Many women dream of a fair and lovely daughter-in-law and many men want nothing less than a Prince Charming for their daughters. But even if the fair and lovely damsel marries the Prince Charming, why do they so often end up in the Family Court instead of living happily ever after ?

There is an element of destiny that guides us to our mates, be it an arranged or a love marriage. What does it take to make the bonding last a life time? Parents think their daughters are ready for marriage once they attain puberty, are over 18 years of age, and have a large enough bridal trousseau. Sons are considered ready for marriage after they have secured a job and the family has compiled an impressive statement of assets. But seldom is there an effort to see if they are actually ready to marry. They fail to see that the gold medallist, the six-pack muscled hero or the beauty contest winner may actually lack the life skills needed to make a marriage work.

Whether it is a marriage arranged by parents or otherwise, there has to be a due diligence carried out. Many marriages go awry when claims of wealth, status and health are found to be untrue. Disclosure vital information prior to marriage, helps spouses plan their future better and will give their relationship a strong foundation.

Marriage brings with it many challenges. There will be changes in lifestyle and it is important to have the ability to adapt to change in environment to making the marriage work. Men and women have to accept responsibilities. With marriage comes accountability too, about spending time and money, about running a home…

Disagreements are inevitable. The important thing is to limit the disagreement to the issue at hand and not let it spread beyond to a ‘my family’ Vs ‘your family’ argument. Focus must be on finding solutions rather than apportioning blame.

An ideal marriage is one where spouses are aware of each others strengths and weaknesses.

Marriage is an exclusive relationship between two people and it can’t take on a third. Expecting a spouse to be tolerant of an intrusion by a third party into the private space in a marriage will certainly undo the sacred bond. This exclusivity is not limited to sexual behaviour alone. Sometimes the third party could also be the extended families and, in some cases, even the very parents who arranged the marriage.

When faced with illness, financial losses and other set backs in life, it is important to have a good threshold for tolerance.

Realistic expectations

Marriage is a journey with many milestones. One has to have realistic goals. Greed and unrealistic expectations will put needless pressure on it.

Some parents feel it is their responsibility to get their children married. In cases where there is a different sexual orientation, or some psychological disorders, there should be no compulsion to marry. These individuals can be happy and successful and they should be spared the trauma of going through a marriage and then ruining the life of their unsuspecting spouses.

More challenges come with change and equipping children to cope with changing gender roles is an essential part of parenting. If we were to pay attention to all of the above, we do not have to rely on Heaven to make marriages work. We should raise children who become responsible spouses, who will then have lasting marriages without any expiry dates.