I am trying to understand how arranged marriages work and why it is still practiced.
CAn anyone explain this ? Does the couple date? etc.
Arranged marriage is an old practice binding two families together, for different reasons. One reason is due to friendship. They are too bonded that they want their kids to marry. Another would be business. Before a tie-up between two businessmen, they want their kids to mary so they can be assured to have a strong bond. Next would be family. In some countries, it's a tradition to fix marriage so they can keep their wealth within their family. They do this by choosing who will mary their heirs among their relatives or equally wealthy friends.
JKSophie, Interesting, so the young men and women actually know each other is this correct?They are not going in blind-sided.
I can't explain it. I did have a friend who had an arranged marriage. He was from India and his parents found a girl, made the arrangements and he went over and married her. He had been living in the states, and I believe she was as well, but they went back to India to have a traditional wedding. I was invited but that would have been too much. The ceremony goes on for several days! That was more than 15 years ago and they are stilled married.
Originally arranged marriage is for political reasons, like marrying for money or for political gain. An exchange of money (rich man) for politcal influence (ruling class woman) or vice versa. Families with perhaps an overly high regard for themselves, may insist the to-be bride/groom conform to their positional standards.
Isn't that similiar to selling someone? I couldn't imagine having an arranged marriage as when I met my husband we had many things in common and we had chemistry , I think it could be more complicated having it arranged as you have to grow to love the person and that could take time.
I guess it is like selling because in majority of arranged marriages dowry is given by the brides parents. The difference is that the goods (read groom) does not become the property or slave of the brides parents nor do they get a guarantee card or Purchase receipt for the same, lol.
Knolyourself- In different societies arranged marriages may occur due to different reason. It is very easy to generalize when their are gaps in our understanding and completing the whole picture. In every society their would be different scenarios which would adversely affect woman. When I came to US I heard about "Date Rape" and other similar things which do happen to woman who are vulnerable.
AEvans- Glad things worked out very well for you and don't worry things aren't as bad for those opting for arranged marriages(including me opting for it).
Anamika- In every society their are ways to take care of their children. In ancient hindu customs only son was entitled to property hence at the time of marriage her share was given (I agree this system was badly abused and certain greedy people started demanding greater "dowry"). Now there are laws against dowry and their have been many cases successfully prosecuted for "Dowry Harassment". By the way none of cousins (girls) have given nor none of cousins (boys) have taken dowry. Now a days the share of the property is equally divided by the parents.
dude i almost got taken away from my mom once long time ago and if i would have i would have moved in with a family that practices arranged marriges so i know how you feel then my mom started arranging my bfs for me she has stopped doing that though when she relized i was sneaking out and seeing a real bf not some freak she chose at random from our other friends family so ya arranged anything sucks
It happens in various ways in India.
1. Some times parents or some elder people keep an eye for a suitable guy for their youngs. They see, negotiate as a first step and then allow their youngs to visit their spouse. If everything is OK, marriage takes place. Normally these marriages are long lasting, most of them for life long.
2. Some times parents or elderly person who happened to be the head of the family fixes marriage. They do not need any consent from the young. This type of marriages are still find their place in Indian rural areas.
3. Some times marriages are fixed in the childhood.
There are many other forms of arranged marriage in India. I need a separate hub to describe all these.
The divorce rate in the U.S. is currently between 55% and 70% depending on which statistics you use, and if you count in all the people who stay married for the kids or the house but are totally miserable it looks even grimmer. So the idea of marrying for romantic love, while popular and appealing, doesn't seem to work out very well. At least not in the U.S.
On the other hand, a friend who ran a small shop in the city I grew up in was from India. She married a religion professor at a big Catholic university and moved to the U.S. I asked her how she felt about being in such an alien culture now, and she said that Indian culture and arranged marriage can be very suffocating--that everyone in the family is up in everyone else's business and very gossipy, that it's very different from American families, and that all that nosiness used to drive her nuts. She saw living here as very liberating--which is funny because, from my perspective, there isn't very much about living with a conservative Catholic religion professor that seems (on the surface) to be liberating. THAT sounds suffocating from a U.S. perspective!
Families are really struggling here though, and it does seem that in India families at least stay together. I think it's fascinating. I would love to visit there.
I worked in a factory here in my twenties that employed a lot of Mexican immigrant women, and the young women there were not allowed to date until their families arranged a suitable partner. So it was kind of like an arranged marriage situation. The families were very involved in who the young women dated and married. They weren't even allowed to talk with us American girls and the guys couldn't get near them.
Funnily enough, that little "at least" is one of my big problems with arranged marriage. I'm not very familiar with the situation in India, but my husband comes from a culture where arranged marriages are the norm but divorce is still (mostly) unacceptable and quite frankly, the ratio of happy marriages to workable marriages to miserable marriages is about the same, in my experience, but at least we Americans CAN get divorced. Though the mores might be starting to change a little, in his culture, when a couple gets divorced it is automatically assumed that it's because the woman is a slut, unless there is very strong evidence to the contrary, and often even then. And they're downright progressive compared to their next door neighbors, where a divorced woman has a pretty good chance of being murdered by her own family to salvage their "honor," even if her husband was abusive or alcoholic or worse.
In fairness, arranged marriage itself isn't necessarily the problem, but its tendency to be accompanied by an obsessive drive to control women's sexuality (even at the cost of her life), even in cultures where marriage itself is ostensibly more about property/bloodlines than honor, is a very serious problem for me.
I do agree that far too many Americans get married too early or for the wrong reasons and then give up too easily when they hit a rough patch, but I'd take that over the alternative any day. There must be a happy medium somewhere, but I'm not sure that I've ever heard of it on a society-wide level. (Within individual families, of course it exists, frequently.)
It is sad that woman are made to feel insignificant and even killed (I read about "honor killing" in a province in Pakistan about a year ago). By the way which culture does your husband come from? I am from India and all my cousins who are married are happy (even those who left their careers after marriage). I guess it is a balance between our personal goals and family goals that is the toughest decision to make. I agree I enjoy working in US and may feel bored at home but then I would have to innovate to keep myself engaged in some pursuit.
First time I saw when I was about 10 years old (santa barbara which my eldest cousin was watching in cable tv when she came to our house and I was confused with that the main character having 2 wives earlier besides the third wife) and asked my cousin how that was possible since no one in my nearest vicinity(family/friends/neighbors) ever had a divorce and always assumed all kids had one papa and one mom. Later I came to know the terms like step brother, step mom after watching that serial during her stay for a week at our house.
You are right some of the couples may feel suffocated within a marriage but the whole idea of living single or separated doesn't arise if no one around you is like that. I agree with you that their would be many cases of domestic abuse and alcohol etc.
By the way one of few things they check for in a guy is (his education/work details, personal habits like smoking, drinking, girl friends and so on) and from known people about the general behavior of the boy (if he is sober, respectful to elders and so on).
Their are failures in both(arranged/love marriage) cases but the only things is when more perspectives have gone into taking a decision the chances of it being right (and also the support of all those) and easier for a life long happy marriage seem stronger.
kerryg said: "Families are really struggling here though, and it does seem that in India families at least stay together. I think it's fascinating.
Funnily enough, that little "at least" is one of my big problems with arranged marriage. I'm not very familiar with the situation in India, but my husband comes from a culture where arranged marriages are the norm but divorce is still (mostly) unacceptable and quite frankly, the ratio of happy marriages to workable marriages to miserable marriages is about the same, in my experience, but at least we Americans CAN get divorced."
That's a good point. One of the reasons divorce is so high now is because women have choices and can get jobs and leave if they are in an unhappy situation, which for centuries was not the case in the U.S. either.
I was thinking of what kind of marriage my own sad parents might have arranged for me, and it makes me shudder to think of it. On the other hand, after three divorces I've definitely learned what DOESN'T work, and the best thing, I think, is to become best friends with whomever you live with and love. If you fall in love too, fine, but if you're madly in love but can't agree on who pays the water bill or enjoy each other's company or fight all the time, it's not helpful.
Too many Americans marry for romantic love, and then when the romance fades, they run off. The real good stuff starts after the romantic beginning mellows.
Remember though, this is advice from someone who has done it wrong every way possible.
Yes, the same is true in my husband's culture (he is from one of the former Soviet Central Asian republics), and I think it's usually successful, but even in a family that genuinely cares about the happiness of its young people (not all necessarily do, especially in rural areas where things like wife beating may still be considered normal), it isn't always possible to tell for sure, or predict what circumstances will come up. Bad people can put on good faces and I actually agree that the more people who are involved in "vetting" a potential spouse, the better the chance of success, in general. For me, as an American, it just doesn't make sense that the potential spouses themselves are so often restricted in their association before the wedding. A peer is going to see a different side of somebody than a parent, and vice versa.
That's the kind of "happy medium" I was talking about earlier. On the side of love marriage, I think the problem would be helped by parents who are involved enough to care who their kids, even their adult kids, are dating, and kids who respect their parents enough to consider (even in the throes of romantic love) that if they have serious objections to a potential spouse, there's probably good reasons for it.
I'd be interested to hear opinions from someone who's actually from a culture, rather than just observing one, with arranged marriages about what your ideal "happy medium" marriage arrangement would look like, in terms of involvement by family and the potential spouses themselves.
Hear, hear. I was lucky enough to have a revoltingly practical streak that stuck around even in the throes of romantic love and seems, so far, to have done pretty well by me, but I was also friends with my husband before I started dating him, and it really does make a difference, I think. Not to say we haven't had our problems, but it's easier to make up when you really do like the person you're fighting with.
Kerry- When I was 20 one of my elder cousin who was 24 (at that time) asked me to accompany her with the guy to a restaurant. She was basically a shy girl and the previous night we had prepared a list of things we would like to know about the guy. I also had a list of things about the girl which I prepared to let the guy know about my cousin sister. It went very pleasantly and the guy was very well grounded (and took even my tough questions with a smile). We came back home and did a good assessment then proceeded to tell her parents about the guy. Now they are happily married(now the guy jokes with me that he was more impressed with me then my sister)...LOL
I agree a Happy Medium is a good thing as their are situations which may be absolutely abusive and a woman can't bear any more but still endures for the sake of society (I know our domestic helper's husband used to drink often and also take her hard earned money to play cards(lose money) they used to have lots of disputes. They just have one daughter but still I feel that woman who works so hard shouldn't endure so much pain from her abusive husband. My dad tried to reason with that person to give up drinking and concentrate on his family but that guy is too addicted to it. Their can never be a one size fits all and we have to know what works best where. In Indian societies maybe this system has been tuned to cater to modern generation and if I was born in Western society maybe I would be trying for myself a potential life partner. Every system will have some good and some bad but it is up to us to decide what we we want to take and what we want to ignore. Ultimately I hope everyone who wants to be married should have a long happy married life(doesn't matter whether it is a love/arranged marriage)
In our family (including extended family of first cousins on both my parents side) only one guy got married to a girl of his choice (met during the college and even then the girl was from the same community).
Most of the girls are now married except for me and another cousin (girl). My younger brother and another cousin (boy who is still in undergrad) isn't married.
Arranged marriage isn't totally where a boy and a girl don't know each other. But it is a form where the Parents see the general background(in some cases even horoscope) to filter the most appropriate potential match for their son/daughter. They get to meet in a formal setting and if they are keen allowed to spend a few minutes to talk in private. Once they both convey their intentions to their parents they may insist on couple of more interactions before finally deciding on a formal engagement/and or marriage.
My mother has told me a long time back that life is too short to change ourselves completely for some one or adjust for someone. Their are some things like food, religion, language & culture which require lots of adjustments. Besides the parental support as and when things are not working out is always their.
When I left for US to pursue for my higher studies my father told me in the airport if you ever like a guy let me the first person to know. And recently before asking me to come to see a boy he asked if their is any guy in the horizon whom I love I said NO. Then this is what he said "Either you marry the person you love or love the person you marry and if the former doesn't happen then the latter is bound to happen". Amen.
I do not agree with arranged marriages, how can people be forced into love? yes there are happy stories from arranged relationships but how can someone decide who your soul mate is?
As I mentioned earlier in arranged marriages it's not like the boy and girl have no choice. But it is a system which is best understood if you are born into it. I am not saying love can be forced but marriage is a very sacred institution and when one considers this is it then things change slowly and eventually. Nobody decides but the boy and the girl (who are both adults above 21 years). Different systems exist in different societies and they have different ways of working.
Arranged marriages works with some adjustment from both sides...
Lgali- I agree any marriage needs adjustments from both sides to make it work.
Arrange marriage is best...Good Idea,,,
A very long and interesting debate. I have some thing to say:
1. What do you feel about a marriage? A sacred one or just a fun?
2. Does some one think about emotional problems of children after a divorce?
3. What about legal battles between spouses?
4. Is it OK to change spouces like your dresses?
5. Are we so impatient/ Can we not comprise with our life partners?
Divorce should be the last alternate.
1. Neither of the above. The religious aspect of marriage isn't of the slightest importance to me, but I don't consider marriage something that should be entered into "for fun" either. It's a serious decision.
2. Very much so. That's why I think people should wait several years after marrying before having kids. It gives them a better chance to figure out if the relationship is really stable or not. It's certainly not a guarantee that the parents will stay together - heck, in between lack of sleep and hormonal chaos my husband and I fought more the first year after having our daughter than the previous three years of marriage and three years of dating combined - but I think it improves the chances that parents will stay together.
Also, there are situations where it genuinely is in the best interest of the kids for the parents to divorce, especially in abusive situations or marriages that have deteriorated to the point that the kids are being used as weapons against each other.
3. ~shrugs~ Don't care what happens between adults as long as there are no kids involved, or they make an effort to be civil in front of any kids who are.
4. No. But I wouldn't do anything legally or legislatively to prevent them. It's their own stupid business.
5. In America, there's a joke:
A wife is asked on her silver anniversary whether she has ever contemplated divorce. "Divorce, never," she replies. "Murder, frequently."
This pretty much sums up my attitude to the matter.
Kerry- I like your no nonsense strictly business attitude.
1. What do you feel about a marriage? A sacred one or just a fun?
In my opinion in most of the organized world religions marriage is the only oath that we take in front of GOD as a witness hence we can try to live up to that oath as much as possible and never try to break any of the oaths as we wouldn't be just cheating to each other but also trying to cheat to God to whom we have given that oath.
Arranged marriages – especially in the East – work on two counts: Money and No Expectations (OK – change that to minimum expectations!)
In India, specifically, MONEY is a large part of the contract because there’s a large amount of money that changes hands – one way only – from the bride’s side to the groom’s. No, it is not a safety net for the bride – it’s a payment to keep the groom and his family happy. Never mind how much people try to gloss over the fact, it is a demeaning barter – 'pay to keep your daughter happy in our family'. The worst thing is, if the bride wants to go back, she can’t – most parents have no money to pay for another marriage and it’s a slur on the whole family!
‘No expectations’ is what most Indian mothers teach their daughters from the time they are little. So anything more than that means happy days. It’s all a matter of relativity. From nothing to something small is a big leap. (In all fairness, I know of some very happy marriages, where the two have fallen madly in love with each other and stayed that way.)
The advantages? Fewer divorces, some kind of stability for the kids, a large extended family, an insurance for your old age.
When you don’t expect the sun, moon and stars – there are no disadvantages in the system.
When you do, it sucks!!!
Shalini- In South where I am from most of my cousins (girls) who are married haven't given dowry nor my cousins (guys) have taken anything. Most of the people in our families treat boys/girls as equal and give equal educational opportunities to both kids. When woman are more educated then they can earn that money in no time and also parents openly tell us that the property is going to be equally divided hence no point in seeking a dowry at the time of marriage (appear as a bad person)....hehe
I'm from the South too CW - and you know it's really bad there - there may be exceptions but the rule is pretty much what I've stated, wouldn't you say?
Well I can only speak for myself and my cousins. Things are slowly changing for the better with more educated woman. Yes I do agree for the vast majority of woman who aren't educated in rural areas they have little control over their own lives. I feel proud to be raised with the values and beliefs from my parents. I have interacted with some single woman in US and some of them feel ours is better system. I once met in our local temple an American girl married to an Indian boy. I have spoken to her and she liked her husband for his clean habits(no smoking/drinking) and gentle nature. I guess we can look at the good points in each other's systems and work on the bad points.
Dowry is the gift from the parents to their daughter. When it comes as demand from the groom's side it is bad. No one in my family has asked for a dowry. I am a north Indian.
Nowadays situation is quite different in many places. Ratio of female sex is going down and males are in the Q. So there is no question of dowry.
Situation may be different in different places and culture as India is diversified.
CW - I wish you get a wonderful husband - you deserve it
I guess I just look around and see so many marriages that are hollow shells and it's sad. And I'm so glad I didn't follow that path!
It's easy to get a bit cynical as you grow older - I hope that never happens to you and you find what your heart desires!
NO NO you are not cynical. And believe me even my mother worries unnecessarily so much for me. Once my younger brother who hates studying Hindi was admonished by dad as "Not everything that is good for us we have to like and not everything we like has to be good for us"
Well he says sometimes their are aspects about his job which he doesn't like but one needs to look at the brighter side in everything in life otherwise we won't have too many happy memories to cherish when we grow older in life.
The same way I think about marriage too their have to be many adjustments made but this is the man I have to spend the rest of my life then I will invest everything I have to make it work and in the process if we are happy then it is great otherwise I will just keep trying.
That's a great way to think CW - and your sunny nature and positive thinking will carry you through life
I couldn't stomach 'the system' - that's just me - I wanted to marry someone I couldn't live without - I got lucky - I did!!
That is the whole goal to have a long happy married life (doesn't matter if it is through arranged or love). For me the system was a kind of a cushion I could focus on my studies and career instead of the alternative system(although guys who did approach me I didn't give much weight age since my parents have lots of trust on me). I guess I just want to be sure this is the guy for the rest of my life whom I want give my everything and wait till I actually get married before being involved with anyone (maybe I am too idealistic)...hehe
Shalini, thank you, that was very interesting. I definitely see the "no expectations" thing in action among the women I know from my husband's culture, and worse, the tendency to react to other women's problems with something like "well, I suffered worse than you, and I put up with it - why can't you?" but the dowry situation is a little different - more like a trousseau, and spread more evenly between the bride and groom's families. However, his country recently regulated the size of wedding parties, because people were literally bankrupting themselves throwing huge parties for everyone they and their extended families had ever known. My sister-in-law had more than 800 people at her wedding party, and the cost of this overwhelmingly falls on the bride's family.
CW, thanks for your perspective, too. I agree with Shalini - I wish you the best possible husband, because it is clear that you deserve such - and it is very nice to hear that things are changing for the better in some families and regions.
Kerry/Shalini- Thanks for your best wishes. I just know I will get what ever I deserve to get (I believe in karma). I just hope in every place on earth parents treat their daughters also with the same love and encourage them equally. Woman have a lot of potential but when they are not groomed from an early age positively then some may tend not to believe in it. I am very thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful parents (although I would say my Dad is more partial to me than to my bro) who have encouraged me to pursue my goals in life and supported all the decisions that I took. I really love/admire my dad and just hope I get a husband also whom I can love/admire. Amen.
by Pankaj Pathak 12 years ago
Hi fellow hubbers.Kindly share your views regarding on the topic--Love marriage versus arranged marriage.
by lovelife999 13 years ago
Tell me about your opinion about marriage.
by M K Paul 11 years ago
Presently I am writing a hub relate to marriage, so what is your choice and what do you prefer, Arrange marriage or Love Marriage?
by lizy625 13 years ago
Arranged marriages are truly not a thing of the past. Whether it be a religious, financial, or optimistic decision,-would you have an arranged marriage? Why, or why not?
by Kurias James 10 years ago
I think 'Arranged marriage' is better than 'Love marriage'. What's your opinion ?
by Vegas Elias 10 years ago
Why are Indian women submissive by nature?This problems baffles me from childhood. Do Indian women have enough brains or they think it is their duty to be suppressed? Why do they agree to marry at the will of their parents at a young age? Why can't they speak out? I feel every Indian woman should...
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