Hows before vows: 10 things to discuss before you get married


Health details: “If you or your partner are suffering from physical health or mental health issues, make it part of the pre-marriage discussions,” says Tanya Appachu Kaul, lawyer and content creator (@yourinstalawyer). “Marriage by concealment of material facts is grounds for annulment under all religious laws in India. Every person has a right to choose their partner, but the choice needs to be an informed one.”

Couples should discuss any underlying health issues, advises lawyer and content creator, Tanya Appachu Kaul (@yourinstalawyer). (A Walk to Remember (2002))
Couples need to discuss more than just their salaries, says Shalini Kohli, co-founder at financial consulting firm, Wealth Vedas. (Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009))

Money matters: Shalini Kohli, co-founder at Wealth Vedas, says couples planning to marry must discuss more than their salary. “Know and understand who has commitments towards their parents in terms of debts, loans or any other financial commitments,” she says. “This will help you know what you are getting into and how prepared you are for it.”

Having an open conversation about your life goals will set the tone for your marriage, says clinical psychologist Gaura Lohani. (Marriage Story (2019))

Couple goals: Clinical psychologist Gaura Lohani says that couples must list their expectations regarding their family, children, career and life goals. “Have a dialogue about the living situation of in-laws,” she says. “Establish boundaries. They help navigate a smooth marriage. Talking about career prospects, job loss or moving to a different place as a part of one’s job can prevent either of the partners from being blindsided after tying the knot.”

If partners have opposing political views, it could cause problems. (Raajneeti (2010))

Political views: “If one person has strong political opinions, or one has extremist left or right political agendas while the other partner doesn’t or has an opposite view, it can cause problems,” says Kaul. “This may not have mattered in the past, but it does today.”

When it comes to expenditure, be clear about who addresses what. (Money Heist (2017-2022))

Load sharing: “When it comes to expenditure, be clear about who addresses what, or, who pays for what,” says Kohli. “This keeps the discipline going and will enable you to maintain your lifestyle, if both partners make financial contributions. There’s also clarity on who is responsible for what.”

Understanding what each other’s love language is, and using that to communicate, is key. (Mr & Mrs Smith (2005))

Talking points: “Initially, couples see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Once stressors come into the picture, the frequency of fights and disagreements increase,” says Lohani. “Couples should discuss their form of communication, whether it’s passive or aggressive. They need to understand each other’s love language and use it to resolve conflicts through constructive discussions. Doing this will help them be respectful, even during arguments.”

In an interreligious marriage, it is important for partners to discuss issues such as which religion to follow. (PK (2014))

Religious views: Kaul says that in India, laws regarding marriage, divorce, succession and inheritance are governed by religious laws. “In the case of an interreligious marriage, it is important for partners to discuss issues such as which religion to follow, whether one partner will convert or not and which religion they want their children to follow.”

Sharing one’s emotional vulnerabilities and body insecurities can help strengthen your bond. (Revolutionary Road (2008))

Sex bombs: “Sexual intimacy can reduce tensions that might pop up in other areas of a relationship,” says Lohani. “Often, issues of the past turn into emotional baggage which create problems in being intimate in a marriage. Couples should discuss their individual needs and sexual desires and find a solution for intimacy issues that may arise later. Sharing one’s emotional vulnerabilities and body insecurities can help strengthen their bond.”

Definitely discuss whether or not you want to have children. Family courts in India have held that a refusal to have a baby is akin to cruelty in a marriage. (Juno (2007))

Special additions: “If you do not want children, this should definitely be discussed before you get married,” emphasises Kaul. “If you end up marrying someone who wants them, you end up either robbing your partner of that joy of having a child or having one you do not want. Family courts in India have held that a refusal to have a baby amounts to cruelty in a marriage, and can be grounds for divorce. A simple discussion can avoid this”.

Legally, there is no requirement for either spouse to change their surnames. (3 Idiots (2009))

Last names: In India, women usually change their surname to that of their husband’s. Legally there is no requirement for either spouse to. “It is her choice if she wants to,” says Kaul. “Couples must discuss this. If a woman does change her surname, she needs to undertake the full legal name-change procedure and change her name on all important documents. There should not be any inconsistencies.”

From HT Brunch, May 06, 2023

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