Marriage: We had to learn on the job


The anand karaj of Manjit Kaur and Gurnam Singh in Birmingham on 20 Jan 1985 – Photo: Supplied

By Manjit Kaur (UK) | OPINION |

On Jan 20th 1985, we had our Anand Karaj (Sikh wedding ‘ceremony of bliss’!). This was held at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Somerset Road, Birmingham. It was a very cold day with 6 inches of snow and ice on the ground.

Indeed, because of the bad weather, there was some concern that Gurnam’s side, who were travelling from Bradford where the snow was much heavier, may never make it down to the Midlands. However, our fears did not materialise and our destiny was written, and as they say, the rest is history or should that be herstory!

The ceremony lasted 3 hours and both of us sat in front of Guru Granth Sahib for most of this time! (See picture above). It was a simple ceremony; we had a short milni and the usual somosa/pakora and mathiaee breakfast, not to mention the hot desi chai. And after the ceremony we had langar and made our way to Bradford after a short gathering at Maniit’s parents house in Friary Road, Birmingham.

Over the past 37 years, both of us have have made many mistakes, which is not surprising since neither one of us had had any experience of married life… until it arrived! Isn’t it strange that perhaps the most important decision in our life is taken without any training!

So we had to learn on the job! And, thankfully, by the grace of Guru Nanak, despite making many mistakes, we learned important lessons in the process. And perhaps the most important thing we learnt was that a successful marriage is neither made in heaven nor secured by expensive gifts or lavish holidays – though that helps!! The key to success is listening to each other, caring for each other, learning from each other, and growing together.

But perhaps the greatest challenge we faced was balancing our loyalties to each other against family expectations and obligations. This wasn’t easy as we had both grown up in close knit extended families. It took many years for us to achieve the right balance, but thankfully we managed to overcome this. We also appreciate that each couple is unique and each will find their own balance, and it is through achieving ‘sehaj’ that true happiness can emerge.

Manjit Kaur, a UK-based therapist and counsellor, is a presenter of the 1 Show on Akaal Channel. She can be contacted via email at


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