Today is our anniversary. Easy to remember, since Laurel and I got married on St. Patrick's Day, 1990. That makes 32 years we've been husband and wife. Or as Laurel might say, wife and husband.
Another thing 32 years of being married will do is teach you a lot. (Actually, I've been married for 50 years, since my first marriage lasted 18 years; Laurel had never been married before.)
My theory is that if Buddha had really wanted to learn how to be selfless, he should have gotten married rather than going off on his own as a wandering sadhu, seeking his own spiritual development.
Enlightenment is easy compared to living harmoniously with someone for a long time. Not completely harmoniously, of course. If two people always got along perfectly, I doubt they would be human. More like robots, since friction comes with every close relationship.
When I met Laurel, I was smitten not only by her beauty and wonderful personality, but also by how easily she and I could talk with each other.
And not just about easy subjects. Difficult ones also.
I'm convinced that the key to a satisfying marriage, or indeed any relationship, is honest communication. Two people are going to disagree about many things. Laurel and I frequently debate whether we should do this or that.
But we rarely lose our temper with each other. Sometimes, just not often. We listen to each other. We do our best to compromise. We understand that while we have a lot in common, we also see the world differently.
Which is natural.
If two people were exactly alike, they wouldn't be in a relationship, but in something else that defies description, since it is impossible for two humans to be completely identical -- even identical twins.
By contrast, during the 35 years I believed in God, eastern religion variety, I never had a disagreement with God. Sure, that was because there's no sign of God. Impossible to have an argument with a nonexistent being.
So when religious believers are all proud because they have a personal relationship with God, I laugh at their folly. They have a personal relationship with an imaginary God.
It's hugely easier to get along with a fantasy companion than with a real life companion.
This is why I look upon my 32 years of being married to Laurel as being much more of an accomplishment than the 35 years I was devoted to a guru and the God he taught his disciples to worship.