Hold your horses before you walk down the aisle

Marriage counselling

Husband and Wife Relationship

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Before you say “Yes” to the love of your life with the belief that “love conquers all”, don’t forget to spoil the mood!

Yes, spoil the mood with the questions you kept on the back burner since you got to know each other.

It’s either now or never. Follow this simple in detail survey which will make you know your future spouse from a totally different aspect. It will also give the two of you cues to remind and balance each other for the battles you will face ahead!

I would like to quote the Game of Thrones quote, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

That’s quite true in the case of marriages too.

Jumping Horse

The main problem seems to arise when couples enter the zone of unpredictability.

They don’t know what to expect from each other in the ambit of marriage as there are no clear boundaries defined for the roles and responsibilities they have to share.

To gain complete satisfaction out of any job, three things are required-autonomy, admiration and reward proportional to the efforts applied. This is true in the case of marriages in the sense of mutual respect, appreciation, and love in return.

When either of the three or all fail to complement each other, then down goes the ship.

An alarming rise in the number of couples filing for divorce has been observed in the recent years in India. Where the Indian community proudly flanked the number of divorce cases of 1 in 1000, they have been surprised by an increase to 13 in 1000.

So, what do you think is the main reason for this sudden change in mindset?

There has been a growing independence, economic stability, and modernism in women especially. With the advent of social media and the ability to vent out feelings on public platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the right to freedom of expression is being fully utilized.

Gone are the days when women used to hide their pain and remain confined to the four walls after marriage. They have found their voice and are able to put forward their opinion and arguments.

Interference from in-laws and parents, forced marriage, misuse of law, conflicts with mother-in-law, inactive sex life and compatibility issues are some major reasons which have been found to plague Indian marriages from time unknown.

I would surely not support a divorce in a general way of speaking but if the relationship between the couples reaches a point of no – return, then it is the best option to start afresh.

But, we are not going to discuss the reasons behind the increasing divorce rates but rather try to bring to the forefront some hidden issues which come to the forefront after marriage.

We can try to understand our life partner’s opinion and way of thinking but cannot change it entirely throughout life.


Premarital Counselling

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Premarital counseling is the key to achieve the three goals I have outlined above and they can help gauge the outcomes of incompatibility over pressing issues in the future.

Having an open talk about each other’s goals, habits and expectations prior to marriage will give more confidence and feelings of self-worth before saying “I do”.

It should not be mistaken for a tool to saying yes or no completely to your chosen partner. Rather, it is a guide to help explore your partner’s personality traits, family background career, egos and expectations which may cause conflict if not resolved in the first place before marriage place. It is like a confrontation ground for all kinds of problems which may scar your relationship in the future.

Considering the growing divorce rates in the recent years, I have crafted out a plan to untie all these hidden knots which strain the delicate threads of marriage.

Counselling Time!

Counselling time

We shall explore and dwell deeper into the untouched subjects of marriage and try to analyze your life partner’s personality from different aspects essential for a successful marriage.

You can either ask the questions to each other in a simple format of “Agree/Disagree/Uncertain” or if you want an answer with reason if that’s your preference.

Firstly, let’s go over the relationship equation you share with your partner and try to find out what made them choose you as their spouse. No offense here. It’s just to gauge what was on their mind when they decided to choose you as their life partner.

The Eleven Commandments of Marital Bliss

i) The Starter-Relationship goals

Couple holding each other

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1)   What do you expect from our marriage?

2)   What made you choose me as your life partner?

3)   Where do you see our marriage heading after ten years from now?

4)   Do we make a good couple in terms of chemistry?

5)   Do you think we can balance our relationship with added responsibilities after marriage?

6)   How would you describe your personality as?

7)   In one word describe the relationship we share?

8)   Is anyone forcing you to get married / against our alliance ? (really!)

9)   What is your philosophy of life?

10)   Will you make compromises for our relationship if required in the near future?


ii) Go spiritual

Couple holding hands painted

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Yes, it is an equally important aspect which should be talked about before marriage. If the two of you have opposite beliefs and religious backgrounds then trouble may arise from even the in-laws’ side.

Some questions you may want to clarify with your partner may be as follows.

1)   Would you consider spirituality to be linked with marriage?

2)   What are your beliefs related to God and the Universe?

3)   Would you leave your religion if convinced by the beliefs of another religion?

4)   Exactly how important is being spiritual in your life?

5)   Would you accept my religion if it was different from yours?

6)   Would you practice the traditions and religious beliefs if my religion was different from yours?

7)   Would you convince your family members if there was a difference in our religious beliefs?

8)   What is your opinion about atheism?

9)   Do you believe marriage and spirituality go hand in hand?

10)   Are you comfortable in clarifying about religious beliefs with me?


iii) Some personal talk

Couple conversation talking on coffee

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Since the two of you are going to be under the same roof, personal habits and hygiene may also be an important topic of discussion. Many a time, we see couples starting the day with conflicts over who should clean the toilet or who should use the shower first. Not to mention the complaints about their spouse leaving wet towels on the bed and dirty clothes on the floor. Ask some of these uncomfortable questions as you would prefer being informed about beforehand.

1)   Do you have like drinking or smoking? (Yes, it should not come as a shocker after marriage)

2)   Do you like frequenting bars and clubs?

3)   Do you like taking showers early morning or in the evening?

4)   Do you have the habit of taking breakfast in bed?

5)   How is your cleanliness schedule every day?

6)   Do you like doing household chores?

7)   Did you ever face criminal prosecution?

8)   How often do you prefer going out on vacations?

9)   Did you ever take drugs in your life?

10)   Do you prefer working from home or going to the office?


iv) Communication and Trust factor

 Couple by sea-side leaning on the other at sunset

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Effective communication is an essential tool to keep your relationship going strong. The strongest of marriages break apart because of lack of communication between couples.

A small joke and a little sense of humor can forge the communication gap in the most testing times. Hence, it’s the most sought-after criteria for judging your relationship’s stamina.

1)Do you think you we are good at communicating with each other?

2)What topics are you uncomfortable communicating with me?

3) Do you think trust is important in a relationship after marriage?

4) What are your opinions about spouses checking emails and messages?

5) Do you prefer writing down or speaking directly about issues to me?

6) In what areas do you think we need to build our communication skills?

7) Would you trust me if I went out with my male friends for a get-together?

8) How would you prefer to communicate about uncomfortable topics with me?

9) Do you think marriages break if there is no trust in the relationship?

10) Do you trust me and would you forgive me if I committed a mistake?


v) Money Matters

Couple financial discussion 

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We come to the next aspect which looks unimportant but is quite a deciding factor for many pragmatic couples in terms of their family planning, career and children.

The couple may face problems in terms of who should continue working after having children, how to divide the finances, pay debts and so on.

1)   Do you think money is an important factor in our marriage?

2)   Who do you think should earn among the two of us?

3)   Who will be responsible for paying taxes and bills?

4)   Who will handle the household expenses and savings?

5)   Should our accounts be merged or separate?

6)   Do you think we should save for our parents’ expenses?

7)   Do you think we should start saving for our children’s education?

8)   Did you plan for retirement?

9)   Do you prefer staying in rented homes or buying one?

10)   Are you a spender/saver/gambler/flyer/risk-averse type of money spender?


vi) Gender stereotypes and expectations

Stay at home dads - househusbands 

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Most couples in a patriarchal and misogynistic society tend to get used to the fact that women manage the home and the men go out to work. Clearing out this doubt is essential if you are a believer in equality among the sexes pertaining to the gender stereotypes issue.

1)   Do you expect me to stay at home after having children?

2)   Do you believe that household chores should be equally divided between us?

3)   Do you have any preferences unrelated to gender from me?

4)   Will our families support us if we opted for a role reversal?

5)   Who will stay at home if the kids fall ill?

6)   Do you believe in hiring household help or sharing the burden?

7)   Do you expect me to stay at home/ work from home/work from office after having children?

8)     Do I have to follow the preferences of my in-laws after marriage?

9)   Do you expect me to stay separately or in your parents’ house after marriage?

10)     Do you believe I should put others’ needs before mine if required after marriage?


vii) Children and family planning

Couple with kids - happy family

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Many consider planning for children as a turning point in their marital lives. The schedule, time, energies and career take a different track and can cause frustrations and pent-up emotions to scar the relationship.

Proper communication of sexual preferences, family-planning, career options and upbringing of children are very essential.

1)   When do you plan to extend our family?

2)   Till when do want to postpone having children if given a choice?

3)   Do you think our career will take a backseat if we have children?

4)   Do you already have children from a previous marriage?

5)   What is your opinion about adoption?

6)   Do you think you will be an authoritarian/permissive/authoritative parent to our kids?

7)   Do you believe in family planning methods?

8)   How many children do you want to have?

9)   What is the age gap you want the children?

10)   How would you prefer to raise the kids – day-care /in-laws/yourself?


viii) The in-laws and parents

In-laws and parents - Balancing act 

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Often considered the reason for misunderstandings is the unequal relationship equation with the in-laws and parents. Some men expect their wives to live with her in-laws and not separately while some expect limited visits by their wife’s parents. Whatever the reason and the preference be, they should not become the speed breakers in a marital bond.

1)   What was your type of family since childhood-nuclear/joint/extended?

2)   How was your relationship with your parents since childhood?

3)   How was your parent’s marital life and what do you think were the shortcomings if any?

4)   What is your opinion on living with parents after marriage?

5)   How would you like the relationship of our children to be with our parents?

6)   Would you like involve our parents’ if disagreements arise in our relationship?

7)   Do you prefer family vacations involving our parents or only the two of us?

8)   To what extent do you think I should agree with my in-laws in our family matters?

9)   What in your opinion is supposedly the major reason for conflict with in-laws?

10)   Will you support me and guide me if I am unable to make my in-laws happy?


ix) Sexual intimacy and privacy

 Couple making heart with their hands

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Physical intimacy, sexual intimacy, and privacy –all three go hand in hand. Each is interdependent on the other. Intimacy is not always about the sexual act but also about taking out time alone to show your affection and physical intimacy. And this is not at all possible if the house is always having kids running around, dogs barking or someone knocking on the door at odd hours.

To ensure the sweet moments never pass and your relationship stays always fresh, it’s very necessary to implement the ‘do not disturb’ tag whenever possible.

1)   Which of these factors- intimacy/passion/commitment is most important to you?

2)   What are your sexual preferences and expectations?

3)   Are you comfortable talking about sex with me?

4)   How will you prefer to communicate any personal likes or dislikes with me?

5)   Do you think I am possessive/easy-going/jealous/flirty in nature?

6)   Do you like spending quality time with me at home or going out on dates?

7)   Do you like watching pornography or sexually explicit content?

8)   How would you like to ensure privacy in our life?

9)   Will you communicate if you feel our romance is fading away?

10)     How will you communicate any act which is unacceptable to you?


x) Social lives and Conflict resolution

 Marriage counselling

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Being a party animal or a reserved person, whatever may be your type, It’s necessary that the two of you try to understand each other’s social requirements and give each other some “me time”. Conflicts always arise due to a clash of egos, misunderstandings but it is the way you sort it out that finally matters.

1)   Do you like spending time with your friends on weekends or almost regularly?

2)   How often do you like attending parties and clubs at night?

3)   Do you prefer going out on holidays with friends or family?

4)   Do you like our friends to stay over at our house?

5)   How would you prefer to resolve any conflict between us-talk it out/write a note/through a relative or friend?

6)   Will you say sorry first or expect me to give in if we fight? ( a typical situation!)

7)   How would you like me to express my dislike during a confrontation- verbal/go silent/ take a timeout?

8)   How important do you think is our social life after marriage?

9)   How do you prefer to resolve our conflicts in front of children if unavoidable?

10)     Will you trust me if I want to have a more active social life after marriage?


xi) What’s your opinion?

As a final touch, you could try to find out your partner’s opinions on social matters which have been long termed as the de-facto standards for failing marriages.

  1. What do you think of the growing divorce rates everywhere?
  2. What advice would you give to a couple in a deadlock situation?
  3. Do you think women should take legal action if their needs are met or should they compromise?
  4. How important do you think is alimony and caring for children for divorced couples?
  5. Do you think working women are more pressed on filing for divorce compared to stay at home women?
  6. How would you handle a conflict between a mother in law and the girl’s mother?
  7. Do you think women should be treated with respect by the society and not as outcasts after getting divorced?
  8. Do you agree that there should be few financial provisions and little legal support for divorced women in India?
  9. If given the chance, would you marry a divorcee?
  10. Would you believe the woman to be the problem maker/committed adultery /did not compromise if you met her after she got divorced?

Now, I think that would be enough to completely know the personal opinions and persona of your life partner before the wedding bells ring.


To summarize each other’s level of compatibility, a priority list for these ten commandments can be ranked on a scale of one to ten.

For example, your partner may have a higher preference for privacy and career whereas your ranking may be higher for social life and finances. This will draw a clear picture of the demarcations and personal preferences so that you respect and complement each other’s weaknesses.

A successful marriage is possible by two forgiving and compassionate life partners. It is essential to completely “walk in the shoes” of your partner sometimes to let go easily.

When frustrations run high and there seems to be no light in the dark, it becomes more important to light the fire of love.

No marriage is completely perfect but it can be made a great one with some compromise, understanding, and respect for each other.

Discovering your partner completely is not possible completely even after marriage because we never know how their personality may change over time.

To ensure that you do not let the bond become weak, it’s necessary to communicate what’s on your mind with your partner and not let silence creep in.

Stay strong, Move On.

Happy Premarital Counselling.


Now, it’s time to say “Yes”

Man proposing women

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4 thoughts on “Hold your horses before you walk down the aisle”

  1. Plain amazing:) first few paras before comes the counceling bit…couldnt agree more. Second you! Relations just stump me! Always feel one CANT ace relationships…so well put.

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