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10 questions every couple must ask before getting married

Last updated on: November 25, 2013 20:59 IST

10 questions every couple must ask before getting married

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Abhishek Mande

Are you really ready to say 'I do'? Think twice. Then think again before you make the biggest blunder of your life. And drag someone else with you too. 

Winter is here, well almost, and with it has brought the annual season of wedding planning.

If you are one of those hundreds and thousands of couples about take the big step, it may not be such a bad idea to ask yourself (and your partner) these ten questions.

Is s/he possessive or protective?

Calling up 15 times an hour 'just to check on you' may all be very cute when you've just begun seeing each other. But if your partner is persistent about knowing where you are, who you're with and what you're doing every single day, it is bound to get to you.

"The first flush of love is overly exciting, glamorous and intense," says Pooja Bedi. Bedi, a former actress, is a popular relationship columnist with leading Indian magazines.

"It is important to look beyond that passion. Because it will fade. See your partner for who s/he is. There is a difference in being protective and being possessive. Keeping tabs on you all the time is not being protective. One is desirable, the other isn't. Possessiveness stems from insecurity and the need to be in control. Know that difference."

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Photographs: J D Hancock/Creative Commons

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Can you stand her/his vices?

When you're living apart, the smoking and drinking may not bother you so much. But could you stand it 24 hours a day 365 days a year?

"I abhor cigarette smoke," Bedi says. "I could never be with a person who smokes. Even if he goes out of the house to smoke, his clothes will still smell of cigarettes, he will still smell of cigarettes. These things are bound to become issues later on."

This of course is not to mention the inevitable health hazards that come with the habit and the expenses (and the trauma) associated with it.

"These issues must be clearly looked at."


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com
Tags: Bedi

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Are you willing to adjust to his/her food habits?

In a country as diverse as India, food can become as divisive a force as it is unifying.

Jinal Shah* and Rahul Chopra* come from vastly different backgrounds. Hers is a devout Jain family; his family cannot stand vegetarian food for a single meal.

"When we announced our decision to get married, everyone seemed very concerned about our food habits," Shah recollects.

It was almost as if none of the other issues -- the fact that she was coming out of a bad marriage and he was trying to find financial stability -- seemed to matter.

"But we'd talked it over. Only vegetarian food would be cooked in the house and I wouldn't stop him from eating non-vegetarian food outside," she says.

The deal seems to have worked well. Chopra has been discovering new cuisines thanks to his wife and his wife is happily cooking for him.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com

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Who cooks? Who cleans?

Those of us living in big cities know exactly what it means to do chores after a long day's work.

You spend anywhere from nine to 11 hours at work, another three to four hours of travelling and what you're left with is just about eight to nine free hours in which you must cram your sleep, your cooking, cleaning and daily maintenance of the house.

These may seem like small things but they are bound to become huge issues sooner rather than later.

"The division of household chores must be discussed, all the more if both are working. If the man expects the woman to do the lion's share of the household chores after she returns from work, then you are going to have a problem," Bedi says.

"Decide fair means of dividing responsibilities. If one is going to cook, the other has to take up the responsibility of cleaning up after dinner. It's important to have the division of labour in place."


Photographs: Toca House app by Toca Boca/Creative Commons
Tags: Bedi

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Will we have kids?

Having children is a huge responsibility. Besides the obvious financial burden they place on a couple's earnings, they also require time from you, their parents.

"Whether or not to have kids is a huge, huge question that must be addressed before you say 'I do'," Bedi says.

"Many of us are professionally driven and may want to invest that time in our careers before we are ready to settle down. If you want to have babies, how many do you want? Who is going to take care of them? If it means one of you sacrificing their career, which one will it be? Does the gender matter?

These aren't questions that many of us think of discussing before getting married. Then there are some who are absolutely averse to the idea of having a baby altogether. What happens then?"


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com
Tags: Bedi

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Erm… in a joint family? You serious?

Few years ago, a Shaadi.com survey threw fascinating insights on young couples. The survey declared that 54 per cent of female and 53 per cent of male respondents were keen on living in a joint family. 

For a generation that is so possessive about its space, the survey results may come as a shock.

Then business head of Shaadi.com told us that the trend was interlinked with more young women wanting to pursue their careers even after marriage.

"In such a case, the joint family and parents are a big part of the need," he told us then.

(Read more about that here

But for many, space is of utmost importance.

"Can you adjust into a completely new family that you may not have known at all is a question that has to be brought up," Sadia Raval, a Mumbai-based counsellor says.

"How much of what they say will matter in your life? In India you never marry a person, you marry a family. To what extent are you willing to adjust with them? These issues are as important as any other," she says.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com

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What!? You want me to work!?

The same Shaadi.com executive told us here that families were increasingly looking at brides who were working professionals.

This trend began in 2009 during the recession and has stayed.

Certainly, it helps to have an extra earning member in the family. But what if she doesn't want to continue working at all?

Bedi points out that even in arranged marriages there is always scope to discover these things about one another.

"You have sufficient opportunities to meet each other and discuss these issues. If you don't see yourself working after marriage, it's something you need to bring up right at the outset," Bedi advises the young women.

"Find out also if he expects you to have an active professional life or wants you to terminate or suspend it," she says.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com
Tags: Bedi

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Are you really compatible?

Marriage means different things to different people.

"Many of us often believe that marriage will rid them of their loneliness," Raval says. "Your partner on the other hand may have different expectations."

Bedi agrees. "Compatibility is way more important than you can imagine. After the initial rush, when you settle into the predicable humdrum what becomes important in the long run -- be it a sport or a hobby. These things matter. If one is sedentary and the other is outgoing, you will face problems. Remember, you can either grow together or grow apart."


Photographs: Lian Chang/Creative commons
Tags: Raval , Bedi

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Are you really financially sound?

Jinal Shah had burnt her fingers in her first marriage. Even though it was an arranged match, her family had failed to cross check his financial background.

"On the face of it, they seemed well-to-do. They'd moved from the suburbs into the city, which for me was a sign that he was doing well," Shah recollects.

It didn't take long for Shah to realise that something was amiss.

Despite the apparent success, her then husband's family seemed to be struggling with their finances.

Needless to say, Shah felt cheated and it became one of the many reasons for a growing rift between the two.

In her second marriage, she is more careful. "If he's taking a major financial decision, I ask him a hundred questions. I don't support him until I am satisfied with his replies," she says.

Addressing the men, Bedi adds: "Money always becomes a huge issue in marriages. You have to take a good view of your finances. If you're working and expecting her to stay at home, how much are you willing to keep aside for her? Men tend to be tight, almost clinical with regards to their budgets. There will always be unforeseen contingencies; be prepared for that."


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com

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Finally, are you willing to adjust?

"It really all boils down to your personality," Sadia Raval says.

"Marriage, like every other relationship needs work and adjustment. Things don't necessarily go as planned. That's how life works. It's never the larger issues that come in the way of marriage; it's the tiny ones."

Do you have it in you to tide over these everyday issues? Are you willing to work on a relationship especially during times when things aren't going your way?

"Marriage is just another field in which you express yourself. Just as there are issues at work, there will be issues in marriage too. Only, their trigger will be way stronger because there are emotions involved. Are you up to deal with those?" Raval asks.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/ Rediff.com

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