Why Women cannot be Happy in Marriage

Getting married is easy. Staying married is hard. Being happy while married is even harder. Marriage is a team effort but a research shows that women initiate 70% of all divorces. In this post, I explore Buddha’s explanation of eight possible reasons why women are unhappy with their husbands.

Desire

The reason for any unhappiness is desire. The more desire one has, the more one needs to work for it. Some desire is beneficial because it brings contentment. Some desire is detrimental because it leads to more desire. One who endlessly pursues his desire cannot be happy. Instead of enjoying what he wanted and already has, he keeps on pursuing what he wants.

Women’s Desire

Women, by their female nature, have strong desires. Satisfying women financially or sexually is hard. Buddha compared women to the ocean.

All streams in earth that find their home will not the ocean fill,
Though all may with its waters mix, something is lacking still.

Kunala Jataka

All streams in the world go into the ocean, yet the ocean is never full.  In biology, for example, women can orgasm continuously even though they don’t get it as easily as men. But once they do, they will want more of it. For men, once they orgasm, they just want to stop because they get sleepy. Contrary to the popular belief, women want sex more than men. That’s why women have more affair than men.

However, sex is not the only thing women want. Women have the detrimental kind of desire. They want things that lead to more desire. Money is another good example. No rich person, no matter how rich, wants to stop making money. At the minimum, he wants to keep his money to stay rich. When a poor person sees a rich person, the poor person also wants to be rich too. This is the detrimental kind of desire that leads to a never-ending chain of desire.

To be fair, men want money too. But the difference is men rarely rely on women to make money. Men do not marry women for money. Unlike men, women will mostly marry men who make more money than them. Women view men as tools to fulfill their desires. This is one reason leading to women’s unhappiness in marriage.

The Eight Reasons Women Hate their Husbands

Women hate their husbands for their husbands’ inability to fulfill their desires. Buddha broke this desire into smaller words in Kunala Jataka.

If poor or sick or old, a sot, or reckless thought,
If dull or by his cares of business overwrought,
Or disobliging found—such lord a wife esteems as nought.

Kunala Jataka

I didn’t understand this well at first. So I read the Thai version with additional commentary. Here’s what I understand.

1. Poor

Women like rich men because his money buys women what they desire. Women hate the husbands who cannot afford to buy what they want.

2. Sick

Women want money and sex. Husbands who are sick cannot provide any.

3. Old

Women want to be in love and have sex with young and attractive men. Husbands who are old cannot be attractive and sexually active like younger men.

4. Alcoholic

Husbands who are poor and get drunk regularly often spent all his money on drinks. Women hate these husbands because there is no money left for them.

5. Dull

Women want to be charmed by men who knows how to seduce women. Husbands who are dull cannot excite their women romantically.

6. Reckless

Women want all the money they can get from their husbands. They hate reckless husbands who sleep with and spent money on other women.

7. Busy

Women want their husbands to be on top of everything and still have free time for them. If men fail to do this by being busy, women think their husbands are no longer as capable of making money and providing them sex.

8. Disobliging

Women want to be treated well by their husbands. Women hate husbands who don’t please them.

Interpretation

Based on this Buddha’s teaching, women can never be happy in a marriage. Women want rich, young, handsome, smart and obliging men who have free time to indulge them. However, these qualities women look for in men generally do not come together often. For example, rich men are generally stupid if they didn’t make themselves rich. For the rich men who made it themselves, only a few of them are young. Handsome and seductive men who can get any women are not going to stay obliging in marriages.

But let pretend that there is a man who can completely make a woman happy in marriage. He is rich, in good shape, young, seductive, faithful, obliging and has all the time in the world. At one point, he is going to get old and sick. His wife will be unhappy with him due to his inability to provide her money and sex. She will divorce him and for find another man. Women’s are not grateful by their female nature.

A manly vigour he may show, from worldly taint be free,
Her maiden wooer may perhaps winsome and loving be,
In times of trouble and distress leave him she will and must,
I for my part in womankind can never put my trust.

Kunala Jataka

Although a man may be rich, handsome and loving, his woman will leave him when trouble comes.

Being old and sick are inevitable parts of life. Since women are likely going to leave their husbands when the time comes, there is no point for men to marry women in the first place. If prominent men like Elon Musk, Brad Pitt, and Johnny Depp cannot make their women happy in marriage, ordinary men do not have much chance.

Takeaway

Women cannot be happy easily. Their desire is without limit and they cannot fulfill it on their own. Any effort to make women happy is a waste of time. Buddha taught that the path to happiness is not toward fulfilling desires. It is about controlling and eliminating desires. By having the desire to be free of detrimental desire, one is on the right path to happiness.

For many men, the idea of being without women looks sad and lonely. That’s only so because they grew up surrounded by popular movies, songs, and books that celebrate romance between men and women. But in the end, everyone is by himself for himself. Buddha taught people to be self-reliant for their own happiness. No god, angel, friend, father, mother or spouse can help a man as much as the man can help himself.

Whatever an enemy might do
to an enemy,
or a foe to a foe,
the ill-directed mind
can do to you
even worse.

Whatever a mother, father
or other kinsman
might do for you,
the well-directed mind
can do for you
even better.

Dhammapada 42-43

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