I was sent this link today - Arranged Marriage, with the words -
You believe arranged marriage is not bad. Here is an article. See how you can justify now.
Well, first of all, let me make my opinion a little clearer. What I say is that, in today's scenario in India, while I do agree that young men or women have the right to choose their own life partner, we should not get too carried away.
I believe, that today, in India, an arranged marriage probably has a greater chance of being successful, than a love marriage.
I don't have any statistics to prove this, other than the fact that in the US, where love marriage is the norm, has a much higher divorce rate compared to India, where arranged marriages are the norm. And now that love marriages are becoming more common in India, the divorce rate is also going up. Flaky statistics, I know.
The first flaw in the above argument, of course, is that divorces don't necessarily happen because of love marriages. The reason for a higher divorce rate is also because of better education, and because women are no longer afraid to take charge of their own life, and because the taboo of a divorce is slowly lifting from Indian society.
But before I start tearing up my own argument with counter-arguments, I should probably state what I feel clearly.
A typical Love Marriage in India today, is very different from a Love Marriage, say, in the US. Before a marriage in the US both the man and the woman experience a lot more than their counterparts in India. There are relationships as teenagers, they spend months or years together (on average), they even live together, and only then, do they tie the knot.
A typical Indian Love Marriage is more like - Falling in Love -> Courtship -> Proposing -> Getting Married.
Yes, I know, things are changing. But I did say "on average".
When two people are in love, the equation is very different before the matter of commitment comes in. There are expectations built up, when you are in love, that aren't very east to live up to, after marriage.
Simple examples are, like promising to give up non-vegetarian food, or drinking, or smoking after marriage. It's quite simple to make these claims, but I haven't seen many people who live up to them. There are other expectations which are not vocalised, but are there nonetheless. The disappointment from these expectations not being fulfilled, leads to discontent with the marriage, specially since things seemed so perfect before the knot was tied. "You've changed" is a common refrain.
In an Arranged marriage, both the man and the woman are predisposed to the idea that they will have to adjust. Both sides know that the person they are marrying might not be the one of their dreams, since they don't even know that person very well.
And arranged marriage today is not like the arranged marriage of 1950, where you met each other the first time at the time of "girl-seeing" and the second time at the wedding. Maybe not even at the time of "girl-seeing". Today, you meet each other, spend some time together alone, maybe even go out on a couple of 'dates', and then decide.
And all the stuff about who will cook, whether the woman works, where they will live, are cleared in a much more informal setting, which means that disagreements on these are not even likely.
By the time you tie the knot, you are comfortable with each other, so the old fears of arranged marriage being between two people who don't even know each other are no longer completely valid. Plus, since the expectations are low, and the willingness to adjust to the new person in your life is already there, the chances of success will be higher too.
So, that's my opinion.
Coming to the article that my friend sent me, it has these words highlighted, that I take complete exception to.
Arranged marriage starts from a fundamentally evil premise - that any parent or relative has the moral and legal right to force someone to marry against his or will, or to prevent him or her from marrying for love.
I mean, hello? Which century are we living in? My idea of arranged marriage today, is when the son/daughter tells his/her parents that he/she is ready to get married, and that is willing for arranged marriage. Anyone getting married to someone against their own will, is making a mistake I won't even discuss here.
So, have I given up on Love Marriage completely? Ha! Not on your life!
Another interesting write-up on the topic, is here - Say I Do?