6 Relationship Insights from the East
Kristina Lynn asks Jasbina Ahluwalia: What are some of the things that you can tell us about the Eastern approach that we might not be aware of and how you blend the two?
I’d like to share with our listeners six insights from the East that I believe can help everyone, regardless of ethnicity, navigate their way to finding a life partner in an empowered way.
I know we are speaking to mostly women. I’m a big fan of men and women living in an empowered way.
I’ll start with the six concepts of the East. Then I’d like to blend that with two insights from the West. I think that combination is extremely well-serving.
6 Relationship Insights from the East
- Who You Date Is Who You Marry
- Share Goals and Values
- Have Realistic Expectations
- Commitment Is A Decision
- Family is Important
- Defining Romance Independently
6 Relationship Insights from the East: #1 – Who You Date Is Who You Marry
I’ll start with the first insight from the East.
Since there is no tradition of dating in the East, who you meet becomes who you marry.
The insight here is that, who you date is who you’ll eventually marry.
It’s well-serving to be conscious and deliberate in choosing who it is that you are going to date.
The way to do that is to come up with a few essentials that you seek with your long-term goals in mind.
You have a vision for your long-term goals. That flavors how you determine your essentials.
Let’s say that you’re in your late thirties and you see kids in your future. That’s one of your life goals.
You learn on the third date that the guy you’re dating wants to focus on his career for the next five years, and after five years, he’ll consider whether he’s ready to have kids.
The choice to date him at that point is a risky one, regardless of how cute or interesting he is. That’s how you choose your essentials with your long-term goals in mind.
In addition to helping you choose who to date, coming up with your essentials also has the valuable benefit of prompting you to consider whether you are being the person who is attractive to a man who has your essentials.
Relationship Insights from the East: Who You Date Is Who You Marry Example
For example, if a partner living a healthy lifestyle is essential for you, you need to ask yourself if you’re letting exercise or healthful food choices slide.
All of this is in the mindset that dating a Mr. Right Now who doesn’t have your essentials is preventing you from marrying your Mr. Right.
To come up with your essentials, ask yourself if you have what someone who has your essentials would be seeking in a partner. This is a very empowered way to go about it.
The next concept dovetails with the idea of dating with your essentials in mind.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: #2 – Sharing Goals and Values
The second insight from the East is that sharing your life goals, values and approach to life is far more relevant to choosing who to marry than shared interests.
As a couple, the choices you’re going to make on a daily basis are going to determine the quality of the life you share.
The choices are driven by your goals, values and approach to life more so than whether you both enjoy tennis or skiing.
Sometimes, I find in the West, people tend to lean too much on interests. They feel that those are really what should drive your decision about the choice of a partner.
I feel that’s secondary to your values, life goals and approach to life in general. You’ll notice that this dovetails with keeping your essentials in mind.
These can be somewhat interrelated.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: #3 – Have Realistic Expectations
This insight about shared life goals and values trumping your shared interests is related to the third insight from the East. That is to be wary of unrealistic expectations.
I’m referring to the expectation that your partner is going to fill your every emotional need. They will make you feel happy or rescue you from an unfulfilling life.
I believe that this is an unrealistic expectation.
In the East, there is a recognition that certain needs, including the need to feel happy, can never be met by anyone but yourself.
Each of us has to take responsibility for our own happiness and create meaning in our own lives.
The Eastern view of taking responsibility for that does not include making your partner be the one to provide that.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: Have Realistic Expectations, Cinderella Rescue
This view is in contrast to what I term the Western “Cinderella rescue story.”
This is where someone will swoop in and take care of that for you. Again, it’s not a very empowered way to think.
Sometimes, you hear the stereotype that the women are submissive in the East.
You’ll see how this turns that completely on its head. These are very empowered ways to approach it.
Doing this will get you in a relationship where you can be empowered within that relationship. Being empowered in your relationship will probably speak to your listeners. It’s pretty universal.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: #4 – Commitment Is a Decision
The fourth insight from the East is the importance of commitment being a decision more so than a feeling.
Once you and your partner decide to commit to each other, that is really momentous.
Both people then feel secure in the relationship. No one feels like the other person has one foot out the door. Both people feel safe to express themselves without worrying about someone leaving because of that.
It’s a commitment that both people have decided.
There is another profound effect of 100% commitment.
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to be with each other through thick and thin, it becomes a rational decision.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: Commitment Is a Decision, Focus on Positive
It’s a self-preserving decision to focus on the positive in each other.
It would be a very unhappy existence if you chose to be tied to each other for the rest of your lives and focus on the negatives about each other. That would be counterproductive.
Since what we focus on expands, commitment tends to motivate us to focus on the positives in our relationship. You’re going to be together for life.
Focusing on the positive makes that an entirely different experience than finding what’s wrong with each other. I believe that the decision to commit is pivotal.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: #5 – Family is Important
There is a fifth insight that I’d like to share.
This is the recognition of the importance of family.
Indians traditionally view marriage as a union of two families more so than a union of two individuals. There are pros and cons to this.
There is one aspect of this that I think is relevant to all of us, regardless of ethnicity. That is the influence that each of our families of origin have in who we are, how we think and how we behave.
It’s important to raise your awareness of your partner’s family and how that might influence what your future might be like together.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: Family is Important Example
I’ll give you an example. I recently had a consultation with a woman who is divorced. She is of Indian ethnicity.
Before she married, her parents raised a concern with her about the way that her fiancée’s father treated his wife. She got married and had kids. Then he began treating her very similarly to how his dad treated his mother.
That unfortunately led to the divorce. The point is that there is an influence there.
It may not be readily apparent while you’re dating in the early stages. That is your partner’s normal. That’s what they see.
The idea that they would internalize it to some extent is not far-fetched. It’s more to be expected.
I recall a misunderstanding with another matchmaker that I was collaborating with.
Many of our Indian clients are very open to meeting non-Indians. In those cases, I often collaborate with other matchmakers.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: Family is Important Example
With one collaboration, my client did not resonate with one particular religion. I made sure to ask the other matchmaker the religion of her client to get confirmation that it would not be an issue.
After the introduction, I did the feedback.
My client mentioned that her match’s mother was of the religion that she was uncomfortable with. There is a nuance there.
When I brought this up with the other matchmaker, she was completely flabbergasted. She said that she had no idea that her client’s family’s religion was of any relevance.
The idea from the East is that the beliefs, views and though patterns of your partner may not be the same as their parents, but they’re likely to be relevant in influencing your partner. It would be wise to be aware of that for now and the future.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: # 6 – Define Romance Independently
There is a sixth insight that I’d like to share. Let’s go back to the couple who had the traditional arranged marriage in the East.
They don’t really relate to the marketing messages of what romance should look like in the West, whether it be candlelight, chocolates and flowers.
That’s not something that is in the experience of someone who has had an arranged marriage.
Instead of relying on those suggestions of what we constitute as romance, the concept in the East is that you have to define romance on your own terms.
Romance might have a different flavor. Instead of expecting your partner to follow Hallmark or Madison Avenue in the vision of what romance should like, you’re helping your partner out by providing guidance along those lines.
Also notice the thoughtful gestures that your partner makes. It could be anything from bringing you soup when you’re sick, helping one of your family members, fixing your mom’s lights or picking up your favorite ice cream at the store.
These thoughtful gestures speak to him listening to you, understanding you and keeping your preferences and needs in mind. I think it’s wise for all of us to redefine romance on our own terms.
6 Relationship Insights from the East: Define Romance Independently, Valentine’s Day
It’s almost an epidemic that, on Valentine’s Day when we’re supposed to celebrate love, the number of break-ups and missed expectations are tragic.
On a day that’s meant to celebrate love, people end up disappointed. You want to recognize romance and define it on your own terms.
Be attuned to how he does things for you. That’s really important.
Those concepts of blending the East and West are some of the best nuggets that could help everyone as they navigate their way to a partnership.
I think one of the most important insights from the West and something that I encourage our clients to do, our whole process is designed that way, is the value of time and interaction and revealing long-term potential and compatibility.
In a traditional arranged marriage, you don’t have that period where you spend time together before you make a commitment to each other. I think that’s very valuable.
From learning people’s dating and relationship histories, it’s really critical to have that time to see how the two of you navigate together and how you resolve conflict together.
I think that’s important. I don’t think there is any substitute for having that time and interaction together. That is a concept from the West that is very important.
Relationship Insights from the East: Fusion
There is another Western concept that I’d like to blend with the Eastern concepts.
It is the importance that the West places on the dynamic that the couple shares. This is the importance of each individual in the relationship asking themselves, “How do I feel about myself when I’m with my partner?”
The family is important, but at the end of the day, when the couple is united, the family comes in line.
We lose sight of how we are as individuals. We are going to be making decisions in our lives.
I feel that blending these insights from the East and West can lend itself to an incredibly empowering way to find a partner to journey the ups and downs of life with.
This is an absolutely amazing list. I’m taking notes. I want to go over your six insights and list them for people who might want to write them down.
Recap: 6 Relationship Insights from the East
- The first is, who you date is who you marry.
- Number two is, when you are evaluating a partner, look at their values, not their hobbies. That’s something that we see in matchmaking all the time. If you’re spending a lot of time playing golf, tennis or traveling, that’s fantastic. But it shouldn’t be the first criteria on your list for evaluating a partner.
- Number three is having realistic expectations about getting your needs met. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility, not your partner’s, to get your needs met.
- Number four is that commitment is a decision, not a feeling.
- Number five is family importance.
- Number six is defining romance differently than we do in the West. That’s based on someone making an effort that is more thoughtful when it comes to meeting your needs.
I think this is such a beautiful list.
We’ve listed 6 Relationship Insights from the East, which point surprises or interests you the most? Share with us in the comments section below.
The above is an excerpt from Kristina Lynn’s interview with Jasbina Ahluwalia.
The entire interview transcript is at: