Once in a lifetime, each one of us goes through a scenario when our parents would mention a boy or a girl that some relative or friend thought would be perfect for us. And even if you resist meeting them, they would quickly mention:
“Before saying NO, at least meet him/her once. After meeting, if you don’t like, then say No!”
Though the parents find meeting a boy through the route of arranged marriage normal, there are many young men and women, who wonder –
Whether I should marry and then find love in my marriage or Whether I should find love first and then marry?
For many modern young people of today’s generation, an arranged marriage does not hold as much attraction as their parents. Hence with the passing times, the number of love marriages is on the rise. But still, about 89% of marriages in India are arranged. And, though we may talk about the pros or cons of an arranged marriage vs a love marriage, it all comes down to the matter of personal choice or lack, thereof.
Not all marriages are successful. Many are, some are not. It is very obvious many may struggle if one should love and then marry or marry and then hope to love! So, let’s find out if there any perfect formula for the perfect marriage!
Arranged Marriage: Marry First & Then Love
In an arranged marriage, marriage is all about the formal union of two families, two social networks! Yes, it isn’t just about individuals. Rather it is about their whole family. There may not be a compatibility check on love involved; but there are definitely compatibility tests of status, stability, security, education, and values that are involved.
Sadly more often than not, these attributes take precedence over the personal choices of the bride and groom.
So, before arriving at any conclusion for a partner for their son or daughter, parents first ensure if the potential bride and groom’s family is compatible with theirs. To ensure that they can marry their child safely into this family, the parents generally check:
Do they share the same cultural background? Are their religious beliefs similar to ours? Is their socio-economic status at par with ours? Is there compatibility with the education levels? Do they have similar values?
Only once they feel they can safely marry their child into this family, knowing that they will be taken care of, the parents agree to the alliance.
Now, in an arranged marriage – security and stability – are the most valued things. Though it may sound a more practical or unemotional way to go about finding a life partner for their child, many parents still think it leads to stable marriage.
Sadly, the process doesn’t give enough importance to how the couple feels about each other. For all the practical reasons, emotional and physical compatibility is conveniently overlooked. And, even if you tell your family,
“I don’t feel anything for him/her, the family’s ultimate response is – Love will grow in time”
And, because the couple hardly spends time with each other, they hardly understand each other’s feelings, values, and opinions. So after the wedding, there is a humungous need for adjustment. And, this phase could be really frustrating, especially for the bride. As in India, many brides have to move with the groom and his family. So, she doesn’t only have to make adjustments with the groom but also with his parents.
Many people who take up the route of arranged marriage, feel a strong sense of obligation and duty towards their parents. They feel that they HAVE to accept their parents’ choice otherwise it would be perceived as disrespectful or betrayal to their family.
And, many times such people enter a marriage even knowing they will be unhappy. But, to make their parents happy, they sacrifice their own happiness.
Don’t get us wrong – it may be difficult to find a balance between one’s own desires and satisfying parents’ wishes. But, it is still possible to fall in love after marriage.
With time, when a couple starts accepting each other’s flaws and starts becoming emotionally involved, the love gradually seeps into their marriage. As they spend more time with each other, they explore each other’s strengths and flaws, which makes married life very interesting. As time passes by, love grows along with mutual respect for each other!
In our society, love marriage is often misunderstood as an expression of freedom or rebellion against parents. But, that’s the great advantage of marrying someone we love – the freedom to choose. After spending enough time, we feel more connected – physically, emotionally, and intellectually – to the person we love, thereby developing understanding and empathy for each other.
With time, we develop a sense of comfort with the presence of our partner in our life. Being aware of our partner’s strengths and weaknesses, help us to be better prepared in case of any discord or disagreement.
And, no one could deny, there is an excitement and happiness of having to spend the rest of life with the one we love. To marry the partner of your own choice also instills a sense of independence too.
Many may assume that the mutual sense of attraction, emotional attachment, and compatibility will ensure that the couples in a love marriage be happier for life long. But, people tend to forget that there are still issues which impact the couples even if they are deeply in love.
As American psychiatrist F. Scott Peck quoted, “Love is not effortless. On the contrary, it is effortful”. So, doesn’t matter how much time you have already spent with each other or how compatible you are with each other, a love marriage needs as much work as an arranged marriage.
Some love marriages do not get approval from the parents. This disapproval from parents may tend to limit social support and may leave us with the guilt of betraying our parents leading to discord in the marriage.
Like any arranged marriage, love marriage is also vulnerable to its ups and downs. Over time, many couples become disinterested and the power of love starts fading away.
As per the statistics ‘love’ in an arranged marriage apparently reaches its peak when the couple has been married about 5 yrs. In contrast, the peak of a love marriage would already have been reached before this time and started waning.
The probable reason could be the large bunch of expectations that couples enter love marriages with. The expectation that passion and romantic feelings will stay the same for the rest of your lives.
The drive for passion, romantic feelings may thrive in the pre-marital phase, but when marital reality hits, things change … and sometimes they change a lot. The sense of responsibilities that come in with marriage may overpower these expectations with more pressing issues such as adjustments and compromises.
So in love marriage, after the first few months when the honeymoon stage is over and the mundane realities of marriage have set in. People begin to feel dissatisfied. They start wondering if their partner still loves them. Whereas, in an arranged marriage, one may enter into the alliance with much lower expectations!
There is no formula for a perfect marriage. More importantly, there is no marriage that is perfect. Both arranged and love marriages have their own strengths and faults.
The success of any marriage- love or arranged lies in the openness of the partners, transparency, and genuine trust in each other and in their relationship. If both the partners are 100% committed to making it work, doesn’t matter if it is a love marriage or arranged marriage, it will work!