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Marriage is a huge decision and it is an institution which is evolving with each passing day, in many different ways. However, along with being a big decision for both the bride and the groom, it is certainly a bigger transition for the woman.

A family, specially the parents and siblings always want the best for their daughter. Thus, to ensure that such a vital decision is not taken in a rush, we need to keep a lot of things in mind. Today, since a lot of families or men have moved abroad for better opportunities or a better or different life & lifestyle, a lot more weddings with NRIs’ has become a common sight.

I have mostly only spoken to “prospective matches” settled abroad. There is nothing fancy and I haven’t had a good experience for sure. I have more than 70% of my family living abroad since at least 30+ years so I know how it works abroad. Even then, my family and I have been careful; we have followed each of the below steps, but are still looking for a match for myself.

marriage

Knowing details about the person staying within the country is difficult; having information is much more of a task. Thus, let me share a few things that you should definitely keep in mind before you decide to marry an NRI.

1)      Know his visa status

Once you know if he is on a work permit or is a permanent residence or a citizen of xyz country, coming to the right decision is a little easier. If your prospective match is on work permit, check all the facts and details and understand if you shall be able to be with him after marriage and how long would the process take. Getting married to someone on a temporary visa is nothing but a risk. Do not listen to relatives who tell you that it’s okay to get married to someone without a permanent residence visa or citizenship. They are not going to help you in any way if you and/or your spouse get kicked out of the country.

Knowing the visa status is also very important because depending on your spouse’s visa, you will be able to figure out how long would it take for you to join them in their place of residence.

2)      Communicate clearly

Don’t be shy and coy and just talk as much as your family asks you to. Please get all your questions answered. It is one of the most important decisions of your life. Do not take it on the basis of a kundali or chacha-chachi or a cousin. It’s your life and you need to be responsible for it. Communicate whenever possible. Video chats are better. Nobody is too busy to talk or text if they are considering marriage.

If they can’t give you time now it either means they are not interested or they are not sure about getting married right now. Whoever wants to get married, will take out the time to get to know you and communicate freely. Do not compromise on communication.

3)      Understand his lifestyle

You can be born and raised in the big city and may have studied in the best institutions. Doesn’t make a huge difference. You need to k now that you will be leaving not just your family and city but the country. Moving to another country isn’t easy. A change in lifestyle and choices is inevitable. Try to understand his sensibilities, his friend-circle, what does he do for fun and what does he expect from his partner.

Then try to visualize yourself in that lifestyle or something similar. Understand how easy or difficult would it be for you to cope up with all the major changes before reaching a decision. Your English might be really good, but the knowledge of different accents is like a never ending process.

I spoke to a guy from Liverpool, England for a couple of days. Trust me; the “scouse” accent is pretty difficult to understand quickly because it is a heavy mix of the thick Scottish accent and British accent. Not an easy thing. So be prepared to hear people speaking in English in 200 different ways and also, you will have to speak in English most the day. Be prepared to learn another language like French or Spanish etc, depending on where you may have to move.

4)      Be patient

Long distance relationships are not easy to manage. And in this case, where you are in the arranged marriage setup and your spouse is most likely in a different time zone, patience is the key. There can be gaps in communicating or you may have shorter conversations, but you need to be patient if the person is right and you wish to take things forward.

Patience is also the key, once you have agreed to the wedding, because now you will realize that you need to start preparing stuff for paper-work and interviews. Also, please be prepared, depending on the country you shall be moving to and depending on the spouse’s visa status, your own visa may take anywhere between 2 months to 16 months to be processed before you successfully join your spouse and his family.

In case, your spouse lives abroad but the in-laws are in India, be prepared to be with them till the visa isn’t processed. It will be a new family and adjustment will take time. Without your spouse being present physically, it will be more difficult, but just stay calm and patient because if all documents and details are perfect, you have nothing to worry.

5)      Explore career options for yourself

You should know that you will not get a job immediately. It may take anywhere between a couple of months to a year for find a good & stable job in foreign land. Know the value of your qualifications and check in case you need to study more in order to be eligible for a full-time job of your liking. Also, make sure you know that the spouse visa you have applied for has the provision where-in you shall be able to work (even if it’s a contractual or temporary job) as soon as you move to the other country.

6)      Weigh the pros and cons, but keep an open mind

Lifestyle, language, dressing sense and food habits will be different. Do not say no to a match just because he is based abroad but do not say yes immediately just because you fancy a life in the west. You will have to start life from scratch, make new friends, and learn all the new routes and ways in a country where you may not be able to correctly pronounce the names of the street too! Just know that these things are as big and scary as you make them up in your head.

If the person you are going to be with is good & honest, life will be easy as he will help you out in every possible way to ensure that you are comfortable.

7)      Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for details

There is nothing wrong in taking professional help to get a thorough background check or ask for the person’s social security number. It is okay to hire a detective, it is okay to check the presence on social media and get an idea about the friend-circle and lifestyle. Do not take your decision on the basis of your maasis’ neighbor, whose cousin brought the rishta for you. It is your life and will affect your family and you, so there is nothing wrong in being careful and being prepared.

In the end, they always say, “sab sanjog ki baat hai” (it is destiny.)

But for the sake of sanjog, do not let go a great match based abroad or in your own country just because of a life that you have pictured in your head.

You may get married in your home country and then move abroad or get married to an NRI only to eventually move back to your own country. Life doesn’t move on as per our choices.

The only mantra to tackle the NRI situation is to be well informed, patient and aware.

 


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Rashim Aulakh is from Mumbai and started writing blogs in June 2016. Currently working for Bluesky, she is the Manager – Social Media, Sales & Marketing. Before becoming a part of Bluesky in August 2015, she was in the Hospitality Sector for 3.7yrs, wherein she worked for the Accor group and Marriott International.

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