This tug of war has been in India for ages. Thanks to Bollywood movies of 80s and 90s there has been some change in people’s mindset. The typical story of a girl and a boy falling in love and parents’ refusal due to age old hostility between two families or the economical background or just because it is a love marriage. Bollywood movies have made Indians more acceptable of marriage outside caste as well.
Yet, today every girl who is of ‘marriageable age’ has this question. Love marriage or Arranged marriage?
I am a working woman in her mid 20s and I have a bunch of single lady friends about the same age currently pondering upon the same thing. Some who already are in love know what they want but they fear to tell their parents about it. Some are really hassled thinking what would be a good choice. There is no real data here. It is about human emotions, feelings and willing to compromise and adjust with their partners. So what do women really choose? And on what basis? Also, there is this pressure when people say “When are going to get married?” It doesn’t leave you with enough time to think. You are managing your life in a city and there is constant buzz in your house about when is this girl going to settle. The thing is, women don’t really have a choice sometimes.
How much ever you want to avoid the marriage topic it will come back. And every time with added frustration. Worse is a situation where, ‘When are you getting married?” actually means, “Do you want a love marriage or arranged?” How does one decide? Love just happens, no? You don’t decide to fall in love. And if you do want a love marriage, you have someone in mind, they think you are just too young to decide who want to spend the rest of your life with. What happened to democracy? Hehehe.. That’s too much. But girls will agree with me.
Let’s see some facts- Although you do not fall in love based on data let us see some figures around arranged marriage that UNICEF had published some time ago.
Global divorce rate for arranged marriage – 6%
Divorce rate in India – 1.1%
Am I trying to say that arranged marriage works? Am I trying to say that a match found for you by your parents can’t be wrong? Not really. But I am also not saying that all arranged marriages are forced. A lot of them are just meant to be. They find love after marriage or maybe in between their engagement and marriage. I am also not saying that love marriages don’t work. Two people who have decided to love each other, support each other can live happily together without any hassles.
The Big Question! The question still remains. Love or Arranged? Have anyone of you been able to answer this with conviction? Let me try and attempt to justify my choice here. I would prefer an arranged marriage. Why not? As an Indian woman, I have grown up with values and discipline that puts this thing in our psyche that if you are falling in love, you are breaking the rules. Culturally, I would not be accepted if I choose a path that is not meant to take. Does that mean I will blindly walk on the path I am pushed on? No.
Today, even in arranged marriages, women have a right to say no. All that the parents are expecting is that we see guys whose background they have already checked. For nothing but security. I do not have to marry the first guy who walks in with a party hat. You can have a balance of both, emotional needs and security. Indian women today have a choice of refusing the prospects on any grounds. So boys, beware!
I know a couple of friends who are rejecting guys for things like he doesn’t have a car, he is not settled in US, he is too tall, too short, too fair, too dark etc etc. and god knows what all. It might sound bizarre. No one is perfect right? But since women these days are so qualified that they can’t compromise on somethings.
All I am trying to say here is. You can marry the first or hundred and first person you meet. Your parents are and will be worried about you. They might expect a lot of things from you as a grown up but you are their child, for life. If they are letting you choose from whatever prospect list they have, why not give it a try? You might just fall in love with someone there. As for people already in love, girls I am with you too! After all, the choice is ours.