Ab jinki honi thi ho gayi
. I mean,
. But the ones who are walking, dreamy-eyed, towards the we’ll-live-happily-ever-after signboard, please stop for a moment . Have you done any thinking to make sure you actually will? I’m saying this not just to the engaged ones who’ve just spent more time choosing their wedding attire than they took to decide on their partner. I also mean all those youngsters who are right now in the heavenly phase of dating and for whom settling down is a fleeting thought for a few years later.
A guy I know has been in a steady relationship with a girl for two years. The families know and hopefully wedding will be on the cards, eventually. Each time I ask him to tell me why he likes this girl, he says ‘she’s very pretty,’ and I smile. I’m sick of smiling at the answer now. I want to tell him that while it’s great she’s pretty, I hope he also realises he’s not getting her a modelling assignment, he is ‘marrying’ her. And that, my friends, is a very different ball game.
I regularly get a whole lot of mails from readers of this column and several of them are from those whose families are not agreeing to their choice of a partner. And then I get mails from the married ones who fight with their partners all the time and regret the wrong choice they made. I really wish I could make these two sets of people meet with each other.
The problem is that a lot of us are unable to foresee how a romantic partners will behave as a spouse. Even if it’s an arranged marriage, the overwhelming parameters in our head are the looks, education, family background and so on. And then the courtship period goes in getting all filmy-romantic. All that is fine, except that not paying attention then, leads to many a painful heartbreaks later. I know life’s a big gamble, but here’s how you can play your cards right.
1 Firstly, know that it’s OKAY if you are taking time to decide:
Someone I know closely is living her life in the regret of giving in to parental pressure when she wanted time to decide if her future husband was the right one. We succumb to the notion that one must get hitched by a certain age. The moment your friends start to get married, there’s an unspoken panic to ensure that you are not the last one left. You may, in that rush, say yes and get the satisfaction of telling the world you’ve got married at the right age. But think, when down the years you’ll be fighting with your spouse over mundane stuff, and I’ll come to you and say, ‘but at least you guys got married at the right age’, you would want to slap me, right? Right age or Right partner — you decide.
2 Don’t judge your own requirements:
This one may not sound politically correct. I’ll say it, nevertheless. Out of all the people in the world, you know yourself the best. You know your own idiosyncrasies, your own fantasies, your own wishes from a life partner. It could be something as emotional as ‘someone who is very caring’ to something materialistic as ‘someone who drives a luxury car’ to something as banal as ‘I want a boyfriend with six pack abs’ (ugh). Now, while we secretly know what we desire, we sit on judgment on our own requirements. Because we’ve always been taught that it’s wrong to be materialistic and vain, we feel guilty about wanting these traits. You know what, it is surely stupid if your criteria for choosing a life partner is if he/she is rich enough. But it’s even more stupid to turn a blind eye if you indeed have desire to live in a certain comfort. You’ll later make your own — and another innocent person’s life miserable. Whether, right or wrong, be true to your personality quirks. It’s a question of your whole life.
3Watch out for signals:
There’s an African proverb that translates as, “Before you get married, keep both eyes open, and after you marry, close one eye.” This may remind you of the film Lage Raho Munnabhai but it’s true that before deciding on the first face you’ll see when you wake up in the morning for the rest of your life, you’ve got to see how he/she behaves with people who are of ‘no use’ to him. And also how he reacts to the news on TV — if he watches it. And how she reacts to your friends. Because once married, she’ll give you hell over the same friends if she doesn’t like them. For once, forget about looks and accent and caste — compare value systems, religious beliefs (not religion), political affiliations, socialising habits...even celebrity choices. Be alarmed if anything is drastically contrasting. I know this girl who has constant fights with her husband because he doesn’t stand up in the theatre when the national anthem plays. She calls him an unpatriotic traitor. He calls her superficial and eccentric. They don’t go to movies together. I don’t know who is right or wrong. I just wish it wasn’t this way.
To end it, my dear, don’t make the mistake of choosing someone you fancy but don’t agree with, in the hope that you’ll be able to change them later. The reality, mostly, is that the only change in personality that comes after marriage is for the worse. The golden rule: If you can’t accept your potential partner as he/she presently is, you are not ready to commit to marriage. There’s no hurry, take your time. You’ll thank me for it ten years later.
Sonal Kalra firmly believes in love at first sight — only if one remembers to carefully ‘look twice’ before taking the plunge. Mail your calmness tricks at
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