Live-in Relationships: How Much Does Commitment Matter?
Sadhguru answers a question on whether a live-in relationship is at par with marriage, and looks at how commitment matters in a relationship.
Sadhguru: I thought marriage is a live-in relationship. (Laughter) So (Laughs)… Isn't marriage a live-in relationship? Are they living separately? (Laughter) There are some marriages like that, I know, but… (Laughter) First of all, we must understand why are we forming a relationship? Right now, this… In your language, the West has seeped in too strongly in your language because in… somewhere in your mind if you utter the word ‘relationship,’ you're only thinking about sex-based relationships - that’s not how it's been in this country. When we say ‘relationships’ in this country, we thought we have a relationship with our parents, our friends, our brothers, our sisters - all kinds of relationships. But if you go in the West and you say ‘a relationship’ it means body-based relationship. First, drop that idea - relationships can be on many different levels, isn't it? Why are we making only one particular relationship so important against the other? Yes, it is also an important relationship, but not against the other, isn't it? But right now, slowly we are building this Western ideology that this relationship versus the rest - it need not be so. The reason why in this country, you know, marriages have been very stable, not always because two people were getting along great, not always. Because, when they got married a few thousand people got married along with them; bride and the groom were a small aspect of the marriage (Laughs), there were so many other people involved. Now, if you have to break it, you have to break it on all levels, you can't break it. You know, your father and his father or your father and her father may be having such a wonderful friendship, you can't break it now. Even if you want to break it with your wife, you can't break it because the whole family has joined up in so many ways, it's not just about two people.
Is this good or bad? See, in the course of living together, people…, today you got into some kind of situation in the evening, today you thought, ‘This is it, I don’t want to see your face again - finished.’ But tomorrow morning you're again in love. Hasn’t this happened to you any number of times? Yes? If there is a whole lot of people around you, when that evening when that feeling came, ‘That I don’t want to see your face again,’ at that moment if you pack up and leave, it's finished; you can't come back tomorrow morning. But now there's a whole lot of situation that you can't leave, you stayed on, tomorrow morning everything is wonderful. Unfortunately most human beings are still like this, isn't it? They can't be so aware and every day, they can manage everything beautifully - that’s not how it's going, life. Isn’t it so? Ugly things happen, isn't it, in beautiful relationships? Don’t they happen? Even in most beautiful relationships ugly incidents are happening. Isn't it so? To sustain those moments of ugliness, you need some support system. If there was… just two idiots are there, they’ll break. (Laughs) So, once children come it gets little more difficult, but before that all the others are important. (Laughs) So, what is this new thing about living… live-in and marriage? So, what you are saying is, ‘I’ll walk out whenever I feel like it,’ isn't it? That’s not good for anybody. This is a huge load on human consciousness - there is no emotional security.
I think United States of America… Just recently I was addressing a group of people just a week ago and I was telling them one big reason… They were talking about the economic meltdown, ‘Why are we not productive? Why is it that this has happened?’ I said, ‘One important thing is there's no emotional security for the man and the woman. You go out, when you come back you don’t know whether your home will be there or not. You don’t know whether your wife will be waiting for you or not’ - this is there on most people’s minds; at least fifty percent of the people’s minds. With this level of insecurity, your husband goes to the office, you don’t know whether he’ll come back or go away with the secretary. When this emotional insecurity is there, you cannot focus on anything. People cannot be productive when there is no stable emotional situation for themselves. Here, we fixed the marriage in such a way, no matter what happens, you can't break this. It doesn’t matter what stupid things you do, you still have to come back to that place - that gives a certain sense of security. There may be lot of ugliness in the situation but still there is a stability where you can focus on what you're doing. Two-three generations of people built a great nation, but I think the last generation if you… I'm, I don’t want to make a comment about a nation just like that but this is a fact in many ways - if you pick up… at random if you pick up twenty people on the street in United States, if you ask them what they're doing, three people are massage therapists, another three people will be lawyers, another three people will be doctors, another three people will be basketball players and about six-seven of them are actually doing nothing. About three or four or five people are productive people, they're doing something, creating something. The number of people who are truly contributing for the society’s well-being, percentage of people, has dwindled in that nation either because of too much affluence or too much ideas about freedom and whatever nonsense, you know. If you look back on how that nation was built, those two-three generations worked so hard and got empty land to become a great nation, but now in the last twenty-thirty years, this has become the phenomena. So, affluence need not become a bane in your life, it should be a boon in your life, isn't it? Isn't it? Moving from poverty to affluence, the journey, whether it's for the individual or the society or the nation is not a small journey, it's a hard journey; after getting there, all you create is pain for yourself, all you create is insecurity for yourself.
So, when you say marriage versus live-in, what is it? Uncommitedly you want to live in, that’s all, isn't it? You don’t want to live in a committed way. I don’t think living in a uncommitted way together is a good thing nor is there any… I'm… I'm not saying marriage means some pujari (priest) has to come and say a mantra for you, but it must be a committed relationship. If there's no commitment, there's no real sense of respect. When there's intimacy, there must also be respect for the other person’s body, mind and everything, isn't it? When you say, ‘I'm not committed to you, whenever I feel like it I’ll walk out’ there is no sense of value and respect for the other person, isn't it? So, marriage is not some fairytale thing happening nor is it happening in heaven, it is just a statement of commitment that, ‘I'm with you,’ isn't it? If you're against commitment, no, I don’t think that’s a good thing to do. It will not bring the stability that you're seeking out of that relationship. If you're just looking for pleasure, it's up to you, but if you're looking for a stable situation it takes commitment. Without commitment there is no stable situation. So, marriage is not performed by somebody - that is only for social reasons. Marriage is between two people that there is a sense of commitment, ‘I'm with you’, isn't it? Whether we actually go through a ceremony or do not go through a ceremony could be a choice, but I don’t think there's a choice about whether we are committed to each other or not, then you will never know the joy of being together; it'll always be a calculation, isn't it? It'll always be a calculation, isn't it, ‘What can I get out of you, what can you…’ Once there is ‘What can I get out of you?’ a relationship cannot be beautiful.