Ladies, before you say ‘I do’…
- Be very sure that he is the one for you. Whether you dated him for years or have just met him through arranged marriage circuit, only you can know for sure that he is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with – and not your peer group/parents/relatives/neighbours/colleagues!
- Do not look elsewhere after you have decided on your partner. Delete your profile in matrimonial sites, stop listening to relatives who bring you the details of yet another ‘eligible bachelor’, do not eye the eye candy at the bar or the hot, new joinee in office. If you do, then revisit point no 1 and ask yourself whether your partner really is the one.
- Get to know his/her family well – it will help you to understand him better. A man is a product of his upbringing and social and cultural milieu. Talking to his parents or siblings or other people close to him will reveal to you where he comes from.
- Get his views on issues which matter to you. If you are anti-dowry or wish to support your parents in their old age or want to keep your maiden surname, tell him so and get his reaction. Find out if he is willing to share the household chores to ease your load. The key to any long-lasting relationship is communication and keep up a healthy dose of the same before you say yes to spending your life with one person.
- Talk to him about money, irrespective of whether you are working or not. Exchange each other’s credit score and approximate net worth. Ascertain each other’s money personality – spender, saver, smart investor, careful planner, thrifty, lover of good lifestyle etc. If you two are opposites, worry not. Discuss ways to overcome the differences and devise a method of way forward. Decide whether you would have separate accounts and take on different expenses or contribute towards one joint account in a specific ratio (assuming you want to contribute). If you want an equal say in money decisions even if you do not earn yourself, say so beforehand and see if he agrees. Talking about this uncomfortable topic will give you an insight into his personality and save a lot of fights in the future.
- Another very important topic to discuss is your career. Tell your partner your dreams, aspirations and targets from your career and whether you want to take a break in between. If you wish to do something on your own, now is the time to keep him in the loop. His reactions and responses will help you understand him better.
- Past relationships (or the lack of it) may or may not be important to your partner. But it is one thorny topic of discussion which has to be dealt with in time. Being honest right in the beginning will help you to avoid spats on this issue in future. Same goes for history of substance abuse, alcoholism, smoking habits or anything that may matter to you two.
- Partners in real life seldom match the imaginary prince charming figure that women nurture in their minds since sixth grade. Some of the deviations you may live with, some you may not. If you want to change an aspect of your partner, do tell him beforehand and let him decide. Do not spring the surprise on him after marriage, since he would then, most likely be ‘forced’ to comply with your wish.
It is not easy deciding on your partner, especially in an arranged marriage scenario. While in college, one of the most discussed topic among my girl-friends was ‘How the hell would we choose our partner if it comes down to arrange marriage?’ Indeed it was a scary thought! To this dilemma, one friend had said that she would see if she could be friends with the guy; after all, being married meant being friends for a lifetime.
It stuck in my head and years later, when my turn came, I applied it subconsciously while talking to MH (My Husband). Result – I was convinced about him within two weeks of conversation! So whether you just ‘know’ it or you use some of the above pointers, choose your partner wisely and have your happily-ever-after!
All the best, ladies.
P.S. Even though I addressed the post to women, it applies to men as well.