Special circumstances aren’t necessary. People become very object-oriented about this, thinking that they have to do a retreat. Mostly, we need to apply the Dharma to our minds now, in the moment. Also, people think, “Enlightenment someday. Someday I’ll be enlightened.” But it’s more about cutting in this very moment, applying selflessness, pure motivation and view in the present tense. H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche said not to talk about having done three, six, or twelve year retreats, but instead to remember that all of life is Dharma. It must be practised every day, every minute.
So within that context, the marriage could embrace my travelling with Rinpoche, the retreat, and whatever might present itself to foster progress on the path and enhance realization. That is what is important to us. If there is that common aspiration towards each other’s enlightenment, it’s a little easier to make joint choices and decisions in this direction. You create a track record, a continuity and a mutual support of each other’s practice, which doesn’t exclude having a marvellous loving relationship. Then you can use the marriage itself as the path. Of course there are challenges along the way — struggles with the mind, learning our limitations and weaknesses, but when you really need to cut attachment, you can do so joyfully and dedicate the merit. When you need to serve and support each other, it’s not like serving 2.2 cups of tea one week and demanding in return your 2.2 cups of tea the following week. The ledger system of marriage doesn’t produce happiness.
If you are practising it’s pretty obvious, because changes begin to happen which people notice. They want to be happy, and when they see that you’re more content with your life, that you have a glow or quality about your being, they naturally want to know how you got it. Then it’s just a matter of sharing that — the quality of life that you’re beginning to cultivate by listening to the teachings, contemplating and meditating.