Editor’s Note: When two people get married, they promise to stay with and by each other for ever. But a lot of hard work goes into making this relationship work. So what makes a strong marriage? This is what our reader sdiva20 had to say. Share your thoughts with us here.
I believe that even before marriage there needs be some pro-active steps that needs to be taken to make the relationship work. Here are a few suggestions:
Two Willing Individuals
If you dream of building a strong marriage, find a guy (read- a man not a boy) who wants this as much as you do. A strong marriage requires two willing individual. You cannot do this on your own no matter how much of a super- woman you are.
Respect yourself and trust your destiny. Don’t let anyone pressure you into the most important decision of your life- not even your parents. While they mean well, even they may not necessary be always right. So if all your friends/ cousins etc. are getting married and you are still single, try not to worry too much. Trust in God and your destiny. It will unfold in your favour.
Love or arrange marriage- whatever the path- look at the guy objectively. Do you know this man enough to trust your life in his hand? Unless you can answer this question somewhat honestly, don’t rush into anything. At this point, other factors- looks or earning capacity etc. should be secondary. The question should be- Is he a decent human being?
Real Life is not Reel Life
As for love marriage- trust that it is really not like in movies. Love in movies (especially average Indian movies) is very childish. Real life love and marriage is different but better than what is portrayed in even the most romantic movie. Not sure why many say the opposite when making that comparison.
For one, in real life, we do not have to endure three hours of make-up, wear perfect and totally impractical clothes and have to break into songs on Swiss alps (chiffon sarees!). Yes I admit, I have watched too many Yash Chopra movies. But on positive side you get to be the main star in the movie of your life. So to reiterate, choose wisely, a great co-star with whom you can star for the rest of your life and create some magical moments.
Talk about Expectations
No matter how you find your guy, never fail to discuss the things you consider important – working after marriage, where to live, your dreams and expectations, children- any or how many, your rights towards your parents and his as well- anything and everything deemed necessary.
Don’t Brush off the Red Flags
If there are any red-flags, any at all, pay attention. If you brush it under the carpet, it will come back to bite. This is the moment to take off those rose-colored spectacles and view your prospective partner as they are instead of how you like them to be or how you think they are.
Any expectation of financial support from the woman’s family (women- applies to you too- don’t expect financial help from his family.You are only marrying the man and this works to and against your favour. So yes- you MIL does not have to give you jewellery or your FIL does not have to give money or property) – “gifts” loans, or flat out dowry- and throw that “boy” out unceremoniously right that second. I cannot emphasis this enough. Remember the bit about trusting God and your destiny? You don’t want your parents or you – for the rest of their and your life meeting their demands. And most importantly, missing out on that dream man if only you had waited. Patience pays off.
On that note- if he wants a wife who works and shares his responsibilities, that is not a red flag. A woman should and must be able to work but not working should not be a unilateral decision.
Don’t Forget Your Parents
I feel very strongly about this- your parents did a lot for you. They raised you with the best they could give you. Don’t take that for granted- ever. Don’t let them spend so much money on your marriage so they have to empty their savings or worse borrow.
Don’t delegate the task of looking after them to your brothers or step back saying your IL’s will not “allow”. Be the kind of child to your parents like you expect your child to be to you. You will only truly understand the love of your parents when you hold your own child in your arms. Until then you only imagine you know.
Be Strong, and yet Be a Woman
A great man loves a strong woman- be a strong woman who commands the respect of her man. This means love and respect yourself. Don’t belittle or let anyone belittle you. Treat yourself kindly. You deserve the best- so seek, expect and be the best.
I am focusing on choosing a right partner because if the spouse is selfish or insensitive, uncaring or abusive, we can all agree that it is practically impossible to create a strong marriage. You need somewhat of a foundation to build something strong.