A Discussion on Marriage (Part 1)
Following the Predestined Relationship and Strengthening Propriety
Ancient people believed that marriage was predestined. There is a Chinese saying, "It takes a hundred reincarnations to bring two persons to ride in the same boat; it takes a thousand years to bring two persons to share the same pillow." It demonstrates how precious the predestined relationship between husband and wife is. In a vast human world, two persons who do not know each other originally are able to join together through their predestined relationship.
Mr. Li Hongzhi said in "Teaching the Fa in New York City" from Lectures in the United States:
"In the previous life one person did a favor for another person and that person couldn't repay it—perhaps he was a low-ranking official or was very poor in that life. He benefited greatly from that favor, so he wanted to repay it. Then this might result in a predestined relationship between husband and wife. It could also be that in the previous life someone loved someone else or they both loved each other, but they didn't have that predestined relationship and couldn't form a family; then it could result in a predestined relationship of husband and wife for the next life."
The simplest interpretation of love is "love between man and woman." Actually, the word "love" as popularly understood is a modern notion. Nowadays, human society stresses "personality" and putting "self" as the highest priority in any occasion: loving others and requiring others to love oneself, our concept of "love" emerges.
In ancient times, complete rules of etiquette and higher morality and ethics restricted the feelings between man and woman. The so-called "love" was based on marriage. In that way, love was orderly, stable, and rational, and could also be recognized and highly praised by the whole society and government. All "love" and "affection" outside of marriage was prohibited and considered improper.
Marriage is a great commitment in life and not a childish game. Since the "Six Rites" (i.e. the proposal with an accompanying gift; the inquiries about the bride's name; the intimation of the approving divination; the request to set the marriage day; the protocol of the groom going to meet the bride at the bride's home and escorting her to the groom's home) were established in the Zhou Dynasty, and they have become a custom followed by people in wedding rites for thousands of years. Ancient people worshiped divine beings, respected people who followed the will of heaven and valued filial duty. Therefore, in the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom would pay their respect to heaven and earth, to have their marriage acknowledged, and would pay their respects to their parents to gain their recognition, as well.