And how to make them work
Relating is at the core of our existence, we relate to our environment and to each other. But we have almost limitless ways of relating and all relationships stem from how we relate to ourselves and the world.
The most important relationship that we can have is the relationship with ourselves. Unless one is peace in one's own heart and mind, there can be no successful relationship with anyone and little success in life.
This is because human life and our understanding of reality has been corrupted. In our search for happiness we have looked up to religions, we have followed some very strange beliefs, we have learned to manipulate and capitalise on life, and in the process, we have forgotten that we are life.
We have come to think of ourselves as being separate from life on earth and somehow have the right to manipulate life. Yet our bodies are made of the dust not only of the earth, but the entire universe. Our bodies are made from all the minerals in the periodic table which also compose the universe. So how can we think of ourselves as being separate? It is only when we see ourselves as being part of life and part of the universe that we can arrive at a state of mind that is peaceful.
There are four states of existence; the lowest is misery, the foundation is peace, then we have happiness followed by joy and bliss. Anyone who exists in misery which is a form of entrapment within suffering, there can be no successful relationship with anyone and no real success in life. Anyone in this situation must at least find peace as when peace is found, there is the potential for happiness, joy and bliss.
Therefore the basis of all relationships between men and women are to perpetuate our species while the secondary aspect is physical pleasure. Then lastly we have the economic arrangements for our basic survival within modern society.
“We need to think about our own faults because if we are not aware of them we shall not be motivated to overcome them. It was through constantly examining their minds for faults and imperfections, and then applying great effort to abandon them, that those who are now enlightened were able to release their minds from delusions, the source of all faults. Buddha said that those who understand their own faults are wise, whereas those who are unaware of their own faults yet look for faults in others are fools.”
— Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”
The real key to any relationship is in self awakening and bringing oneself to a state of pleasantness which is independent of anyone else. In other words, if your spouse is miserable for some reason, that should not bring you down even if you are blamed as being the cause. But if you are blamed as being the cause and that blame is appropriate, then you need to face the fact and take some action so as not to repeat.
Self awakening means following the path of the yogi or the Buddha and working to generate happiness that comes from within instead of being depended on the behaviour of others for your happiness.