Choosing the Right Partner
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In our society marriage is the arrangement people use to create a stable family unit. A man and woman marry with the plan of staying together for life. I remember thinking as a teenager that marriage would be customary and easy. You fall in love and then you get married and you live happily ever after. So am I right? It turns out that my fairytale view of the world was a little naïve because it left out the most important part. To my teenage mind marriage was about love fuelled by the song Love and Marriage go together like a horse and carriage. To an adult, marriage is about commitment. It is about staying together for a lifetime despite the fact that both partners are distinct individuals who may or may not change over a period of time. Marriage itself is easy. Two people can get married any time they want. The challenge of marriage is making it work for a lifetime. The question an unmarried person might have is: "What could possibly be difficult about a married life? What could in all likelihood be challenging about it? Once I find a person who I am in love with and who is in love with me, marriage will be a piece of cake." However, that couldn t be further from the truth - marriage is a big step that should not be taken lightly. The first few months of most marriages are easy. This phase is called the "honeymoon phase". The honeymoon phase exists because the couple is enjoying the significant advantages of being married: living together, looking toward the future as a close-knit crew, planning a family, sexual intimacy, trust etc. This epoch starts to end as the couple comes to the consciousness that marriage lasts a lifetime. Let s look at some of the things that make a marriage:
Marriage is a lifetime commitment. This commitment can have a colossal number of advantages: constancy, financial strength, interminable trust in each other, etc. However, it can be a crippling drawback if one or both parties decide to insult the commitment to each other.

Marriage means that everything is shared. Sharing means that every major decision involves a team decision. If both parties do not agree, then a discord ensues. Most people enjoy having a certain amount of freedom in their lives. Marriage on the other hand forces a great deal of trade-off and reconciliation. And this takes quite a while getting used to. "It is a sealing of a commitment. We have been learning over all these years to accept each other as we are and will continue through the rest of our lives. We´ve comfortable with each other - soul mates per say. We´ll grow together and separately." Sonia Saxena, 29.

Marriage involves being with the same person for life. Once romance wears off and the relationship is driven more by friendship and caring than sexual attraction, little habits can become annoying. Countering this natural effect requires adeptness and proficiency.

Marriage is something like a big auricle. When things are going well, the team effect of marriage makes them go places. However, when things are not working marriage tends to amplify things in a negative bias. It can make bad things worse because it can create a trap. Have you ever noticed that many married couples spend a lot of time fighting? It happens because at any given moment the two people in the marriage may want to do two different things that are mutually exclusive. For example: You want to buy a new car but your spouse wants to save the money and continue fixing the old one. Or maybe you want to spend extra time at work but your spouse wants you to be home for dinner. So who gives in?

Imagine facing one or two circumstances like this day in and day out, for a lifetime. That is what makes marriage challenging. That is why you want to pick a good marriage partner. If you can find someone, who will work with you and love you enough to resolve all of the "little problems" that arise naturally in a marriage, then you will have a marriage crowned with success. As Sharon, married for seven years, comments "Marriage to me is a joined effort moving forward in this life together; someone to laugh with, love and share my dreams well. For a marriage to be successful, believing in yourself first and then in your spouse- is a must. Minimizing the negative and focusing on the positive, yet not glossing over rough spots. Finally it is knowing when to detach from our own selfish needs and make those of the marriage or of my partner a priority, which goes back to respect, concern and love for my husband."

Finding a Good Partner Because marriage is so strongly tied to family and because it is so permanent, your parents want you to choose the "right" person. "To be honest, I checked out several things before I proposed to Sunita. They were things my grandmother once told me to look for in a good woman: Does she know how to listen? Can she look you straight in the eyes? Does she walk with her head held high? Does she care as much about your feelings as her own? I thank my lucky stars every day because Sunita passed all that and more with flying colors." Ramesh Tiwari, 27, banker.

These characteristics are universal. Here s how one guy tested his fiancée s loyalty "I knew I was falling in love with Mona but I had to find out what she loved most, me or my money, so I set up this little test. During dinner at our favorite restaurant, I told her that my investments weren t going so well and that there was a possibility I was going broke. Marilyn got this real sad look in her eyes, grabbed my hand and told me not to worry, that we d make it one way or another. Then she said she d pick up the dinner check. I asked her to marry me on the spot." Sanjay Nagpal, 29, financial adviser.

Here are some of the attributes of a good marriage partner:

  • Trust When both partners trust each other implicitly, they are able to go through life with a tremendous amount of confidence in themselves and in each other.

  • Loyalty Trust is built on a foundation of fidelity and commitment between the couple. Many people get married with the concept that "If I don t like it, I ll sleep around or get divorced." This is a recipe for disaster in any marriage. Marriage is about total commitment to your partner.

  • Compatibility. Here s how Sharad tested Nita to see if they could be compatible - "I took Nita to a party where she didn t know a soul, then deliberately excused myself to go across the room to talk to someone else. I had to know how she d react in that setting because I have to do a lot of business entertaining where I can t devote all my time to one person. Well, Nita was mingling within minutes and made more new connections than I did before we left. We ve been married eight years."

  • Friendship Partners in a good marriages are good friends and gather strength from that friendship.

  • Patience and understanding Partners in good marriage understand and forgive each other.

  • Acceptance and support Partners in a good marriage accept one another and support each other constantly. "Fairness and never being indebted to anyone means a lot to me. The best way to find out if a woman feels the way I do is to go out to lunch and dinner about half a dozen times. If she offers to pay at least once or twice, I know she s the independent type of woman I could fall in love with." Ganesh, 28, accountant. If a couple can maintain these qualities within the marriage, then success is much easier. Maintaining those qualities, it turns out, takes quite a bit of discipline. If one or more of these fundamental qualities are missing, then you can say with some certainty that the marriage will fail.

    There are quite a few things that can cause a marriage to fail:

  • Disagreements over money If one person is frugal and the other is free spending, the conflict that arises can be extremely difficult to manage. "We went to the mall supposedly to buy me some new shirts, but my real reason was to take Gayle into a jewelry store. We weren t engaged yet and, while I make a decent living, I ll never be Bill Gates. That s why I needed to know if she was practical or the kind of girl who locks her eyes on the biggest diamond in the store and won t even blink at anything else. Unfortunately, that s exactly what she did. And that s when I knew we would never work out together." Laxman, 29, PR Manager.

  • Stubbornness If one or both spouses refuse to compromise, then the marriage likely will not survive. Marriage depends on compromise.

  • Infidelity.

  • Disagreements over children If one spouse wants children and the other does not, you simply should not be married. It is impossible to reconcile this difference because one partner is guaranteed to be dissatisfied. As a single person thinking about marriage you probably do not have these intricacies in mind. However, it is important that you come to this level of understanding and take marriage seriously. When you get married you are committing to your chosen spouse for the rest of your life.

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