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Marriage: how & why An Indian Perspective


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Its all about Indian tradition and values that makes marriage a long life bonding

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Marriage: how & why An Indian Perspective

  1. 1. MARRIAGE: WHY & HOW AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE By MANOJ K SINGHANIA "Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry." Tom Mullen.
  2. 2. A WORD FROM AUTHOR This little work is solely my own view and not binding to anyone. Its is based on my own experinces. Some of the references is taken from various work done my different people. I am great beliver is indian marriage system. Its best in the word and thats why indian couples marriage success is so high in th world. Divorce between indian couple is very rare case. It taken as the life long relationship and is not based on each other needs. Me myself married to 20yrs . I too have faced many problems , as any other relationship. But there never came the thought of divorcing each other. “I dedicating this work to my wife Reema, who alwayes supported me in every auspect of my life”
  3. 3. MARRIAGE: HINDU PERSPECTIVE According to Hinduaism, marriage between two person is a sacred relationship that is not limited to this life alone. It extends across seven or more lives, during which the couple help each other progress spiritually. The adage that marriage are made in heaven is very much true in case of Hinduism. Two should come together and marry because their karmas are intertwined and they have to resolve many things together upon earth in order to ensure their mutual salvation. The relationship between a couple is essentially a relationship of the souls. It is not necessary that their gender role are fixed for ever. Sometimes they may switch roles, and the husband may become wife and wife the husband. Sometimes they may also temporarily part their ways and come together again one or two lives in grand reunion.. Marriage in Hinduism is sacred relationship. It is both an obligatory duty and a sacrament. Unless a person renounces life and accepts the life of a renouncer(sanayasi), he is expected to marry and lead a householder’s life. It is an essential aspect of the four ashramas and four aims of the human life. For a Hindu woman marriage marks the end of her life as a maiden. She has to leave her parent’s home to begin life anew in her husband’s house, amidst new people and new surroundings. After marriage her relationship with her parents he parents remain formal and minimal. Marriage therefore become a matter of anxiety and stress for many women, till they become familiar with their new surroundings and the new people in their lives. The early stages of marriage is make or break situation in the case of many. It is also the periods during which the bride either becomes popular in her behavior and her relationships with each member of her husband’s family Hindu marriage recognize seven different types of marriage ranging from the popularly known arranged marriage to the extremely rare forced marriage through abduction. Generally most of the marriage are arranged with the consent of the bride and bridegroom and the blessing of elders . caste, natal charts gotra , family background, financial status of the groom, appearance character of the bride and the bridegroom. The willingness of the the parents are important considerations in arranged marriage .
  4. 4. MARRIAGE: INDIAN TRADITIONS Whenever we talk of Indian wedding we try to equate it with arrange marriages. In India the social structure is such that we associate Indian marriages mainly with arrange Marriages. Most of us have the feelings that arrange marriage is the concept of Indian society. But history tells us that arranged marriages use to happen even in the Victorian age. The history of England tells us that most of the kings and queens had arranged marriages. In India arrange marriages originated when child marriages was customary in the country. Caste system gave birth to arrange marriages, as the upper caste families didn't want their children to marry outside their community and caste. The concept of love marriage was a taboo in ancient India as India always had a tradition of arranged marriages. But after World War II and industrial revolution people's perception started changing and they became familiar with the concept of love marriages. In India the influence of the British culture gave rise to love marriages. The idea, which was once a taboo, became more open and acceptable in the Indian society. But this change was seen only among the educated and high society Indians. The rural parts of the country remained ignorant and unaware of love marriages. In spite of the social changes arranged marriage persisted. Love or arranged marriages is still a debatable topic in the Indian society. People still debate on the issue, which one is better. What should be the basis of the marriage love or social norms? We are still confused about these issues. Education and media played a vital role in changing the perception of the Indian mind. As people started thinking beyond the social customs and traditions of arranged marriages. They realized that they have the right to choose their life partner without any kind of social pressure. It is after all their life. They can decide without having to rely on parents, relatives and matchmakers. This change in the mental set up of the people gave birth to love marriages. Now in India people are open to love marriages. It is no more forbidden in the society. In our country we are having both love and arranged marriages. If we start comparing love and arranged marriages we will see that both has certain pros and cons. But the common factor in both the concept is physical attraction. When a man and a woman go out on their first date physical attraction is the deciding factor. Same in case of arranged marriage where the relation starts only after the girl or
  5. 5. boy likes each other. But there are certain things, which are found in love marriages and not in arranged. Like spending time together and getting to know each other. Because when you have decided to spend the life together it is important you know the person. There should be metal compatibility and understanding among both of you. And this happens when you spend time together. On this people may argue that even after knowing each other for so long than why people get divorced after marriage. It is because when two people are in love they are at their best to impress each other. They behave, they talk and they wear what the other person likes. But it is after marriage that you get to know the real person. There are couples who are still discovering each other even after twenty years of their marriage. This is the actual beauty of a relationship where everyday you discover a new thing about your partner. In case of arranged marriages the relation starts when the girl and the boy get to know each other in a couple of meeting before the final commitment. Before deciding anything the parents check the family background and financial stability. Which is also very important. As most of the people have an idea that those who go for arranged marriages are not in an advantageous position but it's not so you may get the right person for whom you have been waiting. Even in love marriages after many years of courtship people find their partner not suitable and they break up. So it is not about spending time together but successful marriage is all about understanding and respecting each other's feelings, love and concern. It is argued that love marriages offer more independence and freedom as compared to arranged marriages since both of them knows each other so the social pressure and family pressure is less. If you know somebody before marriage it allows partners to have better respect and understanding for each other's needs and desires. In love marriages expectations are more compared to arrange marriages, as they know each other and want their partner to act in the best possible manner. Arranged marriages, offer more protection, security to the women. As the parents decides the family. Parents make use of maturity and wise decision while choosing suitable spouses for their children. The mature decision of parents sometimes helps to make the right choice. But it doesn't mean that arranged marriages are ideal marriages. Even in an arranged marriage there is a different sort of social pressure. Social evils like dowry, caste system, matching of horoscopes and community issues are taken at such extreme levels that people don't support arranged marriages. So whether it is love or arranged ultimately it is up to the individual to decide, which one to go for. Love or arranged both is based on empathy, responsibility, commitment, love and concern. So it's not just about initial love and attraction it needs a lot of dedication and effort to sustain a marriage. So there is nothing like an ideal marriage it's all about the way you perceive your marriage. After all you should be happy with your life partner irrespective of love or arranged marriage.
  6. 6. ARRANGED MARRIAGES The concept of arranged marriages is not a very unusual norm in India. It is how most of the Indians get married. No matter how westernized India may have become arranged marriages are still preferred in most of the Indian families. The concept of arrange marriage may sound impractical to the Western world but for Indians it is something they prefer. It is a system, which originated when child marriage was a custom in the country. The purpose of child marriage was to restrict the children from marrying outside their community and social status. The practice mainly began as a way of uniting and maintaining the rich and the upper caste families. Caste system gave birth to arrange marriage. The system mainly developed to promote caste system or racism. The system of arrange marriage has its pros and cons. On one side it is seen as a medium to promote racism and class system. On the other hand it gives parents control over family matters and members. This system of arrange marriage, which originated mainly as the tool of the upper caste people to protect their community and to maintain their social status they wanted their children to marry someone from the same caste and same social background. Eventually it spread to the lower caste of the society where it is used for the same purpose. The rituals and customs of arrange marriages vary depending on the caste and religion of the people or whether he or she is a Hindu or a Muslim. Marriage is not just coming together of two individuals but an alliance between two families. The practices of arrange marriage has almost become synonymous with the Indian society and culture. Compare to earlier period the practices are not so rigid at present. But one of the social evil associated with arrange marriage is dowry in the modern Indian society. In most part of the country arrange marriage is the best medium to take dowry. Nowadays marriages are more like a trade than a social custom. People find it an easy medium to make money. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of arrange marriages. Among the other drawbacks is that the boy and the girl doesn't get to know their future spouses before marriage. In arrange marriages it is not important to know your partner before marriage. Two unknown people get married without knowing and understanding each other. Just as every coin has two sides so do arrange marriages. There are even arrange marriages in which the parents who love their children and are concerned about their life take the consent of their children when they decide their marriage. Arrange marriages are successful only when the parent does not force their children to marry whom they don't want to marry. In a marriage there should be mutual consent and understanding from both side than only a marriage can sustain. Good arrange marriages happen when the parents support and help their children to find their life partners according to
  7. 7. their desires and likings. Arrange marriages have certain ill effects on the society like it is biased over a particular religion, caste and a race. It is not healthy when parents are over protective and control their children's wishes and desires in choosing their partner. It is wonderful when children are given the right to make the final consent and decision on their marriage and also there should be arrangements for the would be husband and wife to meet and to understand each other. A relationship cannot grow if there is no mutual consent and understanding from both the parties. Whether it is love or arranged marriage people look for the perfect life partner. But nobody is perfect on this earth. Everybody has certain drawbacks. But if we really love somebody we should accept that person with his or her faults and weakness. If we can accept a person the way he or she is than only we can leave a happily married life irrespective of love or arrange because the real success of marriage lies in love, respect, concern, empathy and loyalty for each other. INTER CASTE AND INTER RELIGIOUS MARRIAGES The concept of caste system and religious discrimination are like a bane on the path of India's progress. For year's Indian society especially Hindu society have been divided on the basis of caste system and religion. The problem of caste system was so deep rooted that it took years for the Indians to come out of that idea. Even today also India is struggling to come out of this social menace. History reveals that efforts have been made by various social reformers and individuals whose name doesn't appears in the pages of history to make India free from the clutches of caste system, unapproachability and race discrimination. And when we talk about Indian marriages, which are inter caste and inter religious it seems like a taboo to most of the people. But in order to eradicate the caste system and race discrimination it is important that there should be inter caste and inter religion marriages. Marriages are regarded as the most important social custom and the best means to remove the barrier of caste system. Today in Indian society though we can see inter caste marriages but mostly it is the part of the city culture. The rural parts of the country still have a long way to go. For years Indians had an orthodox mindset. They couldn't imagine inter caste marriages. They had a conception that marriages are only possible in the same community and caste. But it's not the matter of same caste or religion it is the matter of understanding and compatibility. It is how well the both of them understand each other's need. It is not necessary that you have to belong to the same community or caste then only you can understand your spouse better. It is how well you feel for your partner. There are ample examples where two people from totally different background and lifestyle come together and
  8. 8. spend their entire life happy with each other. So if there is true love and feeling than nothing should come in between their relationship. And to have this mindset you need to be educated first then only your perception about life about relationship changes. Education broadens your periphery of thinking it helps you to develop an analytical power. So inter caste and inter religion marriages can only be possible if people change their mindset and views and this is possible if there is proper education. With the changing social scenario changes in the mindset of the people can be seen but mostly among the city people. In villages people are very rigid in matters of marriages. They prefer that their sons and daughters should marry in the same caste and community. Many a times in newspapers we read about incidents of murder and riot taking place in villages due to caste and religious tensions. This tells us that we still have a long way to go. And the only ways we can fight this social menace of caste system is when people of two different communities come together and tie their knot. So it is we who can take the initiative to change the social structure of our country. Inter caste and inter religion marriages are a beacon light for social equality. There should be more societies and NGO's to support and encourage inter-caste marriages and inter-religious marriages. In order to break the caste-system it is incumbent that there should be inter-caste and caste-less marriages. Though it is a difficult task to promote marriages between two communities but initiatives should be taken to fight this social menace. After all marriages is all about coming together of two souls irrespective of social background and class. LOVE MARRIAGE Whenever we try to find out the relationship between love and marriage both seems to be synonymous. Love is a dream and marriage is a reality. And when both dream and reality comes together it is the best thing that can happen to a person. Have we ever tried to find out what is love actually? Love is the subtle emotional wave within us, which is perennial in this world of death and decay. When we fall in love everything seems different. We start liking and feeling good about things we have overlooked earlier. We feel like we are on a joy ride and everything seems beautiful. The company of the person we love can make the most mundane chores seem like an exciting job. And these feelings of love is not seen later on when you are married to the person you love. So one side love is the feeling, which every one of us wants to experience and marriage is something, which calls for commitment and effort. Any long-term successful relationship calls for effort and hard work. So when we decide to spend the rest of our life together by getting married than only the actual love starts. Love is more like a wonderful feeling, which we all like to
  9. 9. experience on the other hand marriage calls for understanding and daily effort. We constantly need to nurture our feelings. It requires mutual respect for each other and time and attention as any other aspect of life. Love marriage can be the best thing if there is effort and commitment from both the side. Love marriages have both pros and cons. It gives us time to know the person with whom we have decided to spend the entire life. We can understand each other in a better manner. On the other hand we start liking each other the way we want to see him or her. And later on after marriage when they behave the way they are it becomes difficult for us to accept. But if you really love somebody than you need to nurture your relation daily. Every relation has certain demands and certain needs to be met if it is to thrive and endure. So if you want to make your love marriage a success than give your marriage some more time and commitment you will see it blooming. If your first love is your life partner than you are the blessed soul on this earth. There is nothing more you can ask for. As love is a feeling, which is experienced best when you are married. A happy marriage will always demand love, empathy, trust, faithfulness and commitment. If you and your partner can exchange these feelings than to sustain your marriage will be really effortless. Love is a magical experience, which ignites passion in human hearts and leaves an impact not possible to calculate. The concept of love is best understood when you spend the entire life with the person you loved. Because you get to share every aspect of love it gives you a sense of fulfillment. So next time when you think of love marriages also think of the responsibility and effort, which you have to put in to make your marriage a success MARRIAGES ARE MADE IN HEAVEN "Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: finding the right person and being the right person" quote. Do we really know the actual definition of a successful marriage? If not than lets look for it and see what conclusion we can draw. We often say that someone somewhere is made for you and the day you come across that person you feel that that he or she is the one you have been waiting for. But later we see that due to lack of understanding and mental compatibility they move apart. So how can we say that they were the perfect match since they didn't gave any effort to understand each other. So it's important you know your partner. There are people who get physically attracted and fall for each other and eventually end up getting married. But later on when they see their wavelength not matching they easily get separated without a second thought. In today's generation we see these incidents more compare to earlier generation. And this is more due to the changing social scenario. With so many things to divert your attention you
  10. 10. really don't know what to do. Marriage is not just coming together of two individuals. There is much more to it. To sustain a marriage it is important that there is effort from both sides than only a marriage can carry on. A successful marriage is like a good recipe whose main ingredients are love, commitment, understanding, concern and togetherness. If you can include these aspects in your married life you can find happiness in your marriage. Andre Maurois once aptly said, "A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short." Which is so true. When we talk about mental compatibility between husband and wife we have seen that not only incase of arrange marriage this problem exist where both of them were unknown to each other before marriage but even after many years of courtship in love marriages this problem exist because when we meet before marriage we are at our best to impress the other person. And we start accepting each other the way we like to see each other. But gradually after marriage when we slip into our natural self that time we have to accept each other as we are. And in most of the cases the real self is not what we wanted to see and then begins the contradiction with the person whom we have loved and with whom I have to spend my life. So it's important that when you love a person love him or her the way he or she is and not the way you want him or her to be. Than only you can be happy. A happy married life calls for constant commitment and concern for each other. There are few small and minute aspects, which we tend to forget in our married life, as we get busy with the daily chores. So at times it is important to indulge in those minute details of a married life, which will constantly remind each other of the love and concern being present. We can conclude by the quote of Barnett Brickner, which says it, all that "Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate." ARRANGED MARRIAGES SUCCESS RATE - DIVORCE RATE • Under 4% of arranged marriages end in divorce. But you have to take that information in stride. Those who have arranged marriages are generally more traditional and in the traditional world... women that have divorces are considered second class citizens. So the divorce rate may be low but women may be just as unhappy in an arranged marriage as they are in a love marriage. Affects of Arranged Marriage on Bride and Groom in India • The affects of arranged marriages are felt most by the bride. Often giving up her career and family to take of her husband's family and children is not an easy task.
  11. 11. Where are Arranged Marriages Located? • Arranged marriages occur in many countries including: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan. How Do Arranged Marriages Happen? • In arranged marriages, families choose partners based on compatibility, culture, upbringing. They focus on issues that will foster a loving and fruitful relationship that will last a long time. So when a man or woman comes of marriage age, people around the community act as headhunters getting a man and a woman together if they see a fit. Arranged Marriage and Controversial • The common perception is that this type of union is unfair to both partners because they do not get a say in whom they marry. But in today's society, the contrary is true. The bride and groom definitely have a say and choose a mate with the aid of their family. Arranged Marriages in Today's Society • These days, people use profiles and biographies to help them sort out potential partners. It is frowned upon in today's society because people keep reverting back to the historical definition of an arranged marriage where neither the boy or girl has a choice. Being arranged can have its benefits. The Advantages and Disadvantage of an Arranged Marriage • Advantage: Lower probability of divorce, stronger emphasis on family, future, and stability. • Disadvantage: Women are less free to explore their desires after marriage as these issues are generally placed on the backburner for the "family". Women and Men - Probability of Marriage over 40 • Since the concept of an arranged marriage is pervasive in Indian culture, for many marriage has more to do with family and stability than love. Therefore, men and women seek life partners early in their lives so that they can attain a stable family of their own. Research on hindu dating sites like Shaadi has shown that less than 3% of the people searching for partners are over the age of 40.
  12. 12. • Arranged marriages have been a topic of interest for centuries. Authors across the ages have explored this theme at length, and it still surfaces in literary works today. What's the appeal? Is it the fascination with the lack of lust and desire we cultivate in North American society? We strive on the element of danger, of the forbidden, while an arranged marriage is usually a safe way to ensure a family's approval of a union. • And yet, many of today's romance novels deal with marriages of convenience. We’ve all read them: the heroine marries the hero because she needs him, whether for financial reasons, or because her children need a father -- there are as many reasons to marry as there are novels dealing with this subject. Yet although the marriage isn’t initially based on love, there’s always that sensual tension simmering beneath the surface, and as readers, we know it’s inevitable that the two are going to fall deeply and irrevocably in love. • But what about real life, where things don’t always work out so well? Arranged marriages are commonplace in a number of countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan and India. They’re more common than you’d think even in North America, where cultural diversity is cherished and encouraged. • Young people in countries where arranged marriages are commonplace are told from an early age that their spouse will be chosen for them. To deny an arranged marriage is seen as a sign of disrespect toward the family. But how are suitable spouses chosen? In Japan, for instance, "when a woman reaches the marriageable age of 25, she and her parents compile a packet of information about her, including a photograph of her in a kimono and descriptions of her family background, education, hobbies, accomplishments and interests. Her parents then inquire among their friends and acquaintances to see if anyone knows a man who would be a suitable husband for her" (the Asia Society's Video Letter from Japan: My Family, 1988). Usually, the most important aspect of choosing a suitable spouse is the bond between the two families, rather than the relationship between the couple being married. Property or land with the aim of securing social status sometimes seals marriage agreements. • Do arranged marriages work? Opinions tend to differ. Statistics place the divorce rate for arranged marriages much lower than those in the United States, where marriages out of love are the rule. However, research also shows that the pressure a married couple encounters from both society as a whole, and from the respective families, suggests that divorce is often not an option. • Can love grow out of an arranged marriage? Absolutely, and in the same way that love can grow in romance novels from a marriage of convenience. But there’s more to love than finding a suitable match. Love can grow for many reasons, from lust at first sight to friendship that develops over a long period of time. It’s impossible to predict whether a union will be successful. The only two people who can make it work are the bride and groom, the hero and heroine of their own story.
  13. 13. THE REALITY OF ARRANGED MARRIAGES Arranged marriages may sound funny and strange in the west as it is very uncommon.But arranged marriages tend to exist even today in Japan,China,India,in Jewish culture and many other parts of the world.Another well known fact is that arranged marriages is slowly becoming a thing of the past.Like any other thing of the world arranged marriages also has advantages and disadvantages with pros exceeding the cons. Arranged marriages are of 4 types: 1 .Forced marriage 2. Traditional arranged marriage t 3. Modern arranged marriage 4. Modern love cum arranged marriage Forced marriage is the thing of the past and exists in very rare cases. The bride or groom has no say in this marriage. In traditional arranged marriages the parents respect the views of prospective bride and groom.It is not forced.In Modern arranged marriages the prospective bride and groom has a greater say in the opinion of marriage.The happiness of the child will be the main focus in this case.In modern love cum arranged marriage the parents will arrange the marriage of their child with the person they love and know each other for long. THE REALITY OF ARRANGED MARRIAGE: 1.Lower divorce rates:Yes!Arranged marriages has very low divorce rates from 0-5% when compared to western marriages where divorce rate is close to 50%. 2.Arranged marriages has higher probability of success as marriage will be based on religion ,caste,education,status and also looks.So chances of incompatibility later in marriage is very less. 3.The decision of marriage involves parents who has experience and will be more wiser to choose a compatible life partner for their children based on their character.This usually avoids the chances of choosing own self partner based on mere infatuation.
  14. 14. 4.Parents and relatives will be involved in the marriage.So any disagreement can be sorted out with the help of relatives.Another emotional factor is also involved and that is respecting the parents choice who sacrificed a lot of hard work to bring up the child.So any small disagreements will be sorted out by couples without getting others involved. 5.Understanding comes first and then occurs love which is the other way round in love marriages.In countries like India even in love cum arranged marriages,divorce rates are very low. 6.Couples rarely know what to really expect out of marriage.So the expectations will be low.In love marriages,couples enter the wedlock with high expectations.In most cases ,divorces occurs when life turns out to be far from the "picture of expectations". ARRANGED MARRIAGES APART FROM FORCED MARRIAGES OFTEN HAS SOME PROBLEMS TOO 1.Marrying a close relative causes medical problems to be developed in their children due to arising of defective dominant gene. 2.Horoscope marriage where marriages have to be delayed often for long time to find a compatible time based on astrology. 3.The wealthy try to find alliance with another wealthy person and the rich and poor gap in the society widens. Your observation is correct, but you can't conclude that because arranged marriages have lower divorce rates they are necessarily happier. Correlation does not imply causation. Just because cultures with arranged marriages have lower divorce rates, you cannot conclude that arranged marriages are necessarily better than non-arranged marriages. There are too many other social and cultural factors to consider. The biggest one is that in many cultures where arranged marriages are the norm, divorce is taboo. Also, women typically do not have the same social, legal, or financial standing as men and often cannot become financially independent and support themselves and their children. Often, a divorced woman is often not accepted back into her parents' or siblings' homes, and many times she has no way to earn enough money to support herself. So...the decision is "live with this person I really don't like or be homeless and destitute". hmm...wonder what they choose? Also, men who divorce can be seen as big
  15. 15. embarassments and disgraces to their families. In an Arranged marriage, both the man and the woman are predisposed to the idea that they will have to adjust. Both sides know that the person they are marrying might not be the one of their dreams, since they don't even know that person very well. And arranged marriage today is not like the arranged marriage of 1950, where you met each other the first time at the time of "girl-seeing" and the second time at the wedding. Maybe not even at the time of "girl-seeing". Today, you meet each other, spend some time together alone, maybe even go out on a couple of 'dates', and then decide. And all the stuff about who will cook, whether the woman works, where they will live, are cleared in a much more informal setting, which means that disagreements on these are not even likely. By the time you tie the knot, you are comfortable with each other, so the old fears of arranged marriage being between two people who don't even know each other are no longer completely valid. Plus, since the expectations are low, and the willingness to adjust to the new person in your life is already there, the chances of success will be higher too. Divorce Statics Ran Country Perce k nt India 1 1.1 Sri Lanka 2 1.5 Japan 3 1.9 Republic of 4 5.0 Macedonia Bosnia and 5 5.0 Herzegovina
  16. 16. Turkey 6 6.0 Armenia 7 6.0 Georgia 8 6.6 Italy 9 10.0 Azerbaijan 10 10.3 Albania 11 10.9 12 Israel 14.8 Spain 13 15.2 Croatia 14 15.5 Greece 15 15.7 Singapore 16 17.2 17 Poland 17.2 Romania 18 19.1 Slovenia 19 20.7 Bulgaria 20 21.1 Switzerland 21 25.5 Portugal 22 26.2 Slovakia 23 26.9
  17. 17. Moldova 24 28.1 Latvia 25 34.4 26 Canada 37.0 Hungary 27 37.5 Netherlands 28 38.3 France 29 38.3 Lithuania 30 38.9 Germany 31 39.4 Iceland 32 39.5 Ukraine 33 40.0 Norway 34 40.4 United Kingdom 35 42.6 Russia 36 43.3 Czech Republic 37 43.3 Austria 38 43.4 Belgium 39 44.0
  18. 18. Denmark 40 44.5 Estonia 41 46.7 Luxembourg 42 47.4 Finland 43 51.2 Belarus 44 52.9 United States 45 54.8 Sweden 46 54.9 THE CULTURE OF ARRANGED MARRIAGES IN INDIA Arranged marriages have always been a debatable subject. It is in the major outlook on relationships that Indians are vastly different, in the way they perceive the institution of marriage, to those beliefs of other countries especially in the west. Many people have a pretty major misunderstanding of the topic of arranged marriages and in fact have a fairly negative attitude regarding arranged marriages. The best way to understand the reasoning behind such cultures is to put aside your own beliefs, opinions, and preconceived ideas in order to see more clearly before dismissing it as wrong. While it may not be for all and love marriages in India are not unheard of or a rare sighting by any means...arranged marriages aren't necessarily a bad thing either! The Acceptance of Arranged Marriages in India Although most westerners cannot fathom marrying someone they do not love, it is incredibly interesting to note that arranged marriages is not something which is fought against, or a source of protest among the young of India. The truth, surprisingly, is the exact opposite, many of the youth in India prefer arranged marriages, as it gives them the time and the ability to enjoy their youth without the constant
  19. 19. worry and struggle of relationships that comes about in western culture. The west generally believe that one needs to have live-in relationship or a long courtship before they can get married to know whether they are sexually as well as generally compatible or not. The fact that an arranged marriage is actually preferred in many cases in India, and may even indeed be a healthy and happier form of love than the marriages experienced in the west comes as somewhat of a shock or at least a surprise to most. Feelings Vs Commitment Many Indians look at marrying a person they don't know, gives one "a lifetime to learn to love them", as opposed to the American ideal of learning a person inside and out before entering into marriage. It can be said that an arranged marriage in India is not based on feelings, but rather on commitment. An Indian woman described it as "Here, we get married without having feelings for the person. We base our marriage on commitment, not on feelings. As our marriage progresses, the feelings develop. In America, you base your decision to marry on feelings, but what happens when the feelings wane? You have nothing left to keep the marriage together if you get married according to feelings and then the feelings go away." In India, a relationship between two people is something that is presumed to be fostered and created throughout a lifetime of marriage. Whereas in the west people do not take the idea of marriage seriously until after they know a person for a number of years or feel like they know everything about the person. One way of looking at this difference is that after marriage you tend to accept your spouse's differences and habits more easily than when you have a choice. A relationship not bound by marriage is more easily broken for the smaller nuances in life. After marriage you tend to accept what you have rather than look for someone better as people often do while courting or dating. Arranged Marriages are Not Forced Marriages When people think of arranged marriages, they often picture a boy or girl forced into a relationship in which they have absolutely no choice. However, in reality, this is simply not the case, before the marriage becomes official the potential bride and groom have the opportunity to meet each other and decide whether or not a relationship is
  20. 20. something that they would wish to pursue. It's not like the couple see each other on the wedding day for the first time or just once before the wedding. Once approved they meet and get engaged. There is usually a period of months or even a year or more after the couple are engaged and before the wedding, where the couple get to know each other, meet, talk and discuss the future. This time after the engagement to the wedding day is sort of the dating period for the couple. Marriages are a Family Affair A daughter is said to marry into a family in India. Marriage is not perceived as a relationship between two people but as a relationship between families and especially between the girl and her husband's family. This is mainly due to the fact that many Indians live in joint families where the wives enter into and live with the husbands family. So a family with several sons will have their wives and children all living together in the same house. Typically, the burden for the arrangement of the marriage is on the parents. It is the father's responsibility to choose and make the arrangements for a husband for his daughter. It might seem like an easy matter for a father to arrange his daughter's marriage, but religion and caste systems make it a daunting task. A number of factors are considered, for instance, generally speaking, marrying outside of one's own caste is frowned upon, so that limits the number of choices. Also, since the majority of Indians are Hindu, and Hindu's believe strongly in astrology, the perspective couple's horoscopes are be analyzed and "suitably matched" or the marriage cannot take place. Additionally, the father will want to make sure that his daughter is marrying into a good family, so a lot of investigation takes place before the arrangements are made. The entire issue of arranging a marriage is one of the biggest responsibilities Indian parents face. What makes this system work in India is a great deal of trust in the choices of one's parents. It's the confidence that parents not only love their daughter and have her best interest at heart, but that they also have more wisdom and can make a better decision for her in the area of marriage.
  21. 21. Arranged Marriages may not be the Right Way for all...But they Aren't Wrong either! Although most westerners cannot even begin to imagine marrying someone they do not love or know well enough, it does have it's practical points especially in India. The divorce rate in India is only 2%, compared to parts of the world where 50% or more of the love marriages end in divorce. While these stats are not proof or evidence that arranged marriages are better or more successful than love marriages, it's just a way of showing that there is another side to the stories we hear of arranged marriages can't work or they are not practical in today's world. Like I've mentioned above this article is not to convince people to consider arranged marriages or to say they are better, it's only to show that what we perceive as a wrong way of living or of giving up ones rights is not the way the situation is looked at in other cultures. It's important to realize that just as in 'love' marriages, it may not be right for everyone, and not all work well, but they should not be confused and associated with other social issues like domestic violence, dowry or womens rights. While I feel it's not about the right way or wrong, arranged or love, it's the commitment to a relationship is what makes it work in the end....cause ARRANGED MARRIAGE IN INDIA Arranged marriages have the tradition in Indian society for centuries. Even today overwhelming majority of Indians in India have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family-members, with the consent of the bride and groom Arranged matches were made after taking into account factors such as age, height, personal values and tastes, the backgrounds of their families (wealth, social standing) and their castes and the astrological compatibility of the couples' horoscopes. The institution of marriage in India is considered a very important one. In general both the parents and the young people feel that since they were older and wiser than their progeny, they would be able to find a suitable match for their children with more prudence than the latter. Although most marriages are arranged, some couples in India are opting for love marriage in urban areas. Among the overseas Indians, many marriages are still arranged with the assistance of the parents Even the so called love marriages in India generally happen with the approval of the parents, although their blessing may sometimes be reluctant.
  22. 22. In India, the marriage is thought to be for life and the divorce rate is extremely low, 1.1% compared with about 50% for USA The arranged marriages generally have a much lower divorce rate. The divorce rates have risen significantly in recent years::"Opinion is divided over what the phenomenon means: for traditionalists the rising numbers portend the breakdown of society while, for some modernists, they speak of a healthy new empowerment for women." Hindu arranged marriages Hindu Dharma accords paramount importance to marriage between two people found compatible, and on an auspicious day, chosen to be compatible with the bride and the groom, with the blessings of the elders and in the presence of gods, so that the couple will flourish and walk in dharma, and any progeny conceived after such elaborate rituals would be a blessed soul and good human being. Once the parents of both bride and groom agree with each in which all the relatives and known circle are called from both sides as a witness and to bless, then in that engagement function itself a date is fixed for marriage as per bride and grooms horoscope and astrologically auspicious day, the priest will announce to all that both the family are agreed to the acceptance of marriage of their son/daughter on the particular date. Then in the name of god both the families exchange fruits and cloths as a symbol of happy acceptance. An auspicious day is chosen in accordance with the religious almanac and the bride and the groom's horoscopes, also if it is moon's phase (ascending is preferred by some) apart from any other logistical consideration. with the invited guests considered to be the 'society' in whose presence the girl is given away in holy matrimony to the boy. From that moment on, he is to consider himself responsible for fulfilling her smallest of small desires to the biggest of them, to the best of his ability. He promises to be faithful to her and to worship the ground she walks on. She in turn is to treat him as her lord and master, her guide and advisor through good and bad, for the rest of her life. They will only have sex when they are married. . ARRANGED MARRIAGES: A NEW TREND FOR WESTERN WOMEN TO FIND MR RIGHT?
  23. 23. In an age of uncertainty, women need an alternative to the Western style of selecting a marriage partner, the author Reva Seth argues Reva Seth knows that the story of her marriage sounds horribly calculating, but it wasn't at all, she insists. What? Even though she identified the characteristics of her prospective husband, meticulously attended every one of a colleague's parties until she found someone who matched, and got engaged at their seventh meeting? “I wanted someone who had a similar education background to me and who was interested in politics,” she explains. “It was more a recognition that this girl I knew tended to have a large network of friends that would fit.” And one night, there the husband was, although Seth insists there were no thunderbolts. “I was genuinely attracted to him. As we started talking I could tell he was involved in lots of things that interested me, and I got a sense that he could be a person I could fall in love with.” Was she in love with him when they got engaged? “You know what, no, I wasn't,” she says brightly. “I don't think we'd spent enough time together to fall in love. But I knew I would. I had a strong sense that this was what I was looking for.” Five years later, Seth, now 32, is happily married with a two-year- old son, and has become an advocate of the principles of arranged marriage, which she suggests her own experience reflects. This does not mean that she supports the kind of marriage in which the parties are left without choice about whom they marry. Rather she believes that common backgrounds and shared values - which underpin the Asian tradition of arranged marriage - are more likely to lead to an enduring relationship than the chance meeting promoted so enticingly by Hollywood and a culture that clings to the notion of spontaneous romantic love. Certainly the notion of marriage as a celebration of romantic love is a relatively new phenomenon that has been around for only 500 years. But why should we ditch it? What Seth argues in her book, First Comes Marriage, is that if you build the components of a marriage with care, love will grow. She cites her own parents, whose marriage was arranged in India and who have been together for 33 years, and she has developed her case by talking to more than 300 women whose marriages were arranged. According to Seth, the divorce rate for such unions is between 5 and 7 per cent (compared with a 40 per cent failure rate in the UK) and a 2005 study showed that over time couples in arranged marriages report high levels of happiness and satisfaction. Her starting point is that there is plenty of evidence that young Western women need help, largely in their catalogues of broken relationships. In seeking instant gratification they are inclined to mistake lust for love and, in spite of decades of
  24. 24. feminism, they read a lot of chick-lit and still believe that their knight in shining armour is around the corner. At the same time, because of those decades of feminism, they are a TO LOVE OR TO ARRANGE? If you're from a Western society, and a family with Western values, chances are you think love is the most important factor to consider when choosing a prospective spouse. But, if you're from a culture that typically arranges marriages, you probably have a different perspective. Is a love marriage better than an arranged marriage? A recent study examining Indian couples in arranged marriages, and U.S. couples in marriages of choice (love marriages), revealed that in terms of marital satisfaction, the two groups are very similar. However, their views on "love wellness" were different. The U.S. couples said that being in love was a strong indication of whether their marriage was good- or going to be good. The Indian couples expected love to grow as they got to know each other. Being in love was not how they measured marital satisfaction- or future marital satisfaction. According to Dr. William Cornell, a Marriage and Counselor professor at the University of Florida, culture plays a large role in deciding whether a love marriage is better than an arranged marriage- it is all a matter of perspective. U.S. culture tells us that "love will conquer all." But if that isn't your expectation, then the lack of love is not going to be a reason for the marriage not to work, said Cornell. In fact, he says, "Being in love is not a good reason to get married. It's about the long haul." Arranged marriage is based on the concept that love is a fleeting emotional response, so it deliberately brings a whole range of factors into the equation. In an arranged marriage, says Cornell, "you love the person who is in that position." So, you love your wife because she is your wife, and because she is the mother of your children. Low divorce rates in countries with arranged marriages points to the success of the arranged marriage. High divorce rates in countries with love marriages indicate that perhaps this form of marriage does not work. Yet, they persist. And in India, where arranged marriages are the "norm," love marriages are becoming increasingly popular.
  25. 25. Because of cultural differences, it is difficult to say which form of marriage is the best, but here is an attempt to compare the benefits of an arranged marriage versus the benefits of a love marriage. Benefits of an Arranged Marriage • Reduction of incompatibilities- same religion, caste, dietary preference, linguistic group, socioeconomic background, etc. • Following one's heart is often wiser than following one's head- love can just be an infatuation. • Lower divorce rates. • Low expectations- neither spouse knows exactly what to expect, so they are often pleasantly surprised by how good their marriage is. Benefits of a Love Marriage • Individual autonomy- it's your life, so you should choose who you want to spend it with. • Informed decision- you know your partner well on a personal level, so you know what to expect. • Love- "love will conquer all." • Individual interest- Your family might choose you a partner based on what is best for the family, but you can choose a partner who is best for you. OTHER ISSUE: COMMON MARRIAGE PROBLEMS Life is not a bed of roses. Things are not that smooth as we expect them to be. Marriage is the most beautiful relationship that happens to everyone at some point of time. But, we people, because of our immature attitude and impatience, fail to keep the spark of married life alive. Problems in marriage are boud to come, because two individuals having different personalities meet and then clashes take place. Times are not always the same. When a person gets married, there are lots of responsibilities that one has to bear. Amidst the day-to-day tensions, sometimes the person is not able to keep up the expectations of his/her partner. But then that does not mean he/she doesn't love his/her partner.
  26. 26. Signs Of Marriage Problem: • Couples start getting a feeling that they have different tastes and don't have anything in common. • They don't understand what to talk about with their partner. • They don't take interest in their spouse's life. Common Marriage Problems: • Financial problem Couples often have clashes on money matters. One person might always be in the vague of saving money, while the spouse might be spendthrift. Thus, expenses are always an issue. • Sexual Problem When the sex life of couple diminishes dramatically, then there arises a need to sit down and do a meaningful conversation. In fact, reduced sexual desire is a sign indicative of serious marital problem. • In Laws Marriage Problem Married ladies are more often coming up with the problem of In-laws. This can be somewhat attributed to generation gap also. In-laws compare their times with that of their child's and this causes frustration. • Communication Problem in Marriage Lack of proper communication gives rise to misunderstandings, thereby causing clashes and tension. So Its very difficult to come to conclusion that what system of marriage is perfect. In any situation it all depend on many things that make marriage a success. There will always be positive and negative. It all comes to many relevant question. But one thing is very clear marriage as Indian culture and values things is something which is a life long relationship. Its the relationship that has to be kept bonded even in very unfavorable situation. Indian tradition which make this bonding as forever, is very important . Thinking marriage as mutual arrangement , as western things brining the relationship to the materialistic level. Marriage is a sacred relationship and its unbreakable at any situation. And thats the great Indian tradition that make our society a great one.