Marriages mean the coming together of two individuals from different backgrounds to build a life. While couples in love marriages have the advantage of spending a lot of one-on-one time together before the wedding, the couples in arranged marriages usually don’t have that luxury. Although that fact might make you seem a bit apprehensive, having married a virtual stranger, fikar not, for there are ways to get to know your arranged marriage partner.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate
If you want to know something about your partner, just ask. It could be something simple, like how they take their coffee, or something big and impactful, like if they want kids or not. These might seem trivial, but they’re not. These things will have a potential impact on both of your lives.
The other side of this coin is expressing yourself. If something bothers you, or you want your spouse to know something that you think is crucial for them to get to know you, tell them. There is nothing wrong with conveying to your partner what you’re thinking. Remember, nobody is a mind reader!
2. Bonding time
A couple needs alone time to bond over common interests, hobbies, preferences, and appreciate the differences. Whether you do it at home, or go out on a romantic date, or a movie, or a simple drive around the city, you need to do it.
This initial bonding time will help build the relationship from the ground up.
3. Lay down your expectations
Any person entering a romantic relationship has expectations. If you think you don’t, then you’re lying to yourself. From what we’ve been told about arranged marriages, it seems that compromises and sacrifices are all there is to it. While compromise and mutual adjustment is vital in any marriage, going in thinking that you’re not allowed to have any expectations from your arranged marriage is wrong, and frankly, unrealistic. Whatever expectations you have regarding your personal life going forward, or your professional life, in terms of career growth, let your partner know about them. And in turn, listen to their expectations too. These realistic expectations will ground you and let you move forward together.
4. Friends and family
Try to get to know your partner through their friends and family. Whether it’s a stupid prank that your spouse played on their teacher, or a ‘when she was a kid…’ stories and anecdotes, these give you a glimpse into your partner’s personality.
Remember that these are things that have happened in the past, when you weren’t around. There’s no need to get judgmental and paint everything they do in the future with the same brush from the past. Just a thought – would you be comfortable if the tables were reversed? Not likely.
5. Be an individual
Although you are in a marital relationship with your spouse, there is no need to let your individuality go. You are still the same person you were before you got married. There is no rule that states that you need to spend all of your time with your new spouse. Go out with your friends, have a night out with them.
Follow your passions and hobbies even after your marriage. If your spouse wants in on it, all the more fun! But if you feel you need the space and time away from the relationship to pursue your own interests, then let them know politely. They’ll understand.
6. Resolve your differences
You and your spouse are not two peas in a pod. You two are individuals with differing opinions, who come from different family backgrounds. You both have had different upbringings. It’s a given that a difference in opinion arises. You two should discuss it and resolve it between the two of you. There is no room for another person in a marriage – be it your mother or your spouse’s, or even a friend.
And what they say about going to bed angry is true; never let a fight or an issue to fester for another day. Seemingly small arguments, if allowed to fester and remain unresolved, have the potential to become big, ugly monsters. It would have been too late by then to do anything.
No relationship is perfect, for nobody is perfect. Great couples are not made of two perfect people. They are made of two imperfect people, perfect together.