A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

This post is in response to GV’s suggestion for a future blog post.

“I would be curious to read a detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age, before they agree to get married to a particular young man.

Could I suggest this as a topic for a future blog post from you?

I have heard cases where the girl insisted that her in-laws must live separately permanently. She didn’t mind an occasional visit from them but she refused to live with them or have them live with her and her husband.

(IHM: I think this is a condition that a lot of men put too. A lot of men refuse to live with their in laws. Some men refuse to marry into families where there are no sons for the same reason.)

To be fair, she accepted a similar condition as regards her own parents. (IHM: Not sure if such fairness is expected from everybody who is getting married.)

I am curious because girls nowadays are frank and open about these pre-conditions and don’t blindly walk into a marriage trusting her parents to take care of her interests. Good for them, and everybody else. Saves a lot of heartaches later.

As a well meaning relative, who often helps couples get hitched by passing on information about boys to girls families and vice versa, I am interested in knowing about this list of conditions from modern young women.”

Starry added,

‘a list of modern young women’s demands and conditions would be very helpful…in fact I think men and their families need to get an education about the real world of potential young wives and what’s in their mind.’

So here’s what I thought the list might look like. Please feel free to agree, disagree and add to the list any points that come to your mind.

1. No discrimination based on gender. This should make life a lot easier for both the partners.

2. Expense of the wedding born by both the families. Goes without saying, no dowry and gifts to be demanded or exchanged. Yes, new beginnings are possible without force-feeding and gifts.

3. No demands for male-children. Not even indirect hints, from elders and the community from either side. The families must acknowledge the Skewed Gender Ratio, so their male grand children don’t have to ‘buy’ brides.

Make it ‘No demands by the families and community for children’. The couple’s personal life and choices must be respected.

4. Parents from both the sides have equal rights on the time, care and attention of the couple. One is not superior to the other. (Ladke Wale = the Ladki Wale).

5. No changing of names for either partner. The husband should be free to keep his name, so should be the wife. No parents of daughters should have to fear that their family name would disappear if they have no male children.

Remember we expect Indian parents to stop aborting baby girls and to love them ‘just like sons’, and so, condition 6 should be,

6. When (and if) the couple has children, they must be given names that include the names of both the parents.

7. If there is age difference, it should not become an excuse for one to treat the other like a child. If there is doubt about the maturity of one of the partners, then that should be dealt with before any decisions are taken.

It’s essential that both the partners are adults (in the real sense), and marriage is not a means to ensure that one is “looked after” by the other.

Mutual support, growing and evolving together, and facing together, the challenges that life throws at them is only possible when this basic precondition is met.

8. To ensure the above, they must get to know each other. In these times when men and women meet hundreds of men and women everyday, there is no reason why the couple shouldn’t get to know prospective life partners before they make such an important decision.

Why can’t parents do it better?

Because no matter how open the thinking, and how much they respect their children as adults – the children are individuals, not an extension of the parents. The very fact that a set of parents wants to choose their child’s life partner is an indication that they are not the right people to do it.

Parents should have no role to play?

Parents can introduce them and if asked for an opinion, give it without insisting that their opinion be accepted as the final decision. It does not mean that the adult children are being disrespectful; it means they have raised adult children who have the confidence to take responsibility for their own lives. Any parents would be proud of such children.

9. Both the partners would need to understand that it is important to respect another’s choices. It is not respectful to try to control what the other partner likes to eat, drink, read, wear, play, watch etc.

If there are reservations, these should be discussed and resolved.

10. A difference in academic qualifications, how much they earn, how they look (dark, fair, fat, thin) or difference in family backgrounds etc does not make one partner superior to the other.

Each needs to see the other as an equal and worthy of their respect and trust.

Sympathy, hero-worship, sacrifice and dependence do not make for long lasting happiness.

11. Point 10, also does not change the fact that all responsibilities are to be shared by both the partners. The male partner has an equal right to bond with the children, changing nappies, helping with children’s home-work and truly being a parent, not a Gabbar Singh of the family. (As in, “Go to sleep or else I will call daddy.”)

Housework also is a joint responsibility; custom/tradition should be used as an excuse for irresponsible behavior.

12. The couple works as a team, not as Boss and Secretary or Guardian and Ward.

13. If they are working, they could discuss if their careers are important to them. If yes, then perhaps, aspirations of both should be equally important? Also understanding that these aspirations might change with time.

Can this list be seen as a response to, “For a change y can’t u write some tips & tricks abt staying in a marriage &making it happy for both partners“?

Related posts: :

On marriage, dowry, blogging etc – Amrutha
Letter from a concerned mother – TBG
A letter from a concerned mother – of a boy  -TBG


144 thoughts on “A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

  1. I would say that ALL parents should stay out of the spouse selection process altogether. Their being in it (however well intentioned) takes the onus off either party. What if people are just not interested in getting married at all?

    If getting married is to be a thought out/felt out choice for the people getting married, then why the heck can they just not take it into their own hands? Taking inputs as they feel the need is up to them but this falling back to mummy-papa for the most important decision of their lives shows no maturity. When they drive the process, people will and have to fall into place.

    Just because it always has been is no reason to continue on. And by the way, what worked 50 years ago does not work now….there’s actually been progress since then and there are actually things/events/points of view that did not exist those many years ago.


    • As GV posted, and I also seem to be seeing it a lot, sometimes the young person in question requests the help of the elders in the family in identifying someone they might like. I used to find this concept weird until I hit 30 and I noticed many friends who were not yet married going that route. When i thought about it – it’s not always possible to meet someone in one’s own limited circle, so maybe it’s not a bad idea to rope in family and friends to introduce one to likeminded people. Kind of like blind dates in the West. The important thing is that once the introductions are made, the parents/well wishers should stay out of it.


      • There are matrimonial sites for these, even parents are using these nowadays, with family tentacles not as strong as before and with friends in all different communities. Somehow, very few people search in their friends circles, unless both relative and friends circles converge significantly.


      • Whether it’s friends circles or further beyond, I’m talking about the principle here. I don’t see anything wrong with people bringing likeminded (or people of a similar background) together. And I have seen this happen, at the request of the young people concerned. I do see something wrong with those who make the introductions assuming they have a stake in the couple’s lives thereafter.


  2. Unfortunately it is only the point 10 from this list the youngsters seem to care about , and not in a positive way…. with highlights on how they look, how much they earn and what family they belong to .

    How can you expect a change in the social scenario when you limit yourself in such boundaries….

    Emotional compatibility is a forgotten trait and most people do not consider the scope of personal growth after marriage …there should be a scope to grow in a relationship…can we judge that in a prospective partner ?

    Would like to see what others think.


    • Precisely, sangeeta. I know how much I have ‘grown’ and changed after 13 years of marriage, I’m so different from the new bride I was, and my husband has also changed in his own ways…

      I feel that marriage and parenthood are the biggest challenges that force you to grow, and the partner should be ready for that. Not to say 5 years down the line, “You are not the person I married.” Of course she’s not the person, it would be highly abnormal if we stayed the same people as we were a few years ago, or after a life-changing event as parenthood, marriage, career and even most other life experiences. And you are right, it’s tough to judge how willing one is to accept changes for better or worse in one’s prospective partner.

      So…marriages should be entered into with open minds and understanding that things might change in future. Unexpected challenges…how will the couple face up to them? Infertility? Child loss? Wife having to stay home because of dependent visa? Ill-health and disability in either partner? Financial crises? Child with special needs? Elders with special needs? Unexpected pregnancies? One spouse wanting to adopt? Wife with long hair wanting to cut hair 😛 Husband wanting to grow beard 😛


      • The point about the beard is a clincher for me. I can stay and work things out with all the other points, but growing a beard … nooooooooo!!! LOL!


      • hey Starry…even we completed 13 years of married life this Jan . Interesting .

        yes , one should look for the common ground where we can connect when looking out for life partners . Marriages should be a means to get a companion , any other reason attached to a marriage actually corrupts the idea of this institution.
        One should get married if he/she feels like having someone for life , to share a life time and to grow together ( to grow old or to grow younger 🙂 )

        The idea of marriages for the sake of progeny is obsolete . Unfortunately i know a few men who married just to get a housekeeper and a few women who got married to get a male company … marriage is definitely a support system but companionship comes first ..otherwise the same support system can turn into a prison … a torture cell..


  3. Your list could probably be brought down to 1. Just point no 1. “No discrimination based on gender”.

    If that were taken care of, dont you think most of the other points would be mute.


  4. 10. A difference in academic qualifications, how much they earn, how they look (dark, fair, fat, thin) or difference in family backgrounds etc does not make one partner superior to the other.

    Each needs to see the other as an equal and worthy of their respect and trust.

    Sympathy, hero-worship, sacrifice and dependence do not make for long lasting happiness.

    I agree with sangeeta about point 10. These things should’t matter but they do. Also I have concerns, there seems to be a trend that (don’t know if this is happening in India) when women get more education and have more earning power, they still want husbands who make the same or more than they do. I also wonder if men are okay with having a wife who out-earns them. Even in modern times, people are still very much trapped in traditional roles. There are still so many obstacles we have to overcome.

    On the issue of parents, one condition I would have is DO NOT pressure your children into getting married. I cannot stress that enough. When parents do that it becomes more about what they want instead of what their children want.


  5. This would be ideal for any marriage.
    Parents may not live in the same house as the newly weds but in the absence of help from community, children must be available and ready to help out the parents in case it is required.
    If right kind of guidance and counselling is made available to young couples, near ideal conditions and mindsets could be achieved
    It could probably be achieved if parents of today bring up thier children insuch a way that they are sensitive to the needs and aspirations of people of the other gender.
    Societies do change with time but in complex socieities where the Khap mindset also exists things might take some time to change completely.


  6. Awesome list! I would like to add one more – if the boy and the girl live in different cities/countries, it shouldn’t be a “given” that the girl relocates. Who relocates should be decided based on what’s good for both of them – as a family. I speak from experience – the feeling of sacrificing one’s world, when the other continues to go even to the same bookstore as before marriage, causes a whole lot of resentment and bitterness.


    • Completely agreed! I am trying to relocate to be with my partner. Even though it was a mutual decision and its definitely good for both of us, I still resent the fact that I have to move, leave my friends and the culture I got accustomed to behind while she gets to stay where she is with her set of friends. To the extent, at times I resent her friends and her social activities. Again it was a mutual decision and it is best for two of us but resentment still remains.

      I can imagine how much more resentment will be there in relationship when its no such mutual agreement has been reached. It can not be good for the relationship!


  7. Awesome post IHM..There has always been a debate on joint families vs nuclear families..My mom says today’s working women need joint families more than earlier stay at home moms since there would be someone to take care of their children..of course, the choice is yours but that the logic she gives..and again she mentions that it would be wrong to expect the grandparents to ‘take care’ of your children until they really want to do it 🙂

    But I think if the first point is addressed to, the rest will follow automatically

    on a lighter note, this is what I wrote




    • There’s a lovely trend now of elders and families building homes and staying ‘together, but separately’. Each family gets their privacy (and their own kitchen!) and makes their own lifestyle, and the elders and youngsters are available to help out in case of emergency, and child care and elder care. It’s working ideally for most people who try it out.

      Else, many parents rent homes close to their adult children’s homes, again there is proximity and support for each other, but not overbearing intrusion and suffocating control.

      Of course, there are cases where there is anyway too much interference from the elders, even with physical separation of homes, but that happens even over phone calls to adult children staying abroad 😦

      I think boundaries observed by elders need to be emotional more than physical!


      • I disagree with “they can digest anything edible”, IHM. If the guy is fussy about eating good food, he should make it himself. Hostel guy or not.

        Me – I agree Pratibha.


      • @Pratibha: I guess you are right…if RD wants to eat something special, either he makes it or orders it from out…my point was that my cooking most times is so pathetic, that it can be termed inedible by the high Indian standards, yet RD eats it without complaining because he knows the hard work I put in..


      • No. 1. is also not true unfortunately. There are some MILs who worked when they were young and did a lot of hotel food, but when it comes to the DIL they expect a chef at home. (“Oh! My poor son! When we were young we were so poor, I had to work, but now that you are making so much, why can’t she stay home and cook what I teach her to?”). So, I don’t think that would work. I have come to think that external markers like birth order (first son, only son, second son); what the parents did when they were young, whether the MIL and FIL have a great relationship — all of these cannot predict the behaviour of the particular person you are going to marry. Only way is to try to learn about each other first and even that is not enough, because the attitudes of everyone changes almost immediately as soon as they get married. Which is why the incubation period of the marriage is very important. If the couple is to have a chance at making it work, they should stay away from other adults for a time and discover how they fit in each others’ life and grow together, grow confident in each other so that even if there were external machinations trying to break their bond (let’s face it, essentially that’s what some MILs and FILs are really doing) the relationship can survive it. I have always wondered this: why don’t the MILs and FILs want to have sometime of their own, to rediscover their own friendship? In cases of “abusive” ILs (not direct physical or mental, but the kind that seems to want their son or daughter to be their son or daughter first before anything else) , did they never have a bond between them at all? That cannot be true, because some of them have unstated co-ordination between themselves when it comes to suppressing the “common enemy”. Why can’t everyone try to get away from this dysfunctional “control or be controlled” attitude?


  8. A lot of discussion and push back from the older generation is around “staying together with in laws”. Probably because the parents also need to be taken care of during old age. A good solution is to stay close by but have different set of homes. So, you are available to each other but there are no lifestyle encroachments.


    • The truth is if the parents really needed looking after, why are they alienating the one person from who they expect care??! I have never understood that.


      • When they are young, they somehow never imagine that there can come a time when they will be old and frail and in need of help. It is a total failure of both empathy and imagination.
        Even when they are being cared for a particular family member(s), one often hears them craving for the absent ones, which adds insult to injury:(


  9. i’m always appalled by the number of women who reply,frothing at the mouth.While men are few.
    ” No discrimination based on gender. This should make life a lot easier for both the partners.’
    wonder how many men wake up at the crack of the dawn to pack tiffins or prepare meals after returning from office,whereas their wives just HAVE to…

    “2. Expense of the wedding born by both the families. Goes without saying, no dowry and gifts to be demanded or exchanged. Yes, new beginnings are possible without force-feeding and gifts.”
    this custom,i’m afraid can never be done away with.Parents still throw lavish weddings or give dowry in the garb of expensive gifts so that their daughter is treated well later on.Checking a girl’s ‘background’ before marriage sadly also implies how wealthy her family is.


    • Well, it is possible to break the mold. I know brides and grooms who got married without giving expensive gifts. I know B&G who insisted on repaying the money that was spent on getting them married and who have actually started to repay the wedding expenses. Because of this, they insisted on having a say on how much was spent on the wedding (“I have to repay it, so don’t go over board with this or that expense”). They insisted on receiving the written accounts. It is possible. A situation that is inherently unequal and unfair cannot exist forever. Either the society that supports it will decay, or there will be a quiet incremental change towards the better, or there will be a revolution. This is the way it has been with world so far.


      • Agree – we made sure that we paid back our parents for our wedding expenses. Also by making the decisions ourselves, we were able to keep expenses to a reasonable minimum, cutting no corners, with all the stress removed. Everyone had a good time and we did end up getting traditionally married! It is totally possible. 😀


  10. “Parents can introduce them and if asked for an opinion, give it without insisting that their opinion be accepted as the final decision. It does not mean that the adult children are being disrespectful; it means they have raised adult children who have the confidence to take responsibility for their own lives. Any parents would be proud of such children.”

    Very well said.

    It’s sad that in reality a majority of parents have more ego and false pride than rationalisation when it comes to giving advice. “Having the final word” is more important than the good of their own kids.


  11. Spot On IHM. I could hear my thoughts echoing as i read through it.

    Would like to add that not just partners but parents from both sides should also respect the couple’s choices and decisions, like career, where to live, how to spend money and on what, when to have kids, cooking, sharing housework etc. At times, even though the partners may understand each other’s choices well, some parents make it difficult for them. They are adults, let them live their lives on their own and not try to live it for them!


  12. I think this list is a good start, but I DON’T think it’s enough.

    In my own life, my first taste of a romantic relationship was truly godawful. We were immature, we both cared about our career far more than relationships, and most importantly, we got together for all the wrong reasons. I gradually became better at the game, though and I’ve had a pretty happy marriage for the past eight years or so.
    I’ve learnt some lessons and in my view, the cardinal rule for judging the relation-worthiness of people is this – can they solve problems together? When they hit a roadblock, what do they do? Do they yell and scream at each other? Do they slam doors and resort to passive-aggressive behavior? Or do they sit down, have a chat about it, reach a compromise and move on?

    When you’re in any kind of long-term partnership, be it a marriage or business or whatever, differences are bound to crop up. The most successful relationships are not the ones where fewer problems occur, but the ones where most of the problems are solved amicably, to the satisfaction of all the parties. Before you marry someone, it’s very important to know how good your partner is at negotiation. I know both men and women who clam up, throw tantrums, yell, and do all manners of silly things simply because they want to have their way no matter what. If you see that kind of a “my way or the highway” attitude in a prospective partner, that’s a huge red flag right there.

    In my humble opinion, gender equality is neither a prerequisite for, nor a guarantee of, a successful marriage/relationship. Different people are used to different environments, have different temperaments and preferences and consequently, look for different things in a relationship. Gender equality may or may not be on their list. Conversely, even if the relationship is quite equitable, it may not be a happy one (which is what happened in my case).

    What’s ultimately the most important is whether the two people can jointly mold the relationship into something they are both happy with. If they can, they’re pretty much home free.


    • PT I agree with everything but gender equality too I feel should be a given. By equality I mean both being treated with respect, no biases and restriction based on their being man or woman.


      • IHM,

        No biases is of course nice, and additional restrictions on the woman are, at best, very unfair. However, I would not venture to say that some women CANNOT have a happy married life even when surrounded by biases. I think most (although not all) people feel more comfortable in an environment which resembles the one they are used to from childhood. So while women living in, say, Southern Afghanistan do have to face a lot of unfairness and bias in married life, it would be a stretch to assert that each and every Afghan woman who lives in that sort of an environment has an unhappy marriage.

        Gender equality is indeed a prerequisite to a happy marriage for a lot of women, but I would not generalize that statement to cover each and every woman in existence. I’ve met women even in the west, who prefer to play the traditional role of the stay-at-home-wife and let the husband dominate… I’m not sure I understand the psychology of that, but there you are.

        FORCING biases over unwilling partners is a whole different story, and is probably enough to kill any chance of a happy marriage.


    • @PT:
      I think you are right. This is why I think people ought to be able to relax in each other’s company and the first flush of romance die down, before deciding on tying the knot. Which is why I am rather against arranged marriages. A lot of people are insecure with themselves and it all comes out on the partner.


      • I am not a big fan of arranged marriages either. And every time I try to say this around my family, they throw a meaningless statistic at me – India has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world (which is supposedly because arranged marriages are the norm here). I find this a chilling, rather than happy stat, because looking at the abuse many married women are subjected to in this country… I don’t know how they manage to stay. I can’t even imagine it. It’s terrible.

        Like the joint family system, arranged marriages in North India fit in very snugly with the omnipresent patriarchy. From the very start, the woman is at least symbolically treated as someone’s property. And for some women, the symbolism turns into reality very soon after tying the knot. They don’t really know each other, they don’t even have a relationship going, and suddenly, they’re husband and wife. It’s like getting a License before even learning to drive!


      • Hit “post” before I finished up — gender equality though is a pre-requisite. In my opinion gender equality is about absolute respect between both individuals. You are right, some women may not want to work out of the house, does not mean they are not equal to the man in the relationship.. Oh! I see, IHM has just written pretty much the same in her response! 🙂


      • Maybe, maybe not. It’s impossible to prove that kind of an assertion unless you do an empirical study or something.

        Couple A consists of two highly competitive, ambitious and incompatible people, fresh out of college, who went for each other mainly because of looks, spend 90 hours at work every week, and share about about as much emotional intimacy as a pair of fruit-flies.

        Couple B consists of a man and a woman in a joint family where the woman is a SAHW and does all the housework. The husband is a typical MCP who works in a family business all day and lounges in front of the TV at night, while his wife and mother serve dinner.

        Who’s to say which couple has more problems? Obviously, they both have issues but if you’re going to do a quantitative analysis of their issues, your results will depend on who you ask, eh?


  13. If daughters are passively accepted as paraya dhan,parents find it equally hard to practise the ‘art of leaving’ their sons once they’re married.
    so upon pondering these points,any sane person would realize that there isn’t much difference between a son and a daughter.
    given the high divorce rates,women are reluctant to change name.
    since both partners earn,they need to decide who’ll bear the daily expenses.
    and will the young children be packed off to creche?or left with grandparents?


  14. Thanks IHM for accepting my suggestion.
    I did not think a new blog post would materialise so quickly.

    Here are some additional thoughts that struck me.

    1) What about the money that each partner earns?
    There must be agreement on this.
    Will their respective incomes be deposited in a joint account?
    I know couples where the man and his parents have access to the wife’s money but not vice-versa.

    2)If the wife and husband, before marriage are living in different cities, and both are earning well, who will resign and join the other?

    3)If the women is still studying and and has not finished, will she be allowed to complete her education? Or will she be asked to discontinue? If she continues, who will bear the cost of the remaining education? The husband or the wife and her parents? This has been an issue before. If the boy plans to study further or go abroad for studies, is he expecting his in laws to foot the bill?

    4)If the husband has an unmarried sister or brother, and the husband’s father is not financially sound enough to get her married or educated or both, is the new wife expected to pitch in and contribute towards their education/ marriage from her income? Of course no one will ask this question of the young man if the wife has an unmarried sister / brother!

    5)If the partners are from different communities and have different food habits (say one is a vegetarian and the other is a non vegetarian), can either party retain his / her food habits or does one of them give up and become like the other. If so who? (Stupid question, I guess!) Can the wife cook non veg food in her own kitchen when her vegetarian in laws come visiting? Will the children be brought up as veg or non veg?

    5)If the partners are from different linguistic groups, will one be forced to learn the language of the other or will both learn each others language? What about the children? What identity will they have? Will they learn both languages (fair, and possible) or will one have to submerge his/her linguistic identity totally for the sake of the other?

    6)How many sisters/brothers does the other party have? If either is the only son/daughter will the other party realize that the entire burden of supporting the parents/inlaws (even if not financially, but emotionally and socially) fall on the couple? There may not be any one else to share the burden when the parents grow old. This is important. I have known men who have refused to marry girls who have no brothers, fearing that the in laws will become a burden later on in life. Even if the man is sporting and willing, his parents may put a spoke. Likewise I have also known girls who want their husbands to have brothers and or sisters to share her future burden. The couple tries to balance with this with another future benefit, viz inheritance. If he/she bears the burden alone, will he/she also reap the inheritance advantage alone.

    7)If the wife or husband, for career reasons, wants to postpone starting a family, then it must be discussed and agreed. For how many years? There must be no pressure from the parents of either side to start a family early. This filmy dialog where one parent wants them to start a family so that the parent can see his grand child before leaving the world is cliched and irrelevant these days.

    8)How many children will the couple have? Will the boy or his parents insist on the girl going on having babies till a male offspring arrives? This “ghar ka chiraag” and “vaaris” or “khaandaan ka naam aage le jaana” nonsense must stop. Let this be frankly discussed. I recommend, two children and no more, irrespective of the sex of the children.

    9)If the religions are different, will either be forced to convert? This is particularly relevant if either party is a Muslim. I believe the community will insist on conversion of the girl to Islam if the boy is a Muslim. I am not sure if they will insist on the boy’s conversion if the girl is a Muslim. What religion will the children profess? This is a complex issue and had better be sorted out right in the beginning.

    10)Shocking as this may seem, some girls just don’t want a mother in law!!! If you are such a girl, it may be an advantage to look for a boy whose mother is already dead! The traditional hostility between mother in law and daughter in law and anticipated problems from a mother in law, have been so effectively drilled into the minds of some girls, that they feel safer if the problem is avoided right in the beginning. I don’t endorse this attitude of course, but if this virus has already crept into a young girls mind, she is better off discreetly making this check and avoiding a future problem.

    I may think of some more and will post later



    • //Shocking as this may seem, some girls just don’t want a mother in law!!! If you are such a girl, it may be an advantage to look for a boy whose mother is already dead!//

      GV not just the girl, but the entire society feels this way. (Did you notice the absence of a mother in law in the Bollywood blockbuster “Hum Apke Hain Kaun?”).
      I know of this young woman who got engaged to a man who had lost his mother when he was young, the young woman was warned, “No need to feel you’d be spared, when you don’t have a mother in law, then every other elderly woman becomes a mother in law.”
      The general idea is that the daughter in law is spared unhappiness if there is no mother in law in her marital home. (This fear also applies to father in law’s unmarried or widowed sister)


    • //Shocking as this may seem, some girls just don’t want a mother in law!!! If you are such a girl, it may be an advantage to look for a boy whose mother is already dead!//

      What one should be more shocked and concerned about about is how it (the mother in law menace) could have been allowed to go on unchecked (by a careless society) for so long that that young girls have had to come to such conclusions.


    • 10)Shocking as this may seem, some girls just don’t want a mother in law!!! If you are such a girl, it may be an advantage to look for a boy whose mother is already dead! The traditional hostility between mother in law and daughter in law and anticipated problems from a mother in law, have been so effectively drilled into the minds of some girls, that they feel safer if the problem is avoided right in the beginning. I don’t endorse this attitude of course, but if this virus has already crept into a young girls mind, she is better off discreetly making this check and avoiding a future problem.

      With all the stories I’ve hear in India about MIL’s I don’t blame them one bit! It seems in a lot of situations in laws are quite detrimental to their children’s marriages. That’s why I especially liked the points about immediate families having their privacy.

      Avoiding it altogether won’t really solve this, how about teaching MIL’s not to treat their DIL’s like slaves? I think that would be a start. 🙂


    • @GV

      I think the answers to most of your questions is : depends on the bride and groom. For all the above issues, the prospective bride and groom need to have an honest discussion. Money – who does what. For example, though I have joint accounts with my husband, he handles most of the bill payment while I handle long term financial planning. It could be that he handles everything if that is what worked for us and I would have no issues. But the fact is that it needs to be discussed.

      About supporting families, it so happens that my husband comes from a more affluent family than I. While we do not take any money for our lifestyle from our in-laws and they don’t need ours, I knew that with regards to my family, my parents would need some support after their retirement. I talked about this honestly before marriage and was relieved that we both think our families are important and we will do the needful whenever the need arises.

      So the crux of the matter is that the bride and groom need to talk honestly. Without any presuppositions and expectations of the society burdened on them. They need to be able to understand each other’s values. They need to be able to understand their own needs before getting into a relationship that deals with another person’s needs.


  15. IHM, for point 3, if the groom, and the immediate family has no such intentions, it should be fine. I know its really annoying to listen to the son-son mantra, but how far can the guy ensure it will not happen, I mean nobody can expect the groom’s whole community to be sane.

    For point 5, I was once having a chat with a friend, and he was telling me his expectations from his bride.. one of it was that her name should start with the letter ‘S’, can you believe it.. When I asked him what he would do if he liked a girl and she does not fulfill this condition.. he said simple, we’ll ask her to change her name after marriage (First name, not the surname).. I was shocked and he said its common at his place (Andhra Pradesh).. and I further asked him what if the girl refuses to do so, and he says he’s adamant on this requirement. Just wanted to bring to notice about the name changing.

    And I agree on all the points you have mentioned here IHM. I’m sure everybody can relate their list to these conditions.


    • Well, about the immediate family, it’s like this : I can’t control what my parents say. As far as I am concerned, they are right-of-center conservative patriarchs and bigots of the worst sort. But they’re still my parents. It’s not like I can run away from them and totally refuse to take their calls. The best I can do is make sure they don’t interfere in my (or my wife’s) life too much, and that seems to be working fine so far.
      They are unhappy that I don’t have any kids so far. Too bad for them. 🙂

      You don’t have to run your life on the whims and fancies of someone else, you know, even if that someone else is your parent(s).


    • Freespirit, you’re right..
      I was shocked when one of my friends (very well educated and was working in US at the time of her wedding) sent me her wedding card with a different name on it. Apparently, her would be husband’s family wasn’t very pleased with the name her parents gave her.. but just told her to stick to her church name (in Kerala, some sects of Christians have a church name, different from their formal name, which they inherit from their grandparents). Even her Facebook account carries this new name.. and she makes some silly excuse to everyone that FB doesn’t seem to accept her real name, or some such nonsense. wierd..


      • Thats sad usha.. i wonder how much it takes to just tell them a ‘no’, who knows this might just be a beginning.. 😐


  16. I loved point 8. If parents did not interfere in any way at all, it would be wonderful. Introduction to people is all right, but most parents do not stop there. They want to know after the first meeting if you are going to be able to spend your entire lives together! o.O Also, “looking” at people should be totally banned. It is most embarrassing for many people to meet a complete stranger and share intimate facts of their lives.

    A point I would raise is whether the guy (from a woman’s point of view) is ready and mature to handle the responsibilities of an equal relationship like marriage. Most men have no idea of the adjustments it takes to make a marriage work, so they do not do it. They leave it to their wives to adapt, while they continue to live as before. What happens in this case is that the man does not feel that marriage has made an impact on his life, while the woman feels it is life-changing for her. This leads to men giving lesser importance to marriage than the woman.

    I have had men tell me they want to get married because they want a life partner with whom they can share things, then immediately go on to say they want to live with THEIR parents, continue with THEIR work, live according to THEIR rules, and assure me that their mums will love me as their own daughter. Then, I am forced to point out that I am not marrying their mothers. Whatever happened to the life partner and sharing with all these conditions? So, basically I feel this attitude should be set aside for a happy marriage.


  17. Sorry for spamming, but there is something else I just remembered, and it is close to my heart.

    What exactly is “marriageable age”? That term ought to be done away with, imo. For some, it may be 23 when they start earning and are willing to explore. For others, it may be 35, when they are settled in their careers and know exactly what they want from a partner. For yet others, it may be 50 when they are looking forward to spending the twilight years with a partner they know they can adjust to. Those who are really desiring of having children would want to get married before a certain age. Those who do not have this deep desire may not be so considerate of the biological clock. Marriageable age is a misnomer and yet another tool for control by society and family.


  18. I agree with all the points you have mentioned. A friend of mine called me yesterday to check with me if any freelancing work was available. She was desperate to work from home. I asked her if everything was ok. She replied “none of my mother’s three sons-in-law are understanding. My mother needs money for her expenses, her medical bills add up to Rs4000 every month. I want to work and deposit my money in her account”. Her mother is a widow living on her own. But her mother-in-law who is a widow too lives with her and the husband is very supportive of that. Do parents of wife take a backseat when it comes to financial and emotional support from their daughters? I know now there exists a law that supports daughters should take care of their parents. But in reality how many families support wife’s decision of taking care of her parents?

    In fact my friend was saying that she was being taunted for her dark complexion and her in-laws were upset that their fair-complexioned son loved and married a dark-complexioned girl. That she was sweet and good-natured girl did not matter to them. She was also saying that once her in-laws visited her here in Singapore. She passed on a small packet of gift to them and requested them to courier the packet to her parents after they reached India. It seems they were not happy about it. After they reached India they called her and told she did not know customs and traditions well. How could she ask boy’s parents to carry a packet for her?
    It is sad that in many places ladkiwaale are still not considered equal to ladkewaale. Thankfully, the situation is changing slowly.


  19. here is my version ..

    2. dont agree , Why parents , the grooom and bride are Hopefully Adults and have a job, they should do it themselves, nothing ot do with parents .. If parents are not under pressure they would not force the son to ask for dowry, or expect the bride’s parents for gifts…
    The boy and Girl Can jointly save and organise there wedding.. Then they both will know how hard it is to earn …

    3. agreed

    4. Parents should not be involved at all, there JOB or WORK shud finish once (IF arranged marriage) they find a suitable person, and both the boy and girl accept each other .. after that it should be the Boy and girl

    5. changing of names well that again is upto the couple

    8.. completel yagree to this

    All points are relevant … What parents should or the new couples should aim is that till there kids are 16 or 18.. they are fine ordering them around after that , the kids should be asked to EARN there living .. if they are at home then they should pay rent to there parents , that way they will get out and learn what the world is …

    Seems Harsh but I feel thats the way to go ahead cause , once the kids go out and learn maybe fingers crossed JUST maybe they will respect there partners more…

    and also MOVE OUT of the parents house make your own… I hate this fact where kids are living in parents house all the time , they dont have a clue how to make it work..


    • I so agree with you on this Biks:
      //”The kids should be asked to EARN there living .. if they are at home then they should pay rent to there parents , that way they will get out and learn what the world is …”//
      And this is even better:
      //”and also MOVE OUT of the parents house make your own… I hate this fact where kids are living in parents house all the time , they dont have a clue how to make it work.”//
      Bravo, well said.
      If Indian Motherhood would hear me right now, they’d probably murder me! 😉


      • 🙂 he he he the young generation is all for westernising and copy them all the time then why dont they Copy this Aspect.. a 16 year old is adult and responsible for his actions here and they are asked to find a job, and sometimes also asked ot move out and THIS IS A GOOD THING.


      • @Shail & Bikram:

        I agree too. Even if not at 16, at least by 21, youngsters should have moved out and try living on their own. When even at 30, an individual does not know how to fend for themselves in all ways, the system and culture they live in is pretty much a failure. I moved out pretty late (24), but it was the best ever thing to happen to me in spite of all the hardships I have faced. Nothing can faze me now!


  20. All very valid points IHM 🙂 My son has already decided that the expenses will be shared when the time comes. I am sure the rest of the things will follow. This set of parents don’t think they can do anything better for the son than he can do for himself or that since we made our marriage ‘work’ in spite of being of the arranged variety, he should accept our advice and do the same . In fact more than quarter of a century back when I was married, I had much the same ideas. But of course I was born during the wrong times besides being sent to the wrong planet! 😉

    I am going to share your post.


  21. IHM, This checklist makes so much sense! If only every young woman/man and their parents would consult this.

    GV mentioned bank accounts and monetary obligations. These again should be decided between the man and woman, and no body else. If the marriage is a true partnership, these things can easily be resolved without anybody feeling as if they have been shortchanged. The problem arises when one partner(and the parents, in some cases) tries to take control of everything.

    Even in case of inter-lingual/inter faith marriages, why can’t the children be exposed to both cultures? In case of inter-religion, let the children decide when that are older which faith makes sense to them? As I said, if a marriage is a true partnership, such issues get resolved better, because neither partner will feel as if they have been shabbily treated.
    If everybody follows the first point that you have mentioned, IHM, it would be smooth sailing.


  22. I moved to Germany in mid of 2007 and since then have been exposed to a new society. I must admit there are some things which greatly appeal to me.
    1 – There is a law that the couple after marriage need to decide how to share the money earned during this period. Default is it is shared i.e. everything possessed/earned during the time when the couple is married belongs to both of them. This not only ensures that the housewives are not left with nothing in case of divorce, but also recognises the money-equivalent contribution of housewives in keeping houses and raising children.
    2- Marriage is a celebration of the union of two individuals and hence the expense also belongs to the bride and the bridegroom – it is their responsibilty. Parents do help but as gifts. Why should it be the responsibilty of the parents to find man/woman for their children and then spend on their wedding.
    3- A child belong to both the parents and in case of divorce both have a responsibilty to take care of the children till they are 18. A father cannot run away from his responsibilties and a mother cannot isolate her children from the father.
    4 – Both the men and the women are allowed to change names after marriage. I personally know men with common surname like Braun taking the name of their wives. Some children take their mother’s name and some father’s. It is all question of choice !!!!
    5- Love – that is missing in most Indian marriages. A lot of things become easy in life if you love your partner – there is no power play then. You understand – you care and you support your partner and not treat him/her as a social trophy.


  23. Once both the partners treat each other as equal, there is no need to make all these long drawn lists. Life can not be led with the help of a book. Only pre-requisit in any relationship is understanding.


  24. My friend is married in a family of of 2 brothers and 2 sisters but her husband being the eldest supports the entire family. Since the parents and siblings are financially ( FIL lost his job long back)and emotionally ( MIL does not get along with her own husband)dependent on the son,she cannot do much about it. Even the younger son is earning, but lesser than the elder one so he feels he is not entitled to take the responsibility. The daughters are good for nothing….educated but do not want to work.
    She is not able to decide how to react. If she puts her foot down, the parents will not even have a place to live. And when they stay with her…makes her life miserable. Really a hard thing to gauge before you actually get married to be able to have a check list ….


    • Gosh! That’s a tough place to be in. If the parents live with these guys for financial reasons, can the husband not lay down some rules of the land that would decrease the impact on their lives? She is giving up so much, can he not be asked to lay some boundaries that the ILs will have to respect?


  25. waise if u think about it, how sad na that one has to list down such things…which in my head are pretty obvious. If we have to “ask” for the basics, marriage in India is a long way off from being equal and not another vehicle to carry forth patriarchy….

    just thinking aloud!


    • Chandni it’s always better to list such things, because when there are no written lists, there are a lot of unwritten rules and lists anyway.
      Like we have unwritten lists of dos for newly wed women, be respectful, obedient and submissive; bear male children, move to the spouse’s house and see his family as your own, abandon your own family (or be abandoned by them) etc.


  26. IHM I think its equally important to have a pre-nup. Lets accept the fact that not all marriages are not made in heaven, even the most romantic love story can become a living nightmare. So its best to protect ones interest and then enter a marriage. Sadly, in India mentioning a pre-nup means that the girl is a money monger. Even muslims ,where all this is supposed to be decided in advance, in India do not do so for the taught of talak by a woman is the ultimate haram.
    It time we all grew up and accepted the reality.


      • I read that post and the points you made are valid. But I feel rather than a pre-nup, it should be incorporated in the laws of the country. It is rather a shame that civil laws are still based on religion, which means some people have better legal rights than others. It is against the concept of democracy.

        All the ills that you address, such as infidelity, violence, addiction, etc. ought to have provisions in law that would enable the wronged partner to get justice and ensure they are not taken for granted. A marriage certificate in itself should be a pre-nuptial agreement.


      • Fem,

        That is so only if you choose to marry under, say, the Hindu marriage act or the under the particular law relating to your religion (if you are religious). You don’t necessarily have to do that (and you absolutely should not if you are non-religious/ an atheist). All Indian citizens can marry under the Special Marriage Act 1954, which formulates a non-religious code for marriage, so it’s really up to you to decide whether or not you want civil rights to prevail over religious customs in your marriage. As well, infidelity, violence and such automatically entitle the spouse to file for divorce and in some cases, alimony payments (maintenance).


  27. I think the problem lies in the fact that people assume marriage is a happy sunset you walk into and what comes after that is candy-cotton bliss. Most new brides are so fascinated by the whole thing that they can’t talk about anything other than their wedding or what the guy said/did. It’s as if their entire personality has been taken over by this one event. I know girls who’ve happily chomped away on everything deep fried and unhealthy and who after marriage, miraculously turn into the custodians of their husband’s health. Oh I won’t let him eat out, he has a diabetic history yada yada yada. I mean, I get it dude. You love your husband. But when you were least bothered about your own diet not so long ago, how do you suddenly transform into this health-health person for someone else you’ve been married to for a week? I think many of us play-act romance and love and what it’s supposed to be like and one fine day, it just dawns on us that it was all faff.

    I blogged my list a while ago: http://mediumboss.blogspot.com/2010/12/awwww.html


    • So! True! “Play act romance!” exactly. And have you noticed? This romance takes the form of motherliness!!!!!! This disturbs me. And you know what else? Some married women do this to *all* the men in her husband’s family (to a slightly lesser degree and out of concern, of course!). These same women however, will not even notice when a *female* relative in the same family is coughing her lungs away, sitting right next to them. This is something I have been noticing of late which makes me wonder if this “motherly concern” act for the men folk is the only socially tolerated form of flirting for married women in India? (I think I am going to get some flak for saying this). Would love to hear your thoughts, observations, IHM?


      • I agree with you Agnija, Careless Chronicles wrote a post about this strong mothering instinct women are taught to express right from the time they are little girls. Let me find the link…
        //this “motherly concern” act for the men folk is the only socially tolerated form of flirting for married women in India// – That’s a thought… I think I do agree. Yes, it is one way a married (even unmarried) Indian woman can very safely flatter and show affection.


      • bang on, Agnija.. I’ve noticed some women who take up the onus of mothering (mostly good looking and younger) men at work.. which is like totally totally ewwww!!!
        eg: touching them unnecessarily like touch their forehead and say “bukhaar toh nahin hogaya, na?” and even at times getting their favorite food for lunch.. (because they are bachelors and get no ghar ka khana.. poor babies). And no these mothering maniacs mostly don’t care so much for single girls.. of course.. ladki hai, khud banaa legi.
        and while we are on that topic, I have seen an even yucky trend of college girls making rakhi or mooh bole bhaiyas out of (again, good looking and seemingly unattainable) boys.. and then doing odd favors for them. what these girls don’t realise is that they look so obviously smitten by these guys.
        It’s the same scene with jeeju-worshiping saalis too.

        I’m totally in agreement with you when you say it is a socially tolerated form of flirting.


      • I think you are spot on. I also think that motherliness is one way of controlling men where they like being controlled. Especially in a society like ours where there are so many mamma’s boys, limiting their diet, being concerned about their health, getting pissed about their hygiene levels etc (I know this can be a real issue, but I also know girls who have been absolute pigs who suddenly become all ohhh men are so gross, they don’t know how to take care of themselves blah blah) is a way of ‘caringly’ establishing your hold and role in the relationship. I asked one of my pregnant friends if she’d started feeling ‘maternal’ and she responded by saying that she doesn’t feel as maternal towards the baby as she does towards her husband. Needless to say, her life revolves around what to cook for him and when he’s coming home and his general gastronomic state. And this was a very motivated, career-oriented girl back in college.

        I probably sound cynical- what with being only 25 and married for only a little over a year, but I’m so tired of seeing so many of my friends do this bullshit. PFFFFFFFFFFTTT.


      • Oh My!! yes, seen this..and it irks this foodie when I see it. My food giving concern is for anyone who I consider friend(gender and age being irrelevant) but when they get food for others its usually the Good looking Guys…hmmm I dont exist, do I?


  28. [my previous post got garbled by wordpress, trying again. I’ve used brackets and asterisks for quoting]

    A few comments:

    *(* 2. Expense of the wedding born by both the families. *)*

    How about the bride and groom bearing the expenses? Why force the poor parents into it.

    *(* 4. Parents from both the sides have equal rights on the time, care and attention of the couple. *)*

    Again, maybe both sets of parents should just stay away and give the couple some space. Privacy is the key.

    *(* 5. No changing of names for either partner *)*

    No forced-changing but if the couple want to do that, it’s fine. In some countries, specially the west, having a common lastname has significant advantages.

    *(* 7. If there is age difference, it should not become an excuse for one to treat the other like a child. *)*

    Right now the groom is usually older, I think more women need to look at younger men. It may make life easier for both of them. Lots of men have an automatic attraction towards older women anyway.

    And finally one additional point.

    Women (and men) need to be brought up without forcing into them the idea that marriage is an absolute requirement. Living single and not ever having kids has its advantages, specially in India where population growth is already a big problem.


    • I agree, it would be good if current age rules changed and also if women could see the option of marrying men who are shorter, younger, and earning less than them (GV suggested this in his comment). Yes the couple should bear the expenses (not burden the parents) makes a lot of sense. And I have blogged many times about the idea that marriage is seen as the only goal in most young Indians (specially women’s) lives.


  29. It is gratifying indeed that this discussion has so many participants.

    While there have been several useful and interesting comments, I was hoping for an expansion to the list.

    While it is true that if the first is ensured, there is no need for a list like this, we just have to be practical.

    I believe having this list is useful.

    Let me expand my list a bit..

    11) Is HEIGHT an issue? Are you a girl who insists on a taller person as your mate?
    What if he is just as tall as you, or even a little shorter. If he meets all other criteria, would you reject him?

    12) Is complexion an issue? I know dark young men, who insist on fair brides. They openly admit that colour prejudice is rampant in our society. They claim they have suffered due to their dark complexion, and they want a fair bride so that their children at least have a better complexion and (by implication) a better deal in life.

    13) Is relative income an issue? Would you marry someone who meets all your other conditions but earns a little less than you?

    14) Is level of education an issue? If you are a post graduate, would you be willing to marry a graduate? If you hold a degree in engineering (say) , would you agree to marry a diploma holder?

    15)Is physical perfection / or handicaps an issue? If you are normal, would you marry a man who has a slight limp? Or a scar on his body that is visible?

    16) Is baldness an issue? If he is ideal otherwise, would you reject him on account of the number of strands of hair on his pate?

    Of course, corollaries to each of these questions could be asked to a young man too but we are discussing here the conditions to considered by young women.

    17)Would you agree to a medical test for both the boy and girl? Unfortunately, some of us are scandalized by this suggestion. I feel instead of giving so much importance to a horoscope, we could perhaps make this a mandatory test. Good jobs in good companies require tests for medical fitness. Shouldn’t marriage too require a similar test? It may save the lives and destinies of unborn children.

    18)Is Astrology/horoscope/caste/gotra/ manglik etc an issue? Sort this out well in advance. I hate it when one party rejects the other and wriggles out of embarrassment by claiming the horoscopes did not match.

    My mind is being flooded with these questions that I didn’t think of earlier.
    I may list some more later.

    Whew! Thank God, I got married in 1975 when these questions never occurred to me or my wife!
    Match making was simple those days. And I have been lucky in marriage.
    My wife and I fight a lot but separation is unthinkable.
    My kids (both adults now) would simply not allow it! and neither would my heart.



    • @GV:

      Let me try answering these questions of yours from my perspective…..as someone who has ‘been there, done that’ with the arranged marriage scenario….and as someone about to get married.

      11) I m not particularly too picky about physical appearances (he should be handsome, white teeth, pointed nose yada yada nonsense) but height is one thing I was careful about. I am myself 5’7” and it would make me conscious to be with someone who is say, 5’6” or less. Having said that, I had once loved a guy who was the same height as me. I thought he was ideal in every other way except this…. and I was willing to forgive the height issue . It is a different thing altogether that things never worked out with that guy – for other reasons.

      12) I PREFER guys who are dusky or tanned. I think it makes them look better. 🙂 The only fair guy I can stand is my dad – and because he is my dad 😛 😀 LOL. But again, that’s just my preference.

      13) I would not make it my first option. It would give me security to know that the person earns more than me so that if I wanted to take a break in a little while, I know my husband’s income would be enough to support both of us. But then again, I have seen both my dad and grandfather. They started from scratch. But over the years managed to have wonderful careers and get settled into good positions. It did not happen overnight, it takes time. If I believe the guy has potential to eventually have a good career and earn well, I would not mind marrying him even if he earned less than me now. But no thank you, I am NOT interesting in footing the bill permanently of a lazy no-good loser who thinks he can live off me so I’d be careful about this. Most girls I know prefer to take the safer route and directly move to a guy who is anyway well-settled, rather than wait for him to come up in life.

      14) On the previous issue as well as this, I’d carefully evaluate a guy’s behaviour. I’d turn this question around. I’m not an egoistic person per se who throws her weight around based on wealth or education. But would the guy have an inferiority complex having a wife who either earned more than him or say, was a post graduate when he himself was a graduate?? It’s HIS attitude that I’d worry more about. If he is able to take the fact that I earn more than him and I am more educated than him, and treat me normally in spite of this, then it does not make a difference. Education is only an indicator. If I find him intelligent and worldly-wise and mature enough to handle life, education does not matter as much to me. But then again, I would not marry just a 10th-class pass or even a pre-degree guy. There has to be some amount of a parity. Please note these are my own personal preferences. A lot of girls and possibly rightfully so, demand that if they are IIM passouts, they want husbands of similar stature. I do not see anything wrong with this….it is their choice.

      15) Hmm never thought about this one, never had to face it. It depends on how convinced I am about the guy whether I’m willing to ignore the scar or whatever.

      16) Ok this one IS an issue. One thing I was finicky about. I cannot be with someone who is bald from the very beginning. I would not be attracted to him. Period. Him turning bald later on in life is different….since by then anyway we love each other and we’d have kids and we’d both be entering middle age/old age. But my cousin who recently got married, has a husband who is nearly entirely bald. My BIL has severe premature ageing. She is fine with it and they are happy together. Personal choice 🙂

      17) Totally with you on this one. My fiance and I are ready for it, but somehow we never got around to taking it…never felt the need since we are not two random people (introduced through common friends and relatives as opposed to a random proposal from a matrimonial site). I’d recommend it to anyone undergoing arranged marriage definitely.

      18) It varies. I’ve seen families who believe in it, and families who truly don’t care. My dad believes in it, my mom and me are skeptical. My fiance’s family does believe in it. In my case the horoscopes were all checked before the guy and I start interacting so I’d come in contact with guys only who were already ‘horoscope-approved’. So the process of wriggling out after stating the excuse of horscope never applied.

      Bottomline? There is no one size fits all 🙂 It is best to discuss such points with the girl and guy in question and have them outline it. What is one’s choice need not be another’s.

      I hope this provided some insight for you.

      @IHM: Sorry for spamming, but I felt like replying to this in detail.


    • As a single woman, let me answer your questions:

      11) No. Height is not an issue if I am attracted.
      12) Ditto as above. Having lived abroad and dated all kinds of men of all colours, I do not have that prejudice any longer.
      13) No. I feel the man should be able to cover his own interests and hobbies in life. I do not mind being the more financially responsible person in the partnership but I would not be comfortable having the complete responsibility. Also, if he has expensive interests, like gadgets and stuff, I would expect him to pay for it instead of making eyes at me 😉
      14) Yes, a little. But not in the prestige kind of way. I would like a man who has interests similar to mine (and I am a geek).
      15) I am perhaps not that comfortable with this matter, but this is only at first sight. If perhaps love blossoms, I doubt this would be an obstacle.
      16) LOL, no! But facial hair and hygiene are issues!
      17) What kind of medical tests are we talking about here? When my ex and I started to live together, we went for an AIDS test.
      18) I am strongly against this horoscope matching. I am an atheist and have no belief in such things.

      There! It is not so tough to find me a man, or so you would believe 😉


    • Hi GV I wanted to address several of your concerns.

      As far as the physical features you’ve mentioned. Those really aren’t issues for me. I don’t really if they’re too short or bald. Some men look good like that. 🙂

      13) Is relative income an issue? Would you marry someone who meets all your other conditions but earns a little less than you?
      14) Is level of education an issue? If you are a post graduate, would you be willing to marry a graduate? If you hold a degree in engineering (say) , would you agree to marry a diploma holder?

      Honestly, he doesn’t have to make more than me or have more education. But I feel it would really be benefit. Also I as I stated above, what if my future husband is bothered by the fact that I have more earning potential and education than he does? If it’s an issue with him I would rather not enter a marriage with him.

      17)Would you agree to a medical test for both the boy and girl? Unfortunately, some of us are scandalized by this suggestion. I feel instead of giving so much importance to a horoscope, we could perhaps make this a mandatory test. Good jobs in good companies require tests for medical fitness. Shouldn’t marriage too require a similar test? It may save the lives and destinies of unborn children.

      I’m going to assume you’re talking about issues of STD’s, am I right? For me, this is a must considering the culture I come from.

      Whew! Thank God, I got married in 1975 when these questions never occurred to me or my wife!
      Match making was simple those days. And I have been lucky in marriage.

      That’s good. Personally I find it boring when things are simple. I’m also assuming that you and your wife didn’t have to wonder about things. 🙂


  30. I have a different take on the differences in background point. I think if people are going arranged to start with, then they need to get some parity in background (academic qualifications, exposure of society, et al). I have seen cases where husbands have had to educate their wives, almost bringing them up to function effortlessly in the society they hang in. The ‘superiority’ in that particular skill or environment is very stark, even when the person’s attitude is not one of superiority.

    If there is some basic parity in education, then it is easier to converse on subjects other that which meal the family will have today or tomorrow or very superficial stuff. In this, most men have to deal with women who are not as educated or exposed. And that is painful for both sides.

    Me – Sangitha do you think if the couple had a say in choosing who they married, maybe such disparity would not be so common? Such marriages are generally arranged marriages.


  31. I kept my maiden name when I got married, since I was licensed etc in my profession and also as a tribute to my father who had passed.
    When my son was born, I named him after my dad and hyphenated his last name with my last name and my hubs last name.
    The hubs is american and doesnt care, even though since he was named after his granddad and is a XY the III.
    To have a successful married life, you have to have sensibilties mixed in with a clear outline of one expectations.
    Problem being India is such a pro male society that guys just assume they have the right of way. I have seen matriachal societies like the nairs in Kerala. There is almost no female genocide in that state compared to states like rajasthan and haryana.

    I hear the constant refrain from older desi people that Indian society is crumbling because woman are expecting too much. I always ask them is it expecting too much to live as equal?


    • @arina:
      In the matriarchial society – Nairs in kerala like you said – the family continues through the daughter. It is the daughter who gets the property, ancestral house etc. The importance is placed on the girl child. And this makes a ton of difference.

      Also, the girl still remains very much a part of the household even after she is married off (as opposed to the concept of she being someone else’s family). She is consulted for decision making, is aware of the proceedings in her house as well as husband’s, and often supports her parents by having them live with her.
      That is how the system works. Of course the husband needs to be supportive too. If she is married to a cad then the whole equation changes.

      But of course I am saying this from a general perspective.


  32. Previous comments emphasize that parents need to take a backseat as a marriage is between a man and a woman only. A man/woman of a marriagebale age means they are adults right? Which means they are capable of taking care of themselves(hopefully, if you still are not spoon-feeding them everything) right? Why I ask, do parents want to go about looking for a ‘nice boy’/’homely girl’ for their grown-up adult children? People should look out for their partners themselves – fall in love or go to marriage bureaus, or decide that you don’t want to be a part of the institution. If you let others do your work, isn’t it obvious that they’d want to do it their way? The whole trouble of drawing boundaries would be solved considerably at its root if you look for a partner yourself and spend for a wedding along with your partner.

    Should parents be given no importance in such an important decision of their son/daughter? They are not ignored, in fact they have the most important task at hand – to raise their children independent enough to form a decision, respectful of others and confident enough to stand by their decision. That is a challenge in itself for which the parents’ energy is needed as against visits to astrologers.

    IHM, I feel there needs to be a list of things one can do if the points agreed upon before marriage are unreasonably breached. Also when a point is not thought of but is creating problems post marriage. Read my latest post to know what I am talking about.


  33. No.6 — good god no, Maybe it doesn’t make sanjay leela bansali cringe but it would make my little guys teenage years a living hell!!! so it’s quite all right that he doesn’t have my name as his middle name..
    Everyone on this planet knows he’s my son i don’t think i need it declared on his birth certificate !!!!

    No11… i have seen too many young ones belabour te 50-50 rule and hash it to death,, ya ya ya we get it you don’t want to do be the daily cook, share the load , care for one another’s comfort and happiness does it really matter who clens the bathroom how many times a week ???

    I have seen plenty of women work and slog at home while the men come from work and sit on their bums!!! well hand him a mop , turn off the idiot box and let him loose, likewise i have seen women who have no qualifications, hence no work sit on their butt all day watching TV. really expecting the working partner to come and slog while you did nothing the whole day is not partnership.

    It’s also v easy to treat both sets of parents the same!!! In my mind my mom is mom not his, his mom can never be my mother, likewise for my husband, they can at best be our favority aunt 🙂

    Most important of all, DO NOT GET MARRIED if you don’t find that spark and love and respect and think he/ she is the best thing to happen since sliced bread… about 75% of the couples i see marry have no solid foundations or basis for the wedding, they get married because it’s time!!!! don’t worry if you are inching your way to 30, it’s a number, the world won’t fall apart if you reach it unmarried… be happy and content that’s all god sent you here to be.. and if your parents tell you otherwise,, ignore them,, works all the time 🙂


  34. Agree on all points! As someone who is going be the Ladke waale… let me add. Would like to underscore Shail’s point too… that the expense should be shared by both parties alike.
    Very pertinent post, IHM. Sharing it! Missed being here!

    Me – Thank You Usha 🙂 In fact some comments have later added that he young couple should bear the expense or repay the expense to the parents, I think that’s a step towards self reliance and taking responsibility, this should also bring down the expenses, because most young people would not want to waste on on what day, what could help them live in more comfortable life. I also knew this couple who kept asking the parents to let them have some of the money spent on the functions, for a trip to Switzerland 🙂 (But that’s once again expecting the parents to bear all the cost)


  35. I guess, in the end it boils down to the fact that each partner cares for the happiness of the other partner. Making such list is not sufficient, I feel. What if after marriage some issue becomes close to my heart and it was something I had not mentioned in my “list” before marriage?! It is the ability of BOTH partners to adjust, let go some part of their comfort zone and amicably come to a solution which is acceptable to both partners, that matters in the long run. For me, a happy marriage translates to “marriage of equals”. That does not mean doing all the tasks 50-50. It means both individuals seen as equal participators, equally responsible for the good and the bad in the marriage and having equal respect irrespective of their gender, or the tasks (or the lack of) they perform. Now how these tasks should be distributed among the partners, depends on the couple and I dont think any generic rule regarding the division of labor applies. Each couple has to find their own rhythm based on his/her own capabilities.

    I would also like to mention that in love marriages (or rather “choice” marriages), in the boyfriend-girlfriend phase, everything looks nice and warm and fuzzy.. But before deciding to tie the knot, attention needs to be paid on the things that matter to each one of you. I have seen some of my friends so much in love with their partners pre-marriage that they missed out important signs, and then were unhappy after the first few years of marriage. I also feel at-least one partner should be calm headed and must have the ability to sit and discuss out the situation. It is an excellent quality to have (would be awesome if everyone had it), but not all of us have this quality (like yours truly :D) . But it really helps that my husband is really calm in the after-fight stage and makes it a point to sit and discuss both point of views with me. As someone said in the comments above, it is how both the partners as a “team” solve the roadblocks. Marriage is nothing but a team work. It cannot exist with just one active player.


  36. Point no. -1 Marriage is a wonderful institution. However, it is wonderful only if you are married to your right person because you want to be married to them- it is not the be-all and end-all and defining moment of your existence.

    Addendum to point 8. Parents/elders/ random people who start taking spousal decisions for others should realize that maybe the person is not mature enough to marry and should not be coerced to do so.


  37. Sorry for the multiple posts, but I keep getting inspired to write more- another point,

    each partner is required to protect the other from the combined crappiness of own relatives- i.e. if my folks are being negative about my spouse, I make sure they understand why it is unacceptable to me. If mommy or daddy or aunty’s opinion matters more than the spouse- maybe one party does not need the said spouse.


  38. Loved this post IHM!! I’m sharing it with a few friends who are going thru the process of getting married – you know – the whole groom seeing thing is going on at their respective houses!


  39. Now I know why Heer Ranjha, Laila Majnu, Romio Juliet never got to get married!! They were lost in love…marriage would have meant losing all they had in a maze of conditions.

    A marriage/relationship is bound to work if two people are willing to stick out no matter what. Who cares what anyone else says, or thinks or does….as long as the two are compatible and want to be together. They will work it out. Let them.

    If we are able to handle our differences ‘within’ the boundary of our relationship allowing no access to a third person of any kind, I guess that’s all we need .

    If there is enough love and understanding ‘between a married couple’, all their needs will be met, all necessary arrangements will be made at all junctures of life…it comes out of basic common sense!! No one can teach common sense, one either has it or doesn’t.

    If anything other than love will come in between a couple’s decision to marry, let them figure it out.

    Marriage is a beautiful experience…its NOT for making life convenient or parents happy or shush relatives n neighbors ! It is to find meaning in life growing together, helping each other learn and more than anything have fun enjoying the company of one person that you have chosen out of ALL the people you have known.


  40. wow…such a great list… some of them would be the points I would have wanted to tell before marriage. Though it doesnt happen all the time because of our traditions and customs. Girls are always bound to obey whatever elders say.
    I m going to change the way it happens during my sisters marriage… thats the best I can do given the trauma i have been through during my marriage!!!


  41. You should forward the list to shaadi.com. 😉 My experience on that site comes up with a completely different list……..


  42. IHM, I don’t think that we can ever make an exhaustive check-list here. Guidelines, yes. People have different priorities in life, and their expectations from marriage (even from life) vary so drastically.

    Personally, my POV on this is:
    1. If you are in love, hang on for a bit till that ‘madly in love’ state subsides, before taking a decision on marriage. It’s so easy to get blinded in that phase. Have a clear head, listen to the other person’s words, actions, views, thoughts. Keep your eyes and ears open. Most people tell us what they really are, but sadly, we dont even bother to recognise the red-flags. Another cotton-candy moment, and the red-flags are forgotten… until it all builds up and shows its ugly face one day. In most cases, a few years after marriage. So, just stay alert. Make a conscious decision of marriage.
    2. If you are going for an arranged marriage, you are of course, not clouded by love initially, which gives you a better chance in being objective. But the sad part is, in such cases, the girls are already smitten by the idea of either moving into a new country, marrying a guy who works in a tier one company, or n number of other trivia, that they forget to focus on what is more important. Also, they need to tell themselves that parents are not Gods. They are also humans trying to assess whether something is good for you. They could be wrong too, as much as they can be right. So be more proactive about the choice of a spouse, rather than being a passive person in the decision making process.


  43. Here’s what my list would be:

    My spouse would have to respect me as an adult, as an individual, and as an equal human being.

    He would have to respect my need to learn and grow and evolve as part of my own journey in life.

    Anyone who puts a full stop to the journey by making himself the destination (“You’re my wife now, THEREFORE you should/shouldn’t do…”) is not welcome.

    Anyone who introduces obstacles in the journey just because he’s been made a companion on the way (“My parents don’t like you doing….”) is not welcome either.

    Don’t expect me to sink my own boat and jump into yours. I can’t give up my self in order to be one half of a couple.

    Don’t jump out of your boat into mine. Carry on your own journey. Don’t leech onto me. Don’t expect me to mother you. Stay in your own boat, I’ll stay in mine, and let’s just sail together in the same direction.

    You can pick up and drop off your parents as you wish, and I can do the same. But don’t sail solo and expect ME to give them a ride in my boat. If you care so much about your parents, you’ll have to give up some things, make your boat lighter, and put in some extra effort too.

    I’ll watch out for you and help if there’s a problem with your boat. I expect you to do the same for me. We’ll both work together to find our way if we get lost. I’ll save you from sinking and help you onto my boat, and I expect you to do the same. For a while. For as long as it takes for us to find another boat. Any longer than that and we’re getting dependent on each other or using each other as crutches.

    We must strive to be together when we encounter turbulent waters. Try our level best. But not at the risk of our selves or our lives. We must also understand when separation is inevitable and accept it as part for the course. But the journey must go on. We’ll continue as solo travelers for a while, and then maybe find another companion on the way.


    • Forgot to mention: We should be sailing together in the same direction not only to watch out for each other, but also to show each other new sights along the way. We must appreciate what the other person shows us, and the richness and variety they bring to the journey. We must be willing to make small detours for each other. We must be willing to stop for a while when the other needs rest.

      Otherwise we might as well travel solo.


  44. I thank Ashwathy, Fem and Renkiss for the trouble taken to answer in detail.

    I had a quick reading of two of your most recent blog posts and enjoyed the experience.
    I would have given anything to be there to watch the expressions on the face of Colleague no 2 after realization dawned on him. I could cite more examples of innocent questions like this from my life but then those are more suitable to be shared with rogue males of my own age group, not in a circle of prim and proper ladies and nubile young women here.

    I also enjoyed reading about your “sticker” experience and your conversations with that army pilot. Poor chap, he was obviously hoping you were not booked already. If he had known, he wouldn’t have bothered about that sticker. I am not sure that sticker was an accident. Could he have somehow managed to stick it there and use it as an ice breaker? In the old days, the usual trick to Patao a Ladki was to wave a hand kerchief and ask her if she had dropped it. Unless you are an ice maiden these ice breakers usually worked.

    I am glad to hear about your impending marriage.
    All the best.

    The medical test includes Aids test and general health.
    No one even thought about it in 1975 when I got married.
    My blood group is B+ve
    My wife is O-ve
    My daughter was born with O+ve blood.
    The Doctors told me my wife needed to take a very very expensive injection after the delivery.
    The cost came to nearly a month’s income for me those days. (It used to be imported those days)
    They said it was necessary for the survival and good health of babies born in future to us.

    I am not saying that if I had known about this blood group problem, I would have said no to marrying my wife. The problem had a simple solution, namely an injection after delivery. But what if no such solution existed? Would it not be better to know that I could not have more than one child and allow us to decide if we wished to go ahead with the marriage or not?

    I know a couple where one of the ovaries of the girl had been removed before marriage. The groom and his parents weren’t told about this before marriage.

    The couple took a long time to have a baby. It finally happened only at a fertility clinic and the use of a test tube. The removal of the ovaries could not be concealed any longer and this created some friction between the parents of couple. Fortunately the groom was a mature fellow and didn’t hold it against his wife. He understood the parental pressures on her to keep quiet about it before marriage or else it would have impacted her matrimonial prospects. Besides her doctor had told her, one ovary was sufficient and she had been persuaded to keep quiet about it.

    I am sure others can come up with good reasons why a medical check up is good for both. It will save a lot of heartaches later. Based on the report’s findings, couples could decide if marriage was viable and desirable. I would rather have a marriage proposal turned down for medical reasons than for astrological reasons.

    Ren Kiss,

    Yes, I appreciate the response regarding the issue of women earning more.
    I agree, even if the women don’t mind, some men will suffer from a complex and that will affect the marriage. Better to stick to tradition regarding these issues. Of course there could be exceptions.

    Regarding medical test, I have clarified in my response to Fem above.



    • @GV:

      Haha glad to hear you enjoyed reading my blog 🙂 In fact you might want to take a look through Matrimonial Mish-mashes series…..I have recorded my entire journey from the time my parents started looking out for a guy for me till the time I finally found him, or rather he found me. It’s been a roller-coaster ride alright….I have certainly met some interesting characters in life….! 🙂


    • @GV:

      I have never thought of these aspects of life. Basically, having a child or something is not a focal point for me, so if the guy has a problem with fertility or something similar, it would not bother me. After all, a lot happens in life. Why would I expect a marriage and the guy to be perfect? Basically, I only ask that he treats me and my desires and ambitions with respect, does not try to force restrictions upon me, gives me space to be myself so I do not have to fight for it, and if things really do not work out, separate as friends. Everything else is secondary for me in a relationship or marriage. I equate the two because I see no difference if one is living together or one is married, except for the society part.


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  47. We need to understand that while equality in gender is necessary, both genders have different strengths and weaknesses. Sorry, I do not accept that a father can bring up a kid in an equally effective way (that a mom can). And sorry, I do not accept that women can (on average) deal with crisis situations the same way as men do.

    I may have sounded sexist above.

    What I do agree with is that these things need to be discussed pre-marriage.


    • Are you male or female? If female, have you ever got into a crisis situation which you had to solve? As a male, have you ever seen a female close to you solving a crisis situation? I am highly offended by this assumption that women cannot handle crisis situations. I have known many women who have had to work against all odds because the men in their family gave up easily. And you DO sound sexist. Also, you are again wrong about men’s limitations with children. I know children who always go to their father for advice (including myself) because they feel closer to him. If someone is deliberately distance themselves from their child because they are men, then it is their loss, and of course they will not be able to bring up their child as efficiently. But if they put these stereotypic notions in the dustbin, where they rightly belong, then they could be a good father as well.


  48. What an amazing discussion here, IHM.
    So many very valid points. Ultimately it boils down to respect for both partners in a marriage, both mutual, and by all associated friends and family members. They need to behave like mature, self-sufficient adults in all aspects of their lives to gain such respect.
    Love and respect together make a great team, plus a little irreverence ( which definitely works for us as a couple).
    Love alone is never enough.


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