Arranged marriages are to be found mostly in the eastern part of the world. India being a forerunner in this, a great number of marriages in India is arranged by the families of the bride and the groom. According to Bhopal, “arranged marriages are seen as an agreement between two families rather than two individuals, and are based on a contract where both sides have to fulfil their obligations. Thus, arranged marriage is not only a combination of husband and wife but also a union of two families in Eastern cultures.
Mostly the proposal of an arranged marriage is sent by one of the families of either the groom or the bride to the other family. Mostly the reason behind liking a family and sending a proposal forward for their children is determined by how well off the family is, what their social status and caste are, how good looking and well educated the girl or the boy is, how rich the family is and many more. Once the families have liked each other i.e. when the boy and the girl have met each other and have started liking each other. There is a growing a rate of profiles which are being made on matrimonial sites as well, in which people clearly mention what their height, weight, caste, colour, educational qualifications, profession and sometimes even how much one earns. Another way of finding a match through an arranged marriage setting is through newspapers where people specify what kind of girl or boy they are looking for.
The boy and the girl are scheduled to meet and expected to like each other. Of course, this meeting is absolutely awkward as they don’t even know each other and are put in such a situation where their parents expect them to get married, have children and be settled with each other for a lifetime.
Sometimes the boy and the girl find each other interesting and might start liking each other and sometimes one of them or both of them might have someone else in their lives who they think they love but their parents are against that person and don’t allow them to get married to them. Though eloping is an option for them to get married to their loved one, but most girls and boys don’t actually elope and they go ahead with the choice made for them by their parents.
Though there might be many types of the fallout of arranged marriages in India. Nevertheless, there are various positive aspects of an arranged marriage and we cannot deny them. Many of us have grandparents and parents who have been happily married for more than 25-30 years and have had an arranged marriage.
The first aspect or reason behind arranged marriage’ success is that the couple is socially compatible; Since parents always end up settling for a bride or groom with similar upbringing, lifestyle, values, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, it removes the chances of any potential disparities. These similarities are an advantage as they make the partners highly compatible and the marriage stronger.
The second aspect is that the couple will strive to have mutual respect for each other. Parental prestige and pride make every arranged marriage couple behave in a respectable and responsible way. They will never conduct themselves or their relationship in a way, which will put their families or familial relations in jeopardy. This ensures that both the partners will move equally towards making their marriage work. Plus, both the partners bring an equal level of understanding and respect in their relationship.
The third aspect is that there is a strong bond with the family. In an arranged marriage, the couple receives love and support from each other’s family. This becomes very essential for a girl as she has to leave her parent’s home and go to her in-law’s house after marriage. In such a scenario that extra scoop of love, care and understanding from the in-law’s side go a long way to make her feel comfortable and welcomed in her new home.
The fourth aspect is that there is a higher level of adjustment; High level of understanding and higher adjusting abilities help in making ends meet and also filling the loopholes of marriage. This increases the compatibility and makes both the partners understand the importance of adjustment. Plus, every couple knows that their relationship has a direct effect on their family’s bond as well. That is why a couple in an arranged marriage would work twice as hard to keep their relationship stable, then for another way out.
Another aspect is that there is a strong sense of commitment; Arranged marriage is based on mutual trust and understanding rather than ‘love at first sight’. In an arranged marriage, commitment is what brings the two people together and love gradually blossoms. So, commitment is the strongest advantage for those who are going for an arranged marriage.
Even a love marriage does not guarantee a happy and fulfilled married life. Many couples who have been dating each other since many years file for a divorce after being married for just a few years and the main reason behind this is that they don’t feel that anything is the same since they have gotten married. They always thought of getting married to each other but never thought of other responsibilities and how they will adjust to them. Arranged marriage is often regarded as a disadvantage form of marriage; however, since the decision of marriage has been rationally made in an arranged marriage, the marriage can often withstand the test of time. In an arranged marriage, husband and wife are most likely to come from the same background; they have the same mental state which may help build a strong relationship and deep love.
1- Madathil, Jayamala; Benshoff, James M. Importance of Marital Characteristics and Marital Satisfaction: A Comparison of Asian Indians in Arranged Marriages and Americans in Marriages of Choice. Family Journal. Jul. 2008: 3(16). 222-230.