One of my teachers called the martial arts "a lonely path"...
I have been thinking about that a lot lately. The path of training calls us and we have to answer; it is who we are. To do less would deny being ourselves.
At the same time it can be hard to have a "normal" life (whatever that is) while our training seems to be the dominant activity. How does a person get/remain married, have kids, or for that matter even hold down a job? Can we really have the best of all worlds?
Marriage is in my view the single most important decision any of us ever make in our lives. It can determine your level of happiness, your level of success, even your basic motivation. It can have dramatic effects either way on your physical health, and even prolong your life or shorten it! People say that if you make the wrong decision you can always just get divorced. Every one that I know that has done so has suffered lifelong emotional/financial effects from it. Once children are involved, it reaches a new dimension with implications that affect the lives of far more than just you and your spouse.
It is rare to find someone who can understand our commitment to better ourselves. It is hard to find someone who understands that this commitment is not selfish vanity, but rather a desire to improve the whole world by improving our understanding of ourselves and our place in it. Many spouses can feel like "second best" and be jealous of our teachers, jealous of our fellow students, and even jealous or resentful of our training because they feel it takes time away from them.
Rejoice if you have found someone who understands your training for what it is: a necessary and undeniable part of you. Be thankful you have someone who knows that your training makes you a better person, and feel lucky when your spouse knows that your relentless search for the Truth helps you continually improve the quality of your personal relationships - especially the most important one: THEM.
I am grateful to be married to a wonderful wife who has her own competitive spirit, and who understands mine. I am lucky to have children who will respect my choice to never be satisfied with my life, and I hope they will learn from it and do the same.
If you have not found this yet, take heart. It can take a long time, but when you find the right person, your life will improve exponentially. In the meantime, don't compromise and don't settle for less.
This is one decision you have to get right.