Counselling for people in an arranged marriage

Posted on: 27 October 2016

Many long and happy marriages have started as arranged marriages, with the participants growing to love each other over time. Relationship counselling can be a great tool to help married couples resolve any issues that they are struggling to resolve as a couple. 

Here are some of the topics that can be discussed in relationship counselling that may be particularly relevant for arranged marriages. 

The role of each family of origin in your new family

By marrying a person you are starting a whole new family unit with them. You need to decide how much you will continue to be involved with your family of origin, including which in-laws you will spend major holidays with and if you will take on the care for the elderly relatives from both sides of the family if/when they need it. This can be a hard topic to discuss as it will be influenced by both of your beliefs and culture, as well as family traditions. Relationship counselling can help you negotiate these issues in a way that both partners can be comfortable with. 

What kind of family you want to have together

One of the common issues that people usually negotiate before marriage is if they want any children, and if so how many. Arranged marriages may not have given you the chance to clarify this with your partner. As this issue can be related to other issues such as whether both parents will keep working in the formal workforce and how the family will operate internally, it can be a fraught topic. If you are finding it hard to agree on answers to these questions relationship counselling can provide a neutral setting and an outside mediator to help you negotiate some answers. 

How you will split money and decision-making powers in the relationship

The issue of how money is used and the ability to make decisions that affect the family will vary between marriages. It is important that both partners feel that they can express their views on issues that affect the family and have some spheres of control within the family (such as having funds to buy food and clothing).  A therapist can help people to explore the differences between a traditional marriage that is based on mutual respect, and one that uses coercion or financial abuse. 

Relationship counselling can be extremely useful for people who are entering into an arranged marriage as they often have not had the chance to negotiate many important relationship issues before they marry. 


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