Arranged Marriage vs Love Marriageby Ayesha Jain, 16 May 2013
The arranged marriage vs love marriage debate is one that will may never be resolved. In the past, almost all marriages were arranged however in these modern times, many are opting to break from tradition and instead pursue a love marriage. I am not going to claim that one is better than the other, rather I am going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Arranged Marriage vs Love Marriage
In an arranged marriage, the bride and groom are usually selected by their parents, rather than by each other. This is not to be confused with forced marriages where by people are forced to marry against their will. Arranged marriages are accepted by the bride and groom as they believe their elders are able to make the best decision when it comes to who they marry. Arranged marriages have been one of the more dominant forms of marriage recorded throughout history and, although they are no longer common within Western societies, arranged marriages are still the most common form of marriage within India.
Many believe that arranged marriages are more stable and successful due to much lower divorce rates. While it is true that the divorce rates for arranged marriages in India (2%) are significantly less than those of love marriages in the United States (45%), we cannot judge arranged marriage success rates on statistics alone. We must also take into account the social acceptance of divorce within the two countries. In the United States, divorce does not carry any social stigma and the option is easily available whilst in India, the opposite is true. Due to the strong social stigma and possibility of harming their family name, the idea of divorce for many Indians is unthinkable, even if they are the victim of abuse. If someone is trapped inside an abusive or unhappy marriage, it would be absurd to call that marriage a success. A successful marriage is one where both partners are living a happy and fulfilled life. In my opinion, nobody can claim that one type of marriage is more successful than the other.
One of the major benefits of an arranged marriage is that young adults do not need to dedicate their time searching for a life partner. They are able to concentrate on their education and career knowing that when the time is right, their parents will provide them with a suitable bride or groom. For the most part, they are also saved from the pain of rejection that is inevitable when seeking to find your own partner. Those seeking a love marriage may suffer rejection and relationship breakups many times before they are successful in finding their life partner. This can result in low self esteem and confidence. Additionally, for those who are shy or suffer from social anxiety, having their partner provided for them is a huge relief.
Some of the factors parents will consider during their search for a bride or groom include religion, caste, reputation, wealth, vocation, health and whether or not the potential partner is Mângalik. Parents often advertise for a bride or groom within their local newspaper or they create a profile for their son or daughter on matrimony sites such as iMarriages. Unfortunately, parents can sometimes be untruthful when describing their son or daughter during marriage negotiations. For example, some newly-weds find that their partner has an illness or disability that was not disclosed to them prior to marriage. More problems can arise during the negotiation process including the dreaded dowry. In India the payment of dowry was made unlawful in 1961 however this has not prevented it's occurrence. Make no mistake regarding dowry, it is a evil process that directly contributes to female infanticide and domestic violence.
The main benefit of a love marriage is the ability to choose your own partner. The same factors that are taken into consideration when negotiating an arranged marriage can be taken into account before you agree to start dating or spending time with somebody. This dispels the myth that arranged marriages are more financially stable. If you are concerned about money, you have the option of not dating somebody who is not educated or wealthy. A love marriage also allows you to make a decision based on personality and physical attractiveness. While a parent may attempt to take personality and physical attractiveness into account when arranging a marriage, their idea of what is attractive maybe different to that of their son or daughter.
Unlike in an arranged marriage where the bride and groom often have very little time to get to know each other before the wedding, a love marriage gives you the freedom of time and allows the relationship to proceed at it's own pace. This allows you to really get to know the person you are dating before deciding to commit the rest of your life to them.
The love marriage isn't without it's own problems. Shakespeare famously wrote 'Love is blind and lovers cannot see' and according to modern research, these words are more than just figurative. In a study performed by University College London in 2004, it was found that the feelings of love suppressed certain areas of the brain that are responsible for critical thought. Love can cause us to be overly trusting, distort reality and make decisions we normally wouldn't make. If we are not careful, it can lead us to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who pretend that the feelings of love are mutual, only to manipulate us for their own financial gain. In such situations, the dishonest person ends the relationship once they have taken all they can from their victim. Fortunately, should one find that the person they are dating is dishonest or abusive, they can simply end the relationship.
Marriage itself is a sacred bond that occurs not only between a bride and a groom but also between their respective families. The bond is not dependant on the type of marriage or even how extravagant the matrimony may be. Neither a love marriage nor a arranged marriage can guarantee success and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately it is up to the individual to choose which type of marriage suits them best.