PREMARITAL NON DISCLOSURE OF CRUCIAL FACTS AND THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES
The boy meets the girl – a formality that precedes an arranged marriage – usually taking place in the crowded drawing room of the brideʼs place barely provides scope for the two sides, especially the boy and the girl, for gaining some insight into the family background and the character of the prospective partner sitting in front. Nevertheless, the concerned parties rush through with the formalities that culminate in the wedlock of two total strangers – a gamble laden with suspense, hopes and apprehensions. The suspense may end soon and skeletons, if any, may tumble out of the closet, revoking the relationship.
Lies and suppression of truth for clinching a coveted alliance: Parents anxious to secure a decent alliance for their son or daughter have to exercise caution in revealing all about their ward and their family. Hence some amount of premarital non-disclosure is unavoidable lest the coveted alliance falls through. Some facts are deliberately suppressed, some just hinted at and some twisted to escape scrutiny. The main consideration behind the concealment of black spots is to impress the other party – to give an “everything is a fine” impression and win the nod for the alliance.
Harmless lies, of course, are bandied about freely by both the sides and we can dismiss them as blowing oneʼs own trumpet. “My daughter is an expert cook”, “very good in household chores” and so on while actually the daughter may not even know to make a cup of chai. But with regard to crucial facts like an incurable or debilitating disease or a previous marriage or mental sickness etc, the other party should be apprised of all the facts – never mind the repercussion on the marriage proposal.
Being rejected as a result of honest premarital disclosure of an unpleasant fact is preferable to sabotaging marital happiness through deceit and concealment of facts. Not every deceived partner would meekly forget and forgive when the truth comes out. When 20-year-old Meena got married to 31-year-old Shankar, her parents didnʼt mention a word about the girlʼs past history of epileptic fits and the accompanying health problems. Shankar who was 11 years older to her and whose wait for the right girl was rather too long, not only settled down happily with his young bride, he even got reconciled to Meenaʼs state of health. Instead of making an issue of the suppression of truth he has been treating her with love and concern.
Such cases of magnanimity and passive acceptance of deceit in matrimonial alliances are rare. Even if the wronged partner stays within the marital ties, his or her resentment, hurt and disappointment are bound to strain the marital relationship. In cases where facts of a serious nature are withheld from the alliance partner, nine out of 10 cases end in a break-up. Vijay Nagaswami, author of The 24 into 7 Marriage points out, “From my experience I would hazard to say that more than a third of marriages where this form of non-disclosure took place ended up in the family courts.” It was during their first night that the bridegroom Dr Sushil noticed to his shock white patches on his brideʼs body. As he failed to get a convincing explanation from the bride he walked out of the nuptial chamber and the marriage had a premature death. Had the girlʼs parents disclosed about the patches to Sushilʼs family, the humiliation and pain that both the sides went through later could have been avoided. Prateek, a mechanical engineer,
had to go through the traumatising experience of dissolution of his daysold marriage, the subsequent hunt for another bride and a second marriage, thanks to the parentsʼ deliberate nondisclosure of their daughterʼs love affair with a colleague. Within days of her marriage to Prateek the girl eloped with her lover. The parents who were anxious to break the girlʼs love affair made the miscalculation that, once married to another man, she will forget her lover. The result – a scandalous elopement of a married daughter and a traumatic end to an innocent boyʼs marital journey. Sweeping dark secrets like impotency, incurable diseases, premarital sexual affairs, etc under the carpet will definitely spell doom to the young coupleʼs marital life. A marriage alliance achieved after deliberate suppression of some crucial facts or fraudulent misinformation will have unpleasant and tragic consequences – like disintegration of the partnership or loss of trust and cordiality. Thatʼs what happened in the case of Shoba whose world fell apart when she found out that her husband was impotent as a result of the treatment for cancer he underwent earlier. Though she continues to cling to the marital ties with the impotent husband, in a vengeful retaliation she cut of all her ties with the in-laws especially the parents-in-law, the culprits. Reema, a young bride, was told that the bridegroom was a graduate working in a bank. But only after marriage did Reema come to know that he never went to college and was just a lower-level employee of the bank. Though they continue to live together the trust in the partner is lost and he has to take pains to rebuild the trust.
What these dishonest match makers donʼt realise is that the truth would come out at some time or other and when it does, however long the couple have been married, however strong the bond they have developed, the non-disclosing partner
would come under severe pressure – even if the partner is not a party to or not aware of he non-disclosure, he or she is not believed by the wronged partner.
SOME TIPS ON WHAT TO DISCLOSE AND WHAT NOT TO DISCLOSE
Make sure nothing is kept away from the future partner
It doesnʼt mean you have to disclose even minor, insignificant facts like the minor operation for abscess you underwent in childhood or the adventurous experience you had of once travelling without ticket, etc. However, if you had something serious – TB or fits, etc – as a result of which you have some disability, you should tell your prospective partner about it.
Donʼt rush into marriage
“A successful marriage is the reward you will receive for doing your homework before you get married,” says author Sidney Smith. Before you decide to marry it is important for you to know the person you want to marry and find answers to where he works, about his family, how much he is earning, etc. Remember it is better to have all the cards laid on the table beforehand. Be on the lookout for any signs that he or she is trying to hide facts such as alcoholism, a previous marriage or a live-in relationship. There may be clues or hints that the person is not suitable for you. Be open even about sexual encounters. With regard to past relationships disclose it before the wedding.
Complete disclosure is safer
Some women may be able to fool men into believing that they are virgins. Still, the chances of discovery are high. As for the deceived partner, try not to be too harsh when you discover the non-disclosure of a fact. Of course, your trust in the partner may be affected but if the partner is reasonably good, forgive. You have a right to ask the person to take a blood test if you have suspicions about any kind of sexually transmitted diseases. Honesty might go a long way in cementing the foundations of your relationship. It will save you a lot of pain and heartache. Use your discretion and see to it that nothing of importance is concealed from the would-be partner so that there is no room for resentment later.