February 17, 2019


Dear Auntie,
I regularly read your advice in Sunday’s Dawn and am a great fan of your pragmatic advice.

I am 30 years old and run my own business. Now, my mother wants me to get married. I have never been in any sort of relationship with any girl, neither during my studies nor in my professional life. I have totally left the girl’s choice to my mother. I am interested in mature and serious girls; my mother knows this well.

However, I personally feel that I should meet the girl before getting married in a bid to know her first hand. Although I believe that one meeting is never sufficient to know any person. But, a meeting seems unlikely in our sort of social set-up. I’m afraid my life partner may lack mental compatibility needed for a healthy relationship. I also fear marriage failure. I need your advice on how to proceed and determine that my life partner would be suitable for me. I would be indebted to you for solving this dilemma.
Searching for a Spouse

Dear Searching,
If you feel so strongly that you should meet your future spouse, then you have to broach the subject with your parents and let them know that you want to meet the girl and talk to her. Even if it is against the norms in your community, someone somewhere has to put their foot down and demand that things change.

‘Be the right partner, yourself’

At the same time, talking to a potential spouse before you marry her is no guarantee that your marriage will be a healthy one. The only way you can try and find the right partner, is to be the ‘right’ partner yourself. I would strongly advise you to give this a lot of thought. If possible, write down the qualities you are looking for in a wife and then try to be that person yourself. For instance, if you want someone who is kind, compassionate, understanding and educated, are you all of those things yourself? Then, really look at your own behaviour to see if you are truly worthy of a spouse with those qualities.

Another thing you need to realise is that marriage takes work. Whether you know the person before marriage or you don’t, a long-term relationship is hardly a bed of roses. Sometimes, you will agree on things and at other times, you will not. Even if you find someone who is a lot like you, there will be things you will not agree on and you will have to respect that. It truly takes two people making an effort to make a modern marriage work.

Ask anyone who has been in a long-term, successful marriage and all of them will have their own rules and secrets about why their marriage is working. In fact, if you have a couple that you admire, it might be worth talking to them about their ‘secret’ for a long-term relationship. Auntie thinks self-knowledge is important when it comes to marriage. Knowing what you like and what you don’t like and telling this to your spouse. Communicating with your spouse and letting him or her know what you like is key here. Do not expect your spouse to ‘just know’ that you like long walks on the beach. You have to let your spouse know and not expect him or her to think of it themselves. That sort of expectation can only lead to resentment in the long term. So state your likes and dislikes to your partner and be happy and grateful when your spouse fulfills it.

Next, make an effort to find out what makes your spouse happy. Do presents make her happy or does praise make her happy? Does a special food make her happy? And then make an effort to do what makes her happy. And finally, know that there will be things about your spouse that will annoy you and just learn to accept them if they are not willing to change it. Stop focusing on these annoying quirks, unless of course they are major problems, such as addictions and anger management issues which affect your life severely. For the small stuff, just ignore it if your spouse does not change it. Instead seek out things you do like about your spouse and focus on them.

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Published in Dawn, EOS, February 17th, 2019