Marriage Does Not Change Behavior

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Bhuvansehwari Bhagat: It’s about who you are and what you’re looking for in a marriage. Based on your clinical experience, what recommendation would you make to single Indian women in choosing their life partners?

Are there any particular suggestions you might make to women?



Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat

You are asking about suggestions for single South Asian women?


Jasbina Ahluwalia

Yes, women seeking their life partners based on your perspective as someone who has seen issues later after commitments have been made.

Are there any suggestions, insights or things to keep in mind?


Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior: Superficial Needs

I would say that I agree to a lot of the superficial needs someone would have.

I think it’s important. You need to have someone with a full head of hair who is tall.

That’s fine. At the end, you have to go to the next step.

Are You Happy? Marriage Does Not Change Behavior

You have to figure out, “Am I going to be happy with this person?”

When I say “happy,” we’re touching the core of, “Will he and I stand by each other when we have disagreement or discomfort?”

It’s not necessarily to make everyone think about discomfort all of the time. It’s more about knowing that this is someone that I know loves me for who I am.

This is the one who won’t worry about, “You shouldn’t be eating that dessert because you’re going to gain another pound,” or “You’ve already had your glass of red wine.”

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior: Control Issues

People think, “He really likes the way I look.” I think those exact same sentiments will cause issues in married live. Those are heavy control issues. Some of the things you should be watchful of are control issues.

  • You don’t want someone who speaks a certain way with you.
  • You want to be with someone with whom you can just be who you are.
  • You don’t have to be prepared to have a rendezvous. You should be able to go out with a guy if you want to go out. You can come back home and say, “I had a good time. It didn’t matter whether or not I got my nails or hair done.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you’re going to go out in your sweats.

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior, You Should Be Comfortable

You should be comfortable enough to let yourself down some time.

You can think, “There is more in this relationship. I am comfortable.” I think it’s important to be able to speak your mind with a partner.

If you are not able to do that before marriage, I think you will have issues post marriage.

You should be able to be who you are and speak your mind.

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior: Study Language

You also want to be watchful of the signs when someone talks to you with language where they are mindful of your waist or being controlling of what you do. I think it’s also about what they prioritize when they speak.

This goes for the boys and the girls. It’s not just about the men paying attention.

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior

Do not think, “That was just before marriage. Perhaps he or she will change post marriage.” We’re not talking about 15 or 16 year-olds. We’re talking about grownups at 25-plus.

There is a certain level of behavioral pattern that is already established.

There is no reason that they’re going to change post marriage, especially with habits. “I didn’t think he was going to go out so much,” or “He said he doesn’t smoke.”

Some of it is superficial indicators like smoking, drinking, what you wear, where you live, how you live and what you do with your life.

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior: Real Life Example

I had someone who called and said, “She’s a baker. How can you just live as a baker all your life?” I said, “But she clearly said that she’s interested in baking. That’s what she did when you met her.”

Don’t take something as something that attracts you. When you’re single you think, “Wow, she’s a French baker. How cool is that?” Post marriage, you will say, “All she did was bake and now she’s not into baking.”

The girl says, “But I’ve never done anything consistently. My career has never been one particular type. I’ve done baking. Then I did interior design.” Then the guy says, “Oh my gosh. She doesn’t know what it is to have a responsible life.”

Just because someone went to an Ivy League school doesn’t mean that they’re going to be a certain kind of person.

You have to pay attention to what they do currently, why they do what they do and then know who you are.

I think all of that comes into play when you interact and see these things. I know that some of these things sound cool.

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior, You Will Always Be the Same Person

What appeals to you now should appeal to you 40 years down the road. Why wouldn’t it appeal to you three years down the road?


Jasbina Ahluwalia

Pay attention to what they do now and expect that there will be more of the same later.

If you don’t like it now, it’s unlikely that you’re going to like it later.

If you like it, you should be clear that it’s something you are going to be okay with for years to come.


Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior, Have No Expectations

Yes. People think that before marriage, certain behavior is okay. After marriage, certain behavior is different.

I think that’s where I say, “You need to know what you want then.” You have a certain roadmap in your head about what it is prior and what it is after.

It is really cool for your wife who is not a wife yet to be a baker.

Once she is your wife, she can’t just be a baker. Why? Why can’t she just be a Pilates teacher, for example?

I think there is more to it. I’m just giving that as an example.

This whole pattern of the girl that you’ve chosen is that she’s drifted from different interests. That is how she has lived. Why is that suddenly an issue once you are post marriage?

That is connected to everything that they do. That becomes a vital issue, whether it’s about raising kids, keeping up a home or how you deal with parents.

Marriage Does Not Change Behavior, Lose the Excuse

Everything is suddenly connected to this one behavioral aspect.

“There is inconsistency. There is no concept of responsibility.” You need to be aware of who you are.

Many times, believe it or not, men and women tell me, “I didn’t know this. I really didn’t know that this is what I would want when I was 40. This is how I would look at my family life.”

They say, “Perhaps I should have done counseling while I was dating. I really didn’t think about it.”


Tell Us:

Marriage does not change behavior, however, after marriage did you spot habits of your spouse that bothered you? Marriage does not change behavior, but what did you notice post-marriage? Share your experiences with us in the comments section.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat.

The entire interview transcript is at: Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat Interview – Marriage & Family Counselor

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: Insights from an Indian Marriage & Family Counselor

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes