A previous SC member brought up the example of Nakula’s mother and father.
One discourse address to Nakula’s mother and father reads as follows:
“Bhante, since I was young, when the young girl Nakulamātā was given to me in marriage, I do not recall ever transgressing against her even in thought, much less by deed. We wish, Bhante, to see one another not only in this present life but also in future lives.”
The housewife Nakulamātā in turn said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, since I was a young girl given to the young householder Nakulapitā in marriage, I do not recall ever transgressing against him even in thought, much less by deed. We wish, Bhante, to see one another not only in this present life but also in future lives.”
“Householders, if both husband and wife wish to see one another not only in this present life but also in future lives, they should have the same faith, the same virtuous behavior, the same generosity, and the same wisdom. Then they will see one another not only in this present life but also in future lives.”
Both husband and wife are endowed with faith,
charitable and self-controlled,
living their lives righteously,
addressing each other with pleasant words,
Then many benefits accrue to them
and they dwell at ease.
Their enemies are saddened
when both are the same in virtue.
Having practiced the Dhamma here,
the same in virtuous behavior and observances,
delighting after death in a deva world,
they rejoice, enjoying sensual pleasures.
Due to discourse such as these, it seemed to me that both a belief in rebirth and Buddhism could be helpful in providing guidance for marriage and marital purposes.
What do you think?
I would go step further and say that all conditional phenomena are not permanent. Marriage is a conditional phenomena. Thus, marriage is not permanent.
I agree with the sentiment of what you said.
Yes, such “fictional stories” of spouses are a part of cultural Buddhism.
But what I had in mind when I wrote that was the guidance provided by Buddhism for sustaining happy marriages - and perhaps real life examples of beings who were able to use Buddhism to prepare themselves to attain Nibbana together suitably and in due time.
Just to draw a contrast, there are various other possibilities of relationships in today’s world, such a casual dating, involuntary/forced arranged marriages without consent of both partners, careless choice of unsuitable marital partners that ends up leading to divorces (no one really expects they would get divorced down the line), domestic abuse and violence, marriages done for reasons besides mutual love/choice (see discourse comparing Brahmins with dogs) - such as for money, status, etc., among others, etc. I.e. countless versions of marital unhappiness.
The point is that people are having relationships and getting married anyway. I agree, at least conceptually, that marital happiness (in the broadest sense of the phrase) is not even worth a fraction of unconditional happiness.
But wouldn’t it be worthwhile for beings who are interested in dating/getting married anyway to at least turn to Buddhism for guidance regarding this issue?
Thank you very much for sharing you perspective on this issue - I myself am evolving my perspective based both on what I am trying to learn from the Dhamma-Vinaya as well as other perspectives kindly shared by those in the early Buddhist community.