Marriage, Career, Love, and Family

Question

There is a person I love but his family wants a housewife while I’m a doctor. There is another person my parents have chosen whose family is supportive of my further studies but it’s hard to imagine this other person as a life partner for me. Should I choose the career, other person or stay single my whole life?

—A, India

Answer

Dear Friend,

Since time immemorial the question of marriage, career, and family have engaged humanity!

Here in America, the first question would be: ‘What does the man I love want’ (rather than ‘What do his parents want?’)?

But in India, the question of the approval of parents and family is of greater importance. I understand that.

Nonetheless, your note doesn’t indicate if the man you love also loves you in return AND whether he is willing to marry you and support your career EVEN IF his family does not approve! Seems to me that you both need to have a talk!

As to marriage to someone chosen for you – well, again in America that would be unheard of while in India it is the (former) tradition. But from your note I would surmise that you do not wish to marry someone you do not know or love. So, it would seem that that option is not really an option at all!

This leaves the ‘staying single’ option! But there are other options as well. If you continue your studies (or medical practice, I’m not sure which), you will very likely meet another person. You need not consider your career as requiring you to be single!

You didn’t state in your email but DO YOU WANT TO BE MARRIED? DO YOU WISH TO HAVE CHILDREN?

I’m staying right now in the home of dear friends who are of Indian parents.  They are BOTH doctors and have TWO lovely children!

Learn to consider this mantra: BOTH-AND! (not EITHER-OR)

I cannot imagine giving up your career because your future in-laws do not approve of it. After all, you may be ‘in love’ now but everyone knows that this state doesn’t remain long after marriage. I don’t mean to be cynical, I’m just saying that the realities of our personalities (and karma) are such that the feeling of ‘being in love’ cannot sustainably be the overriding feeling and state of being beyond an initial phase. Thus, one must be cautious about how much of one’s life interests one is willing to toss overboard at the ‘drop of a hat!’

Therefore: 1) pray for guidance; 2) meditate daily and get calm; 3) ask your ‘love’ what choice or sacrifice is HE willing to make as it relates to disappointing his parents and family?

How important to you is your career?

Be wise and think long-term. As we say in America, “There are plenty of fish in the sea!” If not now, then later, you may meet the one who is destined to be your life partner.

Have you ever discussed with his family the issue you have raised? Have you met them? Are you otherwise compatible?

These questions I know are complicated and if you wish to communicate further, we’d be happy to do so.

With unceasing blessings, may the Light of Divine Wisdom shine upon you!

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA