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The Curious Case Of Arranged Marriages

Marriage, wedlock or matrimony: a legal union recognized between two people in a personal relationship; when two individuals formally declare their decision to stick with each other through thick and thin; when they agree on spending their lives together for as long as they can; when they decide not to give up on each other even when the going gets tough. Marriage- because even today in several countries, cohabitation or ‘live-in relationships’ are considered a taboo in society.

However, marriage is not always fueled by love. In fact, love is never the reason for a marriage to work out or last long. Love can be the initiator. This ‘Love’, here, is a state of mind, an infatuation or simply a combination of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that are triggered by an unfortunate or fortunate series of events.

When you meet someone new and interesting, you come to know the best version of them, the most appealing facet of their personality. It’s the time of getting to know their likes and dislikes and the beginnings where you talk for hours and it’s still okay because the infatuation, the romance is just setting in. Gradually, the talking shall be succeeded by the pleasures of the flesh or lust.

This might be one of the most delightful phases of the entire relationship where you smile at each other from across the room, when you can’t keep your hands off each other, when you bring them flowers and write them notes attempting to impress them a little more. Suddenly everything you do, wear and experience starts surrounding them in your head and you can’t help but wonder what would be their opinion or reaction to a certain thing or event. Ah, the beginnings: you’re in a roller coaster that only goes up.

Suggested read: 6 reasons why an arranged marriage could be perfect for you

However, this is what people mistake love for. Even relationships obey the laws of gravity for every roller coaster that goes up, reaches its peak and then it descends.

“Listen Morty, I hate to break it to you, but what people call love, is just a chemical reaction that compels people to breed. It hits hard, Morty, then it slowly fades; leaving you stranded in a failing marriage. I did it. Your parents are gonna do it. Break the cycle, Morty. Rise above! Focus on science.”

Rick Sanchez(C137), Rick and Morty

So, what is ‘Love’, then?

Love is the feel of your mother’s hands. Love is when one comes back home from hostel after ages and sees their pet who still greets them like an old friend. Love is reflected in those dozens of missed calls from your father’s phone when you return late or fall ill. Love is evident in sacrifices, compromises and understanding. Love is staying with your loved one even during the troughs.

Thus, it is friendship that makes a marriage work out. Friendship forms the very base of your relationship; the stronger your foundation is, the stronger is the marriage. When you understand your partner’s mind, needs, decisions jokes, quirks, anger, late night rants and their temperament; when you extend your hand towards them by helping them out with their demons; when you start by noticing the little things and put in the tiniest amount of effort to make the small gestures, only then do they realize you care. And that’s what friendship is about- helping out the other person when they fall down, even if you do it after enjoying a good laugh at them.

Nevertheless, it all comes down to whether you choose your partner in crime on your own or if you let your parents decide that one for you that is to say, whether love marriage works or arranged marriage does.

Love marriage is when you find your partner on your own. It could be a long time friend, a colleague, a friend of a friend or a tinder date gone wrong. The best thing about love marriage? You have ample time and opportunities to know as much as you can about the person.

However, they say that love marriage a hot bowl of soup that gets cold over time. Arranged marriage is room temperature soup that you heat over from time to time.

It’s true, though. The upside of an arranged marriage is that you come to know a lot of things about your partner that you didn’t know earlier and the mystery of it, the surprise is what keeps the romance alive. Because how well is too well? How closely can you know a person? Sometimes, you think you know them but they do something completely unpredictable for they are a person, no matter how predictable they are.

In today’s world, there is a stigma associated with arranged marriage among those of us who have grown up watching romantic comedies and reading authors like Nicholas Sparks and Erich Segal. Let’s admit how difficult arranged marriage would be for the bride to be, at least a few decades ago. There is the pressure of having to appear physically attractive, being ‘soft spoken’, pretty much altering their opinions, lifestyles and in most cases of arranged marriage, giving up on education or a career.

Suggested read: 6 reasons why an arranged marriage can be a tinderbox waiting to explode

Even today, in the age of dating apps like Tinder and Grinder, some parents choose to pick out their children’s partners in countries like India and Japan. There are matrimony sites and newspaper advertisements put up where they put up their child’s profile and biodata for auction. From a parent’s perspective who has been brought up with similar parentage in the 60s and 70s, it probably seems completely justified and not at all conservative or orthodox for who knows their own children and what they need better than the people who brought them up.

What such parents don’t understand that in spite of being the people who brought them up, they can never be the people who will know about every version of their child. They will always be in the dark about some stories that their child can never disclose with them: the first time they smoked a cigarette, the first time they appeared for an examination with zilch preparation, the first hangover, the first hickey, the first time they bought birth control. And if they do, they wouldn’t be considering arranged marriage the only option.

Of course, it is not as bad now. Children are allowed to spend time and get to know each other for months before they get married. In spite of that, from the perspective of the married-to-be, it may seem awkward, daunting and pressurizing. It is after all, meeting a stranger picked out for you and no matter how many mutual acquaintances and interests. At the end of the day, if your partner does not match your mentality of basic principles and morality, if you don’t have the same values of what is right and what is wrong, then no matter how good your chemistry is, your relationship cannot be stable or secure.

The perks of arranged marriage are that not only do you belong to the same social background but also you will not have to win over your in-laws. But the most evident advantage manifested is perhaps the low expectations. When one has given up on trying to find the one for themselves and handed that responsibility over to their parents, they would pretty much settle for anyone who does not repulse them. And perhaps, it is because you’re willing to get into bed with a person one met for an hour before your marriage can be a cause of its successful chemistry. When you have no expectations, you don’t get disappointed by their shortcomings or when they change or grow as people. Because after years of marriage or even months of parenthood, it gets to tough for one to remain the person they were when they got married. Perhaps this is why the most common accusation in the occurrence of a marriage in trouble is that: “You are not the person that I married.”

Nevertheless, you will never know a person if you don’t live with them. To reiterate: it all comes down to the nitty-gritty. How a person likes to sleep, what makes them cranky, what is the optimum temperature of air-conditioning they prefer, where they dry the towels, what do they prefer eating for breakfast, the kind of coffee they like, how they deal with stress when they start panicking; these are the things that you have to know about a person if you truly wish to know them.

Suggested read: Why You Should ‘Date’ Your Arranged Marriage Partner Before Saying ‘Yes’

When it comes to love and relationships, there are no absolutes. One cannot define for sure what is right and what is wrong in these matters. It all comes down to preferences; ergo the nature of a person. It is our choices rather than our abilities that really define who we are and our characters and temperaments. If one prefers knowing there partner inside out before they tie the knot, then love marriage might be the most convenient option for them. However, if one likes to know about their significant other slowly and gradually, in steps, then maybe arranged marriage can be considered. If two compounds as complex as two people decide to join together and share a dynamic, one can only imagine how many layers and dimensions their chemistry would comprise. As they say, all is fair in love and war!

Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Article Name
An Arranged Marriage in the time of Tinder
A love marriage a hot bowl of soup that gets cold over time; an arranged marriage is room temperature soup that you heat over from time to time.
Diksha Chakraborty

Diksha Chakraborty

"There were stars. They burned my eyes."