Most guys and gals squirm at the thought of an arranged marriage. It’s so uncool, so 19th century, where parents find a suitable match and kids have to agree. Maybe it is. But it has its own charm. And it works. That is, when both the partners make it work, with lots of love and understanding. Like in any relationship.
So if you are getting into an arranged marriage, don’t panic. Ok, panic a bit. It’s allowed. Your life partner is almost a stranger to you; the in-laws even more so. You have to adjust to a new lifestyle of which you have no major clue. You have to share space with a stranger. Now that bit is seriously scary. Stop. Don’t let your imagination make normal marital problems monstrous. Instead look at it like a fascinating mystery, one that you’re going to solve, a layer at a time. And then enjoy it fully.
Where to start? What to do? How to bring in the magic? Don’t let such worries send your heartbeat into overdrive. Relax. There are no blanket rules really. Every relationship has its own rhythm. But there are certain pointers that could surely help amateurs (assuming this is the first time you are getting hitched).
The other person is not a Martian: You both belong to the same planet, Earth. Now all you have to do is figure out the person. Their likes and dislikes, their dreams and nightmares, their temperament, what gets their goat, what makes them LOL, how do they like to unwind, are beaches or mountains their favourite vacation spot, etc., etc. The best way to know a person is to spend some ‘we time’. Not on Whatsapp and Facebook. In person. Alone. Minus a hundred well-meaning relatives as props. Go out on dates, even after marriage. The more you get to know the person, the easier it will be to connect. Then, to like the person. And finally, to fall madly in love.
Intimacy shouldn’t intimidate: Chances are that the physical intimacy will precede the emotional intimacy. But if one or both of you aren’t comfortable with the idea, there’s no rush. Discuss it with your partner, heart-to-heart. See how you want to work it out, because a deeper bond makes all the difference. When it comes to intimacy, honesty works better than shyness. Don’t let preconceived notions, inhibitions and tales of other couples lay the foundation of your intimate life. It’s your own story. Make it as passionate and full of love as you possibly can. No-holds-barred!
Lift the burden: Yes, there will be great pressure on both of you to make the marriage work. Family expectations weigh heavier than mountains. But don’t let the pressure take the pleasure out of a relationship that is yet to come to full bloom. Be patient. Enjoy the process. Don’t insist on making everything work instantly. It’s a lifelong relationship, not coffee.
From a lion (lioness) to a mouse (doe): You are who you are; after marriage too. There’s absolutely no need to give up on your individuality, ideals and idiosyncrasies. In fact, keep the conversation honest and continuous between you and your spouse. Share your aspirations, expectations from each other, even your fears; and find ways to celebrate each other and bring out the best in your better half.
You both don’t heart music: You may not match like for like, you aren’t twins unfortunately. But you’ll have some common interests. Find those and bond over them. Join a class to learn something new together. Not only will it bring you close; it’ll pep up your conversations with fresh and meaningful notes. On the other hand, you could also look at your partner’s likes as possibilities to develop new hobbies and interests. Who knows you might just end up discovering a new side to yourself.
No one likes a whine baby: It’s a different set-up and you’ll have to do a little bit of adjusting, girl. The routine will be different, so will be the way of functioning. You may slip and will be told so. Don’t bring out those tears. Take it with a pinch of salt. Listen, learn. Throw in your suggestions too, if they can make things easier. Add value. See how fast you’ll earn brownie points with everyone.
Ma-in-law, not monster-in-law: Try and befriend the most important woman in your man’s life. Not in a superficial way, but in a genuine way. Learn from her experience, grow. Teach her something from your era, like a smashing, new Continental recipe or how to work a laptop. Kill the cliché that the two women a man loves the most can never get along.
As you must have realised, arranged marriages aren’t that dreary. They are so much fun and can be all lovey-dovey for life, if you choose to make them so.