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Arranged Marriage vs Love Marriage-Pros and Cons
Marriages are made in Heaven!!
How many people today in the world would agree that marriages are made in heaven and executed on Earth? Well, My guess is that not many. In fact, many people just balk at the idea of spending ones life with a complete stranger. Most people today would like to get to know a person (in more ways than one can imagine) prior to popping the question, thinking that it really matters. Well, I would agree that love marriages start of pretty well, but not all end very well.
Arranged marriages are a norm in Asian and Arab countries. In these countries, marriages are not only between two people, but between two families. In fact, in the olden days, arranged marriages were quite common in Europe. There are many African countries where the tradition of Arranged Marriages is prevalent. In this marriage, I shall analyse the pro's and Cons of both and try to come to a conclusion about which one is better.
Some Books on Marriages
Well, Lets come to Arranged Marriages. What is an Arranged marriage? A marriage is said to be arranged when the man and the woman are introduced through a third party, their families also meet up and finally the marriage takes place with the consent of both families and the couple. In many countries, the couples are really not given an option whether they like each other or not. They are just told that the girl/guy is good and the marriage has been agreed to. These kind of marriages are generally based on the following factors:-
1. Caste- The family has to be of the same caste/sub caste, gotra etc.
2. Horoscope matching - The horoscopes of both the Guy and the Girl are matched based on some 36 attributes and the more the number of attributes that match, the better the union. Many probable marriages are nipped in the bud, because the horoscopes don't match (i.e. very few attribute match or one of them is a "Manglik").
3. Social Status - Even after the first meeting, talks on the marriage don't go further because of the difference in social status (mostly economic). There is a saying- "A poor father is not your fault, but a poor father-in-law is".
4. Ego- Many a time, if the girls side or the boys side don't show adequate levels of hospitality, the fragile ego's are hurt and many a potential union has been nipped in the bud because of this.
Well, these are most of the reasons which are considered while making an arranged match, at least in India. Emotions can run pretty high and the outcome is quite severe, sometimes leading to death. Honour killings is a familiar phrase all over the world as sometimes families would rather die than allow their wards to get married.
However, when all the above aspects work out, the marriage is fixed. A "Shagun" is given. Shagun is a small token gift that the both the families exchange (The value of the gift depends on the financial status of the families), to seal the deal. After this, the events that lead up to the marriage are a complete roller coaster. Many shopping trips, loans (especially from the girls family ) would need to be taken to buy gifts for all the grooms family members and their relatives. Jewelly to be bought, caterers etc...the same stuff that goes on in all marriages across the world. The only difference being that the families decide everything (the girl and the boy rarely get to choose), but they have no option but to tag along. After the initial approval, they have the permission to meet and get to know each other till the wedding. The spirit of compromise starts from that day onwards. In many communities they are allowed to meet only in the company of chaperones or sometimes not at all. Then the day of the marriage comes, the big Fat Indian Wedding commences, along with all its festivities. The marriage ceremony completes, followed by a reception and then the mandatory honeymoon and then life starts.
One of the unique things about arranged marriages is that you start getting to know your spouse only after marriage. In many cases, one does not like the person one has got married too as there are some traits that are a put off. In many cases, one discovers that the person is an absolute gem and slowly that develops into love. From that aspect an arranged marriage is an exciting gamble, wherein you discover something new everyday. Everything is a surprise. It may not be to your liking all the time, but as both parties are in a mood to compromise, its easier to work things out. Ego's are generally not that inflated and many a times they work. The flip side can be quite bad, with an abusive spouse, in-laws etc. Mostly the girls suffer and the entire girls family feels guilty for pushing her into the marriage. There have been many cases wherein the girls family fell for the so called high status of the would be groom, who turned out to be a fraud, and after the marriage hasrasses the girl for dowry and many times even kill her. It just goes to show that one has to be careful in an arranged marriage and make discreet enquiries on the background of the families involved before taking the Plunge. You have a choice after all. So why do people still go for arranged marriages? They do for the following reasons:-
1. Their children are not able to find someone for themselves.
2. Their child has found someone whom they don't approve of and want to get their child married off so that they get their way.
3. There is a problem with their child (schizoprenia, medical disorders etc) and they think that their child will get ok after marriage.
4. They want their child to get married to a rich family so that she can enjoy a comfortable life.
5. Same caste and religion. (Yes, even in the same religion there are different castes and marriages among different castes are also forbidden). It is known fact that if you get married in familiar surrounding , life may not be exciting but should be comfortable).
6. Want to marry their kids of early. Early marriages have an advantage that both, the boy and the girl are in their formative years and impressionable. They are far more likely to adjust than highly educated couples who are fixed in their ideas and not ajustable.
7. Its the right time for marriage (Now that's subjective and depends from family to family, but the average age is supposed to be between 23-25 for the guys and 18-21 for girls).
What are the advantages?
From the above one may think that Arranged marriages are a no go> However, there are many positives such as:-
1. Both parties are in a mood to compromise. Therefore getting along is not that difficult.
2. The families of both parties are there to support them in every way.
3. There is the possibility of more adventure :)
4. The chances of the marriage succeeding are quite high.
Therefore, all in all, arranged marriages don't seem like a bad deal. If one approaches them with a bit of caution and backgroud checks, it should be sure thing.
Love..!!! Ah that emotion that everyone wants , talks about and parents hate when it hits their children. Its so hard to define love, the exact moment that one realises that one is in love and one starts feeling those euphoric, indescribable emotions for their loved one. Have we been sold on this idea of love by the media blitzkrieg that dazzles us from the day we grow up? Why are we not cynical about love, when from childhood we see everything contrary to love like breakups, infidelities, divorces , heartbreaks etc. Why do we spend sleepless nights wanting to impress someone so that they fall in love with us? Are we all slaves to the idea of love? Well, what ever it is, humans are not going to stop loving. Its there in our DNA. So, therefore, what has evolved over the years is that a couple falls in love, goes around for some time and either decides to break off or get married. Once they get married, then expectations kick in. Many couples don't survive this storm and then the marriage ends in divorce. For some couples, the marriage is a match made in heaven and they really have a great time (with the obvious ups and down, which they weather with maturity). So what are the advantages of a Love marriage:-
1. As the couple knows each other, they know what to expect.
2. Many compatibility issues have been sorted out before marriage, so life together is generally expected to be smooth.
3. The couple may or may not share the same likes/dislikes, but as they know about it, they understand the other persons point of view.
4. Falling in love and then getting married is supposed to be the sureshot way of improving the odds of success of the marriage.
Well, what are the disadvantages?
1. As the couples know each other, the likelihood of compromise may reduce over a period of time.
2. Many love marriages are against parents wishes, Therefore, the newly wedded couple does face social ostracisation and therefore no support, either emotional or moneytary to start their life.
3. Many couples in love realise that after marriage people change and that change is not to their liking. This creates major issues as one partner feels that the other person (who changed) was not his/her true self. Betrayal..!!!!
So it seems that love may not be the answer to a happy marriage. Though love before marriage is preferred, does it mean that your marriage shall be stronger or vice versa. Well the jury is still out on that one and I see many couples who have arranged marriages live happily ever after and a similar number of couples in a love marriage do the same. I have heard and seen enough love stories turn sour with one partner being abused, humiliated, exploited and undergo bitter divorces to feel skeptical that love is all encompassing.
I don't know if there has been a study on that (Arranged vs Love) but my guess is that the bedrock of any marriage is trust, willingness to adjust by both partners and the maturity to give space to each other. Like Tina Turner said "What's love Got to Do with it". Check out another hub on this topic at this