Jan 6, 2007

Arranged Marriage

" One should marry
Not someone you can live with
But someone you cant live without"
(Ok maybe not, but i dont know who said it)

I am vehemantly opposed to the concept of arranged marriages. I know these are very popular and well-accepted in Indian society, and I'm not going to try to change that, nor advise anyone for or against these. But here's what I feel about the practice, and the ideas are applicable to myself, if no one else.

First, lets look at the importance of the decision 'who one marries'. Till we turn 20-something, we are kids being guided in life. Targets are set by others (90% in class 10, ability to play piano etc), and do-and-donts are also dictated largely by family and peers. One really doesnt have to think, just follow instructions.

Then you reach a point where you finish your education and are on your own. Most guys take up jobs. Now you have to set your own targets (retire a millionaire at 40, become the most respected in your field, or simply make sure your kid grows up well and does well in life). You have to decide how you want to live your life. You have a lot of freedom, as well as a lot of responsibility, because now you are in charge of your life - for the first time, and for the rest of your life.

Whatever route you choose, it is a tough journey with lots of ups and downs. You need emotional support through your lows, and someone to share your joys with. To build a happy family, well, you need to start with a spouse. You need a partner for this journey. Thats why you get married.

Now, what if you dont choose the right partner? Your priority is family, theirs is career. You like spending and living for the moment, you partner likes to live quietly and save for a secure future. Anything can go wrong. And if it does, you are so screwed. For your whole life. And your life is really just beginning. Thats why this is the most important decision of your life.

My opposition to the concept of arranged marriage stems from a belief that the process doesn't allow you to make a well-informed decision. And what i consider worse - its NOT an independent decision. It should be - coz its ur whole life at stake - and you are the person who bears the main consequences of this decision.

In this process,the choice is made largely by parents/relatives, who tend to prioritize attributes they want in a family member. And they surely have an incomplete, perhaps somewhat distorted view of you as a person. Do they know about all your crushes? Do they know how many cigarettes you smoke? Do they know if you aren't a virgin? Do they fully agree with your value system? The specifics could vary, but the point is - they dont know exactly who you are and what you want in life. So the match is made between an image of a boy and an image of a girl, and neither is entirely accurate.

Yes, you could argue that you get some time to interact with the prospect, and have a say in the decision. But really how meaningful is that? For one, there isn't enough time to know a person inside out, all their plans/desires from life, and their qualms. Plus there is so much pressure. You know you have to decide fast, you know your families are 'watching' in a way, there is fear of rejection and you know everyone really wants to hear a 'yes'. This is not a suitable setting for good decision-making.

I've been in a deep relationship, and it took me 3 years to realize it wasn't going to work. People who 'fall in love' and are able to spend honest time together, do not decide quickly. And the decision isnt always 'yes'. So how can people who've just met twice, decide? This is one decision you have a whole lifetime to regret, if it goes wrong.

Anyway, thats all i had to say. A few pinches of salt
- there hasnt been a single arranged marriage in my clan for more than two decades. So there is an inevitable bias in my views.
- these are my opinions and my doubts. they may not be relevant to anyone else.
- there really is no evidence to suggest arranged marriages work better or worse than love marriages

If one cant find that elusive gem called 'true love', this is a good practical solution. And for all i know, i might end up in an arranged marriage myself. Tho it seems no more likely than an Iraqi victory over the Allied forces.

Lotsa my pals are prospecting right now. Lemme clarify that this isn't personally directed at ANY of you in any way. Jus food for thought, i dont wanna poison any minds.

Arguments/opinions are welcome

1 comment:

  1. touche!
    A lot of us at this age are going through this. Some just accept it, and some fight it. For how long no one knows. I am hoping the urge to have a witness to one's life is not overwhelming. The fear of ending up alone.