Losing to Win: How Mars gets in the way of Relationships

In a rapidly modernizing and changing India traditional values of arranged marriage are being discarded for more western style marriages. It came as no surprise when I found Indian social media sites littered with distressed young people caught between "falling in love" and the old traditions of their parents who require that horoscopes be matched, especially for the detrimental placement of Mars called Manglik.

      "I am a manglik boy and I love a non-manglik girl and she wants to marry me,

      I also want the same but I can't marry her coz I am manglik. What should I do?"

     "I am committed to a girl. I am Manglik, she is not. Should I not marry her?

      How can I convince my parents?"


The answers by their peers were innocent and just what I expected.

      "Get out of 17th century".

      "Are you kidding me!!!!

      "Do you actually believe in this crap??? Come on you love her, she loves you,
       What else can be the problem??"

      " If you are thinking about this mangalik shit... forget it.. Go MARRY HER..."

What is Manglik Anyway?

Mars is one of the most important parameters for relationship failures, just as Venus is for success.

Certain positions of Mars in the horoscope are considered highly detrimental to relationship karma. This has lead to a deep rooted fear in the Indian culture, especially for women, of having the dreaded planetary "affliction" called Mangal or Kuja (Mars) dosha (flaw), or what is more commonly referred to as Manglik.

People born with Mars in houses 1, 4, 7, 8 or 12 (some also include 2nd house) are labeled Manglik. One of the solutions astrologers have proposed to this fault in our stars is to marry someone who is also Manglik.  (Theoretically, there is merit to this method but personally in the hundreds of couples I have counseled, I have not seen this to make much of a difference).

Indeed, this Mars blemish is so strongly held a belief in the Indian culture that recently, I came across a matrimonial site (Indians are not that big on dating) that is specifically designed for Mangliks to meet other Mangliks - http://www.mangliks.com/ - talk about narrowing the market of eligible partners.

Considering that the placement of Mars in close to half the houses in the chart (even more if you read from Moon and Venus) is not productive for long term relationships, Manglik seems rather an ineffective parameter as it will discount 35-40 percent of people on this planet. Even with all the cancellation rules in Vedic Astrology at least a quarter of the population will have this difficulty.

Furthermore, traditionally the Manglik concept has been applied more to women than men and in a patriarchal society like India it has sometimes been used to denigrate women.

Therefore, I would love to get rid of this deeply misunderstood planetary consideration.
However, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

There is so much we can understand about navigating our intimate relationships through this ancient concept of Manglik and we would ALL be well served in our relationships if we took the time to understand the planet Mars.

Typically, our relationships end up in conflict when one persons Mars becomes a threat to other person's Mars. For a relationship to work it is crucial that the Mars energies of two people operate in harmony. 


Getting to know Mars

Mars as the ruler of Aries and the significator of the first house of the Zodiac represents the power of the individual initiative. Mars causes problems in relationships because it represents our ability to act independently with the spotlight on the self as the center of our own universe.

In western mythology Mars is often called the Roman god of war. Similarly in Hindu mythology he is identified with the war god Kartikeya. Conflict is inevitable in every relationship - each and every one of us is designed to uphold our self and to feel good about ourselves, therefore, we all resist situations where our individuality or opinions are questioned or disregarded. To what degree and at what cost we do this will depend on the condition of Mars in our consciousness. 

Deep down, we are all Mangliks

Mars in our horoscope shows us what turns us on, where we get all fired up, and where we will act with determination, will, passion and motivation. In other words where we will not easily back down and be willing to win at all cost. Mars does not like to negotiate.

Mismatched sexual drives can also cause conflict in relationships - a strong Mars, especially in houses 7 and 8 is ablaze with sexual intensity and can cause us to lose our heads in sexual passion or feel rejected by our partners relatively lower sex drive.

Mars is a planet with a mission. He is impulsive, rash and sometimes aggressive and forceful. The word martial in English comes from Mars, who is militaristic, determined and uncompromising. Mars energy is quick and decisive, instinctive and automatic. Like a well trained soldier with a Military Mind, Mars does not pause or hesitate but simply takes swift action in the moment. He is trained to act first and think about the consequences later.

A strong mars, such as in the first house, will erupt like a volcano when challenged and a weak mars like in the twelfth house, which is stifled mars energy, will be more passively aggressive. Both will create Manglik conditions.  


Mars Survival and Success

Mars is by no means a "bad" planet, the competitive, winning mentality of Mars is necessary for our survival and success in life. A strong mars in the horoscope is capable of great endurance and confronts life and death issues without fear. Mars is goal oriented, fearless and can help us overcome the most difficult of life challenges. Without Mars we have no will, no courage to fight the "battles" of life, and most importantly we have no strength of character to stand up for what we believe. The tapas (heat) and discipline required for sustained spiritual practice is also fueled by Mars.

Finally, Mars is absolutely necessary for having the courage to end relationships that are no longer serving us well.

Therefore Mars gives good results in action oriented houses 3, 6, 10 or 11. However, he can become an impediment to our relationships in the inter personal houses such as the 1, 4, 7, 8 and 12.


Mangal Sutra - A Necklace to Mars

According to Hindu custom no marriage is sanctified until the groom ties a very special piece of jewelry around the bride's neck called the Mangal (Mars/auspicious) sutra (string of beads), symbolizing the inseparable bond between the husband and wife. This exclusive and very sacred necklace made of black and gold beads is never worn by unmarried or widowed women and very closely guarded by married women, much like the wedding band or ring in the west.

The Mangal sutra necklace is a reminder to both partners (even though it is the woman who wears it) that when we agree to create a union with another person we are surrendering our Mars and our need to win, to always be right, and prevail in our point of view.

Mars and Venus

While, Mars can be detrimental to relationships a good Venus in the horoscope is what the astrologers look for to predict enduring unions.

Mars emphasizes the differences but Venus emphasizes similarities. While Venus is happy to follow someone else's path, Mars has to carve its own unique path in life.

Venus is always ready for negotiation, concession and compromise but mars judges and takes away our ability to see the situation from the partner's perspective. It is Venus that helps us to create the space for our partner to be who they are and not be attached to them for being a certain way. It is so easy to want this kind of unconditional support for ourselves from our partner but we often forget that they need the same from us.

Mars is also addicted to being right and operates from the belief that it can successfully change their partner. With two people under the influence of an afflicted mars it is easy to see how a relationship can eventually turn into tension, unending arguments, and a war that no one wins.

When we surrender our Mars or military mind we have empathy for our opponent. We risk losing the war and disempowering our ego/individuality. However, we are rewarded by empowering our relationship.

So practice being a good loser from time to time and see your relationship thrive and you won't have to worry about being a Manglik or not. (Or use your Mars, take the risk, and get out of a relationship that is not salvageable).

Remember a good loser never feels victimized or hurt when he accepts defeat because deep down he knows he is already a winner - that is the exalted quality of a perfected Mars in the horoscope.