Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Counselor

Believe it or not, arranged marriages are still a thing in many cultures, especially in South Asian cultures. Arranged marriages were very common in the past, in which many children were married to settle some sort of agreements between families. For example, my grandparents were married at the age of 1 and 3, and did not actually live together or anything until they were teenagers. They were arranged due to settling some land without offering money. Even in the 21st century, arranged marriages are not as common (or talked about much), but they still happen. So the question is how do we deal with handle who our parents want us to marry?

Interaction is key.

Being able to walk into the marriage/relationship with an open mind. Reminding yourself that you are also doing this for your own family, who you love so much. Love does not also happen right away, but it is something that can grow.
Coming in also with moderate expectations is important when it comes to arranged marriages. You are not 100% sure of what you are about to enter into, so making sure that you do not set expectations super high. Everyone has flaws but being able to understand that it is just who they are, and gaining a better understanding of who they are.

Meeting the family and friends.

With arrange marriages in the past, often times the couple would not meet until they were actually getting married. Sometimes even the parents would not meet, but aunts and uncles would meet and decided if it would be a good relationship. Meet the family slowly, as there are often a lot of family members that can get overwhelming. Understanding the relationships of the extended family in the relationship.
Also, with meeting the family, comes friends. Trying to go on dates with other couples and doing girls and guys nights are important for you to feel connected within the relationship. Having an understanding of how the friends have met your spouse and what their friendship is like.

Roles in the marriage.

In arranged marriages, or any marriage in this instance, talking about what each partner is going to do around the house. Talk about finances and who will take care of certain bills. Talk about who is going to be cleaning or cooking. If you decide to have children, talk about the roles within the child’s lives too.

Have sex regularly.

Sex if often looked down upon in the South Asian culture, but today’s society is different. Being more open about having sex and having it regularly. Sex allows individuals to have a better connection to their partner. Discuss positions that each partner likes and does not like. Make sure to accommodate and support each other.

Schedule dates and alone time.

When in relationships, we tend to lean towards always being together, or being alone. Making sure that you are taking time for each other and also for yourself. Make sure when you go on dates, that you are both focused on each other and not distracted by technology or things around you. Work on getting to know each other better, and also yourself.

Seek Counseling

If you are being put in an arranged marriage situation or are currently in an arranged marriage and are feeling disconnected from your partner, seek out support from a trained professional. Contact Meenal Patel, LPC for information to help guide your relationship and to feel happier and supported in your marriage.