I feel I am in love… Would it be right to marry this person?
Well, I am afraid there isn’t a simple answer to that! But if we just take a moment to deconstruct the emotion of love it is multi layered. Apart from the physical chemistry which may be the first step to falling in love, there are other factors to consider if you want to marry the person. A marriage is a lifelong commitment and one needs to spend some time on thinking it through. Both the mind and the heart have to be used to make a decision on marriage.
What should I try to clarify for myself?
Ask yourself what your reasons are? Is it because of loneliness, peer pressure, family pressure or because you genuinely want to spend the rest of your life with this person? What are your common interests, what are the differences and are you willing to accept the differences? Try to get an idea about the various aspects of your partner – interests, passions, career goals, hopes, dreams and values. It would also be a good idea to get to know the family and culture because you are not just marrying the person but marrying the family too! While you should not make your decision to marry based on whether your friends like your choice, it may be a good idea to get their take on it as often we are blind-sided by love and may not see certain things clearly. Also make sure that your financial goals match for often money is a major factor for conflicts in a marriage.
How do you feel when you are with this person? Can you be yourself without being judged? Do you feel supported emotionally? Mutual respect and trust are important aspects to a healthy relationship. Do you both express your love for each other differently…one of you may be very demonstrative physically while the other may be uncomfortable with this. Observe how your prospective partner treats his/her family, friends, waiters, maids etc. for often you can gauge a person’s calibre based on how he/she treats people. Have a dialogue about what you are willing to compromise on and what is unacceptable to you. Don’t avoid conflicts but instead learn together about the best way to resolve them.
Love and marriage are constant works in progress. You have to work on your relationship much like you would tend to a garden. If you ignore and forget to nurture your garden with sunlight, water and nutrients then weeds are going to take over and suddenly you will find your beautiful garden in shambles. After all this due diligence you may still have differences but as long as you have love and respect to cement it you will be able to work through your differences. Leo Tolstoy puts it in a nutshell – “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”
Expert: Ms Sukanya S,
Consultant therapist at Columbia Asia hospital
An independent practitioner, stress management coach and content writer