Let’s talk about Indian Marriages

In the recent past I have been thinking a lot about marriages. The true meaning and relevance of marriage in one’s life and even types of marriages, for, Indian marriages have types too (unlike the rest of the world).

I personally think the topic of arranged marriage v/s love marriage is dealt with like choice of eating butter chicken v/s paneer butter masala. I say so, for busying ourselves in these comparisons we tend to forget the real purpose of getting married.

Let me begin with examples from my own family.

My first cousin, Sonam*Β is one month younger to me. We have never been close but share a lot in common. We got married the same year (one month apart again), have been professionals in the same field though in different countries. There is one more rare similarity we share, we both are separated from our spouses. Though I am divorced, she has decided to not take the matter to the court.

While I have had an arranged marriage, she went on to marry her boyfriend of five years. I recently began thinking on these lines when someone, absolutely unrelated, commented that divorces and separations are common in love marriages whereas success rates of arranged marriages stand as role model for the entire world.

My arranged marriage wasn’t the typical one for my opinion was highly valued about everything, including the boy I’d marry. No horoscopes were matched and open talk about dowry and other associated issues (common in Indian weddings) was done in thorough detail right in the start. What happened in the days to follow has been written about in detail in my earlier posts. But there is something very important I wish to convey from my personal experience.

Despite the sufferings my married life threw my way, I still hold strong belief in the institution of marriage. I strongly believe that patriarchy and the arranged marriage system alone don’t stand to be the cause of my/any other failed (Indian) marriage.

I say so, for like Sonam’s case I too had a long-term interaction period with my ex-husband, though on a longΒ distance basis for he was settled abroad. I can confidently claim to have spoken about all vital issues with my (then) would-be-spouse before tying the knot.

Then too I failed to seek acceptance in his family. I had not had a love marriage, neither was it an inter-cast one. I was the first choice of my ex-MIL and also my ex-husband. So in an ideal Indian setup it was a wedding arranged in heaven when all the lucky stars aligned to create the perfect match.

Still, Sonam and I suffered a breakup. Because, in both our cases our spouses betrayed us. Blatantly refused to accept all the promises they’d made prior to the wedding and chose everyone but their spouse and kid when the time came.

So what is the point I am trying to make?

Just that, the success or failure of a marriage is solely dependent on the people who are married. Rest everything else is immaterial, unimportant and a mere waste of human emotions and time. If only the spouses stay loyal, respectful, supportive and honest life goes on smoothly, every hurdle can be changed to a stepping stone to success.

In my personal opinion, arranged or love marriages should only differ in how the spouses met. Themselves or through their families. Rest everything else should be left to be discussed, shared, decided and planned by the people getting married, not by the people around them. This thought often provokes a response, as to compatibility of the daughter in law in the marital family can be judged only by the boy’s parents and family for they have better life experience.

To that, I’d like to say that if the boy getting married isn’t mature enough to be able to decide what kind of life and spouse would suit him, he better wait till such maturity dawns over him. No one has ever gained anything except frustration and pain when people other than the people getting married make the final choices. After all, the people who are to spend their lives living up to those choices should rightfully be the ones making them.

Instead of debating which type of marriage, whether arranged or love is a better one, emphasis should be laid on instilling the right essence of married life. Look for compatibility and companionship. Person with whom you are on the same page in your values, vision of life and beliefs will make for a better spouse irrespective of how you met him/her.

* Name has been changed to protect identity.

The song on my mind: Le jayenge, le jayenge ~ Chor machaye shor

30 thoughts on “Let’s talk about Indian Marriages

  1. Those getting married should be the ones to take the decision of getting married – but often Indian young people are listening to some well meaning advice or have more interest in dowry/settling down/pleasing the parents who want to see them married to certain kind of person….

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  2. This post could not have come at a better time πŸ™‚ Completely agree with you. Whether love or arranged, the two people in the marriage should understand that by marrying, they are starting a new family- containing just the two of them – and that this new family gains automatic priority over both birth families.

    Also feel that for all the talk about women changing after marriage, in the indian set-up its often the man , who sheds his courtship clothes and changes to play the part of ‘husband’in front of his family- nothing can actually prepare you for that, other than spending time with the in-laws as a family before marriage 😦

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    1. Change over time is inevitable, but what is important is remembering the importance of being supportive, understanding and respectful of one’s spouse at all times and not forgetting she too is a part of the family and not an outsider as DIL are often treated.

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  3. Hi, when I read this account – I felt words to reply become inadequate. All I can say is there is always a silver lining … ! I wish you all the joy for the tomorrows ahead!
    Cheers,
    Dilip

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  4. The solution, as mentioned in the last para, has a catch – All the compatibility, values, vision and beliefs will change with time, for both. When it comes to marriage, there are people who will give an oscar-winning performance before marriage and show their true colors after it.

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    1. If you are dishonest and fake right in the start, not only marriages but any relationship for that matter stands the risk of failure.So this cannot be called a catch in the Indian society but is a flaw of human character.

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  5. I agree.. arranged or love – none of the factors ensure the longevity of a marriage. It is all about trust, faith, love, respect, space and many other such things. I have witnessed so many examples around me as well.

    Nothing comes with a guarantee..It is just a myth that love marriages lead to divorces which needs to be changed.

    Happy marriages are born out of hearts and not from horoscopes or aligning stars πŸ™‚

    BTW, lovely song. One of my personal favorites!

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  6. emphasis should be laid on instilling the right essence of married life. Look for compatibility and companionship. Person with whom you are on the same page in your values, vision of life and beliefs will make for a better spouse irrespective of how you met him/her.

    Thats so so true ME….its something I believe is very very important in a marriage

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  7. rightly said, the diffrnce b/w both lies in how u met the spouse, rest is all about compatibility n companionship.

    off late I’ve read many posts on this topic bt i found urs totally apt, with use of right words. πŸ™‚
    P.S after reading so much on “the topic” we the generation to get married in coming years, will certainly benefit. πŸ˜€

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    1. I am glad talking about this can actually help people see some light through the confusing traditions and practices of our society πŸ™‚
      Thank you Sugar πŸ˜€

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