Arranged marriages have always been a debatable subject. It is in the major outlook on relationships that Indians are vastly different, in the way they perceive the institution of marriage, to those beliefs of other countries especially in the west.
Many people have a pretty major misunderstanding of the topic of arranged marriages and in fact have a fairly negative attitude regarding arranged marriages. The best way to understand the reasoning behind such cultures is to put aside your own beliefs, opinions, and preconceived ideas in order to see more clearly before dismissing it as wrong. While it may not be for all and love marriages in India are not unheard of or a rare sighting by any means…..arranged marriages aren’t necessarily a bad thing either!
Although most westerners cannot fathom marrying someone they do not love, it is incredibly interesting to note that arranged marriages is not something which is fought against, or a source of protest among the young of India.
The truth, surprisingly, is the exact opposite, many of the youth in India prefer arranged marriages, as it gives them the time and the ability to enjoy their youth without the constant worry and struggle of relationships that comes about in western culture.
The west generally believe that one needs to have live-in relationship or a long courtship before they can get married to know whether they are sexually as well as generally compatible or not. The fact that an arranged marriage is actually preferred in many cases in India, and may even indeed be a healthy and happier form of love than the marriages experienced in the west comes as somewhat of a shock or at least a surprise to most.
When people think of arranged marriages, they often picture a boy or girl forced into a relationship in which they have absolutely no choice. However, in reality, this is simply not the case, before the marriage becomes official the potential bride and groom have the opportunity to meet each other and decide whether or not a relationship is something that they would wish to pursue. It’s not like the couple see each other on the wedding day for the first time or just once before the wedding. Once approved they meet and get engaged.
There is usually a period of months or even a year or more after the couple are engaged and before the wedding, where the couple get to know each other, meet, talk and discuss the future. This time after the engagement to the wedding day is sort of the dating period for the couple.
Arranged Marriages may not be the Right Way for all…But they Aren’t Wrong either!
Although most westerners cannot even begin to imagine marrying someone they do not love or know well enough, it does have it’s practical points especially in India. The divorce rate in India is only 2%, compared to parts of the world where 50% or more of the love marriages end in divorce.
While these stats are not proof or evidence that arranged marriages are better or more successful than love marriages, it’s just a way of showing that there is another side to the stories we hear of arranged marriages can’t work or they are not practical in today’s world.
It’s important to realize that just as in ‘love’ marriages, it may not be right for everyone, and not all work well, but they should not be confused and associated with other social issues like domestic violence, dowry or women’s rights.
While marriages are said to be made in Heaven, They have to be nurtured right here on earth!
Vijay Raja Thirumana Mandapam
Old No. 2/322, New No.2/351, Medavakkam