Questions to Ask a Potential Spouse
By Mahatma das
What follows are what I believe to be the some of the more important questions to ask one another.
It’s important to be thoroughly honest about who you are and your aspirations. In other words, when you like someone, you may say anything to please them in order to attract them and will like you because you want them to marry you. This is really a form of dishonesty that could end in a very bad marriage.
For example, he may want to live in India on a farm and grow food and you want to live in a big city and work in your trained profession, but you may say,” I’ll live wherever you want, when in reality you really don’t want to do that and it won’t even be possible for you to do it for long. You should not be trying to catch or impress the other person, but you should be transparent in front of them so they get to know the real you. There should be as few surprises as possible about who you marry.
Another important question is something along the lines of (this is used an example only of what I mean): “If I say I don’t want any kids and then when I am older, I say I want three kids, how will you react? In other words, what if my values change? How flexible are you?
This can also refers to commitment to Krsna consciousness. What if twenty years from now my commitments are different? Maybe I slacken my sadhana. Is this going to disturb our marriage? Or is allowing me to be who I am, even if it doesn’t suit your ideal, okay with you? Is the relationship more important than what I do for Krsna or my level of Krsna consciousness, or is my having a good level of Krsna consciousness essential for you to have a good relationship with me?
I am not saying there is an absolutely right or wrong answer. The answer is based on what is important to your spouse. But, if the answer to this question is yes, if you are not Krsna conscious enough, it will harm the relationship, then buyer beware! How Krsna conscious you are is more important than the relationship, and you can’t say for sure how Krsna conscious you will be in twenty years.
Also, ask how decisions will be made. Does he or she want to make all decisions, no decisions, some decisions or would be prefer to make most decisions together?
For women it is important to find out his views on woman in general and wives specifically. For example, does he have problems with woman being in charge of a temple or temple department? Does he give less value to women’s opinions than the opinions of men. Does he think they are less capable, qualified, intelligent, etc. Does he stereotype women in a way that could demean you or make it difficult in some way to be married to him.
How does he or she deal with people’s opinions he doesn’t agree with? Does he shut down, argue, get angry, complain or does he listen, tolerate, cooperate, learn?
You also need to think, “If I could have a wife or husband exactly the way I could create him or her, what qualities, nature, talents, disposition, KC level would I want them to have? This is really important because if you really like one another, then it is highly possible there may be things about one another you really dislike that you are ignoring, or else you see them but think they won’t bother you – when in fact they may bother you a lot later down the road. So asking yourself how will I fare in this marriage in realization of the fact that he or she has these attributes that I really don’t like or doesn’t have attributes that are important for me to find in a spouse (of course, no one is perfect, so be realistic also).
Each of you can tell one another what you are looking for in your ideal mate, and what traits would make living together difficult for you, then each of you can honestly respond to one another’s concerns, and in areas you fail whether or not you are willing and able to improve. Although you may have many good points in common, a few major bad points could become a big problem later on.
Two common problems that can ruin a marriage (and your life) are abuse, either verbal, physical or sexual, and being unfaithful. It is not that you can ask a potential spouse are you an abusive or unfaithful person, but you should find out if anything in their past indicates that they might have a problem with this. One possible indicator is that he or she was abused growing up.
An important question is how are his or her relationship with other devotees. Is he or she liked amongst all or most, or does he or she have a history of difficult relationships. If a potential spouse has difficulties with others, this could be a red flag.
Is he or she a loner, anti-social, freaked out by being with lots of people, or does he or she have any other weird idiosyncrasies. In other words, is there something really unusual about a potential spouse that could make it difficult to live with?
What else to look for?
Does he or she lie?
Is he or she overly controlling?
Does he or she have an abnormal need to be right?
Can he or she be trusted?
Can he or she emotionally support you?