A dozen things to discuss before tying the knot for desi couples

I started to write this list after reading the past few posts on IHM’s blog, but was really inspired to finish as a response to this post. While I do agree that the best way to really know about someone is by living with them, which most Indian young men and women cannot even dream of doing before marriage. In my opinion the next best thing one can do is talk and by talk I mean discuss the 12 topics which cause disharmony in a relationship. Here they are in random order.

Living arrangements

  • Nuclear family or joint family
  • If nuclear family, then how far away or close to the in-laws should you want to live. This only applies to couples who live in the same city as their parents
  • If living in a joint family temporarily, then what’s the time frame to move out

Parents

  • Expected behavior towards SIL or DIL
  • Their level of involvement in your marriage
  • How to handle disagreements
  • Who will handle disagreements
  • Money and gift giving
  • What to do in the event they cannot live by themselves anymore

Finances

  • Spending habits
  • Saving habits
  • Debt and loans if any
  • Contribution towards the family  expenses
  • Planning for retirement, education, vacations etc

Children

  • When
  • How many
  • How far apart
  • How will they be raised

Job and Career

  • Ambitions
  • Discuss the other person’s job requirements  i.e. travel, work hours etc
  • Define what is a non negotiable job or career change
  • Time off from work, sabbaticals, higher education, relocation etc

Household responsibilities

  • Expectations from each other
  • What is a fair division of labor
  • Hired help

Religion

  • How to incorporate each other’s faith if belonging to different religions
  • The customs and traditions you will be comfortable following from the other person’s faith
  • Which religion will the kids follow
  • Even if you happen belong to the same religion /caste/ sub-sect do discuss the customs and practices that you are aware of and are comfortable following
  • Level of involvement with religion

Health

  • Major surgeries and genetic conditions
  • Communicable diseases
  • Wishes you need honored when something unforeseen happens

Food

  • Food allergies
  • Food preferences i.e. vegetarian, non-vegetarian, kosher, halal, vegan etc
  • Types of food that can be cooked or served at home

Culture and Personal Habits

  • The similarities and differences between your background, habits etc
  • The things you’d be willing to incorporate into your life from your partner’s culture
  • Things that you do not agree about your partner’s culture
  • Daily habits i.e. cleanliness, hygiene, toileting.

Sex

  • How much and how often
  • What is okay
  • What is a complete no-no

Misc

  • Pets
  • Political beliefs
  • Hobbies

I am not suggesting by any means that one has to print a copy of this post and read from it when meeting prospective grooms or brides for the first time, but if you feel you like the person across the table and would like know if you could fall in and be in love with them for the rest of your life feel free to discuss any and all of the points mentioned in the post.