(Clearwisdom.net) In days gone by, when society had different moral standards than today, marriages were arranged through matchmakers, and formal ceremonies were held to tie the knot. A man and a woman had to show proper manners and self-restraint when they spent time together between their engagement and wedding. A long-term relationship between a man and a woman who were not married was unheard of.

The modern variation on this concept arrises from the idea of the freedom to choose who you love and the freedom to have a relationship between an unmarried man and woman; this idea promotes today's moral decline and sexual freedom. The desire to marry is normal for a cultivator in ordinary human society but its occurrence must follow the traditional righteous way. It is okay to have a short-term relationship if the purpose is to gain a greater understanding about each other and determine if marriage is appropriate. Otherwise, it is easy for the relationship to become unconventional like the phenomenon we see in modern society and it becomes an obstacle in cultivation.

There are two western practitioners in our region, a man and a woman. They have been dating for about three years and go places as a couple. Within a couple of years after they began dating, people found out that they were not really happy with each other. Neither felt marriage was an option, but at the same time, it was awkward to remain just friends. So, the relationship continues.

It is not easy to find another suitable practitioner especially when they have formed a special relationship for a very long time. This friendship allows them to care for each other, to have companionship when feeling lonely or needing consolation or other emotional support, or simply to have someone to go shopping with. It seems a natural path and it helps them avoid forming other abnormal relationships.

Other fellow practitioners have reminded them that what they are doing was a mistake and that it would attract interference. If a marriage is not possible because both parties don't feel right about it, or there is no intention to do so, then letting the relationship drag on simply creates an artificial "warm and fuzzy" environment for them.

Looking at it from a higher level, what is the difference between this kind of relationship and a faulty, impure relationship between a man and a woman? In the long run, the evil is able to interfere and cause problems. On the surface, it appears as big tribulations that thwart a cultivator's progress toward higher levels or serious sickness karma that could destroy a cultivator.

Recently, the male practitioner mentioned he had suffered the most serious illness since he became a practitioner over ten years ago. He didn't want others to know about his illness. This in itself is a big warning sign, because as a cultivator, one must keep in mind and follow the requirements of a Dafa disciple when faced with obstacles and difficulties.

On the subject of relationships between men and women, some practitioners think it is okay to have an opposite sex confidante as long as they don't become intimate. Practitioners work on projects together and frequent contact with one another becomes necessary. Naturally they care about each other. In public, they tend to utter loosely affectionate words toward each other. Over time, practitioners become used to the phenomenon and other practitioners do not dare to speak about it for fear that they could be wrong or be blamed for stirring things up.

In fact, regardless of the manifestations in this physical dimension, in other dimensions, huge obstacles in cultivation are formed. Interference and local restraints are formed as obstacles for our projects but we are unable to connect the reason for these difficulties with our own cultivation.

To the people involved, the damage is not easily detected; it is like the saying about slow cooking a frog - the frog cannot feel the pain because it is a very slow and gradual process. The evil elements deplete our energy and resources in the same manner - slow and gradual, until a heavy thump at the end. Practitioners then fiercely send forth righteous thoughts and look inward to correct the situation, but sometimes we end up regretting the result.

Written on November 1, 2009