Sheikh Nasiruddin approached to the Oud master about receiving music lessons.
“Certainly”, replied the Master, “the first lesson is 20 dinars, then the following lessons are each 10 dinars.”
“Great!”, replied the Sheikh. “I’ll start with the second lesson.”

From the outset, your marriage may be imbued with intensity, depth, commitment, and spiritual fervor. You may both commit yourselves to growth and sadhana as a couple, and endeavor to realize the greatest love possible going forward. You may have received “advanced” training and initiations in Tantra Yoga. You may consider yourself adept in amazing ways. But no matter how powerfully you may start your marriage, you will eventually enter inner territory that will be difficult to navigate, encounter forces that will be hard to contain, face challenges deeper than you have heretofore known. It will require mettle and skills that are only gained over time from the sustained work of life, such as raising children, making a house, negotiating the challenges of health and finances, learning to share power, experiencing ego-surrender, and perhaps most importantly doing the little things day in and day out that renew your love, again and again. Your initial potent thrust of love is not a substitute for the effect that the everyday work of navigating the shared interior spaces of your hearts, of dealing with conflicts and negotiating your needs and boundaries, of learning to embrace and transcend the many dimensions of your egos, will have on your souls. New couples reading this may be dismayed, but it is pretty well guaranteed that over time you will be pushed to your limits, you will find yourselves at the end of your rope, through years of life, marriage and parenting. The good news is that there is a ripening, a deepening that occurs from this work, that you discover new resources within yourselves, dimensions, new skills, and greater capacities, to hold and celebrate the power of love. It takes effort and practice to become familiar with the deeper territory of one another’s souls, and to comfortably meet one another in those places. There is an important strength gained from traversing “thick & thin” times.

The following essays delve into subjects that can be so challenging or powerful, they require that you have the capacity to endure pain and the skill to navigate complex challenges. It is not that you cannot explore them early on, as they may present themselves to you at any point in your marriage. But you must respect the power of these dimensions that can break your marriage apart without the inner resources that build over time. We believe that crises in your marriage are actually profound gifts, to be respected, embraced, and met. It is through these times that you recognize and receive your most precious lessons, awaken to your deepest power, perceive your most beautiful truths, undergo your greatest personal growth, and recognize your true divinity. The maturity you gain will allow you to magnify your practices, gifts, and your love ever stronger. This is the power of an awakened marriage: to transform you, so that you may light the world and serve as a blessing to all.

Next essay: Expanding Your Vessel

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