Arranged marriage has been the traditional way of conducting marriages from the ancient times. Much have changed in the modern world and today in many parts of the world especially the western part, marriage decision is totally left to the two individuals who decide to live together based on love, trust and commitment to each other. This love, trust and commitment is built over time by knowing each other. But in majority of the Middle East and south Asian countries marriage is still fully arranged or at least partly arranged by the elders in the family and by other authorities and the so called gatekeepers of the society. These people have considerable influence on the family based on religious and caste based structures.
So let’s understand what an arranged marriage is and what are the positives and negatives of the arranged type of marriage. Further if you decide to go for an arranged marriage it would be also wise to take some tips and guidelines regarding this type of marriage. To start with, we can define arranged marriages as marriages which are primarily decided by third parties other than the two individuals who are actually going to get married. It is also called as prearranged marriage. As this kind of marriage is arranged by someone other than the persons actually getting married, the process of courtship is completely curtailed or shortened to a great extent. Now these “other persons” in highly traditional societies may include parents, family elders, relatives, priests and religious leaders. In a little more liberal atmosphere we can see the utilization of the services of matchmaking agents, family friends and matrimonial sites. It has been seen that the matrimonial sites offer at least some scope for the couple to know each other before getting married. All other avenues, to a very large extent are out of the direct control and influence of the actual people getting married.
Arranged marriage: Positives of the arranged type of marriage
Now let’s analyze the positive points of the arranged type of marriage. The first and foremost thing that comes into mind when we discuss the positives of arranged marriage is the full support of the families from both sides. Arranged marriages are decided after lot of meetings and discussions among parents and elder members in the family and therefore the chance of any discord in the family as regard to the marriage can be mostly eliminated out. Further these marriages are built on a solid foundation of two families coming together and therefore the actual people getting married get lot of confidence. In fact the trust among them increases to a great extent because of the all round approval. Arranged marriage settings actually take away lot of burden and uncertainty from the lives of the unmarried boys and girls. For example if the boy or the girl fully know that they are going to get married only through arranged type of marriage then they don’t have to take the trouble of hunting their life partners by their own. They can concentrate all their energies on more purposeful and fruitful endeavours like higher education and a career and leave the decision of their marriage completely to their parents. The other benefits of the arranged marriage include financial and physical support from both the families for the newly wedded couple in terms of starting a new household of their own. Moreover the extended family also provides a cushion in relatively tougher times. The long term benefits of an arranged marriage include a secure environment for the next generation under the watchful eyes of the grandparents and a large family.
Arranged marriage: Negatives of the arranged type of marriage
As we have discussed the positives of arranged marriage in great length we should also be aware of the negatives and shortcomings of the arranged type of marriage. One of the biggest drawbacks of the arranged marriage is that the most important decision of a person’s personal life is taken by somebody else. There is no work involved from the boy or the girl for finding their life partner and there is no personal relationship between the boy and girl based on love, understanding and commitment to a live a life together. The boy and girl are strangers to each other and they don’t know the likes and dislikes of each other. This can latter lead to lot of distress and can become a prime reason for marital discord. Further there is no guaranty that the trust between the families and elders that are seen in the initial days will continue for long. A small issue among the senior members of the family can get blown out of proportion and then the large egos of the parents and other senior family members can completely destroy the marriage. Further arranged marriages are the biggest cause of dowry demands and dowry related problems. These marriages are also the biggest hindrance to personal development and independence in life. The girl and the boy become dependent on their families and they become incapable of even taking the smallest decisions of their life by their own. Further there is lot of interference from the families even in the most trivial of matters and the boy and the girl never learn to sort of their lives the way they want. Socially also arranged type of marriage is the biggest hindrance towards a society which is based on equality among the people. Arranged marriages are the biggest propagators of the caste system and conservative religious beliefs.
Arranged marriage: Tips for arranged type of marriage
Every system has its positives and negatives. If you have decided that arranged marriage is the only way that you can get married in the current circumstances prevailing in your life then it would be wise to increase the positives of the arranged marriage and avoid the negatives to the maximum extent. The foremost thing that you need to do is to become accountable about your own marriage. Don’t leave the decision of your marriage in others hands. It is after all your life and therefore your opinion has to be respected. This is something that you should communicate to your parents and elders in the house. Next is the source of getting a good match. In today’s world when communications take place at lightning speed it is good to use tools like internet based matrimonial sites for searching your life partner. With this mode you will have some control in the selection process as you get a chance to directly get in touch with the other person to whom you might get married and further there is also chance of brief courtship through this mode. At least by this method you can know your life partner a little better before getting actually married and you can also minimize dowry related demands and problems.
Further check the horoscopes for a match if both the families insist on it. This will increase the confidence among the families as well as the people who are getting married. It is highly desirable to keep at least 3-4 months period gap between the time the marriage is fixed and the actual marriage date. Apart from courtship and understanding each other, this time can be utilized for checking and rechecking the antecedents of the individuals who are getting married. This period can be also a good opportunity for the two families to mingle with each other and create enough rapport so that any future misunderstandings can be avoided. Finally the most important point to remember is that the success of any marriage whether arranged or love marriage depends upon the two individuals who are actually getting married. It is definitely in their hands to make the marriage a big success or a big failure.
Article by Sanjay Nair
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