“When Should I Get Married?” 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Myself Before Getting Married – Part 1

Do you know that less than 1 lac Indians are Googling about when they should get married as compared to 33.5 lac Googling “marriage” per month? That’s less than 3% marriage maturity. Dumb, I say. But not much more than I was of course, when I took the plunge without bothering about whether I was really ready to get married.

How we came to make it work eventually is another story for another day.;)

Today I want to share with you my “hindsight” (they’re always priceless, you know) on the questions you should ask yourself to gauge whether you’re ready to get married. Now of course the number of questions you should ask yourselves before getting married is not ten, it’s more in the range of three and a half thousand. But I’ve tried to sum all that up in these ten questions in today’s (and the next) post. There are gazillions of other questions you can and should ask each other before proceeding to say “I do”, but these ten are ones you absolutely cannot afford to miss.

When to get marriedPhoto by Marriage Bureau

1.      Am I ready to settle down?

Marriage always involves sacrificing freedom, in some form or the other.

It involves giving up (some of) those late nights.

It might mean spending less time with your parents or friends.

It means cutting back on Facebooking at 2 am.

It means being unable to blog 24X7 (in my case :P).

Depending on where these activities figure on your priority list, gauge carefully whether you’re ready for married life.     

2.      Are our visions of The Ideal Life similar?

You’re in love with the idea of a fast-paced life full of fine dining, dancing and partying in a metro, whereas your girlfriend/boyfriend can’t give up on their Neo-Luddite dreams of going back to the slow and peaceful lifestyle of their small hometown/village where everyone knew everyone else by first name.

Fun starts with shopping and ends with Son of Sardar for your partner, and you’ll have to replace those items with Fellini and Karnatik classical music when you think about yourself.

If your and your partner’s lifestyle choices and aspirations are as apart as the poles, while you can still be in love, you’re probably not ready to get married (yet). What we like (and can live with) within the limited window of a relationship, can become a dealbreaker when it comes to spending your life with someone.

Think about it.

3.      Are our life and career goals aligned?

If you really want children but your girlfriend/boyfriend really doesn’t want any, it’s unlikely that you’ll be happy in a life shared with each other. Same if you want your career to span five continents and your partner wants geographical stability.

Take time to discuss your life and career goals before you decide to get married to avoid serious crises later. ;)

When to get marriedPhoto by somaksarkar

4.      Do we know each other’s needs and have strategies to satisfy them?

I have a bit of need for dependency (embarrassing I know).

Our whirlwind courtship was woefully inadequate to give him any wind of this. We spent our first six months miscommunicating, creating wrong expectations, breaking them and each other’s bones – well almost – in the process, till he finally got it. And the funny thing is I had no idea that he had no idea about it. We tend to assume our partners will magically understand everything about us, you see.

What are your emotional and other needs from each other?

Are both of you ready to put in the efforts to provide these?

Unless you’ve answered the above two questions to the satisfaction of both of you, you’re probably not ready to get married.

5.      Do we know everything (relevant) about each other?

Even in the midst of my raving mania of falling head-over-heels in love (when I met Shubho) I had the good sense to anticipate this one – if you get married on the basis of false impressions, you’re in for trouble.  You wouldn’t believe this – within days of our first date I’d told him the darkest and deepest of my secrets. And he did the same.

Yes, some of them were shocking to him.

Maybe some of them made him think twice.

But I don’t think we’d have been able to give stability to our commitment if we hadn’t been able to cultivate each other’s deepest trust. And needless to say, deciding to share your life with someone without creating complete trust between yourselves is wildly and disastrously a bit stupid.

What are the other questions that bother you when you think about taking your relationship to the next level? Tell me by about them by leaving a comment. In the meantime stay tuned for part 2 of today’s post where I’ll talk about the next 5 of the 10 crucial questions to ask yourselves before tying the knot. 

13 thoughts on ““When Should I Get Married?” 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Myself Before Getting Married – Part 1”

  1. The points given are really full of wisdom…i guess every one needs 2 do a reality check n certainly use n discuss d above mentioned points 2 gauge through d mind of your future probable partner… they might just help u 2 end up being with d wrong one and making a total mess of your married life

  2. Hey Connie! How have you been? :)
    Sure – if you’re spiritually oriented (which sadly most of our youth is not) that’s a very important aspect of your joint life together.
    Watch out for part 2! ;)

    1. I had an arranged marriage five years ago. We had a nine-month long period of courtship.

      It bears mentioning here that through most of my twenties, I’d been in a relationship with my best friend from college.

      The relationship was great in every other respect, expect that my “boyfriend” and I could not solve the issue of children and our respective careers.

      He expected me to put my career on hold and become the standard IT spouse. I wanted children, he didn’t. No room for negotiations.

      Long story short, we broke up months before our wedding. I was heart-broken. I had never considered a future without him. He’d been an integral part of my life since college.

      I felt as I was missing a limb after we broke up. Did I mention that we belonged to different communities and castes?

      It had taken us three years to get my parents’ approval. Yet, here we were, unable to get past the issue of children.

      “What kind of man doesn’t want children?” is what my parents said in bewilderment.

      Anyway, we broke up and I moved back to live with my parents. I couldn’t bear living alone; I was completely devastated. I had lost my best friend, not just a boyfriend.

      Long story short, I took two years to recover emotionally, and at 29, I was past my shelf life. I created profiles on the matrimonial websites, hoping to meet someone I’d begin to like.

      I met men in their 30s who were either looking for a quick fling or men who just wanted to get married, anyone would do.

      After a couple of years of unceasing deadends, I was getting desperate. My clock was ticking loudly and I had always wanted kids.

      At the age of 32, I was looking squarely at a childless future. My parents suggested the arranged marriage route. I had always been against arranged marriages.

      I have two aunts who had terrible, abusive arranged marriages. I didn’t want to end up like them. Yet I wanted children, and there wasn’t enough time to build a slow, gradual relationship, as I had with my ex.

      In desperation, I agreed to meet a prospect. He was extremely well-educated, with a PhD in engineering from a top British university. He was very successful professionally and came from a similar socio-economic background (on the surface).

      After checking for “hygiene” factors, we decided to get married. I wasn’t attracted to him sexually, but hoped to develop a fond affection for him over time.

      All the arranged marriages around me lacked passion, but they had an old, easy familiarity for their partners, rather like your favourite, worn-out cotton pajamas.

      Reality struck the day after we got married. My husband transformed from a shy, reserved person into a demanding, controlling, paranoid stranger.

      Before marriage, I’d once asked him why he was always on edge, tightly wound up and so on guard. He’d told me he suffered from social anxiety, that it took him some time to let his guard down. He was shy, he said to me. Give me time, he said.

      After marriage, the measured, soft-spoken man I married morphed into a critical, severly controlling, chronically suspicious, angry and hostile stranger.

      Nothing I did pleased him. Every action, gesture or word was critised harshly. I discovered that he was highly enmeshed with his mother and sister.

      Our marriage didn’t have two people in it, it had four people. “You’re not married only to me,” he said, “You’re married to my family”. I asked him, “Does it mean that all of us should have sex with each other?” The absurdity of it made no sense.

      Every intimate detail of our marriage, including our failure to consummate the marriage, was discussed with his mother and sister.

      My ex-mother-in-law called my mother and said to her, “Your daughter won’t sleep with my son. Haven’t you taught her the duties of a wife?”

      In that family, sex between husband and wife was reduced to an entitlement, a privilege, a right.

      Sex was something you did, in darkness, silently, quickly, without affection, without regard, without emotion. Prostitution in the name of marriage.

      I’m not saying all arranged marriages are like this, an impersonal transaction, based on power and privilege, but completely lacking in warmth, empathy, even humanity.

      A joyless, loveless, humourless meeting of bodies, but not hearts or minds.

      My only advice to young women is this: Please don’t marry a man for his education, his bank balance or his family background.

      Remember that you will wake up every day next to this person. For two years, I’d wake up next to my ex-husband and want to weep.

      I’d married a PhD, a man who made a tidy sum, but who had no empathy, no capacity to feel joy or love. I’d married an emotional blank slate. An emotionally repressed man who could feel no emotion except anger.

      Compatibility is elusive, but critical to a marriage’s success. That shared laugh, that quick squeeze of the hand, that familiarity, trust and understanding is extremely important.

      Be careful who you marry. It’s the biggest decision of your life.

      1. Dear P,
        Thanks so much for sharing your heart-rending story with us. Your strength is an inspiration for young girls and your candid story a warning.
        Sulagna

  3. Lots of great advice here. I really like the comment about “It means being unable to blog 24X7 (in my case :P).” It’s true, marriage takes two people to “tango” in a way that both needs are met and supported. Often times, marriages are not well thought out and this leads to bad divorces and unforseen events.

    Thanks for a great read. Love the site!

    Rob.

    1. Thanks a lot for your appreaciation Rob.
      You’re right – marriage is NOT about love and luck, but about commitment and compatibility. By asking the right questions before marriage, and taking the right factors into account, we can lower the risk of a possible failure. The 4 Golden Rules of Marriage
      Thanks for dropping by. :)

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