Q: My family has found a girl to marry for me, but I want to make sure she is the one. Everything seems right so far, but everyone I talk to say that things change once you start living together. I live in a joint family, and I don’t want to end up divorcing like most of my friends. It would be too painful for my parents. How do ensure we don’t get divorced?
Ans: You are approaching the issue at the perfect time. This is an opportunity to understand the challenges that could arise from living together. It is also a chance to look at how much you, your family and the girl they have found are willing to work on these challenges. You cannot ensure you will never divorce but you can look at how compatible you, this girl and your family are before getting married.
You can also identify some strategies to solve potential problems between you all. Some level of compatibility between all family members is crucial to make the relationship last. At this stage it will be useful to make the entire family write down: Personal strengths, values, interests, goals, go to emotions, attachment and communication styles.
It is also advisable to get personality tests done for all and establish if there are any unresolved issues between family members. Once you have all this information you can start mapping some of the challenges you foresee through examples of scenarios such as family travel, meal preparation, financial decisions, death in the family or anything to do with child rearing.
You can also highlight the areas you all agree upon and are excited about, as those will be very important pillars and motivators for the small community you are building, your family. With respect to you and your partner, it will also be very important to assess physical attraction, sex drive and discuss what turns both of you on.
However, what will really make your family stick together through thick and thin will be trust, friendship, regular appreciation of each other, doing things together and being able to express vulnerability. You can get the help of a design thinking and communication expert to develop an extensive list of strategies and solutions for those moments of conflict, because there will be a few.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)