Are Arranged Marriages The Way Forward?
- Juggy Sohal
In many cultures arranged marriage is still widely practiced, for many it is just another form of matchmaking, Juggy explains why it may not be as bad as it seems
Wherever you are in the world, it’s hard to meet people. The saying: “when it’s meant to be, it’ll happen” is probably the most frustrating because whilst it’s true, you do have to make yourself available and put yourself out there for something to happen, whether that’s going to a club, or getting an online dating profile.
There is another way to find that special someone, though; Matchmaking, which in the Indian world we call arranged marriage…
When my parents got together, arranged marriages were how it was done. Two families would meet and the individuals would chat and take a look at each other, then say yes or no. Most of the time, they would say yes. The pressure to settle down from the rest of the family was immense, and whether the couple were even allowed to date in the run to their nuptials was the families’ decision. Sometimes, the couples had no say at all. Blind date marriages saw the families agree to a wedding without the prospective bride and groom meeting until the wedding day.
These methods may seem extreme but it was normal to my parents’ generation. People believed marrying their son or daughter into another respected family of the same religion and caste would give them a prosperous life, while keeping the family name respectable.
It can work. My parents only met once before they got married and have been together for 32 years, but plenty of old school marriages are tarred by unhappiness.
“Young Indian adults cannot openly date so once your parents know you are in a relationship, it is more or less a countdown until an engagement.”
For many couples, it’s about hard graft. They make the relationship work because they have no other option. They can’t just give up, divorce and find someone new. The harsh nature of arranged marriages in the past has given them negative connotations today. However, they have changed with time from a contract to an introduction.
Today, if you are unlucky in love, turning to your family could potentially be the way forward. As soon as the parents get the go ahead they will be on the phone to every aunt, uncle, grandma and distant friend to see if they know of any potential suitors. Then either photos are exchanged or numbers are swapped and the ball is in the potential couples court. Some old school families will arrange meetings straight away, which might seem extreme but can work.
There are still pressures, though. Young Indian adults cannot openly date so once your parents know you are in a relationship, it is more or less a countdown until an engagement.
And what if you – or they – say no? If you have dated for a while and ended on bad terms it could reflect badly on the people that made the introduction.
So what about the positives? If anyone is going to find you a good match it is the people that have raised you and know the ins and outs of your personality. You also get a background check on your future Mr or Mrs, including their family, career, financial situation and living arrangements; all important when you are going to spend the rest of your life with the person.
And does it really matter if you love them? I spoke to a friend recently who is in a long distance relationship and is finding it tough. Their parents do not know of the union yet and with this anticipation of revealing the truth and the stress of being so far away from each other, they stated: “life would be so much easier if love didn’t come into it.” It’s true. No broken hearts over lost first loves. No drama over unfaithfulness. No falling for the wrong person.
Of course, although even though life would be a lot less hassle if love was not involved, it wouldn’t be half as interesting and fun. That feeling of excitement of knowing you are getting involved with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and that pain of your first break up is needed for the roller coaster that is life.
For me having an arranged marriage is another option. It’s like a matchmaking and undercover detective service rolled into one, but only to those who are ready for marriage or at least see it in their near future.
Personally I am not ready. People take their time nowadays; gone are the days of getting married young. It is all about getting a career, having some money in the bank and enjoying life. Getting the partying and mistakes out the way, seeing the world and having stories and experience to share. Things my parents’ generation didn’t get the chance to do.
Our generation is changing this. We’re learning from them what not to do and how to make the most of life and the opportunities that surround us.
Feature image and insert frrom Kam Dhiman Photography.