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Arranged Marriages-Are They Truly Made In Heaven?
Marriages Made In Heaven?
Are marriages really made in heaven?
We love stories and movies that have a happy ending with a prince and princess living happily everafter.Images of Princess Diana and Prince Charles getting married in the church are brought to mind when one thinks of an arranged marriage among royals.Whether they were happily married is vastly debated.What about the rest of the world where arranged marriages are still in vogue?How many are really successful?How many are truly happy and can say that theirs was a marriage made in heaven?And for how long?Till death does part them?
"Love Marriages" is a term coined for those who belong to either the same religion but different caste,or belong to different religion and strata of society altogether and decide to get married on their own,without the consent of their parents.Often with a threat from the parents or the whole community or village to excommunicate them and in some rural areas,there is even a death threat issued,which is sometimes carried out if the girl and boy elope,and called "honour killing".Sometimes,people of one village do not marry from a neighbouring village due to some hostilities of a previous generation as well.
Today,life in the metros is different.It is common to several couples happily married after a love marriage.
Forced Or Arranged?
This campaign poster illustrates the issue of "Forced Marriage" .
Widely rampant in Britain among South Asians,these led to several suicides,murders and also many news items carried features about brides that ran away to escape such marriages.Established in 2005,Britain's Forced Marriage Unit receives 5000 calls each year and attends to about 300 cases only.Officials say that this could be only the tip of the iceberg.
In India,forced marriages or an arranged marriage gone sour,is often the cause for bride burning,dowry harrasment or simply dumping her after 3-4 kids and getting married again.Having a paramour only adds to the mental harrasment of the woman.But,in today's enlightened scenario,there are several well educated and economically independent women who are calling the shots in their marriage.
Let me clarify here that an arranged marriage need not always be a forced marriage.An arranged marriage is always on mutual consent between two families.Yes,families!
Love cum Arranged Marriage
Some educated Indian families these days welcome their girl/boy coming and letting them know of their plans to get married to someone they know from a different community.They accept the choice and give them their blessings as they marry them off.This constitutes a love cum arranged marriage.It is no more seen as a social stigma,but a sign of broadmindedness.Especially when the bride and groom are both well educated and are economically independent.
Today,daughters are more educated and better placed in companies and some parents find it difficult to find a good match for her.Earlier,sons would be encouraged to go in for higher studies and the daughter was always given just basic education-usually a degree,probably in Home Science and taught to cook,wash,keep house and dress pretty.Today,men have learnt to treat women as a true partner in marriage giving her the independence to study further if she so desires,be economically independent,either as an entrepreneur or working for a company and encouraging her along her career path.Men do not shudder to do housework,cook,change diapers or take their kids to school in addition to their routine job.Roles have not changed,mind you,even though we do see a few househusbands,who are proud of their wife's acheivements,it is more an understanding between the spouses and proper planning that goes into a happy marriage.Tolerence is a great factor and faith in each other is extremely important.
INDIAN WEDDINGClick thumbnail to view full-size
So What is an Arranged Marriage?
Traditionally,among Asians,a family having a girl of marriageable age is contacted by a family with a boy of marriageable age through a mutual friend or family mediator.Astrologers are consulted to see if their horoscopes match and then a meeting is arranged between the two families usually in the girl's home.If the boy and the girl like each other,a marriage is fixed for a certain date.A short engagement precedes the marriage which is sometimes as lavish as the wedding itself.
It is an arrangement where two families of the same religion,caste and economic status come together to strengthen their ties in marriage.Sometimes,two families that know each other well come together for a sort of engagement between their children that will lead to an arranged marriage later as soon as they attain puberty.
Today's scenario commands that the boy and girl meet each other after they like each other in order to get to know each other and discuss their career prospects and see if it is ok with the other.Because,earlier,the girl was simply expected to sit at home while he worked.And today,both work and share family responsibilities and both travel sometimes extensively,on work.
Conclusion-Do You Agree?
Arranged or love,or simply arranged to love by our Creator is the reason for marriage in our society.
Marriage is of the minds and spirits,not just bodies.Man and woman were made for each other and so complement each other whether they have the same tastes or not.When the two are brought together in marriage,compatibility is of utmost importance.Children add to the joy of marriage.Beginning and maintaining a family of your own is an adventure in itself and makes life more fulfilling.It brings out your hidden strengths which you would not have discovered otherwise and teaches you to be resilient,and tolerant,especially towards a motherinlaw,or your spouse's pet.Over the years,you learn to value each other more than yourself,learn to enjoy life,cry together,celebrate every small thing together.In short, you have to make time for each other whatever be your career commitments.Running away from a marriage is not always the answer.Changing or adapting yourself to suit the situation is more like it.In sickness and in health,for richer,for poorer,for better for worse.............till death do us part!
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