Indian marriages are the epitome of the deep-rooted patriarchy in our culture. The unfair, misogynistic practice of conditioning girls to ‘obey’ is so prevalent that in most cases, she has to move in with her in-laws whether she likes it or not! This is applicable to both love marriages and arranged ones although it is more rampant in the latter which are very common in India even to date. Many young Indian women are OK to build their lives with someone they meet on match-making websites or through family connections.
Some of you might nod in agreement with those who refer to marriage as a ‘sacred institution’ and a ‘forever bond’ with your spouse. But as you may already know, the dark side of misogyny surrounding Indian marriages is that most times, Indian girls who are betrothed are not even asked about their individual plans before getting married. Parental pressure, among other societal factors, is so high that in most cases, the girl is forced to give in and get married. An unmarried woman, no matter how successful she is in her career, is instantly looked down upon whereas an unmarried man with similar achievements is highly celebrated. Soon as a girl reaches the age of 24 or 25, it becomes everyone’s mission to marry her off. Some of these relatives also go on a match-making spree by trying to hook you up with various men they feel would be the best match for you.
In all this, you are bound to feel overwhelmed and experience bouts of frustration. But if you’re someone who has successfully fought these obstacles and made the decision of getting married to The One, there are some things you must consider discussing with him before you tie the knot.
Your Big Empire: If you both have your dream venture already going, then it’s best to discuss the way forward. Have a discussion about the way ahead and drawing the line when it comes to work and home. This is especially for women who have not lived-in with their soon-to-be spouse. If you’re an entrepreneur and have a successful business going, then you must also discuss your level of commitment to your work and your personal life so that your partner is well-informed about the nature of your work.
Finances: From splitting the bills to your individual outstanding payments (if any) and everything in between, you need to discuss your finances thoroughly with your partner. Also, if you wish to purchase property together, you need to be aware of the few tax benefits you can avail as a woman.
Sharing the Load: Marriage is about sharing a life together and being able to achieve your individual goals while at it. You both need to be on the same page and agree to sharing your responsibilities, right from household chores, taking care of both your parents, coordinating with your domestic help, to your future kids and so on.
Where is Home Going to Be: The location you both would like to settle down in is of great importance. Are you expected to move into his house with his family? Would you like for him to do that and move into yours? Are you both going to take a place together? All these need to be talked about and clarified priorly.
Religion: If you’re from different religions, you definitely need to have this discussion. It’s important to get clarity on how things are in your respective households, if either of you is expected to follow specific norms surrounding religion, your comfort with that and so on need to be talked about. If you plan on having kids, it’s also wise for you to discuss what religion they will follow.
Kids - Of course, you need to have this discussion. Everything from how many you want to have, whether adoption can be considered to how you’re going to raise them. Also, let’s face it; we live in a world where you need to have large amounts of savings if you plan on having kids.
Travel Plans: Is it OK to travel solo? How many holidays should be non-negotiable in your combined travel calendar? Things like these need to be discussed to ensure you both respect each other’s dreams and aspirations when it comes to travelling.
Whether yours is a love marriage or an arranged one, it’s imperative to have these discussions with your soon-to-be spouse. It’s time we made amends to wipe out the misogyny and patriarchy surrounding marriage in India and put our needs before those of our partner and their family. You both also need to rationally stay on the same page when it comes to your plans and aspirations. Essential discussions like the ones above keep a number of differences from creeping in and taking a toll on your marriage. When both of you have met halfway wherever necessary and agreed on your individual responsibilities to your commitment, you are bound to maintain great physical and mental health thereby co-existing in harmony.
(Edited by Neha Baid)