Marriages aren’t a cakewalk, it is a lot of hard work day in and day out. In one of your favorite movies or romance novels, they will show you the life till the wedding and then comes “THE END”. But real life starts after that, the part that they don’t show in the cinema. Love doesn’t conquer all, as my mother rightly says when she catches me looking with a puppy expression on my phone.
Marriages are about two individuals, staying together in a co-existence. Being a couple is an extension of yourself. Don’t be deluded by the misconception that marriage will solve all your problems. It isn’t magic, no maverick is involved. It is just you and your significant other.
When a marriage breaks it leads to divorce, and that’s never good for any of the partners involved. So, before you say I do, what are the questions that you need to ask yourself so that your marriage becomes a forever-after and not a train wreck.
Looking within for the answer
· You feel it is a compulsion: your family has been nagging you to get hitched for some time now, you are a girl and your marriage has been impending since the day you were born. You have friends getting married, and all those beautiful photos can tempt most of us. But you should marry only if you feel that YOU want to get married, and to that particular person, and not for anyone else.
Talk to your partner and decide whether you both want to settle down.
A wedding is just a day, marriage lasts a lifetime!
· Being alone is scary: being alone in a melee of couples can be extremely lonely, but being with someone just because you can’t be alone is an even worse proposition. You need to be happy and comfortable in your own company before you seek the company of another person for many decades to come. Be the person you want to be first, it would help eliminate any future arguments.
If you aren’t mature enough to guide your life alone, then sorry to say you aren’t mature enough to maintain a marriage. Too much co-dependency can kill love very soon. The same applies when assessing your partner to be married.
· Marriage will solve all your problems: marriage is the start of a new set of problems and challenges, it would do nothing to solve the existing ones. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your partner’s behavior that irks you now will change, chances are even the things that you thought were cute but annoying would get onto your nerves in months or years to come.
· The ex should remain in the past: any unresolved feelings don’t have any space in your married life. Are you still talking to your ex on the sly or having an emotional affair with a colleague? There is no surplus love to be shared in a marriage.
· Know yourself: you might think that you know who you are, but most of us don’t realize that we are only aware of other’s opinions about you. you should be clear about your goals and motivation for the future before you say I do. Questioning self-worth isn’t good for you and the marriage at large. It will also let you be confident with your spouse and decide where you both want to be 10 years down the line.
· Knowing the man: spouse is a relation that we can choose, even in an arranged marriage setting, unless you are being coerced. Trust is an important element in building a strong foundation, having the same set of values, interest in life are important factors to think and talk about before you walk down the aisle. Opposites attract but having similarity leads to a long-lasting happy married life. The million-dollar question remains is he the one that you want to spend the rest of your life with?
· Don’t kid yourself about kids: you both also should be on the same page about kids. It is an important discussion to had beforehand. Feeling shy or just plain ignorance doesn’t solve this integral part of marriage. When is the right time or how many kids and how you want to raise them is an important talk to have?
· Money matters: what’s yours is mine may not always work especially when it comes to finances. Couples these days usually opt for a joint account, and then their individual accounts. Women are now financially independent and no longer need to ask a man for money. But that makes things more challenging. Each of you will have your own set of responsibilities like tending for parents, or debts, credit cards, and overspending may be normal for you but not your spendthrift spouse. So, it’s better to discuss things openly than argue later about money.
With a changing economy, job stability has become questionable. So how you save, invest or take responsibility when the other person is in the rut, should be acknowledged and not be kept a secret.
· Are you willing to compromise for him: when you have to stay together, you would have to compromise on certain points, and so would your SO. You would for a long time to come to decide on matters unanimously.
· Is he supportive of your dream: the SO should be supportive of your aspirations and allow you to fly instead of curbing your freedom. Otherwise, you would end up resenting your partner once the initial love subsides. Don’t expect a toxic or over-critical partner to change post-marriage, it would only get worse with each passing year. If it is bothering now, it will bother manifold later.
If any of you have to shift to another location for work, how will each handle the change?
· Your views about the institution of marriage: not all of us have grown up seeing ideal marriages, and it would impact how you perceive marriage. Don’t get hitched unless you truly believe in the institution of marriage and your faith, love, and respect for your fiancé.
· How do you both argue: arguments make a relationship stronger, and as two individuals these small fights are healthy. But understand how the SO handles his frustration, and anger and any negative outcome in his life. Is he mature or does he have anger issues? Are you the only one who always takes the first step to resolve an issue?
· Bedroom matters: not everyone engages in premarital sex, some people like to wait until they are wed. Talk to your fiancé about what you expect or what you are comfortable with. Most couples visiting a marriage counselor has this one issue common amongst them.
· Family is important: marriage joins families together. Understand the equation that your partner has with his family, and most importantly how you figure in their family. religious values, customs, and traditional norms are important things to understand and respect. Question yourself whether you can maintain the same or is it against your belief system.
Marriage is a huge commitment and it comes with its own share of surprises and adventures. Each couple is unique and no one advice can be applicable to all. But there are certain things that you need to figure out before getting married as that increases your chances of the fabled happily ever after.