Newsletter 09 Volume 1
Vaisnava Family Resources is the educational and networking website of the North American Grihastha Vision Team.
Our mission is to strengthen, enliven and support spiritual family life. Some of the Purposes of the GVT are to provide premarital and skill-building training, to offer courses, workshops, and publications to support family life, and to train mentor couples in many centers.
At the Festival of Inspiration in New Vrndavan this coming year, May 8, 9, 10, 2009, the Grihastha Vision Team is hosting the 1st ever Vaisnava Marriage and Family Fest. At this Vaisnava Marriage & Family Fest, the GVT will be:
- conduct relationship and youth workshops and panels
- provide resources for families, marriages and children
- showcase comedy and humor about the practical realities of Marriage and Family life
- honor and acknowledge Vaisnava couples who have been married at least 12 years and are currently in a healthy marriage.
- and, from the many couples who will be acknowledged in a beautiful GVT ceremony, five couples will be selected for enrollment in the Vaisnava Marriage and Family Hall of Appreciation.
We're inviting all Vaisnavas to attend; there will be something for everyone at our Vaisnava Marriage & Family Fest.
Featured Article: The Nectar of Commitment
By Partha dasa, ACBSP
For some reason unknown, I have always been fascinated by Artic and Antarctic adventurers. I live in Canada, at Saranagati where winter weather reaches -25C (-10F) and occasionally -40C (-40F). At such times I feel driven to put on my woolies, step into cross country skis, challenge the adverse weather and go off into the wilderness for hours.
My wife is a substitute teacher at the Saranagati School. One afternoon as I waited in the school reading room for her, relaxing on a cozy sofa, a book on a nearby shelf caught my attention. It was a compilation of true tales of northern adventures.
To pass the time, I started reading a section about two men, best of friends, who ventured across a desolate part of Greenland. For the cross country ski expedition, which lasted several weeks, they carried supplies in heavy back packs and on sleds they laboriously pulled. Half way into their adventure, things became difficult. The weather was bad, and their relationship became strained. They began to annoy each other to the extent that one adventurer expressed how his nerves were acutely grated by the constant squeaking of his partner’s boot during their 10 hour daily treks.
When the trip was over they both laughingly admitted the pressures and strain had been so enormous that each had thought of shooting the other with the rifles they had carried in the event of polar bear attack. However, commitment and sanity triumphed; they made it to the end. Ironically the adventure greatly increased the bonds of their friendship.
Commitment is an attitude that “no matter what, I’m in this relationship for the long haul”. Feelings of commitment are generally very strong in the first stage of relationships which often culminates in taking marriage vows. Things that erode the feelings of commitment include unresolved conflicts and unmet needs and expectations which lead to feelings of disappointment and frustration.Learning good communication and conflict resolution skills can help strengthen our feelings of commitment in our marriage. Other things that strengthen commitment in our marriage include regular spiritual practices, association with devotee couples who value their relationship and quality time together.
Read the entire article: vaisnavafamilyresources.org/content/nectar-committment
Dear Grihastha Coach
Dear Grihastha Coach,
I’ve been in a boring marriage for the past three years. There are no children involved and I’ve had it with this marriage. I’m just not feeling affection from him or for him. He’s not physically abusive or anything like that but there is no excitement and we both engage in very separate activities. I think he’s somewhat emotionally abusive though because we hardly talk and I have a need to communicate!
I think that Krsna will be more pleased if my prabhu and I call it quits. But some devotees say I have not given it enough time. Others say that I shouldn’t have to put up with his behavior and since we don’t have children, it’s alright to divorce before we both get too bitter. This is Kali-yuga and we can’t be expected to live up to the standards of the ancient devotees. I’m still young and I will be able to find a husband that is more compatible. What do you think?
Ready for a new spiritual relationship
Your letter raises many questions. What is your definition of a spiritual relationship? What made you think you were compatible when you first married your husband? What does he think of you? A true spiritual relationship is based on commitment (devotion or dedication that takes up time or energy), trust, acceptance, patience and cooperation. You say you think Lord Krsna will be more pleased if you and your husband call it quits. However, on what basis do you say this when His representative, Srila Prabhupada, actually said the opposite? He said Krsna is pleased when His devotees who have made marriage vows before the Lord and the devotees, honor those vows for the duration of their lives. Although we are not nearly as qualified as the ancient devotees, still certain basic, minimal standards have been given to us so that we can make nice progress in spiritual life and we can do it, because of the sacrifices of our beloved Srila Prabhpada and the predecessors gurus and compassionate devotees.
- We can be committed to stay for the long haul in our marriages (in the absence of physical, severe emotional or verbal abuse). Commitment in a marriage generally means divorce is not an option.
- we can pray for patience and then act like our prayers have been heard,
- we can try to understand the mood and feelings of our spouse,
- we can see the fault in ourselves and work on those before we make a big deal out of other people’s faults,
- we can give others what we want from them,
- we can get help to improve our relationships.
All marriages have high moments and low moments and they take work. Sounds like you and your husband could use some help in working on your marriage. Some assistance with healthy relationship skills, some help in defining your goals, some better understanding of how to apply spiritual principles in your marriage and how to start from the beginning to establish a new, different relationship with the same old spouse. Please see the GVT website vaisnavafamilyresources.org for articles and resources. Try to find an experienced Marriage/Family Educator or Therapist to assist you and your prabhu - you will probably be surprised that your boring marriage can become a peaceful, healthy, loving one by the grace of the Lord.
Your Grihastha coach
When our relationship is going through a rough spot, I remember........
..Now you are married to her, there is some obligation according to our Krsna consciousness or Vedic system. These things cannot be taken so lightly, otherwise the whole thing will become a farce. Simply getting married without considering what is the serious nature of married life, then if there is a little disturbance, or if I do not like my wife or my husband, let me go away, everyone else is doing like that. So in this way the whole thing is becoming a farce. You say that your 'association together was hindering your advancement.' But Krsna consciousness marriage system should not be taken in that way, that if there is any botheration, that means something is hindering my spiritual progress, no. Once it is adopted, the grhastha life, even it may be troublesome at times, it must be fulfilled as my occupational duty. (SPL to Madhukara, Jan 4, 1975)