Originally published on InnerHour
So the wedding season is upon us…and shouts of “you are next!” can be heard from every shamiana and shaadi ka ghar.
If you are interested in getting married, are straight, and are a lady, this blog is for you.
I had an arranged marriage. My journey to finding my Mr. Right started in 2010 and ended three years later in 2013. It was a tumultuous ride. Despair, anxiety, sadness, anger, fury— they were all my companions. But hey, the story ends well ☺ so all was not bad. This journey did result in what positive psychology calls “post-traumatic growth”, and some advice I can share with the sisterhood.
Have Clarity on What You Think Marriage is
It may seem that “shaadi toh shaadi hoti hai, usme sochna kya hai?!”. But girls, think hard about how you define marriage. What are the roles and responsibilities you think each spouse has in a marriage? Having clarity about your idea of marriage makes it easier for you to talk to the guy and see if his ideas match yours.
Think about Whether He Fits into Your Life, Rather than Checking If You Can Fit into His Life and Family
Ask yourself—is he the kind of guy I can comfortably introduce to my friends, cousins and relatives? If he fits into your scheme of things, then assess if you can be a part of his life. When I met guys (through the arranged marriage route), they would tell me, “I want a wife who can get along with my friends”, and I was thinking, oh I could do that! He would say “I am looking for someone who can stay with my parents too”, and I thought, what a sweet guy, loves his parents. When I got back home, I realised, that in all that time that we were meeting, I never ever thought about whether he fits into what I want.
Assess Whether You Both Share Any Values
I am not talking of touching people’s feet, or “respecting elders”. I am talking of stuff like not cheating people, following traffic rules, maintaining professional ethics, respecting people’s boundaries, being a responsible citizen, belief in gender parity, and respecting those who may be different from us. There has to be some amount of common ground in your outlook towards life.
Ask for His Opinion on Gender Roles
One of the guys I met was an IT professional, living in the USA. He asked me how I would manage my career and family. When I asked what he meant, he said that when I had a baby (yes, he assumed I would have a baby), how would I manage. I said “With the support of my spouse”. He replied, “Yes, but child-rearing is primarily a mother’s job”. I got so pissed I told him that the only thing a new mother can do which a new father can’t do, is to breastfeed the child. Needless to say, our conversation did not move much from there.
Think about What Might Change Post Wedding and What Changes You Would Be Okay With
Be aware of what changes might happen post wedding. This can mean change of cities, jobs, your first name [some families insist on changing the first name of the bride 🙁 ] , your last name, change in your friend circle, change in your social support. Check if he understands that the change would be huge for you, and ask in what ways he would be willing to support you.
Do You Find Him Sexually Attractive?
Yes, you need to think of this. Sexual intimacy is a very important part of marriage. If you do not feel any sexual attraction toward your partner, there is chance that this will lead to frustration later in the marriage.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of things to keep in mind. This is just a starting point for our conversation. I learnt a lot about myself in the process of meeting a potential husband. I learnt that I don’t have to feel judged. That I need see if this is going to work out for me, and not constantly worry about whether I fit the bill for this guy. I figured that I wanted to marry someone who would respect me and my work, who would stand by me when I took decisions about my career, someone I could “just-be-myself-with”, and someone who would become as much a part of my family as I would of his.
When I met my husband for the first time, it just clicked. We were at a coffee shop for five hours. We finally got calls from our respective families (they were waiting for each of us to get back home for dinner!). We laughed a lot. We shared the same values of being connected to families, valuing professional ethics, not being religious. Oh yeah, and he was not gender-stereotyped!
InnerHour is a platform dedicated for emotional and psychological well-being. The InnerHour team of expert psychologists is committed to working with individuals and organisations to help them lead happier and more fulfilled lives. They focus on leveraging technology to deliver high quality online counselling and therapy services and create customised interventions for specific target groups.
Know more about them here