about the keys to a happy, lifelong, successful relationship? To many, the gift of lasting romance seems unattainable, almost too good to be true. Thankfully, you can rest assured that, with a little effort, these relationships are possible. Our, senior Art of Living yoga teachers, Wally and Caroline Zeman, have been happy and growing together for over 40 years. Some of there secrets include letting go of trying to control your partner, prioritizing your own self-esteem, and practicing self-love. In this candid interview with Andrew Keaveney, Wally and Caroline share their secrets for walking on the path towards a healthy, timeless and fulfilling partnership.
The first key: acceptance
Andrew: What’s the key to a happy marriage?
Caroline: You know the very first thing is accepting people as they are and accepting the situation as it is. That doesn’t mean letting people abuse you, but you let a person be who they are. That first step is huge because what you’re doing is you’re giving them freedom. They don’t feel bound by the marriage.
Wally: And they don’t feel too restricted by your judgment of them. They feel at home with you. Same thing with us. We just feel at home with each other because I let her be who she is. I don’t try to control her in any way and vice versa.
The self is everywhere…
Caroline: And there’s no division. The Self is everywhere. So what that person wants you also want for them because that also uplifts you, and brings you fulfillment because something that they want is happening. You feel it in yourself. So there’s that unity. It’s like the baby of a marriage is Brahman being born between the two. You know, it’s that wholeness that comes.
It’s a gift. It’s not always easy. Just like being on this earth isn’t always easy, but we’re here to move forward and learn something.
Wally: (to Andrew) So are you asking all these points so that you can get some pointers for when we set you up with a life partner? (laughs)
The techniques of a successful relationship
Andrew: (laughing) Okay, I’ll bite – What keys for a successful relationship do I need to know?
Wally: All the ones we just mentioned. If you can just do one of them you’re ahead of most people on the planet. Way ahead of most people.
Caroline: It’s a technique, you know? People want to get married because they think, I want someone to love and be with and spend my life with. Being single is a technique and being married you’re stepping into a new technique. And that technique is presenting to you what you need to see about yourself, so you will ask yourself, Oh what is it I’m missing here? What do I need to look at? And so it’s a gift. It’s not always easy. Just like being on this earth isn’t always easy, but we’re here to move forward and learn something. So it’s a blessing.
Andrew: So being single is a technique and being married is another technique?
Wally: Marriage is the advanced course (laughs).
Andrew: And why choose one over the other?
Wally: Because this gets you home much faster. If you can overcome this one you’re home free.
Knowing your own nature
Caroline: I think it’s all a matter of preference. It depends on your nature. If your nature is to be single than nature itself presents you with your lessons through your environment. Everyone you interact with will push those buttons for you. You can use that as your marriage technique also. You’re not going to get away from anything just because you stay single, but people often think it’s the other way around. They think, “Oh life would be so easy if I could have somebody.” It’s not. You’re going to get your lessons whether you’re single or married so that you can move forward.
Wally: And you can remain free and totally happy by employing some of this beautiful knowledge from the Happiness Program, whether in a relationship or not.
Want to learn more about the kind of retreats the Art of Living Retreat Center offers? Check out our calendar, or feel free to give us a call at 800-392-6870. We’re looking forward to chatting with you!
Andrew Keaveney is an Art of Living teacher and Director of Digital Media at the Art of Living.
He graduated with honors from Stanford University with a major in film and Buddhist studies before moving to the Art of Living International Center in Bangalore, India, where he spent four years involved in service projects, film making, deepening his understanding of meditation and yoga and studying Sanskrit and Vedic ceremonies.
Andrew speaks several languages and has taught in South Asia, Europe and North America. In addition to teaching and video production, he also has an interest in creative writing and watercolor painting.
“Connecting with more awareness to others, to oneself and to the present moment is just one of the joys of these workshops.”