These days we are also preparing our Tibetan wedding. We have decided to get married in Lhasa by means of a Buddhist ceremony and then travel through Tibet and Nepal somewhere in May.
- Supporting one’s father and mother
- Loving one’s wife (or husband) and children
- Being generous and having a sense of duty
- Helping relatives and acting blamelessly
- Reverence, humility, contentment, gratitude and listening to the Dharma
Clearly the idea of duty and support needs to be understood in the context of Indian society where the extended family is quite important and a sense of maintaining traditions a priority. However, it can also be seen that developing these attitudes will also help someone towards achieving Enlightenment as each of them will gradually lead to a person becoming less focused on their own needs and more towards those of others. It is this attitude which will ultimately lead to greater compassion for all living things (for more information on this see An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics (GCSE)).
It is also important to note how marriage and family provide opportunities to apply the The Five Precepts
To refrain from killing or harming living things.
To refrain from harming another human includes making sure one's actions do not lead to emotional suffering. In the context of marriage both partners should make sure the other knows how much they are valued. There should be a positive attempt to always express appreciation for the other person. Taking someone for granted is the root of many problems between a husband and wife.
To refrain from taking what is not given.
In this modern age of an increased sense of equality between men and women it is important that duties in the household are shared. It is wrong for men to presume that only women should take care of the family and the home. Assuming such an attitude may take away from time the woman has the right to spend elsewhere (E.g. Meeting friends, hobbies, relaxing, chatting with their partner...).
To refrain from sexual misconduct.
Applied literally this means husbands and wives should not have affairs (see below). However, it could also apply to the quality of their sexual relationship. Sex should be a natural expression of closeness between a husband and wife and should reflect the quality of their whole relationship. A good sex life normally means one has a good relationship. Doing things the partner may not wish to do, or insisting on sex when the other person does not want it, are examples of 'unskillful actions' which can lead to emotional suffering. This is clearly against the first precept. (For more on this see Buddhism and Sexual Ethics.)
To refrain from false and wrong speech.
Marriages should be based on truth. Neither partner should hide anything from the other (unless it is to do with buying a present!). Also, neither partner should be afraid of saying anything to the other. Many marriages fail because one or both partners have been afraid to communicate their true feelings about the other person (or the quality of their relationship). HOWEVER, speaking the truth does not mean being nasty! For a Buddhist, speaking the truth would have to be balanced by the first precept. It is possible to do tremendous psychological and emotional harm to a person simply by what you say to them.
To refrain from drink or drugs which cloud the mind.
For a Buddhist remaining clear minded is important as it keeps them focused and allows them to remain in control of their feelings and emotions. Many affairs have begun due to drunken antics at an office party. Many partners have also been the subject of abusive behaviour at the hands of a drunken spouse.