Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Arranged Marriage

A discussion with a friend today compelled me to make a post on the highly debated topic. This post is not about love vs. arranged marriage. These are just some thoughts/fears I have about the whole process before you tie the knot, be it love or arranged.

How does an arranged marriage happen? The parents choose the boy/girl. The boy and the girl meet, they talk, talk and talk some more. Finding that their expectations from marriage match, they decide to get married. Is that all? Is the matching of expectations all that is needed to decide to spend the rest of their lives with each other?

Honestly, the concept of an arranged marriage freaks me out! Now let's say, the expectations of both the sides are a 100% match. You now see the personal traits and compatibility of both sides. Obviously, when you meet a new person you are nice to the person. The other person will be nice to you too. How do you really know if the person is good or bad. Ok, nobody is a 'bad' person. So let me put it this way. How do I know we're compatible? Do I say we're compatible when our expectations match and there is a good chemistry between the two? The chemistry is always good when things are good. When situations are adverse, that's where it really matters. Will we be compatible when things go bad? Or are we going to fight over the silliest of matters? I know fights are inevitable when two people live together, but it's ok when the fight is over something that really matters. Fighting over silly matters is a big pain. I hate fighting and arguing, and would do anything to avoid it. When I get married, I really would want to know the not-so-good side of the person. More than the good part, it's the bad part that I want to know. Everybody has got good qualities, which is not something that you need to worry about, and bad qualities, which you cannot take for granted. I need to know if I'll be able to put up with the annoying qualities of the person for the rest of my life. Is it possible to know what these qualities are before one gets married to the person? Or is it going to be a surprise-surprise moment after marriage? Of course, marriage is a life-time commitment and one would (at least, I would) accept all the annoying qualities and accept the person for what he is, unless it is an immoral quality that is totally unacceptable.

... which is why I think, personally, I believe love marriages make more sense. I have nothing against arranged marriages. In fact, my marriage would be an arranged marriage if things are as they are at present (You never know the future ;) ). In a love marriage, you know everything about the person, the good and the bad (and the worse) before you tie the knot. You'd have had fights and you would know how both of you deal with it. When you marry the person, you already know how the rest of your life with that person is going to be. Maybe your expectations are not the same, but the love that you have for the person will let you make small compromises with expectations, and make expectations match. To quote Canara Bank's tagline, "You change for the ones you care". The only downside is the heartache when one side refuses to accept certain qualities and the couple breaks up (before marriage, of course). Heartaches are painful and nobody would want to go through them a second time, but a heartache before marriage is better than a heartache after marriage.

Now that I think about it, love marriages and arranged marriages are not so different except for the two facts that in a love marriage you fall in love before marriage and in an arranged marriage you fall in love after marriage/engagement; in a love marriage you choose your partner and then tell your parents, and in an arranged marriage your parents choose a prospective partner and then let you know. It's the matter of how much of the person you know before you tie the knot that makes all the difference.


Keshav Kulkarni said...

Arranged marriage is like a murder, where as love marriage is like a suicide. In arranged marriage, there is someone else to blame at, if the marriage fails! ;))

Manasa said...

@Keshav Hehe... I wonder if it's really that bad. It's not easy, I know, but I think it's not that bad either.

Akshay said...

Our social structure is such that the concept of arranged marriage is still prevalent in the Indian wedding scenario, since ages. When it comes to love marriage, the two people get ample time to explore both the good and bad things about each other, well before marriage. This helps them develop a good comfort level after marriage, very effortlessly. On the other hand, if two people do not know much about each other, when their marriage is arranged by their parents, then they might take some more time to develop a level of comfort and understanding after marriage. So, here, the concept of love marriage scores more than arranged marriage.

Thankfully, things aren't so bad the way it was two to three generations ago where the bride and the groom saw each other only at the venue of the wedding...

Anonymous said...

@Keshav Kulkarni - But don't you think love marriages are about taking responsibilities for the decisions one makes?

I feel even if it is an arranged marriage the parents must ensure that the couple meet enough to be able to get know each other.

The trouble with our system is we think marriage is the final goal of life, and so we must reach that goal and must make it a success whatever happens. All fine, except that for a marriage to be considered a success, we think it is enough that there is no divorce! I think it takes more than a lack of divorce for a marriage to be called a happy union, and for that it is essential that the girl and the boy do meet each other and not rush into marriage.

In fact if the parents feel their child is not yet matured enough to take such an important decision without them, then perhaps the 'child' is not yet ready to marry either.

Manasa said...

@Akshay Yes, things are better now, but I still see so many cases where the girl or the boy are forced into arranged marriages even though they are in love with someone else. Eventually, they accept the situation, but the concept of love marriages needs to accepted by the society.

@indianhomemaker Responsibilities must be taken in either case, love marriage or arranged marriage. I agree with your point that the couple must meet enough to know each other well. But that much time is not given most of the times and people end up making wrong decisions. Then again, to make it a "success", they accept their marriage even if they're not really happy with it. If the marriage breaks, people will "talk".

Harshit Gupta said...

Keshav exactly defines why I don't like an arranged marriage. I do not want anyone else to be the reason if my marriage fails. If u blame someone else for ur life's miseries, it makes a bigger misery for u.

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