to be better. Swami Sivananda said: “Great rishis of yore were married but they did not lead the life of passion and lust. Married life, if lived in an ideal manner, is no bar to the attainment of Mukti.”
Marriage brings with it the responsibility to do a lot of work. One cannot remain all the time contemplating.
Swami Vivekananda said that a householder has to struggle to acquire two things: knowledge and wealth (for which work is essential).
One gets little or no payment for activities like social work or chanting. A married person may find things difficult unless she/he has a like-minded spouse who is willing to sacrifice material comforts.
Nirad C. Chaudhuri warns a person who plans to write serious books may face problems if the spouse loves to socialise a lot or objects to pursuits that do not bring in wealth. And, where there is marriage, there is quarrel. One must keep this in mind before getting onto the bandwagon of marriage.
Until such quarrels go to the point of break-up of one’s marriage, one should take them in one’s stride. At times, they strengthen marriages.