The danger signs and what’s non negotiable.

A young friend once visited a colleague, and his mother brought her a glass of water. As she thanked and accepted the glass, the young man asked his mother,“You look ill! Where is my sister? Why are you serving water?”  

He didn’t think he could get the water.

Many young Indian men are raised like this. Some notice the hypocrisy and change, some don’t.

Do you think there is some way Indian women can find out, before they marry him, if the man they are about to marry sees them as someone who must be prepared to give up their freedom and happiness to make the husband’s mom, dad, extended family and their neighbours happy?

What would you consider non negotiable?

For example, would it help to see if the young man is able to have any kind of discussions with his parents or if he sees unquestioning obedience as ‘respect’?

Would you worry if a man expects a prospective bride to wear traditional clothing, when he introduces her to his parents? (Would this make it easier for him to tell his traditional parents that she would be deciding what she wears once they are married?)

Got this email,

“After reading the last published comment on your blog …… Why don’t you bring out a set of questions that a prospective bride should ask a prospective bridegroom before tying the knot?”

What do you think? What kind of questions could help?

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107 thoughts on “The danger signs and what’s non negotiable.

  1. For one I think, not all prospective bridegrooms would be very honest when questioned. Better would be for the girl to tell him very clearly what her expectations are and what she cannot tolerate or put up with.

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  2. Go out on a drive with the prospective bridegroom. Spend a day with him. There will be loads of danger signs in those 4-5 hours. See how he behaves with people around him especially the ones he thinks are below him.
    Talk to him about what he feels about equality, working women, responsibilities at home etc. More danger signs will pour out. Also, tell him about your viewpoint and study his expressions.🙂
    And if the man is still smiling at the end of it all and holds your hand and you fix up another date, he is the one.

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    • Chances are, his parents and the girl’s would be accompanying them on that date. Most of seeing happens in front of parents.😛 If at all everybody says yes, then they can go ahead a meetup in solitude. In some cases, it is allowed only after engagement.

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      • I can understand the girl or her family not encouraging a long personal meeting between the boy & girl.

        If it is the boy or his family who refuse to have the girl & boy go out along for few hours or even a day; that itself is a HUGE red flag.

        What family who is otherwise progressive , open minded and will allow their DIL freedom to be herself, not actually allow their son to go out with the girl who is a prospective bride?

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        • I agree. If the ‘boy’ and parents want a group date, there’s your red flag.

          However, I do not know what you mean by “I can understand the girl or her family not encouraging a long personal meeting between the boy & girl.” Why is the family interference understandable? Is it because they have figured out they don’t like the guy, in which case it’s applicable to the guy’s family too (both should be allowed equal interference). Or because they should guard her ‘honour’? Or maybe because they don’t trust the guy they just met.. in which case it’s scary that they would happily marry her to this dodgy stranger but not let her have a day out with him pre-marriage.

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        • I can understand the girl or her family not encouraging a long personal meeting between the boy & girl.

          I cannot understand it, though.

          Why should you not have long, personal meetings with someone you’re considering getting married to? What earthly reason is there for this? How are you supposed to vet a potential groom without spending time with him?

          If the family of the woman in question is not okay with something as basic as this, it is probably a sign that they don’t think the vetting process is all that important. It is a sign of orthodoxy, it is a red flag too, and it is something that would make me very uncomfortable indeed if I was the guy in that situation.

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        • @anonymous, thanks for your reply. “They say you can meet once you fix the marriage but not before that.” I would also find such people frustrating. You can’t have a coffee with their daughter, but you can marry her and have babies with her. The mind boggles.

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      • I think it is ok to have an initial meeting with parents and the whole clan but the couple must get a chance to spend some time together before making a commitment. They should be given a fair chance to spend some time with each other before they decide.
        My wife and I were in different continents but we were given a month to talk before both of us said yes. We discussed Rakhi Sawant so elaborately that we instantly knew that we were made for each other.😛

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        • This is in response to Carvaka’s note above. Somehow I am not getting the reply button on her note

          1. Yes at worst, it is about guarding her honour. But that is a very harsh way to look at it . What the reality is that they are afraid of putting their daughter into a scenario where they think she might feel vulnerable.

          Also when I say “i understand” , it means only that much, that i understand where they are coming from and their thought process. It does not mean that I
          – Would justify the behaviour
          – Agree with the behaviours
          – Behave in similar fashion if I were in there position.

          Just trying to say – understanding is not agreeing.

          // in which case it’s scary that they would happily marry her to this dodgy stranger but not let her have a day out with him pre-marriage.//

          Yes, it is bewildering. But it happens. They say you can meet once you fix the marriage but not before that. As if I would eat up their daughter.Make you want to tear your hair out

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    • “Especially the ones he thinks are below him.”

      This one’s always a dead giveaway — its a part of the whole constellation of conservative beliefs. If a man treats the household help with a casual lack of respect, it’s likely he’ll extend the favour to his wife as well.

      Another helpful sign — observe how he behaves around the wives of his friends. Does he criticise some he thinks of as “too modern” or “liberated”?

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  3. When I’ve been asked if I can cook, I say yes. And then ask him if he can cook.
    (he doesn’t neeeeed to know, but based on his response, I’ll know what kinda guy he is).

    And really… I can’t think of any specific list of questions to ask a guy. You get an idea based on the way the conversation goes. And any guy with a set of questions will automatically be a huge turn-off for me and as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t deserve an answer to any, cos it isn’t an interview, and if it is, then I’m not interested in being hired.

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    • If it is a traditional arranged marriage that they are looking for, the “seeing” is indeed an interview. Therefore, a list of questions is the only way of finding out if their ideas of life are similar in a short period of time and to move on if not. It would help if there was a formal CV with some standard answers already given and a law making it a crime to lie on such a CV🙂

      If it was not a traditional marriage, the only way of finding out these things is to spend time together for extended periods. With me it was two years.

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    • I wouldnt say a guy with a fixed set of questions is bad or dangerous. He just doesnt have any other option in few minutes of time he is allowed to interact. I myself am kind of a person who find it hard to do the ice breaking on such occassions before any casual and meaningful conversation can start. It just cannot happen in the controlled atmosphere of typical meetings happening in the girl’s house.

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      • see, it is this limited kind of interaction that I cannot do.
        I cannot decide if i want to spend the rest of my life with someone based on an interview of half an hour.
        No way.
        And if a guy is okay to make a decision in that amount of time, then he is not for me.

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    • I ahd accidentally , asked a newly married couple about tis cooking aspect. The girl was known to me from childhood, and when she brought the husband home, I casually asked about food, cooking and she was teased about not knowing to cook. I blurted out”In that case you can cook” . That guy was upset and did not visit us for many months!:-).I found that he had controlling parents and other relatives, and she was under pressure to conform to their family customs , rituals.

      She is a smart girl. She simply took him away from his orthodox parents and settled in US!

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  4. It shouldn’t be a question and answer session. Also there are very high chances that both parties might lie or cover up stuff. There is no one formula to un-earth the morons (on both sides). Part of it is timely presence of mind and part is luck. But both girls and boys should talk about what they think is important in their life. The most important thing is to decide what they think is important in their life after marriage. For us it was independence, from each other and from extended family. Since both of us thought the same, we agreed. It doesn’t mean we don’t have fights. But it is very important to say what you are thinking. The other person can’t read your mind. So I think expressing what one feels is very important.

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  5. At the risk of a bad analogy, even when interviewing a helper, it is hard to cover everything (or even anything) with formal questions. I was able to find a suitable person to care for my child because she had worked part-time with me and I was reasonably sure of her personality. Similarly, to get to know a person you need to spend time with them. And a lot of this is instinct.

    My husband recently watched the Satyameva Jayate episode on female infanticide and asked me: “What if I turned out to be the kind of man who asked you to abort a female child.” My answer was simple: “I would have left you.” He said: “But why didn’t you ask me my views on this first?” My answer was that we make presumptions of a person based on what we know of them and how they present themselves. He presumed I’d want to have children – he never specifically asked me before we got married. Similarly, based on his behaviour and our conversations, I assumed he would not discriminate against girl children. We were right in our presumptions in both cases. If either of us turned out to be wrong, I guess we would consider whether we wanted to stay in the relationship. Besides, a person’s attitude can change… for the better or the worse…as many of the examples on this blog show.

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  6. It would be more advisable if any girl who intends to marry starts her own search and invests time and energy to explore the world, both inside and outside, of the man whom she wishes to marry. The point that you raised IHM here regarding the questions to be considered by any girl before marring are relevant but insufficient and that is why you asked all of us to think and contribute. The way you yourself put to use the commenest of instances and ordinary occassions to get an idea of the personality and envirnment of an individual is quite useful. A girl with a purposeful eye who is not blindly in love with the guy can gauge to a large extent the person with whom she intends to get into a relationship. But what must be remembered is that no committment is absolute. Anyone can make a mistake in judgement. And it is only wise to correct it if it had been made.
    well, but why we should start from marrige and not question the institution of marrige itself when it has proved to be so detrimental to the freedom and life of women since ages. Apologists of tradition may sing pions but empirical situation of women in India cry hoarse.

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  7. Non negotiable things
    1. Never to be forced to live in in laws house
    2. Never to be forced to leave ur job
    3. No interference in dressing ,
    4. Never to be forced to do religious customs or change religious beliefs/non beliefs, eating habits etc
    4 points as starters -P

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    • very true.. more than anything ur basic freedom should not be taken away (which is a paradox!)
      5. freedom of speech, esp with ur parents
      6. freedom to decide when to bring in a child to this world

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    • Never tends to be a very strong word. In all cases, I wish we could add the clause “Unless in extreme circumstances” to the entire list.

      I particularly have a problem with
      > 3. No interference in dressing.

      I don’t know how to put my feelings on that issue in words that would sound convincing, but I feel I may have some justification in my attempt to get my wife to occasionally dress (or not dress) in some ways. When I have time this weekend, I should pick on Praveen (PT) to help me elaborate on that. Even though, I am sure that he absolutely disagrees with me on this particular issue, he is definitely capable of presenting even the weakest arguments in the most convincing (and often beautiful manner) possible.

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      • It’s so hardwired in Indian culture that any random person can comment on a woman’s attire that trying to think otherwise is not something that comes naturally to most people. Even most women think it’s perfectly fine and are even proud of their husbands choosing their clothes etc. I would say that reasonable requests can be made and accepted as long as both parties think they are reasonable and not an imposition. And it should be obvious that either person should be free to deny the request without resentment or justification. This would only apply to the spouse and not extended family.

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      • It is upto your wife to “obey” you or not if you dictate the way she dresses. But pray tell me, would you also be comfortable if she dictates to you the same way? Also understand, a madisar is not the same as a panchagacham. A saree is not the same as a veshti. wearing jewellery is not the same as wearing poonal and wearing plaited hair with malli poo is NOT the same as having the hair style that you would like.

        Your wife is an adult- not a baby who needs to be dressed up and dolled up. If for all these years, she could brush her teeth, take bath, comb hair and dress up by herself, she certainly doesnt need you to tell her what to wear- esp on occassions. Mind you – she has already attended numerous functions and weddings (of friends,cousins etc) and probably exhibited her fantastic abillity to dress up- thank you!

        I dont really understand the fixation for Indian men to dictate terms for his wife-the way she dresses, talks, walks, carries herself, works or not work, have sex even if she is not interested!

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        • Let me point out a simple analogy here.
          Say your husband is planning to go out with a banyan (like salman/shahrukh in the ads) showing his bicep muscles and an almost underwear kind of shorts to a shopping mall with you. I feel you might find it difficult to walk around with such a person. People will be staring / laughing / commenting all along. Now in this situation, please tell me how would you convince your husband that the dress is not good for the occassion. Please tell me how can you convince without sounding like a dictator who is deciding what her partner should wear?

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        • To AK, that is a ridiculous example. I would not marry a man who goes to a mall in underwear if I don’t like that. If I did marry my husband knowing that he loves going to the mall in underwear, I have no right to ask him to stop. He’s a grown adult making his own decisions, not a child. I need to respect his decision. If you and wife are both adults, then what makes you think your views are more ‘correct’ than hers? If you are equal then why should she follow your views if she does not agree?

          What your wife wears is her choice. You can tell her you don’t like it, but you have no right to try and make her stop wearing it. You know why? Because these things are usually not as extreme as the underwear example. They are much more subjective. Some people their wife should not wear salwar suits and only wear sarees, some people think only a particular type of sarees, some people think they should not wear jeans, some people think skirts. There is no definition of good or bad here. It’s only your views against her and you are implying that your views hold more weight as the man/ husband. They do not. What she wears is HER business, not yours.

          What if she only wants you to wear kurta pyjamas everywhere because she thinks jeans are westernised? What if she then insists that you obey her at the threat of physical/ mental or emotional consequences? Would you obey her great wisdom on something you can perfectly well decide for yourself?

          I’ll repeat again, if you del the need to control things like what your wife wears, you either were not ready for marriage or married the wrong person. Find someone whose views you respect so you don’t feel the need to change them after marriage. Otherwise, suck it up and realise that the world does not revolve around you. Your wife will have her own brain and wardrobe.

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        • This is to AK – what a ridiculous example that is!!! Are you talking about going out in undergarments? Yes- then i will have a problem if my husband/bf/fiance goes out in them – same way, i wouldnt go out wearing just my undies and bra. Pls come up with effective counter arguments instead of lame ones like this

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        • Karvaka & Sharmi
          I was making the exact same point. People have different views about what is acceptable and what is not. So they will show their dislike to what they think is not correct. Same thing must be happening when your husband telling you not to wear some dress. I very well understand that he has no right to impose it on you. Only thing is he can express his dislike and you are the one who should take the final call. And in most such cases, the partner might give in just to keep peace.

          As Karvaka said if the girl knew it before marriage, she could have avoided him. But what if she was not aware of it just like the case of most arranged marriages. My only point is people can dislike their partner’s dress sense regardless of male or female. I used the exaggerated example just to give that perspective.

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      • Since you haven’t elaborated, I don’t know if I agree with you or not. But I too have “counseled” my husband on what colors and textures go better together as he just had never thought about it and tended to grab and wear what ever came to his hand. He appreciates my input and had even noted that peoples behavior towards him changed (in India). For example, once when he and his brother (who still had the grab whatever tendencies) were stuck in the middle of a road with a car that refused to move, a cop came over and and the way he spoke to my husband and his brother were vastly different.

        I am not saying this discrimination is right, just that it happens. I know I am going into dangerous territories with regard to forcing someone to change based on the society’s expectations. But I am not forcing. I don’t choose my husband’s clothing, just made him aware of somethings, and he chooses his stuff every day a bit more consciously than before. I think that much is OK.

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      • Nope. You do not have any justification in getting your wife to dress or not dress in any way. You may want to do it, but that does not mean it is justifiable. Know that it is not. Just like you have no business telling her what to eat, where to work or not, where to travel. You married an adult who is capable and free to make her own decisions. If you do not agree with her decisions, it is your problem but you still have NO justifiable reason to ‘get’ her to list to you.

        You should marry people whose views you agree with. You have NO right to impose your own views on food, language, dress, religion, work, etc on a grown adult. That is demeaning and disrespectful.

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      • Heh.

        The potshot was certainly uncalled for, but I suppose I’ll take it as a compliment, considering that in my line of work, people spend a lifetime trying to acquire that particular skill.

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      • he should refuse to be put in guilt – simple.

        all emotional blackmail is about who gives in first. if you hold on and hold on – which is possible ONLY if you are fully convinced about your stand, the other party will sooner or later stop the guilting.

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    • All 4 points suggests that bride is marrying groom but she doesn’t want to be part of in-laws family and does not want to follow the culture.
      Marriage is union for life. It is not TV which you can switch on when you want to and switch off when you want to.
      None of the party should force things on others. There has to be “agreement” on these 4 points “before” marriage. If there is not, it is going to break in first two months.
      By the way, after considering above 4 points, why bride is marrying at first place? to have a formality of marriage to be completed to show to society?

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  8. here’s my experience with a prospect, we have not seen each other, and i prefer to talk to the boy first instead of talking to his parents. I firmly believe if the guy can support you in ur endeavors then the family is easy to win over.

    he was calling from the middle east. so we had decided on specific time. he called. we spoke for 15 mins regarding our work. then he asked me ‘do you want to ask anything about me?’ the first thing that came to my mind was ‘do you smoke/drink’ he paused (my antennae was now little up) .. he said ‘i do drink occasionally when i am with my friends, i was a chain smoker, now i have quit . My parents dont know about either’ (my feelers were now fully alert!) my next question was ‘do you mind if i drink ?’ long long pause , then he said ‘ahhmmm, i dont know, i thought women dont drink or smoke’ okaayy, next his question ‘do you visit pubs and discs ‘ i said ‘i do with my friends’. pat came the question ‘how many boy friends do you have??’ (i heard fire alarm somewhere in my head) .. i told him ‘that’s not his business’ and hung up. I rejected the guy because my instinct told me he’s wrong.

    Moral of the story: always trust ur instinct, its never wrong!!
    P.S: IHM, i am a silent follower of your blog for a while now and now i am an ardant fan. Sorry for hogging a lot of space here.!!

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    • Janani,

      Is there something I am missing from your description of your conversation that set the fire alarms go? Perhaps, I am missing the tone and delivery of that last question of his. Sometimes, we are very quick to dismiss excellent candidates because the whole “set-up” makes most people nervous and people tend to goof it with poor choice of words or poor timing of questions.

      Even in regular job interviews, Ive seen some fantastic candidates appear non impressive because the whole time constrained interaction is an unnatural setting.

      Lastly, may I know how you plan to evaluate your choice to trust your instinct in this matter? Normally, we evolve our instincts (and the stereotypes we hold), however flawed they may be, by subconsciously looking back at our successes and failures. We are not going to be able to marry a dozen times to test and evolve our instincts now, are we?

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      • Question: What set the alarms off?
        Answer:
        1) ‘i do drink occasionally when i am with my friends, i was a chain smoker, now i have quit . My parents dont know about either’. Potentially dishonest. If he can lie to them, why not to her? Can she be sure he’s quit chain smoking?

        2) ‘ahhmmm, i dont know, i thought women dont drink or smoke’. Right. We also fart rainbows and burp flowers. Only men can drink and smoke and only women can cook. Next.

        3) ‘how many boy friends do you have??’. Assumption that just because she goes out to a disc with her friends, she must have multiple boyfriends and implied ‘bad character’. If you are about to say that ‘boy friend’ could mean just a boy who is your friend, then that’s even more alarming. A man who needs to know how many of my platonic friends are men clearly has no platonic women friends and seem women as mainly sexual/ romantic objects himself.

        Does that explain it?

        Janani, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I don’t mean to answer on your behalf. Just wanted to demonstrate how this would and should set off any woman’s alarms.

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        • > 2) ‘ahhmmm, i dont know, i thought women dont drink or smoke’.
          > Right. We also fart rainbows and burp flowers. Only men can
          > drink and smoke and only women can cook. Next.

          Ouch. You win this. Even I felt that was weird when I first read it (and I am the chauvinist). Bonus points for squashing me with refreshing humor.🙂

          Point (1), on how much parents should know on a wide variety of things, is a huge separate debate in itself. We shouldn’t hijack this thread. I will admit it’s still a red flag. I would usually probe further. He at least seemed to be more willing to expose information to his potential spouse. That’s a good sign, no?

          Point (3), on boyfriends, depends on the tone. It could mean a hundred things. Sometimes, it’s irreverent humor to break the ice. Sometimes, it’s genuine concern that the brides parents are pressuring her to abandon a boy friend. And only sometimes is a sign of disgusting chauvinism.

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        • I agree with the rest of the points, but not the first one. I know lots of people – men and women – who don’t tell their parents of everything they do. And I wouldn’t judge them for it, simply because their parents may be the sort of people who *would* judge them for it.

          One of my best friends works in the USA, where she drinks, clubs, and parties, and generally has fun. Recently her dad joined Facebook and sent her a friend request. She couldn’t say no to the friend request, so she deleted all her photos where she was dancing with male friends, wearing clothing her dad wouldn’t approve of, group photos where a male friend had casually put his arm around her, etc.

          My parents know I drink, but there’s a lot they don’t know. I don’t lie to them, I just tell them to mind their own business. But atleast I have the wherewithal to tell them that. Lots of people are saddled with parents who would demand to know, and so they have no option but to lie.

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      • Oh also, she has evolved her instincts by dealing with men and women her whole life. This is not marriage specific. This is about being able to judge who is simply not compatible with your values. I speak to many men and women with whom I never develop a friendship because my instinct tells me we don’t get along. There is absolutely no need to marry a dozen times to do that!

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      • @slightlyChauvinistIyer: firstly why SLIGHTLY CHAUVINIST IYER ??? clearly you have issues with everything that goes in here.. you did miss the tone and the delivery on that conversation, but i doubt you’ll miss it in this one..

        You sound like a HR .. marriage is NOT a job interview. even in that do you give these so-called candidates a second chance to better themselves in the interview process ?? i dont think so, i have attended many JOB interviews and i know how it goes.
        waise why r u conparing marriage to a job? are you offering the girl a job ? as what ? ur wife?? ur slave ??

        as to the question of the whole ‘set-up’ exactly what set-up is here ?? i am having a telephone conversation, its not even face-to-face. he agreed to an arranged marriage so he can definitely expect some form of communication from me or did he expect i’ll just agree to marry him and meet him for the first time at the marriage mantap ??? Excuse-me!!! I donot think a phone conversation is UNNATURAL setting ..

        as for ur last question, may i ask you a question back.. how did you evolve to think you can question me ?? did you grow brains overnight ?? no.. ur evolution is in ur DNA, in your blood, your Chauvinistic attitude is in your brain, similarly we havesomething called Instinct, which will hit the roof in terms of danger.. and we still plan to evolve by observing YOU and YOUR life!!

        Lastly : if ur a guy, grow up fast, we are not going to be quiet anymore
        if you are a Girl, i am disheartened..

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        • > firstly why SLIGHTLY CHAUVINIST IYER ???
          Long story on that. On reading IHM, I am slowly realizing that maybe, I am more chauvinist than I imagined myself to be.

          I agree with a lot of things you say and disagree with as many. Don’t want to hijack this entire article thread with too many of my posts, I think I am upto six. Will try and set up a casual discussions board on my blog and we can box over them when I get more free time this weekend. IHM, Ive asked earlier, is there an option to do that already on WordPress? A “collapse” or “pop out” button for longer sub-threads?

          On “Instinct”. Please. Don’t get me started. “Instinct” is why much of the human race thought ugly people were lesser people till the 20th century. “Instinct” is why I would imagine, in part, I am slightly or very chauvinist. “Instinct” is why prospective grooms believe that non conformist girls (in this case, girls who visit pubs) are of bad character.

          See how undesirable instinct is when its someone else’s?

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    • @TSC,

      You say ‘‘how many boy friends do you have??’’ depends on the tome. I repeat, it does not. The question could have been ‘are you seeing someone?’ or ‘do you have a boyfriend?’. In that case, it could have been a genuine question, perhaps not very politely expressed as this is their first conversation. BUT he asked
      1) ‘how many’: he has already assumed she has boyfriends because she goes to discs.. am I allowed to assume you beat your wife because you call yourself a chauvinist? I’m guessing not.

      2) ‘boyfriends’: he has assumed she has multiple boyfriends (lovers) because she goes to discs or has a drink now and then.. obviously he is implying ‘bad character’

      This could not mean a hundred things. It is not meant a joke. Women deal with men and women their whole life and we’ve heard these snide comments before.

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      • I don’t disagree with wanting to genuinely know if your potential spouse is already seeing someone/ being forced to marry. This is not how the question was asked though.

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      • Honestly the question doesnt seem that bad. Since it is an arranged marriage and both dont know eachother from adam,oh surprise, a person is rather curiois weather the prospective groom or bride hangs out with members of the oppoisite sex, and or has a history. For that matter the guy can consider the posters response at best rude, childish at worst. And thats ok. Because what a lot of people dont seem to understand is that not every person will be marriage material for you. Your bestfriends perfect match may work for her but wont for you. A person can be lovable and cherished friend and just drive you nuts in a marriage. And thats what i dont understand about arranged marriages. If you wouldnt have married x then it would have been y or z. So predictable,so interchangeable. The perfect partner for you wont be the perfect partner for me simply because we have different needs desires and expectations. And those seldom seem to be taken into account. At any rate a barhopping person may have clashes with a couchpotato and vice versa. Yet there are couple s were this works. As well as people change with time. A couple that loves to go out might face problems when one starts moving away from the party scene and towards other interests while the other still just wants to go out. There is just no guarentee, but if you like the guy,then dont marry him. Its not his fault,for someone else he might be the perfect match. Same with the girl,if you dont like her,dont marry her. Its not her fault, for someone else she will be the perfect match. Oh before i forget, you said he called from middle east. It really frowned on there to be socializing with people from the opposite sex that you are not related with. So if he grew up there, he would have grown up quite segregated.

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        • That would depend on the specific country. I have a friend from one middle eastern country who actually had dating and classes with girls but most of the people I know are from more conservative countries where they actually grew up quite segregatted and laws regarding this segregation are quite stricly enforced. In fact before going to other countries they said they had very little expirience with dealing with people from the opposite sex. Its not bs, that is their expierience. Yours may differ. That does not make your expierience bs. Duh.

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  9. Its ok to make a list of questions.. But how does one prove that the replies are genuine and Not made up.. SO thats not gonna work.

    I have lots of examples where parents-prospective grooms gave all the RIGHT answers yet it was doomsday soon after marriage..

    You cant get to know the real person till both live together ..

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  10. Spending time together is the key, but I personally believe the interaction should happen on more than one occasion even if it is for a short duration on each occasion. The reason being, when the prospective bride and groom meet just once, many a times people successfully impress the other party with well-rehearsed replies. But when you meet someone on more occasions gradually the guard goes down and people tend to talk and behave more naturally and that will bring forth their true beliefs and personality.

    Besides, having all the things that are very important in our lives should be talked about in due course of time before making the final choice rather than bombarding all questions about equality, religious beliefs, traditions, family values, etc. one following the other in the first meeting itself.

    Last but not the least, I agree with Janani that never ignore your gut instinct and don’t try to justify someone’s actions on the common notion, “shaadi ke baad sab badal jaate hain” (people change after marriage) for in reality adults seldom change as far as their core values are concerned.

    Like

  11. I too think that its not easy to figure out a person in few meetings. In case you do find his answers right it would help to sign a pre nup because saying that right thing is easy for some people

    Like

  12. You could introduce a soft-marriage programme, which in essence is identical to a ‘soft-launch’ of a business or venture. This will determine many things, including whether the Indian male will get his wife to fetch him a glass of water over his own mother, or would he simply just do it himself.

    The soft-marriage would include like a 90 day cooling off period, should either side of the marriage decide the other is not was expected or declared then after 90 days they can part away, or should they agree that they are made for each other then it can be made official.

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  13. A few questions won’t let you know someone. And without knowing someone really well, it’s really mostly down to luck if their views are compatible with yours or not. So instead of focusing on what to ask, focus on how you can get to know them really well.

    Can you live together for a year before getting engaged ? Can you spend significant time together ? Can you talk on the phone ? Can you chat on the internet, or send email ? Do whatever it takes to get to know him, and spend *time* on it. It’s better to spend 6 months than 6 hours, you’re going to have to live with the results of your choice for a lot longer. (yes I know, family and culture frequently prevents some of these from being practical)

    Like

  14. I like this post. If we manage to brainstorm may be just maybe we could come up with essential few questions..My input:
    1. How do you visualize your near future and distant future with me?
    2. There are somethings in life that we cannot compromise. These…are my priorities and things that I cannot compromise. What are yours? (dressing, religious beliefs, career etc)
    3. Who all are the most important people in your life? What do you think would be my role in managing these relations?
    4. The most important people in my life are …. I expect that you would at-least do the following…
    5. Food habits (These matters for all foodies and non foodies alike)
    6. Hobbies/interests (how interesting the person is)
    7. Cleanliness (If you are cleanliness freak or against it)
    8. What are the most challenging decisions that you have taken till date on your own? (Independent thinking)
    9. Do you drink/smoke or have any such bad habits?
    10. How would you describe yourself in few adjectives? (Ex: ambitious, traditional, creative, loving, caring)

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  15. These questions seem to be arranged-marriage specific. In a non-arranged-marriage, where the couple will have known each other for a good period of time and may even have lived together for a while, these questions would be superficial since both of them would know the answers automatically.

    Like

    • I agree. If you’ve been together for a while and/ or lived together, then actions will have spoken louder than any questions and answers. Living together before marriage also helps divide responsibilities and chores in a way that works for you, without added parental/ society pressure.

      There is still a ‘screening’ phase when you meet someone though, so how do you look out for danger signs? When I meet people with incompatible view to mine, they usually make it obvious quite quickly (Janani has provided an excellent example above). Would they ‘act’ differently if it was a meeting for marriage? Maybe. I guess your best bet is to be yourself. Don’t try to please anyone, don’t bite your tongue and trust your instincts. If you still picked wrong, then a break-up is better than a divorce (possibly with kids) so don’t marry after only a few meetings.

      Sometimes it takes a while to discover what is non-negotiable so it’s best to get to know the person and not just specific answers to questions. I didn’t know before I married that it was non-negotiable for me to keep my birth name. My husband knew of my general views in life though so didn’t find it out of character.

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      • In an arranged marriage set-up, many people are on their best behaviour and do not let their guard down easily.

        There is an opposite school of thought that believes in holding one’s cards close to your chest and steering off controversial conversations until after the marriage when the prize has been safely secured.

        So the mild-mannerd, soft-spoken, quiet gentleman you met for coffee and dinner pre-marriage can suddenly turn into a controlling, unreasonable, querulous and selfish husband from hell after marriage.

        One lesson I learnt from my own failed marriage is that if a man is being unduly cautious, distant or mealy-mouthed before the marriage, then it’s likely that he’s not entering it with honest intentions. Keep away from such people.

        Like

    • DOn’t bank on that. You don’t really know a person till you live with them full time an even then not till quite a few yrs pass and they open up.
      I’m in a non-arranged marriage and let me tell you it was like a whole new person. i don’t think a list of questions will fix all future issues. at beast it will guide you towards someone your type and of a similar mindset, but there a million things that will irk you and him. some of them may be non-negotiable. what should happen is , if you are unable to make the compromise it should be ok to walk out – OK meaning no repercussions.

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      • Agree completely……. nothing will help you know your partner as well as staying together. The guy whom you date will be vastly different to the one who shares your space day in and day out as your masks slips in front of the other. And once you start staying with a person the things that irk you may not be the big stuff in which you can see eye to eye . The things that irk includes side of bed, personal habits, the proverbial wet towel etc… I lived in with my husband for almost 3 years before our marriage and all our initial fights were about these things.And the insight i got into the guy while staying with him was much more than when we were dating. infact we were such a smooth oiled unit by the time of our marriage that people couldn’t believe that we were newly weds.

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    • Well to an extent yes. But if you read the earlier mail, it was a love marriage(Punjabi and Bengali) and you would have expected them to know and understand each other. But the groom lied to her and the result was there for all to see.

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  16. The key is not to make haste. Getting to know the person is the most important aspect. For this lots of time and effort should be invested. There are so many modes of communication..internet, phone, chat and meeting, Visiting each other at their home will give one a better idea about their lifestyle and attitudes. In Gujarat generally people first get engaged and the marriage takes place a few years later. This period is used to get to know each other. The prospective bride and groom visit each other’s home almost everyday. Often the engagement is broken if one does not find the other suitable. I know of a case where a girl was engaged to a guy and visited his home and participated in all the family activities. There were several members with each one having different tastes where food was concerned. The kitchen was a busy place with the women of the house trying hard to please the male members. She called off the engagement. According to her, the women were the mother and sisters of that house. Imagine what would be her fate, if she became their bahu! In short if ample time and exposure to the prospective groom and his family members is given, the true picture will be clear. That is if the girl’s judgement is not clouded by love.

    Like

    • Agree. i have known observed Gujratis families – The women get engaged and come and stay in the groom’s family. Gives you a good idea of how life is going to be.

      Compare that with south indian families where most people have not met even once alone to talk and know before engagement and parents prohibit talking too much till marriage is over. Lame real lame

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  17. I’ve said this elsewhere, but just to repeat it, a few questions and answers will not give you all the answers you need. It is easy to wax eloquent about equality and fairness. Many people do it. Far fewer actually live by it when push comes to shove.

    The only real surety (if there is any at all) comes with time. The more time you spend with someone, the more sure you can be of their character. By the time I got married, I already knew as much about my wife as it was possible for anyone except herself to know, simply because I’d spent so much time with her. You don’t have to spend five years getting to know someone, but you do need to spend a certain minimum amount of time to get a fair idea of what they are like, and what they believe. People lie to look good, and some people are incredible liars, but translating those lies into action is not so easy.

    Spend time together, trust your instincts, and you’ll be good to go, without the need for a questionnaire.

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    • Fully agreed. 4 years of college knowing was an eye wash. You do not know a person until you live with them. May be you know it even before you start living with them but they choose to buy into lies or you are just a chicken to break free.
      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

    • Agree Praveen.

      Trusting your instincts is the thing. However, many girls (and boys, for that matter) are taught not to trust their instincts from the word go – it is all sacrificed at the altar of being socially correct.

      Just last evening, a cousin-in-law’s engagement got called off. The girl took the call apparently. The cousin-in-law’s (who incidentally is the man, and someone I am quite fond of) parents are understandably unhappy, but I think better now than later when things get more complicated.

      The guy in question is very decent, earning well, good family, nice folks etc. Cannot understand why someone would want to call it off. But that is the point – I would not know, since I am not the one getting into the relationship. I am glad the woman called it off, rather than to worry about what ‘log’ will say and get into something that she was obviously uncomfortable with.

      Like

      • How would author know that her next choice would be better choice? Everybody will find some limitation in everybody else. The question is how serious limitation it is. Until she mentions the reason, author should not say it was good to call it off.

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    • > The only real surety (if there is any at all) comes with time.
      Two thumbs up.

      > Spend time together, trust your instincts,
      I knew it. I can’t be in entire agreement with any single post by anybody, can I?

      I already see myself in a long drawn debate about this sometime soon.

      Are you sure that, for some reason, this “Instinct” thing has not worked for you better than most others and is the source of some confirmation bias here? Because, maybe, you know, just maybe, one’s “Instinct” also partially reflects his or her general mental maturity.

      When I was twenty one, I can tell you, my “Instinct” seemed to tell me that one person I had met was the most good natured, sensitive, smart and balanced person around. And, wow, by strange coincidence, she was also the most shapely person in my age group I met on a regular basis.

      Do see my other post about “Instinct” on this thread. Also, though I am sure we already agree, we should make sure we concur on what constitutes “Instinct” when we sort this out.

      Like

      • We probably concur on the definition, but we do seem to be making different fundamental assumptions about what ‘trust your instinct’ really means in practice. This is entirely my own fault, since that sentence was lazily written and loosely worded – I left too much to the reader’s imagination.

        Perhaps ‘do not ignore your instinct until you can find a way to confirm or disconfirm it’ is a better way to put what I meant. The point is, a lot of our vague, undefinable feelings about a particular situation exist for a reason. It may not be a good reason, but before going ahead and making a commitment, it’s best to at least try to clear out any instinctive sense of unease with the situation, rather than ignoring it as just another feeling.

        I’ve felt uneasy with situations quite a lot of times in my life, and I’ve often been right about feeling uneasy. Not only has this saved me the heartbreak of a bad relationship, it has also saved my career on more than one occasion. We ignore our feelings, illogical as they may be, at our own peril. In the past, I’ve likened these feelings to the warning lights that light up on an airplane’s flight deck. Sometimes these warnings are false alarms, and pilots can push the alarm button to switch them off if they so wish, but before doing so, they need to check if something was indeed wrong.

        Instinct is like that, and when I say ‘trust your instinct’, I mean trust it in the way you would trust those warning lights. Not blindly, but moderately and with an open mind, either way.

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  18. Slight tangent perhaps:

    S used to work as a cleaner in my house till last year. She has now moved away but drops in every so often to say Hello.

    She has 2 daughters, both of whom she struggled hard (worked long hours as a maid in a number of houses) and got educated against all odds (her husband is the usual case – useless alcoholic wife-beater). The older one is married, works, has kids, is happy. The second one is a bright young woman. Works very hard and earns quite well, likes her job. Has asked me a couple of times for career advice.

    S has always been worried about getting her married, she is well-educated so we need to find a well-educated man who will ask for fatter dowry etc. (never fail to see the irony in this).

    Anyway recently she came with a box of sweets saying she has at last found a nice young man and her daughter is engaged.

    Today she came, looked a tad sad. Told me the man had been cribbing because his future wife (S’s daughter) has recently got glasses. The young woman decided not to go ahead with the match and decided to call it off.

    Her logic – today he is cribbing about my glasses (which is not a big deal in any case), tomorrow what else will he crib about?

    I told S she had done her job well. Not only is her daughter financially independent, but has also that trait seen rarely in Indian women – self-respect.

    Being accepted the way she is, being treated with respect – these are the non-negotiables of this young woman from a supposedly underprivileged background (where the social norms are even less liberal than ours). Why can’t more of us be like her if we want to?

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  19. This is well researched most comprehensive list I have ever seen

    http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/ask-before-marrying/

    It will be awkward to go on first date with a list in hand , but these can be a good ground to know your ownself and other person . Most of the time people don’t know what they want from life , so they never question to other person on same lines .

    You do not have to match your habits and goals with someone , but find someone who can live with who you are . I don’t smoke , but don’t mind smokers as long as they don’t smoke in front of me and I don’t get to smell that mouth or taste that ash .I don’t care if my guy drinks or not , as long as he is comfortable with me drinking .I don’t need a guy who reads / writes / dances / as long as he understands my need to do all these. I would definitely appreciate a good cook , but if he is not i am happy as long as he doesn’t expect me to cook daily . If you want your house super clean , stay in a hotel🙂.

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    • It’s a good list, but I;m not sure I quite agree with the part about spirituality. My wife is at least agnostic about god, if not an outright deist. She is also quite spiritual and spends a fair amount of time pursuing that interest.

      On the other hand, the closest I come to having a religion is the time when I affirm my abiding belief in equality. That’s as far as it goes. Beyond that point, I am neither religious, nor spiritual and I certainly don’t believe in a personal god or a higher power.

      All of this has never been a point of contention for us. Maybe it was because we originally did not intend to have kids, or maybe it’s because she has always been very muted and private in her beliefs anyway, but it just never cropped up. She does her thing, purchases the odd book about it, and so on, but it has never bothered me, and I can’t imagine why it would. As far as I know, my own atheism has never bothered her either.

      Of course, impositional religion/spirituality is a different story altogether, but I think that is more a function of a person’s general tendency to impose their beliefs on others than anything else. If s/he imposes religion on you, s/he probably imposes other things too and that should be a red flag anyway.

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      • PT,
        It is not about religion of well marketed spirituality as sold by the media and godmen. It is about sharing something greater and beyond the spousal dyad, be it belief in humanity that all humans deserve respect or care, where you both know the other will not question you for standing for the right thing rather will support you…
        You and your spouse are not the run of a mill couple you are an exception but one important exemplary exception. So please don’t measure everything with your yard stick. You understood the dynamics of families and you made a choice about how to live your life. Half the gentry here is not even aware they are being manipulated in the name of parental love and are scared into towing the line by imposition of religious evil befalling on them if they fail to.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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      • PT, you are an exception as far as Indian men go. Sometimes, while reading your comments, I wonder how and why you became a fierce supporter of equal rights when so many men from the same socio-economic background and the same life experiences are so proud of their unearned male privilege and so eager to safeguard it.

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        • Biwo,

          Thank you very much indeed, but you do me too much credit. That same socio-economic background, for instance, gave me the wherewithal to be exposed to the liberal streams of thought that I subscribe to, even now.

          People who have had similar experiences as me and are from a similar socio-economic background really have no excuse to be chauvinistic. If they do not believe in gender equality, I think they really owe an explanation to their partners, regarding why they think they are superior by virtue of a Y chromosome.

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  20. I don’t know about red flags, but I will share what made me decide to marry my now husband. Our courtship was off to a rocky start with the parents. Especially his. His dad called up my parents and said some things that upset my parents. When I came to know about this, I called up my now husband and said what had happened.

    After talking to his dad and confirming that his dad did say those things, my husband called up my parents and apologized. No prompting from me. That action alone conveyed more than anything I could have gathered with questions.

    Incidentally, he was the youngest child born after a big gap of 15 years after his siblings. He was his mom’s and dad’s “apple of the eye”, the one who was reluctant to leave home and generally the pampered child. If anything, he should have been the dependent son who never quite grew up and made his decisions. So I would also say, give the person a chance. They might surprise you.

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  21. Check how fragile his ego is..
    If it is delicate and needs constant stroking then more likely he will expect his spuose to feed his ego all the time.

    Lesser the ego = easier to deal with

    Like

  22. I think that for every person trying to figure this out it’s very important to come up with their own list of questions. What I am getting at here is that a lot of this has to do with self awareness. You need to think hard about what your priorities are: do you want to work, do you want kids, how many, do you want to live with your in-laws cook etc.
    Because there cannot be one list that works for everyone is all circumstances. And then be very clear what your own personal non-negotiables are and stick to them. A mistake I’ve often seen being made is where the people involved are not very clear of what they are looking for. And so they get swayed by external factors and persuaded by well meaning family to accept a proposal that may or may not suit them.
    Just the exercise of thinking about what you envision your future marriage to be and then discussing it with your prospective partner will go a long ways in helping you with the right decision. I agree that time is required too but it isn’t enough by itself if you aren’t attacking the important questions.

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    • This is something I agree with strongly. Many people marry directly out of their parents’ home without ever having moved out and developed there own personality and outlook on life. Such people tend to parrot their parents’ wishes as their own.

      This is also one reason for “you changed so much after marriage” comments, especially if the couple have moved out of the parental home. The poor things are finally figuring out who they are and realizing they are not their parents!

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      • “Many people marry directly out of their parents’ home without ever having moved out and developed there own personality and outlook on life.”
        True. I have known many men and women in Delhi, who stay with their parents till their mid-twenties and get married without taking into account the compatibility factors, only to regret much later. They often assume that since they are ‘compatible’ with their parents, they’ll be compatible with their future spouses if they come from the same socio-cultural background. Hence, they assess only for tangibles such as looks, money, status, etc. Like one would buy a pet.
         
        The most recent case I encountered was a Punjabi 26 year old, who is about to get married to an NRI software engineer. I have met the bloke and he is your typical desi male from the United States who is a little too strongly ‘rooted in tradition’. She was more of the urbanite Delhi Punjabi. To help her, I suggested she live with him for sometime before tying the knot, so that she can assess compatibility. She was scandalised at my suggestion and said that there is no need to assess compatibility giving the example of parent’s compatibility with their children. I see a dysfunctional marriage two years down the line.

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  23. Pingback: A dozen things to discuss before tying the knot for desi couples « Desi Woman's Guide

  24. What does one do when its impossible to live with someone to “know” them or even spend an extended amount of time getting to know them. How does one not get burned then. The first thing would be to know who you are and what you want and the next thing would be to find someone who is compatible with what you believe in. So the existence of a list is a must IMO, even if its only in your mind. If a friend were to ask me for a list of topics to discuss with a prospective groom or bride this is the list I would give him/her.

    Living arrangements
    ********************************
    Nuclear family or joint family
    If nuclear family, then how far away or close to the in-laws should you want to live. This only applies to couples who live in the same city as their parents
    If living in a joint family temporarily, then what’s the time frame to move out

    Parents
    ********************
    Expected behavior towards SIL or DIL
    Their level of involvement in your marriage
    How to handle disagreements
    Who will handle disagreements
    Money and gift giving
    What to do in the event they cannot live by themselves anymore

    Finances
    *****************
    Spending habits
    Saving habits
    Debt and loans if any
    Contribution towards the family expenses
    Planning for retirement, education, vacations etc

    Children
    ************
    When
    How many
    How far apart
    How will they be raised

    Job and Career
    ************************
    Ambitions
    Discuss the other person’s job requirements i.e. travel, work hours etc
    Define what is a non negotiable job or career change
    Time off from work, sabbaticals, higher education, relocation etc

    Household responsibilities
    ***********************************
    Expectations from each other
    What is a fair division of labor
    Hired help

    Religion
    *****************
    How to incorporate each other’s faith if belonging to different religions
    The customs and traditions you will be comfortable following from the other person’s faith
    What happens when there are kids
    Even if you happen belong to the same religion /caste/ sub-sect do discuss the customs and practices that you are aware of and are comfortable following
    Level of involvement with religion

    Health
    *************
    Major surgeries and genetic conditions
    Communicable diseases
    Wishes you need honored when something unforeseen happens

    Food
    **********
    Food allergies
    Food preferences i.e. vegetarian, non-vegetarian, kosher, halal, vegan etc
    Types of food that can be cooked or served at home

    Culture and Personal Habits
    *************************************
    The similarities and differences between your background, habits etc
    The things you’d be willing to incorporate into your life from your partner’s culture
    Things that you do not agree about your partner’s culture
    Daily habits i.e. cleanliness, hygiene, toileting.

    Sex
    *********
    How much and how often
    What is okay
    What is a complete no-no

    Misc
    *******
    Pets
    Political beliefs
    Hobbies

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    • I am curious, how do you propose a person smoothens all these intricacies in the few chaperoned meetings in an arranged marriage setups. Prospectives brides/grooms are bound to lie, conceal and cover up, for reasons of personal privacy and propriety, if not dishonesty. Also, subjects like personal hygiene, sexual likes/dislikes and health are not something that can be tactfully handled nor honestly discussed by most people, given mainland India’s conservative ethos and gossip culture.
       
      This is theoretically a good list, but how much of it can be reasonably discuss as to arrive at a conclusion is anybody’s guess.

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      • Atheist Indian, & Eivind,

        First of all this list is not a questionnaire to be printed out and read while meeting a prospective groom or bride for the first time. Rather this is just an idea of the topics that young men and women like the LW in the previous post need to discuss instead of just making assumptions, before taking their relationship to the next level.

        There is no need to discuss all of the topics on the list, neither are there any right or wrong answers.

        Topics on personal hygiene / sex / health were included as more of a disclosure /warning. While I think that it should be the couple in question who need to discuss and decide everything that matters, just how hard is for an aunt or grandma or even the mom of the prospective bride to casually ask the prospective groom’s mom on the practices (washing hands after touching specific items of food, isolation while menstruating, showering after using the toilet) they follow in their home.

        There is no guarantee that people will only tell the truth. But, one can at least keep emotion out of the picture while assessing one’s situation when the relationship goes south.

        Like

    • These are reasonable questions to want answered before committing to marriage, but I don’t think you can get them answered without living together, or atleast be intimate friends for significant time.

      The questions about sex for example. I don’t think many Indians (or non-indians!) would be comfortable asking a potential partner these questions on a first meeting, perhaps even with the parents present. Many parents even expect their children (especially girls) to stay virgins until marriage, so in some cases the answers will be unknown.

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  25. Great topic for discussion. I would be following the comments very closely here.

    This reminds me of one of my distant uncle’s son’s marriage. When we visited his house, he was cursing all modern technologies of communication like internet and mobile phones. His beloved son’s marriage was fixed twice. In one case, it was cancelled before engagement and the other one few weeks after engagement. I dont know this guy in question personally enough to comment on what could be the real issue here. But I seriously doubt some very core problem with him that the girls are fleeing after being engaged with him.

    Now they found a 3rd unfortunate girl with whom he was not allowed to communicate at all before marriage. Everyone was unanimous in agreeing that all this problem is because of unnecessary communication before marriage.

    Now this is not just one family I have seen having this kind of opinion about young couples trying to understand each other before marriage. As per them, once married, they cannot come out of it easily and so they will work towards ironing out their differences. But if they get to know about this before marriage, they will find it easier to call it off than trying the tried and tested ways of previous generations.

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  26. Pingback: The List « Desi Daaru

  27. Dear IHM , I am repeating my post, as the formatting was lost in the earlier one, without which the post is very difficult to read. If you can, please delete the earlier post.

    Instead of focusing on the ‘questions to be asked’ I will try to put my thoughts about the whole process itself.

    1. Get into the marriage process only if you want to yourself. And that means that if your family was not asking you to get married, you would yourself have gone to them and said “I want to get married”.

    2. Their will many times be pressure on you to get married – it is your job to resist that pressure come what may. It won’t be easy but take it as a duty to yourself.

    3. If you do decide to get married, think about it. Think about what sort of partner you want , what sort of marriage you want, what sort of in-laws, what sort of family structure you want. What about your spouse career, education, physique, temperament, interests. Also think about what you have to offer on similar lines.

    4. Think long and deep about all this. And no it is not thinking a few days, or weeks. My recommended period will be three months at the least.

    5. Once your thoughts are in your place, talk to your parents about them. Explain your thought process, your requirements, your aspirations: explain to them in every minute details what sort of married life and partner you want. Tell them what is non-negotiable, what is preferable and what is just nice to have.

    6. Parents might not agree to everything you put down but at least they will be aware of it and take it in consideration.

    7. Be involved in every stage of the marriage, not just meeting the guys / girls. A lot of girls/ guys ( but a little less ) leave everything else to their parents, which is not a great thing to do, as it means your involvement comes only at the last stage , when are the stakes are the highest and so is the pressure.

    Draft your matrimonial ad yourself – ensures you know what is being put out there. Do the bio-data exchange yourself – it ensures you are aware of what sort of responses you are getting and what all possible partners are there. When your family talk to the other family, ask them what they discussed and about the conversation. When your parents first visit the other family without you ( happens for girls ); ask them how they found the guy, even if they are rejecting him – ensures you know what your family thought process is.

    I am not saying you do not trust your family, it is just about knowing what is going on in regards to your marriage. It gives you more opportunities to present your thoughts and actually influence where your marriage process is heading.

    If you think this is too much work – most probably you do not want to get married in the first place.

    8. Always seek private meeting with the guy / girl. If it does not happen refuse to move ahead in the case. If the other party refuse – it is a no go. If your family does not agree – say it is a non-negotiable.

    And if you like the girl / guy in your meeting, get their phone number . That way you open up your own personal communication channel, without interference of yours or other family, makes it much easier for you.

    Even girls should do this. Many times girls do not , because of stereotypical expectation that it is for the guys to decide and also to initiate future conversation. Both are wrong. If you like a guy , go for him.

    9. If you are a girl, please, please talk to the in-laws also, get to know their minds, their expectation s. Talk freely without any apprehension. Do not be afraid that they might take a negative view of this, if they do, they are not the right family

    10. Talk till the time you are totally satisfied. If you are not , set up another meeting or talk over phone but do not say yes till your absolutely satisfied and sure.

    11. In your meeting, never try to make a “great impression” on the other party. A bit of window dressing is alright and even required, but only a bit.

    This is because this is not a “job interview where your only aim is to get selected. Always avoid getting into that mentality, because that is not the case here. Here you are both the seller and the buyer, or rather the seeker and the offerer.

    Especially girls, please remember that you are also the buyer, not only the guys. And so never pretend to be someone you are not, only to get selected.

    Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if a guy does not want to marry you, all it means is that he does not find you suitable for it .It is no reflection on your personality. Do not be afraid of somebody saying no to you. It is actually good for you if a guy who is unsuitable for you says no. Him saying yes can actually land you in more trouble.

    12. In your meeting , do not just focus on getting to know the other person. Tell them about yourself also. For every question you ask, answer it for yourself also. While you are trying to become more aware of the other person, make them aware of your personality also.

    Do not think that if he wants to know he will ask. He might simply make assumptions, which can turn out to be wrong and cause issues later. Proactively tell the stuff you think they need to know to make a good judgement about you.

    Marriage will be successful only if both partners make the correct judgement. You being right and him/her being wrong will still be trouble.

    Apologies for the long post. I just hope it help as much as long it is.

    Like

  28. Pingback: You’re going to be with your in-laws for only a few days in a year so why can’t you live the way they want and keep every one happy? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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