10 commandments for a successful marriage
You might want to consider different bathrooms
Getting into a new relationship does feel like a rhythmic dance. Are you leading, or do you follow? Do you step to the right, or follow their left turn; when is it an appropriate time for a dip?
With the right choreography, you can smile your way through a garba with grace, along with your life partner. If not, the night could end with you icing a bump on your head caused by a rogue dandiya.
Some practice can get you two moving in lockstep, but we know that you aren’t just marrying a person in desi marriages. It’s their family too. Dating culture may have evolved with situationships, swipes and ‘super likes’, but there are certain aspects of courtship that have been the same across generations, namely the ultimate goal – a successful marriage.
Perhaps we just need to be a little more prepared. Global matchmaker Anuradha Gupta knows what it takes to create life-long partnerships. Founder CEO of luxury matchmaking service Vows for Eternity (VFE), Gupta’s work in New York, London, New Delhi and Mumbai surfs the waves of love, romance and the changing dynamics of modern relationships.
Playing matchmaker for her clients for over a decade, Gupta has seen it all. She’s committed to going beyond the traditional means of matchmaking – by connecting life partners based on values, mindsets, and personalities.
Tapping into her experience with members of VFE as well as her own personal journey, she helps us codify the 10 commandments for a successful marriage that the Tweak family said they wish someone had told them sooner. “Having married well into my 30s, I can safely say these should help keep your marriage in ship shape.”
10 rules for a happy marriage, according to our Tweak tribe and Anuradha Gupta
“Unless you’re ready to handle everything that comes with it, don’t jump into it – marriage or kids.”
Whether it’s marriage, having children, or deciding to uproot your life and move to another country, these significant changes have a ripple effect on your lives as a couple and the people around you.
You never know what curveballs a lifelong commitment can throw your way, says Gupta. “Know that there will be challenges with marriage and a growing family along the way. It’s the reason you chose love and partnership, to ride life’s rough and smooth patches together.”
There is a certain amount of readiness, thick skin, patience and understanding that you need to know you’re ready to exercise. Committing is the easy part, says Soumya Menon. What comes afterwards is what they call life, after all.
“You can’t depend on your partner for everything. Trust your gut.”
Every relationship, whether a friendship, courtship or especially marriage, is a shared experience. But even when two people come together, maintaining individuality is essential.
Regarding your health or happiness, Tweak readers Ukta Deshmukh and Lalita Nair agree that sometimes you have to trust your gut and make decisions that work for you. Of course, you can depend on your partner’s and family’s support, but it’s not their job – – to do it for you.
The beauty of a relationship is that you have two people who can lean on each other, but it’s as important to follow your instinct, Gupta explains. “Dependency without introspection and ownership can lead to a very toxic relationship.”
“Even a marriage needs healthy boundaries.”
Setting boundaries in any relationship – with a prospective life partner, parent or friend – can make your tummy drop as if you’re about to bungee jump off a cliff without the promise of a safe landing. But healthy boundaries can ensure a respectful relationship flourishes and marriage succeeds in the long run.
“Boundaries create a certain amount of respect and space in a relationship which are important for both partners,” says Gupta.
According to Prachi Agarwal, we all need boundaries in our relationship to feel safe, loved and respected in our marriage.
There will be some non-negotiables and compromises you are willing to make. Creating these boundaries early in your relationship can set the tone for what’s to come and define what a successful marriage looks like to both involved.
Gupta adds, “There is no time limit on creating these boundaries. Be open with your partner. Guessing games are no fun when it comes to personal boundaries.”
“One person always has to compromise more, it’s never a 50/50 deal.”
Boundary setting is one thing, but those first few years of marriage will have teething issues. Michelle Obama said marriage can’t be measured on a scale because it won’t rest very long at the 50/50 mark. A sentiment echoed by readers Vedika Sultania, Deepshikha and Neha Soni.
There will be times when one person has to compromise more than another. It could mean giving time to your partner to settle into a new job role before taking on their share of household responsibilities again, or letting one person take the lead when it comes to where you’re investing your money if they have a specific goal.
As Gupta explains it, “It’s not about who walks how much; it’s about whether you are both walking in the same direction. Sometimes person A takes longer strides, on other occasions, it could be person B. If each person puts the other first, it becomes about togetherness and love, and doesn’t seem like a compromise.”
You’re allowing one person to overtake the other when there is a positive, mutually agreed-upon goal in mind.
“Discuss the milestones you want to achieve at different stages of life.”
Finances, kids and career — beautiful parts of a shared life, but they’re also at the core of sometimes awkward and uncomfortable conversations.
Are you on the same page when it comes to how many kids you’re going to have? If the child needs extra attention, who will stay home? Will you start a retirement fund when you’re 30 or invest that money in building a home instead?
Ritu Sehgal and Anisha Dsouza say that these aspects of life, as joyous as they can be, can also strain the relationship. If you want a successful marriage, then break down the milestones. The more details you get into, the smoother the transitions will be when the time comes.
Gupta too stresses the importance of setting those key milestones in place. Whether financial, professional or linked to parents as they get older. It makes it easier to achieve the targets set out collectively.
“You’re fighting for each other, not against.”
Ah, the human ego. A gift given to us by psychologist Sigmund Freud to better understand ourselves. Yet, we are so driven by ego that we’ve let it cloud our judgement and make emotion-driven decisions more times than we’d like to admit.
Our brain rewards us every time we celebrate a win with a rush of endorphins. But when it comes to your marriage, that happy high will crash and burn if you constantly try to one-up your partner.
You’re working as a team. Even though sometimes it might not seem like that, says Gupta. “As long as both people work towards a common goal, there can be style differences, expressions can differ, even actions can be different, but the intent is what matters the most.”
Remind yourself that you’re fighting for each other, not against each other and ego has no place in this ring. A piece of advice from Radhika Maheshwari that we will do well paying heed to.
“Don’t force opinions on each other. Our experiences and realities form different points of view.”
They say too many cooks spoil the broth. But the best recipe for a successful marriage involves two people working in sync, not bulldozing your partner out of your way to make your point the most important one.
We need to learn how to agree to disagree. Tweak readers Navrattan Kaur and Pooja Khanna stress the importance of respecting differing opinions and creating a safe space for their expression.
“There’s real work and understanding required when you make space for someone in your life after the vows have been made and the bustle of the wedding is over. Creating a space which is filled with acceptance is the secret sauce in the recipe of marriage,” says Gupta.
“There’s real work and hustle after ‘happily ever after’.”
As much as we want a successful marriage, it’s a relationship that requires effort, initiative, and rejuvenation.
Navami Venugopal, Ruchita Chawla and Shraddha Kompelli want people to look at marriage beyond that one wedding day. After her happily ever after, Snow White also had to adjust to her snoring Prince, who started seeming suspicious of her seven friends.
Having worked with a member pool across 65 countries involving people from all kinds of backgrounds, from entrepreneurs and industrialists to celebrities and business families, Gupta says with certainty that in every marriage there will be “stages where you feel you are chugging along, others where you feel tired in the relationship, and, of course, there will be euphoria too,” says Gupta. “You can never truly appreciate the good things without experiencing the bad. Learning to let go is like this miracle drug that keeps a relationship very strong.”
The conversations and hustle must continue throughout the relationship to keep evolving and growing.
“The feeling of ‘he’s the one’ comes and goes, all the time.”
That feeling of finding ‘the one’ who will stand by you through thick and thin, sickness and health, cleaning up toddler diarrhoea off the bedsheet and holding your hand to cross a busy street is a rush unlike any other.
But that feeling can come and go, says Birwa Bhatt. You didn’t marry a character from some steamy romance novel, but a human with their quirks, strengths and sometimes outright icky behaviour.
A marriage goes through so many different cycles, explains Gupta. There is deep love and fascination followed by companionship. Then come the kids and the dynamics between the couple change and so do priorities. That just tops off the stresses of everyday life, extended families, emotional upheavals, and so much more.
Putting anyone on a pedestal exacts undue pressure when your partner doesn’t match up to these unachievable expectations.
“Take one day a week off from the family.”
In theory, that sounds like a dream. But time off for yourself can look like different things in different households.
Burnout isn’t limited to high-pressure workspaces. You can feel burnt out as a parent and partner just as quickly, as the pandemic showed us.
But you can’t show up for others for very long if you’re not looking after and caring for yourself. Personal time can look like 10 minutes of reading a book you enjoy before you sleep or with an evening cup of chai. It could be an evening run listening to the Diljit Dosanjh tunes no one else in the house seems to enjoy or a bi-weekly meet-up with your friends or cousins. Any time you can make for yourself to do something you enjoy while away from the demands and responsibilities of a spouse, parent or in-law.
When the bad comes, it’s important to remember the good times, says Gupta, to remind yourself what you are working towards. “Win the odd argument but learn to let go of the small stuff. May the ride be long and fruitful with lots of laughs.. without those, it can feel like a bumpy bullock cart and that can’t be good for anyone.”
To have a heart-to-heart with Anuradha Gupta, tune into her podcast.
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