Arranged marriage first meeting
If you are sensing arranged marriage in the air, you will probably be bracing yourself for the dreaded arranged marriage first meeting experience. Pay attention and read this post.
The first thing you should do when your parents start showing you photos of prospective matches or your biodata for marriage is already floating around is not to panic.
The first question that probably comes to your mind is “What should I ask the prospective match and how do we deal with the arranged marriage first meeting?” This is a Million Dollar question and we have a detailed answer that is backed by scientific research mixed with common sense.
Questions to ask during the first meeting in an arranged marriage first meeting depends on the setting. The first meeting with your prospective match (Psst…check out these arranged marriage first meeting stories!) is likely to happen in the presence of your family members. Subsequent private meetings can be arranged with the blessings of your family members. Both these meetings require a completely different strategy.
Arranged marriage first meeting with parents
If it is a group setting, you need to be politically correct and stick to general conversations. In reality, please expect lots of crazy questions that border on offensiveness and craziness. There are lots of answers in Quora where people have documented hilarious first meeting encounters when the two families meet. Here is one memorable example Necessary Skills For Arranged Marriage: Frying Papad and Math.
Jokes apart, the purpose of the meeting in a group setting is to break the ice and also make sure there is enough reason to continue talking after the meeting.
In a group setting, your parents and family members will dominate the conversation. Your best bet is to pay attention to the questions and answers. The broad topics parents love to get into in such meetings include:
- Profession, career goals, work location, and other related topics of the man and the woman looking to get married.
- Lifestyle – Food habits, cultural pursuits (singing, dancing, religion, etc)
- Family Background – This is usually about the parents themselves and their native place, grandparents, etc.
- Siblings – Are they married, where do they live, their profession, and how many children they have.
Your job will be to answer questions posed directly to you and observe the prospective match and his parents closely for the following:
- Do you think there is a possibility of developing some sort of personal chemistry with the guy or the girl in the future?
- Do they measure up to your expectations in terms of general behaviour (are they civil, courteous, respectful, humble to name a few)?
- Is there is an alignment in profession / career goals / lifestyle / culture?
- Most importantly – Are the response consistent with what was indicated in their biodata for marriage or matrimony profile? Is the prospective match looking anywhere close to the photograph you might have seen before the meeting? Are they contradicting their statements?
If there are no red flags after your evaluation and observation, you are all set to go to the next stage of the conversation. Our recommendation would be to ask for a one-one meeting with your prospective match.
Don’t have time to read all the 36 questions? We picked out 5 important questions you should definitely ask. Watch this video to find out why these questions are important.
Arranged marriage first meeting in a one-on-one setting
According to this paper, The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings, researchers found that by having pre-matched couples discuss their responses to a carefully selected set of questions, designed to bring down the guard, they were able to accelerate the level of intimacy between the couple!
We are NOT recommending that you ask all the below questions in a one-on-one meeting. Try using at least a few of them from each of the three sets of questions. The questions were designed to be answered by both the parties, but depending on how your prospective match responds and the power equation in the conversation (who takes the role of the interviewer), you can keep it one-sided or conversational.
Questions to ask a boy or girl in an arranged marriage first meeting – Low-intensity questions
The first set of questions will help you break the ice in an arranged marriage first meeting.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
This question will help you find out broad areas someone is interested in. For example, if the response is Amir Khan, you probably know she is passionate about movies or an Amir Khan fan. This will help you ask follow-up questions to find out why she chose Amir Khan!
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Response to this question can help you find out if the person is happy with a simple life or ambitious. Of course, if someone says they would want to mimic Carlos Escobar, you may want to consider the next steps carefully!
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Some people are impulsive or spontaneous and others plan ahead. This question will help you uncover how someone prefers to lead their life.
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
This is a high-impact question as it provides a window into the day in the life of your future partner as he would like to picture it. Right away you will know if there are elements of compatibility between the two of you.
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
One of the best questions to ask a boy before arranged marriage! You can quickly determine if you are dealing with someone who has a zest for life or a romantic streak. Just don’t ask this question to a musician!
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
A profound question to ask anyone. It provides a window into the attitude of a person towards life. Some people believe in outward beauty while others cherish mental toughness or attitude.
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
We believe this question should be used in a light-hearted context once you have broken the ice with the other party. It makes the conversation interesting and could lead you to unexpected conclusions about the other person.
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
If someone says, “We belong to the same caste, religion, and city”, you should run from the meeting immediately!
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Another excellent question to identify the person’s values. For example, if someone says they are grateful for their family, you know you are dealing with someone who cherishes relationships. Warning – Most people will say they are grateful for their family. Modify the question to get more out of them. For example, “Other than your family and friends, what in your life do you feel most grateful for?”
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
This question would probably bring out the person’s regrets or ambitions in life. In most cases, people will say they don’t wish for any change at all! This could probably indicate a lack of self-introspection.
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
This might be a great question to ask right up front! There is no need to specify the time, though. You will know based on the highlights that find a place in the life story.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
If the response to the question is “the ability to answer all your trick questions”, you know you are dealing with someone with a great sense of humour.
Arranged marriage first meeting – Medium-intensity questions
Now, be ready to dial up the seriousness of your questions if you both get through the first set of questions without hating each other!
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?
A profound question that can help get a glimpse of the deepest anxieties or yearnings someone might have. Not many people will provide a good answer, but you can always try to get as much information as you can!
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Not all of us do what we enjoy doing and get paid for it! Some of us have unfulfilled dreams and this question is a gateway to finding out what your future partner is really interested in.
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Some of us will come up with trivial responses but there is always a possibility that you may uncover something profound. There could be new dimensions to your future partner’s life that were never shared through the marriage biodata.
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
This is a fairly open-ended question to find out what aspects of a relationship appeals to your future partner. Look for responses that you will agree on.
17. What is your most treasured memory?
This question is designed to find out who might be the most valuable person in someone’s life or what accomplishment they truly cherish.
18. What is your most terrible memory?
If you would like to learn about someone’s weakness or anxieties, this question might open the person up to reveal them to you.
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
Never ask this question if the other party hasn’t opened up or you feel it is appropriate. You can use this question in subsequent meetings if required. The objective of this question is to find out what habits someone would like to toss out.
20. What does friendship mean to you?
This is just a variation of question number 16! In addition to finding out if they are fairly consistent in their responses, you can also find out a little more. Don’t use questions 16 and 20 in the same meeting. Use this question in a follow-up meeting.
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
This question is fairly straightforward. It’s meant to gauge how love and affection have molded someone’s life. If the person answering this question had a rough childhood and a broken family, there could be serious issues to watch out for.
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
This is an ideal game to play on a one-on-one date where you start by sharing something positive about the person and they return the favour This is designed to create a positive bond.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
This question is meant to find out more about how close the person is to his or her family members and how their family shaped their childhood.
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
A critical question that women should ask men in the subsequent private meetings following arranged marriage first meetings.
Arranged marriage first meeting – Intense questions
The following questions are not easy to ask or respond to. Use common sense and judgment to ask these questions.
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
There are no right answers to this question. The response could be humorous, profound, or silly and could possibly reflect the person’s presence of mind.
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
Most people may give a corny response such as “…I could share my life with.” Anything better than that should be welcome.
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
This is a clever way to reveal “secrets”.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
This is a big challenge for you and is also a test of how the other person will react to unexpected comments. For example, “I really appreciate your honesty and straightforward responses. But don’t you think your approach has made you more enemies than friends?”
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
Your story from your past will either have the person laughing or find the nearest exit. Both are great outcomes for you!
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
This is a question that can bring out something profound that happened in a person’s life. If someone says they have never cried, they are not being honest.
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
This is tough for the person answering the question! Not all Indian men and women can muster the courage to bring this up in an arranged marriage meeting. If you think you can pull it off, do try this and see what the response is!
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
This question is designed to find out what the red lines are or topics that seem to touch a raw nerve.
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
Don’t expect an honest response to this question. If you do think they are being honest, you have succeeded in opening them up to you!
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
It is actually a simple question that can put the focus on what is really important for the other person.
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
A no-go question for most of us!
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
Life after marriage comes with plenty of ups and downs and this question is designed to figure out of your future partner is man/woman enough to stand by you!
Questions to understand the boy or girl’s childhood
The personality and temperament of an individual can be traced back to the individual’s childhood and their relationship with parents, siblings, and other relatives when growing up. The following questions will give you a glimpse of their childhood and possibly help understand the person better before saying yes or no to marriage.
37. What was your daily routine when you were a kid?
This will give you a sense of how disciplined he or she is in their routine activities. If you are a straightforward and punctual person, this question will give you better clarity about your future life partner.
When asking these questions, you can volunteer to share about your childhood first to see if he or she can open up. For example, you can say “I used to hate getting up at 6 am to get ready for my school that started at 7:30 am in the morning. My mom would just pick me up and show me into the bathroom.”
38. How close are you to your brother or sister?
In case the boy or girl you hope to marry has sibling(s) you can use this question to get a better understanding of your partner’s personality.
Scientific studies have shown that people who grow up with siblings tend to be more generous and empathetic as they have grown up sharing everything with their siblings. While this may not be true in all cases, understanding this aspect of your partner’s personality will be helpful.
39. How did you spend your vacations as a kid?
When you ask questions about childhood vacations, you will either hear about memorable stories or in some cases lament about not having the luxury to go on vacations. But if childhood had been happy, people invariably reflect on the past with a lot of joy even when they did not grow up in the lap of luxury. If you are talking to someone who was pampered growing up, you will know it based on the response.
40. How was your relationship with your grandparents and relatives when growing up?
Most of us will have pleasant memories to share when talking about our grandparents or close relatives. This question will help you gauge the wavelength the boy or girl has with elders in the family. While most people claim to respect elders in their biodata for marriage, this question will help find out if it’s a genuine statement.
41. Are you in touch with your school and college mates?
You can get a sense of how active he or she is on social media or WhatsApp. Also, you will know how much importance he or she gives to friendships. If you are a person who enjoys parties and get-togethers, then this will help you know if your future partner is an extrovert or an introvert.
Arranged marriage first meeting questions to ask an adopted boy or girl
When you meet an adopted boy or girl for an arranged marriage, it’s important to ask a few questions about the adoption itself in addition to all other questions you may have.
There are families where the children who were adopted know about it from early childhood and are open about discussing the adoption. Whereas, there are situations where this is a sensitive topic and is not up for discussion during the arranged marriage first meeting.
Please use judgment and common sense when asking these questions as this is probably a sensitive topic.
42. What was your age when you were adopted?
43. Are you in touch with your birth parents?
44. What’s your relationship with your parents and grandparents?
45. How is your relationship with your siblings?
Understanding parent’s background in arranged marriage first meeting
Here are a few questions you can ask to understand how open and liberal your prospective match’s family is. These questions will be applicable especially if the parents of the boy or girl you may be meeting for the first time had a love marriage, intercaste marriage, or even an inter-religious marriage. It’s also important to learn about divorced parents during the arranged marriage first meeting.
46. Did your parents have an arranged marriage or was it a love marriage?
In an arranged marriage meeting between families, this topic can be brought up either by you or by your parents. If both parents are open-minded, you will see lots of cheer in their conversation. Your would-be partner will definitely be thrilled to talk about his or her parents if they have grown up in an open and liberal household.
47. How did your parents convince their families for inter-caste/inter-religious marriage?
This question will still help a boy or girl to indirectly judge the attitude of the person towards society and relationships. You can get a sense of how open he or she is towards accepting people with different beliefs and how tolerant they are when dealing with others.
48. When did your parents separate and are you still close to your father and mother?
While divorce or separation of the parents shouldn’t really change your opinion about the person you may be marrying, understanding the boy or girl’s family situation is helpful. Growing up in a home where parents are separated can shape a person’s attitude and personality. In some cases, it may leave deep emotional scars that can impact the marriage or surface in different ways many years down the line.
49. How often did you spend time with either of your parents?
The closeness he or she has with her parents can be sensed by asking this question. Some of them might have chosen to stay with one of the parents and develop hatred against the other.
50. I understand your father/mother remarried after their divorce. What’s your opinion about it?
This question will help you understand a prospective bride or groom’s mental maturity to deal with challenging life situations or uncover any simmering resentment against either of the parents that resulted in the divorce or second marriage.
Arranged marriage first meeting tips – Use this instead of that!
Be mindful of how you phrase your questions so that you don’t put the boy or girl on the defensive or spoil your chances! We have listed better ways to pose some of the common questions you may have for an arranged marriage first meeting.
WRONG: What is your monthly salary?
RIGHT: Where do you work and what do you do at work?
TIP: Don’t ask for salary details if the other party has not already disclosed it in the first meeting. Knowing where they are working and what they do at work should give you an idea of their income.
WRONG: Did you have boyfriends/girlfriends? or Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
RIGHT: I have had past relationships that did not work out. Wait for the response and ask Did you have any relationships in the past?
TIP: Talking about past relationships should ideally happen later in the arranged marriage process. If you want to necessarily find this out, volunteer information about your own past relationships or lack of it. Wait for the response and then ask about the other part’s past relationship if you think it is appropriate.
WRONG: How many boys/girls have you met so far?
RIGHT: When do you start searching for marriage and what are you looking for in an ideal match?
TIP: Always ask questions that will help you decide if the person is suitable for you. While small talk is OK, steer clear of topics that can trigger negative emotions with the other party in arranged marriage first meeting.
WRONG: Can you cook and clean the house?
RIGHT: Do you roll up your sleeves and take on household chores if required?
TIP: This is true especially for men. Remember, you are not marrying someone to clean your house or cook for you. You are probably looking for someone who will take responsibility on a need basis.
Very nice article and very well written
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