July 4, 2021 | By Li Qingyin
General Xu Yun of the Three Kingdoms period was engaged to the daughter of palace security officer Ruan Gong. As the marriage was arranged, Xu never met his wife until the wedding day. On that day, he was flustered upon seeing her looks and refused to go into the bridal chamber.
It happened that the treasurer of the state, Heng Fan, came to visit him. Xu shared his disappointment with Heng. Heng persuaded him that for the Ruan family to marry their daughter to him, there must be something extraordinary about her.
With an anxious heart, Xu went to the bridal chamber, only to be disgusted upon seeing his bride. He turned around and was about to run away, when she grabbed him. Xu asked her, out of the four virtues of a woman—speech, morality, appearance and needlework—which one she was good at.
She replied to him, “Out of the four virtues, I just don’t have an attractive appearance. But for the virtues required of an intellectual, which ones do you have?” Xu responded that he had them all.
She said to him, “For an intellectual, virtue and morality are most important. But you prefer appearance over morality, so how can you claim that you have them all?”
Xu was embarrassed by her words. He also understood that she was a virtuous woman. From then on, they respected each other and lived a happy life together.
From ancient times to the modern day, mutual understanding and respect can be found in many long-lasting, harmonious marriages. Instead of placing so much importance on physical appearance, one’s inner beauty and kindness is what brings couples together.
While Xu’s story dates back to nearly 1,800 years ago, Liang Yusheng (1924-2009) of the modern times might have found some similarities in his own marriage.
Liang was a famous author of martial arts novels. His books Romance of the White Haired Maiden, Seven Swordsmen and others often portray tragic love stories. But in reality, he and his wife were together for 53 years. Their marriage was happy and fulfilling.
When Liang was 32 years old, he was already the chief writer of Hong Kong’s Ta Kung Pao and a writer for several newspapers. Seeing that he was single, Li Zongying, the deputy editor-in-chief, enthusiastically introduced his wife’s niece, Lin Cuiru, to him.
When Liang went on a blind date, Lin was 26 and a civil servant who made twice the salary of Liang. She was warm and generous, but he did not immediately fall for her.
Later, they met a few more times by arrangement, and Lin began to buy the New Evening Post and read “The Dragon and the Tiger in Beijing,” which Liang had serialised. Liang also gradually saw the kindness of Lin, as she volunteered at a church every weekend and had done so for five years.
When Liang went to the hospital for nasal polyp removal, Lin went to take care of him. She also picked him up when he was discharged from the hospital. He got down on one knee and implored, “I am poor, but as long as I am diligently writing, I can support you. Will you marry me?”
After eight months of acquaintance, Lin, who came from a prestigious family, married Liang. After the marriage, Lin continued her loving, caring, and supporting nature even though she saw her husband’s shortcomings. Instead of trying to change him, she continued taking care of him and encouraging him to do what he was good at.
Liang stopped writing at the age of sixty. He took his wife traveling around the world for three years and immigrated to Australia, which was her favorite place.
Sacrifices and Mutual Understanding in Marriage
In any relationship, each person’s personality, character, and shortcomings will inevitably surface and might cause tension, misunderstanding, and resentment. How one deals with it may determine how successful the marriage is.
Katja fell in love with Heinz at the age of sixteen, and a few years later she entered into marriage with her first love as she wished. However, with the birth of three children, who took up all of her time and energy, the couple grew apart and their marriage was on the rocks.
Heinz often went out alone. Viewing Katja as only the mother of the children, he even thought of looking for a new companion. Katja realised that her marriage was in crisis. She was worried and depressed, and she lost confidence in herself. She worked hard every day to take care of her husband and children, but she could not get attention and affection from her husband. She felt lost.
A long-lost friend brought her Zhuan Falun, the main text of the ancient spiritual and meditation discipline Falun Dafa, and its music and instructional video of the exercises. Katja and her husband finished the book in two days. Katja felt it was the most amazing book that she had ever read. She realised that she had also played a part in the marriage crisis.
“I must have hurt him at some point in some past lives or treated him badly, or inadvertently did something to set the stage for today’s situation. Through this new realisation, I am slowly changing my victim mentality. How could I hold someone else responsible for a failed marriage? I realised that the victim mentality was actually playing a role, and it was hard to say who was absolutely right or wrong, and the only thing I could do was to change myself.”
“For example, I often found it difficult to express my feelings in words, while my husband was more interested in hearing clear and straightforward answers. It took me many years to understand this. Now that I no longer insist on my point of view, we are more attentive and appreciative of each other, and our relationship has gradually improved until it became completely harmonious.”
Self-cultivation and meditation in Dafa helped quiet her mind and look within. When she was able to reach tranquility, she was able to see what thoughts were still active and the motivation behind those unrestrained thoughts. Through studying the Dafa teachings, Katja is able to remain calm when encountering difficulties in life and look at things rationally.
Katja said, “Falun Dafa changed my life completely. The teachings guide me to view things differently. I am able to think of others first and be considerate, and I can feel the positive changes on a daily basis.”
“For example, in the past, freedom, to me, meant having things go the way I wanted them to. It is a totally different understanding now: Freedom means I will accept whatever I am faced with calmly, even if it is a challenge. I have the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to guide me, and I will do better each day.”
“This is my new feeling about the word ‘freedom.’ If I hadn’t cultivated in Dafa, I couldn’t do this, in all likelihood. I should introduce Dafa to other people so that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from Dafa. At the same time, they can also learn about the persecution and work with us to stop it.”
Katja said that the trials and tribulations in her life turned out to be just steps to climbing up the ladder. She is convinced that in Falun Dafa cultivation, her path will be more confident, optimistic and firm.
In an article, a Falun Dafa practitioner said that while she was trying to budget her spending well and live a thrifty way, her husband, a non-practitioner, was careless in this regard and often wasted money. It became a source of conflict between them.
When they went shopping together, the wife always brought enough food for one or two meals, but the husband often over-purchased. For example, a pound of celery was enough, but the husband had to buy a large bundle. Many of the vegetables ended up in the trash.
After the wife began practicing Falun Dafa, she learned to look within for shortcomings whenever a conflict surfaced. She found that she resented him for not knowing how to budget and live frugally. But she also learned that each person has their own destiny and that one’s wealth is determined by fate. From that point on, she no longer complained about his shopping style but tried to accommodate it. If he bought too much food, she would share with her neighbors. Her husband also changed and no longer bought unnecessary groceries.
She was once a woman with Communist Party culture, domineering and overbearing. Her husband had to obey her will at all times to avoid a fight. With the teachings of Falun Dafa, she started evaluating things from a different angle. She learned to appreciate him for who he is and was able to look within for her own shortcomings. Their marriage thus became harmonious.
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