Whether you are arranging your love marriage or loving your arranged marriage, there are a few things you ought to know before you have the “Let’s tie the naraa” convo with your significant other.
When making a lifelong commitment it’s not absurd to want to etch out some pertinent details with your partner, inevitably giving rise to some awkward, touchy and embarrassing questions. Yes, this is about opening that proverbial can of worms, but if you know how to do it right, they’ll be more like gummy worms. So here’s how to have your worms and eat them too:
Men, don’t ask her if she can cook and keep house. She’ll either think or say “can you?!” and then you’ll have got yourself into trouble while looking like a spoiled mama’s boy. The better question is “How do you think we should divide up the household tasks?” If she’s a good Desi girl she’ll appreciate your tact and will likely volunteer herself for kitchen duty. If she’s a bad Desi girl, you ought to willingly foresight fresh rotis for other “benefits”. That being said, your partner’s ability to cook is NOT directly proportional to your chances of eating, regardless of what your mother might say! It’s 2013; your grocer’s freezer, YouTube cooking videos and Curry In A Hurry have you covered.
Ladies, don’t ask him exactly when he wants to start procreating, how many he wants and if he likes your pre-chosen baby names. That approach will scare most men. Instead ask what his vision for the next 5 years or so looks like. Hear him out and share yours. Most likely you will find enough common ground to set a good foundation.
Men, don’t ask her if she is going take care of your folks. Frankly, that’s your job, and telling her to do it is rather draconian. To retain your respect in her eyes and maybe knock it up a notch say it like this: “We both have responsibilities to ourselves and others. I’ll support you in fulfilling yours if you do the same for me.” Now that’s got man of honor written all over it.
Ladies, don’t come right out and ask him how much he makes, at least not during the first few conversations (unless you’re in the market for a sugar daddy). A better approach is to show genuine interest in his career, and take note of his goals and drive to work hard and establish a successful life. Money does not make a man; character does.
Both ladies and gents, keep the dowry talk to a minimum. Even though your Desi aunty swears by the sanctity of 40 sarees and 4000 tolas of gold, that’s not going to make your future marriage. Times are changing and investing in education and merging your financial portfolios is a lot more important than the good old fashioned transfer of wives and all the goodies she’ll bring. It’s also rather crass for any dignified woman to be overly demanding about gifts she expects to receive from her man or future in-laws. To take such a mechanical approach really takes the warmth out of gift giving and receiving.
Both ladies and gents, do not ask if they will give up a personal religious practice like the hijab or turban for you. If you aren’t comfortable with who they are now, it’s time to reassess why you’re in the relationship or considering it. However, it is important to inquire what religious, social, and cultural beliefs your partner has that would affect you and your future family. If you both stay open minded, this spiritual journey can bring you closer together.
And finally, remember “expectations are the sister of disappointment.” Marriage is a big deal, but not a business deal. The true essence of sharing a life with someone is to embrace the unknown, discover and rediscover each other. All the planning and preparation in the world is nothing compared to the adrenalin rush you get from taking a leap of faith into happily ever after.
— Summer Yasmin
‘No Sex in the City’ is inspired by the popular TV show Sex and the City, and is a voice representing Desi romance and culture in all its complexities!