Is He the Right One?
A sobering reality check is that 50% of all marriages in the US ends up in divorce. And the rate of divorce is higher if you marry at a younger age! But does that mean you should wait till you are older (hmm, unthinkable in desi cultures when an unmarried 25 year old is already 'over the hill'!). No, you just need to enter this with a rational mind. Be sure that the person you have picked, or accepted, is suitable for you. It is not the superficial qualities that will sustain you throughout your marriage.
Last year, one of our friends got married to a really fantastic guy through an arranged marriage set-up - we are happy to say that they are five months into the marriage, and as she reports to us, "well-suited to each other". Initially, she was highly reluctant to go through the arranged marriage route, since she was afraid that she would end up marrying someone she did not know, and could not love.
But it worked out for her because she (with her girlfriends' help) devised a series of questions intended to bring up pertinent issues that would arise through the course of a marriage. It is necessary for all couples - be it those in arranged set-ups, or even those who have been dating long-term - to discuss these issues before going through with a marriage.
Here are some questions that we have come up after our readings, which you can use to discuss with your intended spouse. The questions are in 8 main categories - family, personality, division of roles, finance, children, religion, sex, conflict resolution. It may save you some trouble down the road.
What was your childhood like?
Is your family affectionate/close?
Are we likely to have problems with your family?
What values do you want to bring from your family into our marriage?
What do you like/dislike about your (and my) family?
What do you like/dislike about your (and my) parents' marriage?
How would you describe yourself?
How do you view me?
Are you a jealous person?
Do you have trust issues/or feel insecure?
Do you think we listen to one another well?
Are you able to empathize with my feelings?
Division of Roles
How are we going to divide up the household chores?
What are your expectations about how we will spend our free time?
How do you want to spend our days off?
Do you believe that we should be doing everything together?
Can we each pursue our own interests?
Do you need time alone?
How would you feel if I want a night out with my friends now and then?
How will we make sure we have quality time together?
How much time will we spend with our in-laws?
Are you a saver or spender?
Do you have a budget?
Should we have a joint checking account or separate accounts or both?
Who is going to be responsible for making sure that bills are paid on time?
Do you consider going to the movies and having a vacation every year a necessity or a luxury?
How much do we owe in debts and what are our assets?
What are our future financial goals - buying house, investments etc?
Do you want to have children?
How many children do you want to have?
How long should we be married before having children?
What kind of parent do you think you will be?
Do you have a parenting philosophy?
Do you expect me to stay home after we have children?
What if one of us cannot have children?
Does religion play an important part in your life?
Are we similar in religious values and morals?
Are you comfortable discussing your sexual likes and dislikes?
What are your expectations of our sexual relationship?
Will we make important decisions together? How?
Are we both willing to face difficult areas head-on or do we try to avoid conflict?
Do you think we have problems in our relationship that we need to deal with before our wedding?
Do we handle conflict well?
How are we different?
Do you think our differences will create problems in our marriage?
Do you expect or want me to change?
Can we both forgive?
Are we both willing to work on our communication skills and to share intimately with each other?
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