Most Indian women of “marriageable age” find themselves facing a choice – love marriage vs arranged marriage? Which one works better?
As a well-qualified, working Indian woman in her mid-twenties in urban India, I inevitably face the question that haunts, irritates and many a times baffles many of my single friends and me, the ever-looming, “When will you get married?”
Whether you utter a feeble ‘soon’ or you try to nip this topic in the bud by a mere shrug or a lame attempt at a joke, it is undoubtedly followed by a complimentary question, my personal favourite: “Do you want an arranged marriage or a love marriage?” – which translates to “Do you even have the common sense to know the right match for you or would you rather choose your Mr. Right and make a blunder for life in the name of love!”
Do all arranged marriages really work?
Many of my counterparts feel that marriage is unnecessary or terrifying as it leads to various issues which may end up in divorce, a fact that statistics testify to. So they would rather be checking boxes on forms labelled ‘single’ rather than ‘separated’ or ‘divorced’. Even so, stated below are certain facts and figures about marriage from UNICEF:
– Divorce rate in India = 1.1%
– Global divorce rate for arranged marriages = 6%
– Percentage of women in South Asia forced to marry before 18 = 48%
Does this automatically imply that arranged marriages are successful? Does it mean that two people who had an arranged marriage are completely accepting and comfortable with each other, enough to spend their entire lives together, happily? I highly doubt that.
With changing concepts of society, added stress and the changing role of Indian women, marriage in itself has become more of a challenge than ever.
While most couples in an arranged marriage have come to an understanding about acceptance towards the other, it is more an insight into one’s own strengths and weaknesses and whether they wish to let an issue slide or face it head on. It is about weighing the pros and cons of getting into an argument or tussle with an individual to whom you are not sure of revealing your innermost thoughts and feelings; after all, it’s not as if the two individuals were great friends before entering into the matrimonial alliance.
Furthermore, there are several couples who live in the same house yet do not communicate at all; or couples who have been living in different cities or homes and have no relationship between them. The only reason why these people do not become a representative sample of the population during a survey on divorce, is that legally, they are not divorced by a court of law.
For the sake of society or simply not wishing to get tied up in financial or legal hassles, the couple decides to live in such a scenario. But does psychological separation or detachment not count for anything as long as one is bound by law? Does unhappiness, dissatisfaction or trauma even, not equate a ‘divorce’? When two people have decided to part, whether this includes geographical or spatial relocation, does it not have all the makings of a divorce?
Arranged marriages still popular but is there a change in the offing?
74 percent of Indians still prefer arranged marriages according to a recent survey by NDTV. This reflects that Indians are still conventional in thinking of marriage as a set-up in which a person should fit into the family. So does it mean that one needs to be a perfect match only for the family? What about a partner who sticks by you and sticks up for you and treats you as an equal and not as a relative in the house?
Indians are still conventional in thinking of marriage as a set-up in which a person should fit into the family.
Further, this preference is high in Rajasthan, Haryana and UPshowing a statistic of 88 percent, while for West Bengal, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu this is 59 percent. This clearly shows a trend in the changing face of marital beliefs and highlights the fact that atleast a few states have begun to come out of the veil of traditions.
With changing concepts of society, added stress and the changing role of Indian women, marriage in itself has become more of a challenge than ever. It takes effort, time and patience by both partners invested in it to make it work well. As both have a voice and a level of independence, the desire and willingness to function as interdependent entities is crucial in every marriage.
Why I would like to arrange my marriage
As an Indian woman with an army background which instilled a sense of discipline and responsibility as well as parents who educated me of cultural and societal norms without expecting that I would conform blindly, I have acquired a liberal train of thought and personality. My personal belief, supported by scientific facts from psychology, is that a marriage must be arranged by two individuals, where they mutually come to a decision regarding the order of their life together; that it be based on love, trust, affection, respect and commitment.
My paternal grandparents who are in their late 80’s and residing in a small village in Punjab, come from a generation where the man was the only breadwinner and the woman the homemaker. The task of utmost importance to the woman was to tend to the husband and take care of the children.
New trends must be allowed to accommodate the old or even reform the old if the earlier patterns are on the way to becoming archaic.
Surprisingly, they have a fairly modern and optimistic view of life. My grandmother although less educated than her husband is in no way subservient or timid. Theirs is a marriage of equals where they may have entered into their marital alliance as per an arranged structure but have allowed contemporary views to build their relationship over the last 68 years, happily and respectfully.
While I harbour respect to both kinds of marriages, I choose to take the path where I may maintain my individuality and maturity. I believe that these traits will support me in finding a like-minded partner, who is interested in building our lives together, with a strong foundation of acceptance and love.
New trends must be allowed to accommodate the old or even reform the old if the earlier patterns are on the way to becoming archaic. Both styles of marriage have advantages and limitations. Regardless of which style one chooses it would be wise to learn from each and adopt the values and skills that each has to offer.
Photo credit: Pixabay
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Argumentative Essay on Arranged Marriage
Believe it or not there are two types of marriage, the so-called love marriage and the arranged marriage. Most people today don’t agree with arranged marriages but there are some people who have no say in the matter. Although the arranged marriage is not as desirable as the love marriage it does have its advantages.
Arranged marriages occur all over the world and in some parts is it popular or compulsory and in others not so admired. Most arranged marriages take place in countries such as, Pakistan, Japan, China and India. They are carried out in different ways by many different cultures and religions and are even carried out here in this country.
In Japan the modern system of arranged marriage is somewhat similar to blind dating in the United States. When a women’s parents think she has reached the age at which she can become a wife they set up a packet including a photo, her hobbies and interests. The man would have also done this as well. Then the woman’s family would show it around to any suitable candidates and if both parties agree they will meet up and discuss the final arrangements. Rather different to the way we fall in love.
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Here in England we fall in love by our own accord, we meat a man, or woman, fall in love then cost our parents a fortune by getting married. But this process would take possibly a number of years as where in arranged marriages it only takes just a few months.
In India arranged marriages have been around as long as probably the establishment of marriage itself. The people who play the vital role , the matchmaker are the ‘Aunts’ to them it comes as naturally as breathing. The find a suitable husband and then the bride and groom don’t often see each other until their wedding day.
In all arranged marriages you have to be the same nationality. So East Indians marry East Indians. In the Sikh culture the son or daughter have to marry the same cast, rich marry rich, farmers marry farmers.
Most people living in England today may not think much about arranged marriages and that they can’t possibly have any advantages. Well people who think that are partly wrong they aren’t all good and they do have their disadvantages but in some cases arranged marriages do work out and it is happening a lot in our country too.
Arranged marriages are a convenient way of getting married, the pressure for finding a partner is shared by the family and the chances of being left on the shelf is less likely. Also arranged marriages are often better planned marriages and tend to be planned many years in advance. Parents start saving for their children’s wedding day from almost the time when the child is born. The tradition of having an arranged marriage keeps the family happy. It is often the dream of most parents to see their child married off to a respectable family, ideally in a respectable fashion. They also provide stability for both parties and they have a lower divorce rate, but I think this is due to the fact that the family would not approve of divorce.
There are also a lot of arguments against arranged marriage there is the lack of love and respect between husband and wife, and if the woman or man is in love with another person before the wedding and has no choice but to marry the wrong woman it can often be very difficult. There is also the danger of marring into violence in some cases the husband has been violent towards his wife and the wife was too afraid to speak out ‘ my farther used to beat my mother, for no reason at all, she was to afraid of him to tell anyone and just put up with it for all the years they were married. I never wanted to be involved in an arranged marriage, and my mother respected my wishes despite the disappointment form my farther’ a passage written by an Asian girl living in England who witnessed the disadvantages of arranged marriage. It is also much harder to get a divorce under arranged marriage, it is possible but they would be disowned by their parents and treated badly by their community so the freedom is lost as well as the freedom of choice for the woman or man who is forced into such situations. There is also the lack of opportunity to marry for love.
‘The first time my mother set eyes on my father was on their wedding day, as she entered St George's Cathedral and walked up the aisle. She says she was so scared that it was as if she was sort of detached, floating above, looking down below on another woman who was moments away from being in life-long covenant with a man she'd never seen before.’ taken from an article written by an English girl whose parents had been subject to an arranged marriage, very uncommon, and tells us all about her views on arranged marriages.
So what is your view on arranged marriages? Has this article widened your knowledge? My opinion is that they are good for some cultures if they are successful but they would never become popular in England and I feel for those of a different culture that do live here and have no choice in the matter, although they may not even think about what they are doing really its just their way of life.
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