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How to mix n match in the match made on Earth

I am yet to meet a couple who was given the green light for tying the knot while God sat atop his opulent throne among scented clouds, enjoying the much-rehearsed walk of the prospective bride with the chai-tray. What happens in reality, despite the oft-repeated and did I mention, irksome saying – “Matches are made in heaven,” is the same walk amidst a horde of over-enthusiastic elders, who had been sucked up into the same drama a quarter of a century ago.

No, I am not against arranged marriages; far from that. What I really wish to point out about the concept of ‘arranged’ marriages is that everything in it, from the chai-tray to the punctilious and measured alone-time to perhaps the way the brooch on the groom’s turban is arranged, are more often than not, arranged really well. What is overlooked in this ‘arrangement of sorts’ are the two people, who are meant to align themselves in accordance to the ‘arrangement’ that has passed by like a shooting star, hardly giving them a chance to make their wish (Of course, there are liberal families who do not sit at the next table, trying to overhear a conversation between the couple or decide upon the D-day, a week post the initial affirmatory nod; but the soon to be happily-married partners remain nervous, regardless).

As such, it is not unusual to find the partners rather uncomfortable in wedlock. It becomes awkward to allow a Mr. or Mrs. I-Just-Met-You into the ambit of your most personal spaces. What’s more, this Mr. and Mrs. I-Just-Met-You person is now surnamed And-Married-You!! So, how does one cope with the pressures of a match fixed over kundalis, mithai, and shouts of “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi?” We have some pearls of wisdom that might help you overcome the initial awkwardness and forge a healthy and happy, albeit with hiccups (‘coz that is really healthy) marriage:

1. Get to know each other: There is more to your partner than what you might have learnt on your numbered pre-nuptial dates. You know she likes Tom Cruise, but do you know she digs Mills & Boon too? And you might have told her about your love for golf, but did you tell her that you like to hog the remote control?

couple talking in bed

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Of course, she might learn about your habit of stuffing socks into your laptop case later, but there’s still so much to share and learn. So, create some bonding time. Share your dreams, taste hers, narrate your childhood anecdotes, get to know her pranks from school and college, tell her about your family, get to know about hers. The list is endless.

Bottom-line: Be friends, who do not shy away from being who they are, in front of each other.

2. Spend some together time, outside home: It is not uncommon to find newlywed couples struggle to find one moment of peace from the brouhaha of pesky relatives, who are constantly walking in through the door to see the ‘nayi bahu’ or the ‘pyaara daamaad.’ Thus, it is important to sneak away from all the drama and enjoy the thrill of secret meetings.

couple spending time together

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This shall allow you to enjoy the high of clandestine meetings that may or may not have been a part of your ‘arranged’ courtship. Also, these meetings shall further your process of knowing each other, and who knows you might end up falling off your chairs, by the joke you cracked about ‘Verma Aunty.’

Bottom-line: Get out, get closer.

3. Understand the change: While the girl has to make an effort to understand the new home and family she is embracing, your task is to assist her in her attempts. You should tell her about your family, encourage conversations between the two parties, run her through family albums, narrate hilarious family anecdotes over the dinner table and make her feel a part of the family. When she opens up by and by, she will learn to accept the family as her own and reciprocate the warmth. One assumes that this bit is not as important, but as it turns out – IT IS.

couple spending time

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And the reason is simple: if you are the ‘laadla’ of your family, she might have been raised as a ‘princess’ too. So, it is important to make her feel at home. If she never feels at ease in her new abode, she will never open up. And silence is not always a tacit acceptance of an unpleasant reality. You know, they don’t speak of the calm before the storm for nothing. If you notice hiccups or think she is experiencing some difficulty, broach a frank discussion about it, in private. You may be able to understand her expectations or needs better. Once you know the problem, you can address it effectively.

Bottom-line: Extend the understanding before you expect it.

4. Let love bloom: Bollywood flicks have done enough damage in this department already. The ‘going weak in the knees,’ ‘can’t feel my toes,’ ‘butterflies in my stomach’ phase does NOT happen. But the magic does. And you have to learn that the only magician who can do the trick is you. Love is a verb, and your actions shall allow the magic to materialize.

couple on a couch

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Make an effort, build a relationship, commit to it, and work hard at it. Some days, work twice or thrice as hard. And see the results for yourself. You might not experience your heart turn into a gooey mess, but you shall definitely hear your pulse quicken when she comes close. There is something endearing about a seed of love cared for and nurtured, so much so that experiencing its fruition into a perennial tree of stable, enduring love is a priceless treasure.

Bottom-line: Your relationship is yours – commit to it to keep it. Unlike what they say, love does not just ‘happen.’

5. The sex can wait: You do not have to consummate your marriage on the first night. The first night is a breather (if the other person in the room is overlooked, at least for a while) from the rituals and customs. If anything at all, you should opt for changing in the washroom and allowing her to avail the option too. The rest of the night can be comfortably broken into small talk and sleep, in unequal portions. One has to realize that marriage is not an avenue for allowing uninhibited exercise of libidinal energies, nor is it a license to pop out babies. If you plan on having a happy marriage based on the tenets of true companionship, then you should be iffy about the happily-ever-after.

couple in bed

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But more than that, you have to be iffy about the morning after…and no, not the pill…arrrggghh. I mean the morning, when you can wake up in your pajamas next to the stranger you made small talk with last night, but who immediately breaks the ice by cracking a joke about the pundit’s obsession with his moustache! All I am saying is let steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 take their course. Let the spark be lit. Flirt, and then, flirt a little more. Let the chemistry charge up the hormones and then, enjoy your spouse don the role of the paramour in the bedroom. When love grows slowly and softly, the sex becomes thrice as sexy! Wait until that happens for you unless you want to plunge headlong into the category of those married couples who have routine missionary for ten minutes every week.

Bottom-line: When Cupid strikes, Eros, Venus, Himeros and Aphrodite shall come bless you too!

6. Keep pace with time: Accept two truths: 1. Relationships are hard. 2. People change. The important thing at the start of your marriage shall remain equally important until forever. And that thing is – you have each other, and together, you can!

Article Name
How to cope with an arranged marriage
Arranged marriages can seem like an overwhelming prospect. Here's a list six pearls of wisdom that will make it a smooth sailing affair.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."