Sikh Marriage Counseling

Sikh Marriage Counseling

Since I exist in the age bracket where many of my friends are married or getting married, I am aptly aware of the concerns couples have about adjusting to one another after marriage. For example, how will living habits change? How will your husband/wife fit into your family? It’s a pretty daunting concept – especially for individuals who wait to get married later on in life, after years of education and commitment to careers, and along with this, years of being single. I’ve known many couples over the years who have had a difficult time adjusting to being part of a union. How can we blame them? Our community offers very little as far as pre-marital counseling for Sikh couples. In fact, a quick google search for “Sikh Marriage Counseling” doesn’t bring up anything pertinent.

For many, it is also very important to know that your partner is on a similar spiritual path. This may be one of the most important elements to think about prior to marriage – as it impacts your day to day living and the way you may raise your children in the future. Some religions actually require couples to go through marriage counseling prior to marriage. We don’t seem to have this in our community but it’s not a bad idea. How many couples do you know who have gone to the Giani at their local gurdwara to elicit marriage advice? If any, i’m sure the number is small. Nevertheless, i feel this is integral to the success of marriage as there are certain questions which should be discussed before marriage.

What I did come across, however, are the following two tools. First, the Sikh Research Institute organizes the Grihast Retreat which,

is a 2-day event for young couples to strengthen marriage and family relationships by offering deeper communication between wife and husband. Grihast incorporates diverse themes that are at the foundation of a married life. New perspectives provide insights on building meaningful relationships while workshops and discussions offer a glimpse of the Gur?s vision and ideals on marriage.


The retreat is an opportunity for young Sikh couples to work on marriage enhancement within a reflective environment. Participants learn about conflict resolution and “balancing pre-marriage expectations with the reality of shared living.” These issues are discussed within the framework of Sikhi and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Secondly, over the past few months, SikhNet has released a number of videos focusing on relationships. Topics such as the Uniqueness of Sikh Marriage, Chauvinism and Khalsa, Relationship Conflicts and Husband and Wife Roles are discussed in short, educational videos.

While these tools are few and far between – it’s definitely a start. I’d be curious to hear from readers who have either attended the Grihast Retreat or viewed the Relationship Series on SikhNet. Did these tools help? What other types of support do Sikh couples need prior to committing to marriage?

Of note: the next Grihast Retreat will be held August 15th and 16th, 2009 in New Jersey.

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