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Arranged Weddings

  1. Jun 11, 2006 #1
    No, I am not talking of a couple falling in love and arranging a proper wedding ceremony in a chapel and marrying in the presence of their families .
    What I mean is the custom of marriage carried out in many Asian countries, especially in the Indian subcontinent, of parents arranging their son's/daughter's wedding when they are of proper age to someone they haven't even seen or met earlier . No love, no nothing and this is not medieval England .

    Of course the bride/groom get to voice their preferences regarding their partner to be, while their parents sift through the thousands of resumes trying to find the ideal match .

    The situation is made worse by a staunch belief in astrology which requires the "stars" of the likely partners to "match" for the sacred union.
    Even the engagement ceremony, in some places, doesn't involve the bride or groom .
    In all probability, the first time that the partners are likely to even talk to one another is when the marriage is over .
    You might be wondering to yourself , how the alliance even manages to stay together, let alone be happy .
    But the fact of the matter is that divorce rates here, are nothing compared to western countries . Go figure .
    Love marriages are quite rare, and the couple is usually looked down upon. The Indian film industry, which churns out thousands of movies every year, however has about 98% of the movie themes based on love stories where the hero and heroine overcome all obstacles (including their parents) to finally unite in matrimony .These films are well received which seems quite contradictory to public opinion.

    My cousin just got married (arranged of course) and is quite happy, but the question still remains if she would have been happier choosing a partner whom she would have loved, had it not been considered taboo.
    I think so .

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2006 #2


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    Is the low divorce rate due to the expectation that once married you stay married, or do you think the couples seem to actually get along better?

    At the turn of the century in America, divorce was very uncommon. Most women just were not able to support themselves, so stayed in miserable marriages. In wealthy families, it was more acceptable for the man to take a mistress and the wife to look the other way, in poorer families it was a trade off, the man supported the woman and the woman took care of him.
  4. Jun 11, 2006 #3
    Well, I think it's both .
    Somehow, the couples manage to get along really well, my parents were wed in the same way, and they love each other dearly.
    However there is also definitely the pressure to stay married as well, which I fear plays the greater share in most cases .
    I remember myself worrying a lot when my cousin's wedding was approaching, on what kind of a man the groom was going to be . Of course, the family had already talked to him and he seemed nice and loving, but then again if one could figure a person out in a few minutes of conversation, the world would be a funny place to live in .
    Thankfully, in this case the guy turned out to be perfect .
    Bless the astrologers, my aunt would say !
    Another aspect of these weddings, is the amount of money that the bride's family has to put into the wedding.It's bewildering, how the bride is covered in gold, and it is said that parents start saving money for a girl's wedding from the moment she is born. Thankfully, the practice of dowry has been removed from society to a great extent, but I feel this is equally bad.You could say that society here is somewhat male dominated, although women aren't kept under subjection in any way, and have jobs like in any other society. It is only in family life, that this superiority is seen . Any feminists around ?
    Hopefully, it's just a matter of time before they abandon this system .
  5. Jun 11, 2006 #4


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    My (white, English) flatmate is currently (secretly) going out with an Asian guy whose parents are trying to arrange his marriage (to someone else). Obviously from our point of view it's completely proposterous and this chap should be allowed to go and find his own wife without fear of his parents disowning him for choosing someone who is a) not Muslim, and b) white. However, we come from completely different cultures so probably aren't in a position to make any in-depth criticism of the traditional practice of arranged marriages.
  6. Jun 11, 2006 #5
    But rational thinking can always be encouraged and according to me the system is irrational. I also feel that there is slow, but growing opinion among youngsters against the system as well .
    On my part, I hope your flatmate is successful .:D
  7. Jun 11, 2006 #6


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    I definitely notice this opinion among those I know who have moved to the US from India, but it's hard to know if that's why they chose to move to the US or if it's the culture in the US influencing their view, or if they would have had the same perspective if they stayed in India. This is somewhat different from when I was still a kid and my Indian classmates fully expected they would have arranged marriages...it's the same generation that by the time they reached adulthood began to reject the idea, or had what I would call a pseudo-arranged marriage, where they really picked the person they were attracted to, and then their parents got together and made the arrangements based on that rather than more traditional reasons. But, that's only in the US.

    I think it's interesting that when you aren't given much of a choice, you manage to make do and make the marriage work out well enough. It's not like people do better choosing their own spouses. Maybe it's just that parents are better at knowing what their kids want or need than we'd like to give them credit for, so actually get it right even though their kids don't get much, if any, say in the matter?
  8. Jun 11, 2006 #7
    My mom's brother's daughter had her marriage last year. It was a love marriage. Naturally her parents were against it (the boys parents were, however, comfortable). Well, they married her off to him. They tried their best and even beat her. But she had to pay heavily for it (literally, too). First thing, they told her that you are being married against our wishes and now there is no reason you must come back to our house (they sort of disowned her). The marriage was also a hush-hush affair. Only 10-20 people were invited and no gifts were given to the bride (as per the old Indian custom).
    She had also deposited her money in a joint account (which she had earned) in a bank. Her parents also withdrew the money. It was all hard on her.
    What could she do? If she went to cops, she would have to put her parents in jail. Maybe she did not want it, so she did not do it.
    They took the matters a little bit far. But they are little bit of 'fighting type'. Even my mom has not good relations with them.
  9. Jun 12, 2006 #8
    I am really sorry to hear what happened to your cousin hellraiser .
    What sort of parents disown their own child ?!
    I hope she's having a better time with her in laws .
    Sometimes, it seems that it is more of the educated and upper classes that are so hell bent against love marriages .
    The few bold souls that come forward are persecuted .
    The rich see weddings as a mere business transaction .
    The worst aspect of these weddings is that ( I don't know if I should discuss this, but this is something I feel strongly about ) after marriage, the couple starts living as if they have known and loved each other
    all along . What I mean is that weddings are also seen as a license for sex ! In a society, where premarital sex is taboo ( and rightly so, I feel),
    marriage seems to serve the purpose. The "first night" of the couple together is itself seen in this light. This is very disturbing to me, for the couple must have known each other for hardly a few hours .
    Imagine yourself in that situation !
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