Pre-marital counseling, love marriage

There is one trademark feature which many Indian parents share and yes it is a hypocrite YES to a marriage done against their wishes.

The couples who have fallen in love and dated for quite some time always know that they have a storm lurking near when it is time to break this news to their parents.

It often transpires into the “love is not enough to carry forward a marriage” situation in 90% cases.

Let us get a crisp idea of the challenges and unexpected circumstances which arise due to unfulfilled desires of parents, gossiping relatives and an attention-seeking love mate, all grappling to control your emotions and expectations!

• So, the much-in-love couple knows each other so well that they feel surprised at the smallest detail which has gone unnoticed by them about their partner.

• They are overwhelmed with the constant balancing act of dealing with unhappy parents, jabbering aunties and this bumpy life after the marriage!

• As the couple is fighting it out alone, they crave each other’s attention even more which is rarely possible in those initial days of madness. Hence the clashes and tears…”You have changed after marriage” is the most common complaint.

• Parents ask them to deal with their problems on their own as the logic is simple.

“You two had decided to get married to each other. Face it yourself!” -on the face literally.

• Compromises, continuous smiling and bearing with a grin become like second habit in a few months after marriage, especially for the woman. This can create quite a ruckus in their love life.

• As for the man- he finds himself helplessly attending to a sensitive wife and emotionally hurt parents as their complaint is the same- “You do not respect my feelings anymore!”

• Responsibilities and financial decision making are like an added bonus to the troubles as critical parents leave them to take care of all alone.

• As for the marriage done against wishes -inter-caste, inter-religion or just plain opposition, social boycott and venomous judgments are continuously inflicted at the most unexpected times. This can be very disturbing and infuriating for the couple who strongly believe-“Love is blind and knows no caste, creed or religion”

• Enjoying precious moments and reviving the previous romance seem quite impossible with the new household and fiscal responsibilities levied on the couple due to their “rash” decision.

• Double -standards and hypocrisy become an accepted fact as it slowly settles in the mind that no one wanted the couple to marry in the first place. It is the punishment they are receiving for marrying against everyone’s wishes.

I think we got the point and the main reason behind why premarital counseling is so very necessary for such lovey-dovey couples before they jump into the marriage well.
There is literally no way out and the water keeps sinking low every day, making it impossible for them to save themselves from drowning in criticism!
If couples who have been dating with/without consent really believe that the Indian society and especially their traditional family members with accepting them with open arms, they are in for a real surprise.The whole equation becomes so utterly imbalanced and confusing that they start fighting with each other as they are checkmated from all sides!

Opting for a premarital counseling session with a professional counselor is the best bet for such couples to untangle the mess which is or will be created in the future.It can help them gain insight into the probable pitfalls of their personal situation and how to come out clean and unhurt if any problem arises…
Every love story is unique and so is every couple’s dynamics. It requires a sound mind, patience and some smart work to face the marriage crossroads without any lingering thoughts and doubts.

Let us now delve into a rapid session of the counseling sessions of the troubled couple seeking assistance.

Signs you need to meet a counsellor

i. You are getting the feeling of “love is fading away” within a year of marriage.

ii. You are always at loggerheads with each other over the pettiest issues.

iii. Problems always arise due to the family opposition, unfinished jobs and seemingly unrealistic expectations of the family.

iv. You are unable to find solace and be patient with each other in difficult situations of life.

v. You feel you are always in the limelight and being judged by every family member. You are forced to grunt and bear and there is no escape.

vi. Falling in love and dating was the best part but life after marriage seems a horror story now!

vii. You are failing as a couple and utterly confused about resolving everyday issues which have been handed over due to your decision of a love marriage.

viii. Love before marriage is a taboo in your family and there is no way you can convince your family about its advantages and your right to choose your partner.

What questions to ask?

i. Feel relaxed and open up to the plaguing issues. There is no reason to feel uneasy and feel you are being judged since this is the only person who can really sum up your relationship and provide the much-needed support.

ii. Talk with your partner just like you do at home! No formal language and mannerisms, please. This can also help the counselor catch the main culprit behind you problems-communication style/attention problem/defensiveness/criticism and the list goes on.

iii. We fell in love and married against/with our parents’ wishes, why is our marriage not blossoming as we expected?

iv. Why are we unable to cope up and face the added responsibilities together?

v. How can we convince our parents at this stage that we were right in choosing each other as spouses?

vi. How do we prevent our relatives’ from brainwashing our parents’ minds?

vii. Our parents’ accepted us with a half-hearted yes. They are courteous but faintly aloof from our daily struggles. How do we resolve this?

What advice to expect?

Experienced counselors with many years can gauge the situation in minutes by observing the communication style, body language, and micro-expressions to conclude whether their marriage will face trouble ahead.

A series of sessions are conducted with the spouses separately and together to really try to figure out where and what is wrong in the relationship.

The main emotional criteria on which couples are judged by experienced counselors are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt in sessions of intense observation.

i. Being critical, blaming each other is not going to save your marriage and will have a ricochet effect. So, start trusting and stop blaming each other.

ii. Communication is possible like normal humans only if we stop arguing and leave behind the past issues.

iii. Define healthy boundaries and always consult each other before taking any big decisions in life.

iv. Stop feeling emotionally vulnerable, kick defensiveness out of the door and listen to your spouse with eager ears. It will be a big favor on your relationship!

v. Try to understand how your spouse feels if you are in their shoes. Gaining perspective of their emotions surrounding a controversial issue you face as a couple will help break the ice.

vi. Take a notepad and write five points/ opinions you feel are right and wrong about the concerned issue. Exchange it and voila! You can read each other’s minds at peace without having to argue or cringe or roll your eyes at each other!

vii. Trust makes or breaks a marriage. So, stop checking your spouse’s messages, spy on his emails or display your obsessive jealousy in any other way. IT can suffocate your marriage quite easily and harm your intimacy.

viii. Be ready to make acceptable compromises, not trying to lose your identity at the same time. Respect your partner’s choice of roles and try to achieve a common ground on what is totally unacceptable to the two of you.

ix. Don’t harp about the previous mistakes and misunderstandings every time you fight! Moving the needle past the phase of your marriage clock is necessary to move forward.

x. Follow up and remain consistent with the premarital advice discussed for your personal situation as it’s one formula does not fit all problems scenario.

But the above advice is universal to any type of couple in any type of marriage around the world…

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