Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, Florida, U.S.A.
October 4, 1998 (Originally in English)
We expect our partner to be this or be that, to do that or do this. And when they don't do it, we're disappointed. When they aren't the one we like, we're disappointed and get hurt and all that, and we get out of the relationship. But the relationship is not meant for you to expect the other person to do what you want. It is for you to do what you want yourself, to be who you are, to show what you are, how good you are, how you want to be and what kind of person you want to be in that relationship or marriage. You might want to be a good wife, a "super-wife," the tolerant one or the faithful one. It's what you want to be in your role, and not expecting from your husband all the time what he's going to be, how he's going to act toward you or how he's going to talk to you.
But that's the problem with marriage; you've got it all wrong. You think, "Okay, now I've met him or her, and my life is changed. It's fantastic. He or she is going to make me happy." This is not true! You are going to make yourself happy or not in that relationship. But most of the time, we expect our partner to make us happy, to be the one that we like in our picture. And that's the problem. We forget to be what we want to be. We forget to make an idealistic kind of agenda for ourselves. Instead, we make an agenda for our partner, a kind of appointment or picture for our partner to fit into. And then both expect the same way, and that's why things fall apart.
We've got it all wrong. In whatever situation, we have to check ourselves only. What are we going to do with this situation? What are we going to be? What do we want to show? Which part of goodness do we want to present to the partner or to the world? It's not the partner who has to present us with anything. Whatever he or she wants to present, that's their problem. Our problem is just ourselves; it's always us. But most people, when they are married or when they have a partner or a friendship, they pay all their attention to the other part, the other half, and check it out: "Oh, he did it wrong. She did it badly," or "She's no good. He is not nice." Forget that! We have to check ourselves. We are the one who is important. Any relationship, any situation is for us to learn, not for the other person. The other person is only a catalyst, an excuse for us to exercise our power and our imagination about ourselves.
That's the problem. That's why marriages often don't work. So check out your marriage and revise it. It's not about your husband or your wife, but about yourself, what kind of person you want to be, or what you want to show him or her in this relationship. And if he reacts well to it, fine. If he or she doesn't react well to it, there's not much you can do about it. But just check yourself, see if you're still balanced, if you're still on a good track and if you are OK or not. And if he stays with you, he stays; if he leaves, he leaves. You can't do much. You cannot pay all the attention to him and then lose yourself and forget. Then the more you pay attention to him or her, the more you go wrong. And then, he or she criticizes more, and it becomes worst!