Why you need contemporary arranged marriage first meeting tips?
If you are an Indian, and you don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you will probably be dragged into a arranged marriage set up. One fine day, you will also be shown a photograph of a prospective match. Your initial protests about not being ready for marriage cannot go on forever. Invariably there will be signs that will push you to accept the inevitable i.e you are destined for an arranged marriage and you probably need help to figure out how to judge a guy in an arranged marriage or what to talk in the first meeting for an arranged marriage.
This is when you will give your right arm to get your hands (or what’s left) on arranged marriage first meeting tips!
Does this describe you? Then read on.
A cursory Google search on “arranged marriage first meeting tips” will throw up a whole bunch of stale and well-known information that’s beaten to death already.
We believe arranged marriage first meeting tips should be for the contemporary Indian women and men and not for generations from the past! So we decided to take a completely different view for providing contextually and culturally relevant arranged marriage first meeting tips.
Our tips are based on arranged marriage first meeting experience from real people. We did not stop there. We picked out important advice from dating experts as well! Yes, you heard it right.
So, here is a comprehensive list of arranged marriage first meeting tips that are based on practical wisdom as well as from dating and relationship experts. Let’s get cracking.
Arranged marriage first meeting tips from the street
Let’s look at what real people think about the dos and don’ts of arranged marriage first meetings with parents. This is not the pseudo-wisdom spewed by bloggers on Buzzfeed! Hence, the emphasis is on “real people”.
Balaji Vishwanath says “Let it flow naturally”
1. In my family, it is a convention to fix the first girl whom you formally meet in an arranged marriage setting. This is because the process is emotionally draining and you don’t want to go into the process and say no. It is somewhat analogous to a Ph.D. defense – you don’t go into the final meeting process unless you are quite sure of the success.
2. Do your due diligence on the prospects. Use Facebook profile research, Google search, friend networks, family networks and every other tool you could think of, to know about the prospect, in depth. Try to draw your own personal map of the person and see if you can move with such a person. Try to be as unemotional as possible, in this step.
3. In the 15-20 minutes you spend with the person, try to see if this is the person you can live with. Try to use your intuition and ask what the heart tells you. Cut out the brain, as you have done your diligence in point 2. Find out if you strike a bond with the other person. Find out if there is an emotional link. You can ask anything you like – a movie, a food or anything you assume the person might also like.
AJ Shama says “Don’t listen to elders”
I was arrange married 12 years ago. I met like 7 girls, for like on an average 30 min or so. I did prepare before the meeting, what will I say and what question I will ask, similar to some of the respondents. While I did not maintain excel sheet, I did capture notes later on. Most of the girls’ parents responded to my matrimonial ad. Being from top engineering school with a good job in India helped, but only so far.
Did it work for me, well No. Marriage soured few years later and still on rocks. In hindsight, it wasn’t a right approach to the most important decision of the life. My ultimate decision was based on the recommendation from elders in my family, her education, job prospects and availability of time for family and children in the future (she was in teaching). One of the elders liked the match due to physical appearance compatibility e.g. how we will look in a photo together (bad idea).
An anonymous woman says we dated in an arranged marriage setting!
I met one guy at home for the first time. We talked for around one hour. We did not ask each other any ‘questions’ per se. Instead, we were getting to know each other. We talked about our jobs, what our interests were, how we have come up in life, what keeps us going, and we even laughed at some funny incidents we ended up narrating for no specific reason. We even talked about our families to get a fair idea of our social circle and lifestyle.
I was of the opinion that I cannot say ‘YES’ in one meeting. I asked him when we could meet again. We decided to meet after three days, his reasoning being we will get time to think about what we want to talk about or ask each other.
So we met up again. This time in a park in the city (helps that we live close by). This time, we were together for 4 and a half hours 🙂
The first two hours, we spoke generally, like two friends meeting up after a long time. We talked about our childhood. School days, college days. Funny stories, anecdotes. About our jobs, our views on a working couple, our views on life in general. About our families, how we grew up. What we have experienced in life and what we learned from it.
The next two hours were spent talking about the reason for which we were actually meeting. So we told each other about what we liked about each other. We talked about some serious stuff that would matter as a couple. About our jobs, our family values, our views on life in general. I told him stuff about the kind of person I am to know if he has a problem with any of my personality quirks or traits. He did the same.
Towards the end, we realised we are both quite practical and understanding (his words more than mine) and that whatever decision we take will be thought through completely and discussed and the best will be chosen. I am marrying him in 4 months time 🙂
While wisdom from the street is useful and relevant, we have decided to craft arranged marriage first meeting tips by collecting practical advice given by dating experts!
Arranged marriage first meetings and going on a date
You are right. We are different and think differently. Thank you.
Yes, arranged marriage is not very different from dating. Here is why we are making this outrageous claim.
According to a study titled, “Are the Young and the Educated More Likely to Have “Love” than Arranged Marriage?” from the University of Maryland:
A key reason for “parent supervised arranged marriages with participation” emerging as the most common form of marriage arrangement is that it is best suited for a cultural context that does not have a dating culture of the kind existing in the West. Such a “dating culture” requires that it be socially acceptable for the young to “romantically link up with each other without any kind of adult supervision in a setting that is not defined directly as leading to marriage” and to “try out” different potential mates before deciding on a marriage partner.
In simple words, dating on your own is not acceptable, so parents in India end up arranging dates for you! Some of you will disagree with this statement as parents also place way too many restrictions and conditions. But, at least for some of us, we get a chance to “date” prospective matches with the blessings of our parents.
Even experts seem to think that arranged marriage is just a more elaborate dating process!
According to Brian J. Willoughby, an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University,
“Whether it be financial support for weddings, schooling or housing, or emotional support for either partner, parents provide valuable resources for couples as they navigate the marital transition.
The focus when it comes to dating is squarely on personal chemistry, physical attraction, and compatibility. However, the challenge with love marriage or dating is that we may confuse lust and chemistry with genuine compatibility that can stand the test of time. This is where arranged marriage comes up trumps.
As parents do the due diligence for us, they make sure the people we meet have similar values, background, and other “culturally acceptable” criteria before we meet prospective matches. As long as we have the final choice and are not pushed into marriage
This is where arranged marriage comes up trumps.
Now that we have seen that parent’s supervision is of great help to us, let’s borrow some ideas from dating experts to give you the tools and ideas you need to navigate the arranged marriage first meeting.
Justin Stenstrom is a life coach, author, entrepreneur, and speaker. He compiled a list of 40 dating tips from 40 dating experts. We decided to pick and choose dating wisdom from his epic article and create a list of 9 arranged marriage first meeting tips.
9 arranged marriage first meeting tips from dating experts
Let’s look at what we can learn from dating experts when it comes to providing us with useful arranged marriage first meeting tips.
1. Susan Winter: Be yourself and have fun
Susan Winter is a relationship expert and author. She has two important points that will come hand for your arranged marriage first meeting.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not as the truth will eventually show up and can create a lot of unpleasant surprises. According to Susan
“The goal of dating is to find someone who wants what you want, and wants that with you.”
When you look at it, the goal of every arranged marriage first meeting is to make sure you want to find someone that can share a lifelong journey with you. Being true to who you are is a first step in getting there.
Have fun. Arranged marriage first meetings can be nerve-wracking experiences. Especially, the presence of other family members and unexpected or insensitive questions can make it worse. According to Susan, “dating is a numbers game and as long as you can learn from every experience, rejection shouldn’t really spoil your mood.”
We can certainly use the same approach to dealing with arranged marriage first meetings.
2. Laura Yates: Use the power of “why?”
Laura Yates is a coach, mentor, writer, and speaker based in London. Laura believes in the power of “why?” as a tool to reveal more about your prospective match’s personality and thought process.
One of the typical approaches that people take when meeting a prospective match through arranged marriage is to ask “what are your hobbies?”, “What’s your favourite dish?” and so on.
Instead, Laura recommends we ask, “Why you like reading?” or “Why you chose journalism as your career”, as this is a much better way to understand their personality and passions. Laura also recommends you be ready with interesting stories from your life to act as conversational starters or icebreakers.
3. Hunt Ethridge: Ask positive emotional questions
Hunt Ethridge is CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of LiveDatingAdvice.com, co-founder and senior partner at International Dating Coach Association (IDCA) as well as the senior coach at New York Dating Coach. His advice is to ask “positive emotional questions”.
Here are some examples:
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten?
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Where would your dream vacation be?
Keep in mind, these questions work well in one-on-one meetings that you can set up after meeting a prospective match along with your family.
4.Jasbina Ahluwalia – It’s not an interview!
Jasbina Ahluwalia is a Relationship Expert, Matchmaker/Dating Coach, and a Radio Show host. She is also the Founder and President of Intersections Match, a relationship coaching & online dating support firm designed specifically for Indian Singles.
Jasbina says dating is not an interview and nobody should interrogate a prospective match. This tip is very relevant for arranged marriage meetings in India. The presence of parents tends to invariably convert first meetings into intense interrogation sessions (especially for the woman’s family).
Our recommendation is that parents should be sensitised to this issue and a casual approach to understanding the prospective match’s background and family should be the norm. Who said arranged marriage first meeting tips are only for the prospective bride and groom?
5. Kyle Ingham – Get out of your head!
Kyle Ingham is the founder of The Distilled Man, a site that helps men become gentlemen! He has an important advice pertaining to dating that is relevant for arranged marriages as well – Your dating failures fuel a lot of doubts in your mind.
You are thinking about all the women that rejected you instead of interacting properly with a woman you may be meeting! All your self-doubts and bitter experiences can get to your head.
Your dating failures fuel a lot of doubts in your mind. You are thinking about all the women that rejected you instead of interacting properly with a woman you may be meeting! All your self-doubts and bitter experiences can get to your head.
People going through arranged marriage may have gone through several meetings with prospective matches only to be disappointed with the outcome. Try forgetting all the bad experiences and treat every arranged marriage meeting as your first meeting!
6. KarenLee Poter – Don’t forget hygiene
KarenLee Poter is an internet talk show and a blog about dating, love, and sex. She started exploring dating after she became a widow. Among the tips that she provides for dating, she also talks about personal hygiene. Here is what she has to say,
“By all means take a shower prior to the date and put on a small amount of cologne. No need to overpower her with Old Spice. Your teeth are important since they show good general hygiene, make sure to brush and whiten them. Make sure your breath is fresh. Trim your facial hair and style your hair.”
In the Indian context, too much make-up, too much perfume, or on the other end of the spectrum, “just got up from bed” sloppiness, chewing with your mouth open (especially men that get to eat the samosas and jalebis at the prospective bride’s place) are all deal-breakers.
7. Dan Munro – Honesty is the best policy
Dan Munro is a confidence and authenticity coach based out of New Zealand. He has something very interesting to say about being honest and open when you meet someone for the first time in a dating context.
“I think of it as “farting on the first date”. If you let out your “worst” on the first date, not only will you lead her to deeper intimacy quickly, you’ll also be left with a clear measurement of how well you two would go longer term.”
What he doesn’t mean is to act like Ivan the Terrible, but to straightaway focus on your dreams, fears, and insecurities. In the arranged marriage context, honesty is usually a casualty as parents and relatives tend to “puff up” facts about their sons and daughters. They do it out of ignorance or for the sake of false pride. Assuming you have met someone with a similar family background, try asking for a one-on-one meeting and use this opportunity for an honest conversation.
8. Laurel House: Your past, your present, and your future
Laurel House is a dating and relationship coach. She appears regularly on American TV shows and is also a prolific author.
Laurel recommends focusing on topics that focus on who you are. Discussing events from your past that shaped your personality and the lessons you have learned, your future aspirations and challenges you want to overcome are topics that can help you truly connect with your date.
In the arranged marriage first meeting, we tend to go along with superficial questions that really doesn’t bring out any strong emotions because we are nervous and conscious of the people surrounding us. Discussing these deep topics certainly requires a little more privacy. While it is not advisable to straight away jump into your past and the future, remember to bring them up even if you are going through an arranged marriage.
9. Anita Chlipala – Good not perfect
Anita Chlipala is a dating and relationship expert from Chicago. According to her,
“Waiting for the perfect woman? She doesn’t exist. Single guys fall into the trap of thinking there’s someone “better” out there. They end up dismissing their date too quickly over a tiny issue or dating woman after woman.”
Irrespective of whether it is dating or arranged marriage, waiting for the perfect man or woman is a never-ending wait. There is nobody that is perfect. However, you will always find somebody that’s a good match for you. So don’t obsess over minor flaws (physical or otherwise) and look at the overall personality and how aligned your thoughts are in general.
Arranged marriage first meeting tips are either biased in favour of the prospective groom or reinforce stereotyped interview sessions. We believe we can change the perspective on arranged marriage first meeting tips by embracing a completely new mindset.
Approaching arranged marriage first meeting like a group date (remember all the family members that join you?) is a great idea.
Freedom of choice is an important factor for any successful marriage. As long as you can decide on your own and not base your decisions solely on what your family thinks, you should be OK.
Trying to be someone you are not can give you short term victories, but you can’t keep up with your acting forever. Be genuine and open.
Being prepared helps. Keep a broad set of questions in mind before you go for any arranged marriage first meeting. Remember to phrase the questions properly and avoid sounding like an interviewer.
Finally, don’t obsess over minor flaws, look at the entire personality.