'Chalo, bhaag ke shaadi kar lete hain' was like a dialogue template in 90's Bollywood films. The way it has been thrown around like a rag-doll might even make you think that that's what we Indians do - just sing and dance all day until we find a temple where we can get married. Because life is so simple, right? It's not.
There's a ton of things you need to discuss with your potential 'life-partner' before actually tying the knot. And no, we aren't talking about fart patterns - although that might be a very important thing to ask. But that's a whole other story.
If you've decided that you want to get married, here are a few discussions you might want to have with your partner before you take that major life-changing step.
1. Always discuss kids.
For you to be good parents, you both need to want to have children in the first place. There was a time when having kids was sort of a given thing. That's what was simply expected of you - no questions asked. But times are different now. Many people don't want to have kids, and that's perfectly okay. It's all good as long as both partners are on the same page. Also, in case the couple isn't able to conceive and still wants kids, you need to discuss alternate options.
2. Be open about sex.
What's the point of being a couple if you can't talk openly about sex? Marriage will be a tough road if you and your partner aren't compatible when it comes to sex. You need to know what the other person likes, what fantasies they have. If one of you is straight up sex-twice-a-month-only-missionary types and the other is borderline obsessed with sex, and both are equally stubborn, there might be trouble up ahead.
3. What about parents?
A healthy relation with your in-laws is a great thing. As Indians, we're traditionally attuned to the idea of joint families but it's perfectly okay for couples to want to move out and live on their own too. They key is, talk about these things before getting married. Also, when living away from parents, there might come a time when one of them (or both) might need special care. And you need to be prepared for that. Yes, very few partners would say no to a parent moving in, but it's a good idea to talk about this beforehand.
4. Be prepared for unexpected tragedy.
It might surprise a few of you, but talking about unexpected tragedies with your partner can actually help strengthen the bond between couples. If one of you were to be in the hospital, and on life-support, it'd greatly help if the other person knew what the plan is. In case of death, what about organ donation? I know, these are slightly morbid in nature, but being able to talk about these things is a sign that you're mature enough for marriage.
5. Talk about finances.
No, it's not rude to talk about money with your partner. You both need to know how much money is coming in from the work you do so that you can plan your future accordingly. Also, in case you have any debts or financial liabilities, you should tell your partner about it. There's also a good chance that both of you might be in different income brackets. In that case, make sure you guys talk about how to split bills.
6. Settling down is a huge deal.
Most middle-class couples have this dream of owning their own home at some point in the future. Perfectly fine. But what if one of you wants to settle somewhere in the hills, and the other one likes the shore? What if you want to eventually settle down in different cities? Yep, better to talk about these things earlier.
7. Beliefs and ideologies are important too.
If you're about to spend the better part of your adult life with someone, it helps when you both share some common beliefs. You might be tempted to think that beliefs and ideologies don't matter when you're in love, but that's just your hormones doing the thinking. What if you're an atheist and your partner is a deeply religious? What if one of you is pro-life and the other person is pro-choice? If you're a BJP supporter, would you marry someone who's a left activist? Yes, these things matter. They're not always deal-breakers but it's better to have all cards on the table before you step into married life.
8. Introvert vs Extrovert.
We don't always end up with someone who's exactly like us. Your partner could be a party animal while you might be someone who loves his/her 'alone time'. In such scenarios, it's always a good idea to talk about what you expect and what you're willing to give up. Your partner might feel unwanted while you're enjoying your drink alone in some corner while you might feel uncomfortable going out every night. Talk this stuff over and make timely compromises.
9. Acknowledging wake-up calls.
Not every union lasts forever. There might be many reasons for people parting ways, but it's sad when it happens for lack of effort. Accept that the juice won't flow forever and talk about how you can rekindle things when needed.
10. How to raise your kids?
In case you do decide to have kids in the future, do talk about how to do so? People of different faiths often face a dilemma - whose faith does the child follow? Do we shelter him from other faiths or do we let the child figure things out on his own.
11. Ever considered prenuptial agreements?
Prenuptial agreements aren't yet legal in India but there's talk that soon they might be. Marriage laws in India aren't always favorable to both parties. To ensure that the parting, if inevitable, is not ugly, it's a good idea to discuss prenuptial agreements, where you already who gets what if the relationship goes sour.
12. Can't give up your independence, right?
There's this idea among single people circles that committed relationships or marriages take away your independence. Well, it doesn't have to be that way, as long as the lines of communication are clear. Talk to your partner about your friends and other interests that take up your time. That way, you can continue doing what you do without making the other person feel insecure.
13. Does career always come first?
If you're both working, there's a chance that at some point, one person's career might have to take a back seat so that the other person's career might move forward. But it's unfair to simply assume that your partner will simply back down. Talk about it in the early stages of your relationship to make sure there are no last minute surprises.
14. Then there's 'love languages'.
Every person has a specific way of feeling loved. That's what love languages basically mean. You might love it if your partner takes you out a lot while another person might feel great if his or her partner helps in doing the chores at home. Talk about it so that no one in the partnership feels unloved.
15. What about your triggers?
You might think your partner is the best person in the world but even then there can be some small things that he or she does once in a while that pisses the shit out of you. It could be something as small as leaving the toilet seat up, but when it happens one too many times, it could be nasty. Same advice - talk about it.
16. Always discuss health.
If you're planning to spend your life with someone, make sure you know that person inside out. And this includes any health issues - both physical and mental. That way you can plan your union ahead in the most appropriate manner, so that all special needs are taken care of.