Arranged Marriage or Love Marriage?

There’s some fierce discussion happening on IHM’s post, with many commenters voicing their thoughts on arranged marriage vis a vis love marriage. Now I agree with some of what is being discussed.

I agree how ridiculous it is when in an arranged marriage the boy and the girl, absolute strangers to each other, are thrown in together on the day of the wedding and then expected to have sex on the very first night.

I agree its being gravely unfair to the girl mentioned in the post, when she is considered cruel for “denying sex and not actively participating in it ”  and not the husband who, in my opinion, is the one being cruel by insisting on having sex.

Yes quite a few arranged marriages are about this notion that a bride, for that matter groom too, is expected to remain clueless about what or who is she/he getting married into. And more often than not the bride is expected to adjust to the new surrounding, new family, etc.

Not all arranged marriages, mind you. Which is where I want to butt in.

I dont agree with the generalization that all arranged marriages are bad. I had an arranged marriage. And no I was not forced into it. I had every freedom to opt for or out of it as per my will. And I am very certain that if I had fallen in love with someone before I got engaged or married, and wished to marry him, my parents would have been as forthcoming. It was sheer chance that I didnt find anybody to my liking until my parents found a suitable boy. And when they found him it was again upto me to decide whether I really wanted to marry him or no.

We had a brief period of 5 months in which time my then-fiancee-now-husband truly realized that we did want to marry each other. And in those 5 months we discussed every possible apprehension, every possible anxiety creeping inside us, got to know each other well enough to get a better understanding of our relationship and also of our future. Believe me, if even one of us had had a slight doubt, we would have backed out and our families would have been just as supportive.

Love or arranged, a marriage has to entail certain amount of adjustments and compromises. It is just as possible for two people in a love-marriage to realize later that they are not compatible enough to live together as two people in an arranged marriage to realize how much they were meant to be together!

Its all subjective. We cant generalize.

In my opinion a marriage if arranged by the families needs to ensure that the bride and groom have enough time to meet, understand each other and gauge how accepting each one is to the other’s flaws and strengths before they tie the knot. I know its still not a guarantee that the marriage will work. But then neither is a love marriage, right? No marriage is a guarantee unless the couple involved takes equal effort and care to nurture the relationship, make compromises, adjust while respecting each other’s principles, help each other to grow. And yes I reiterate, this has to be mutual.

To me , my marriage holds as much importance as a choice marriage for the simple reason that R & I, although found for each other by our families, chose each other!

No I have nothing against choice marriages. I am very much for it and endorse it wholeheartedly. But I am not against arranged marriages either. I am all for an arranged marriage which is arranged keeping utmost in mind the interests and decisions of the couple-to-marry.

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48 thoughts on “Arranged Marriage or Love Marriage?

  1. I agree to every word you said. Mind was the same – arranged marriage But i had every freedom to agree or disagree at any time.
    I am glad it went the way it did.
    Also – my sister chose her life partner herself and I am equally glad for that too.
    My parents gave same support to both of us.
    What matters is the mutual respect, understanding & trust between two people….whether its arranged or love or chosen – Or whatever other name one can call it.

    • “What matters is the mutual respect, understanding & trust between two people….whether its arranged or love or chosen – Or whatever other name one can call it.” Absolutely!

  2. A coin has two sides. I know frenz who had love mrrg but tell me that they had to work really hard to make it work. It wasn’t a cake walk despite the fact that they had known eachother for more than 2 years.

    At the end of the day how a mrrg fares is an individual experience!

  3. I agree with all you said.

    Be it arranged or love marriage the key point is it is a marriage and hence the key elements involved in both of these should remain the same as in allowing the boy and the girl enough time to interact and understand each other, learn about each others expectations and aspirations from their life and from marriage as well. Till this kind of approach is adopted, it really doesn’t matter how the boy and the girl initially met, themselves or through their families.

    • “Be it arranged or love marriage the key point is it is a marriage and hence the key elements involved in both of these should remain the same as in allowing the boy and the girl enough time to interact and understand each other, learn about each others expectations and aspirations from their life and from marriage as well.” Precisely!

  4. But can you really call yours ‘arranged marriage’ in the true sense Deeps? When parents leave the choice to you, just because the initial meeting was due to them, it does not become ‘arranged marriage’. You had a choice to refuse, and you knew of their support in that. But the majority of people who go through ‘arranged’ marriage, do not have that choice. If everything else is perceived to be perfect by members of their respective families, the pressure is on for them to be married. Or in some cases, the marriage happens after the concerned couple have seen and talked to each other for precisely 5 minutes. Those I feel are the real arranged marriages, where the bride and groom end up on the ‘first night’ after the wedding as literal strangers and are expected to have sex just because they are now married to each other, no other reason..
    I feel marriages such as yours can’t really be termed truly as ‘arranged marriages’. They are sort of best of both worlds type. :)

    • Till now I had thought mine was an arranged marriage, but your definition sounds so much better, Shail. :D

      “Those I feel are the real arranged marriages, where the bride and groom end up on the ‘first night’ after the wedding as literal strangers and are expected to have sex just because they are now married to each other, no other reason..” Oh yeah that is an unfortunate and a disgusting scenario!

  5. By the way, everyone says that whichever sort of marriage it is, what comes later is what matters. You have to work at your marriage, be itlove marriage or arranged marriage. But what they seem to forget is that in the real ‘arranged marriage you are working with a stranger. There is no guarantee that it can work even if both of you try your very best. Sometimes you have NOTHING in common or to even work on. Then how or where do you start working on it? So, I don’t agree that this working on marriage is the same for both arranged and love marriages. It is a lot different. The chances of finding yourself distant from your partner are way more in marriages ‘arranged by parents/elders on the basis of what is important to them, namely the family, the standing in society, horoscope, caste etc. None of these will come in handy when a relationship has to be worked upon. The worst part is even if the incompatibility is aired, the only support you get after obeying elders implicitly is the standard reply, “Adjust, it is the woman’s lot.” :)

    • “But what they seem to forget is that in the real ‘arranged marriage you are working with a stranger. There is no guarantee that it can work even if both of you try your very best.” Theres so such guarantee in a love marriage either where you have work with someone you know, Shail. I have seen from close quarters where marriages have broken despite the couples having lived in for good amount of years before getting married..only to realize later that they were incompatible. What do we make of such cases? Love or arranged, in both scenarios a marriage has to be worked on..how much needs to be worked varies from one relationship to the other, I think.

      Yes I feel too that the practice of not allowing the boy and the girl until the day of their marriage needs to stop. Parents/families at the time of arranging the alliance need to encourage them to meet and talk for a good period of time before deciding on a wedding date. And yes the practice of putting the blame on women for any marital discord has to stop too. The responsibility for a marriage to work lies both on the husband and the wife. If thats recognized I believe both kinds of marriage are possible :)

      • I just want to add here that the slightest difference in LM and AM [in which the partner is a total stranger to you] is that in LM you know the person and his/her likes and dislikes to some extent [again I won't say every LM couple would have known each other totally,cause being a GF-BF is one thing and living together under one roof is another] and you’ve made some mental notes of them and may be you are prepared to adjust post marriage-which still doesn’t guarantee success.

        For eg in a LM : let’s say a girl G is a perfectionist to the core and the boy B is opposite of her. They know this and still they decide to go ahead and tie the knot. But once they start living together the real test comes in. That is when the adjustment plays an important role and if both G abd B are unable to adjust to something which they were aware of , then even their relationship may go for a toss,no?

        so if in AMs too the girl and boy are allowed to meet and meet really well like not only at the occasion of dekhna dikhana then may be the girl and boy would know what’s coming to them,well to some extent that is…and would be mentally prepared and ready to take the plunge!

        sigh such a topic this is Deeps…we all can go on and on and on :)

  6. The kind of arranged marriage you had is the most benign form of arranged marriage, Deeps, and it is far from being commonplace. In general practice the girl has no real option to say no at any point of time.

    If she really puts her foot down and refuses to marry the one her parents have chosen for her, what ensues is an approximation of all hell breaking loose. She exposes herself to shrill accusations of being difficult/ making life difficult for her family/ being selfish and not caring about the happiness of her parents. In effect it is simply easier for the girl to choose the path of least resistance and go along with her family’s choice.

    • “If she really puts her foot down and refuses to marry the one her parents have chosen for her, what ensues is an approximation of all hell breaking loose” – I have been fortunate to have come across women who have stood up and refused whatever alliances came their way for whatever reasons, scribblehappy. They didnt care what the society thought of them and neither did their parents. Yes their parents have had to hear all kinds of nonsense from the society for not getting them married at the right age, but they chose to disregard them. This particular girl had no objection to her parents choosing a boy for her, but somehow nothing seemed to work out. Eventually she found someone and got married at the age of 35..what heartens me to see is how her parents or family members never for once blamed her or got affected by the society’s taunts. I was happy that she was not forced to go along with the family’s choice just because it was the easier path to choose. So I feel a lot of mindset-makeover needs to happen at the parents and families end..if they stop falling prey to societal pressure then they can make the lives of their children a lot easier and happier.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree. I had an arranged marriage too – as in the groom was chosen by my aunt. We met and had every opportunity to talk to and understand each other. There was absolutely no pressure either from his side or mine. We had every opportunity to back out of the marriage if we had the slightest doubt. We both went into the marriage because we genuinely liked each other and thought we could live together.

    I maintain that it does not matter whether you had a love marriage or an arranged marriage. What matters is the kind of person you marry and the effort you both are willing to put in to make yourself and the other person happy.

    D: Absolutely!

    I don’t say arranged marriages are better than love marriages or vice versa. I am just stating my example. Today, I am glad I married the person I did.

    That said, I wonder if your marriage and mine can be considered as ‘arranged marriages’ in the true sense of the word. Like some commentors have mentioned, there are marriages in which the groom and bride are entirely arranged by family, and they have absolutely no say in it. That’s sad, and I would not endorse that any day.

    D: I would neither. Yes there are marriages where families dont ask the bride and the groom for their readiness or opinion and just thrust the alliance on them which is unfair and unfortunate but a lot of families are also very much prevalent who do arrange their children’s marriage keeping the boy and girl’s interests and readiness in mind. To cite my marriage and yours as examples :).And I hope with each passing generation the line between arranged and choice marriages merges.

  8. hmmm this debate will never come to a conclusion , but in my experience which is very little still there are more divorces among couples who have ahd a love marriage then the ones with arranged marriage..

    I dont know why people keep harping on the point how a girl has to marry or has no option.. DOES anyone not find the same for the boys too, the boy too is in the same boat , I know for sure my father would never have asked me …

    The problem is that no one wants to make it work, thats what the real problem is , both the male and the female are same now , none want to back down and both think the other is wrong ALWAYS.
    arranged or love marriage today any of them are to be doomed at the slightest pretext, doesnot matter whose fault it is.

    D: “arranged or love marriage today any of them are to be doomed at the slightest pretext, doesnot matter whose fault it is.” And can be successful too, Bik! Lets be positive :D

  9. Deeps – I wrote a long, long long comment but lost it :( Heartbroken, I tell you :)

    Absolutely agree, Deeps! Love marriage or arranged marriage – the success or failure depends of the people involved. There is always elements of adjustment, and understanding that will dictate whether or not the marriage is successful or not.

    It depends on the mindset, upbringing, the emotional baggage that might come into the marriage, and of course expectations..If all this has not been addressed before agreeing to marry(in both cases – love and arranged), things might not work out. Then again, things might work out if both partners are in sync, despite not having discussed things in detail before getting married.

    In my opinion, both types of marriages have a degree of success and failure rates – neither is a sure fire recipe for success or failure.

    D: “In my opinion, both types of marriages have a degree of success and failure rates” Exactly, we cant just generalize and say one is better or worse than the other.

  10. There is so clear cut rule that arranged marriages will work and love marriages will fail,both has there own positive and negative aspects.

    My marriage was fixed in a week and i met my future husband just once before the marriage.I had so many doubts and inhibitions and i was scared too.

    After marriage my mom arranged the ceremony of first night in my house but my husband said we are not going for that ceremony,first let me know my wife and my wife know me then we will think of that.We went to few places but never sex was in our mind.My mom was quite upset because she heard a lot from the relatives etc…. i didn’t care what they said to her….

    And liking any individual is a slow process atleast in a arranged marriage.You will love the person after knowing him/her…

    • “After marriage my mom arranged the ceremony of first night in my house but my husband said we are not going for that ceremony,first let me know my wife and my wife know me then we will think of that” Applause! That was so sensible of your husband to have said that, sari!

  11. Awesome post Deeps! U hv said everything that I would have wanted to on this. At the end of the day, it depends on mutual love, respect and trust! I do agree with Shail when she says some of us get the best of both world’s, but it has kinda become a fashion to ask ‘Is urs an arranged marriage? Did parents find him/her for u? Oh how sad!:( This is something which gets my goat! Like you said, it is as simple as someone introduces/ finds a boy who might be a good match but they both have a say as to whether they want to take it forward. If this is what people tag as arranged marriage, then it is soo totally different from either of them not being given a choice!

    • Another thing that gets my goat is when I hear this argument that if in an arranged marriage if anything goes wrong, the girl or the boy can always go back to their parents/families and blame THEM because the alliance is their choice whereas in a love marriage a girl and a boy need to work doubly hard to make it work because the choice to get married to each other is theirs! Why? When something goes wrong in a love marriage cant the couple seek their families’ support? Or in an arranged marraige does the couple work any less hard to make it work? Rubbish! :roll:

  12. I think as long as you are happy with your partner and enjoy being together, it doesn’t really matters whether its an arranged marriage or love marriage and I strongly believe that be it love marriage or an arranged one, the final decision should lie with the two getting married….

    • Absolutely! if families while arranging marriage of their children instead of forcing their own choices on them recognize that ultimately the decision to marry or not has to rest on the couple involved then I believe arranged marriage can be possible just as much.

  13. Agree completely!! In a marriage… love or arranged one… both the partners need to work on it, to make it work. Neither of the two is a sure shot recipe for “And they lived happily ever after”!

  14. Deep beautiful write up agree with what you said..I had an arranged marriage…and any ways for any relationship to work there has to be a will from both sides to make it work…
    hugs n love :)

  15. Stands up and claps loudly

    What a post Deeps :)

    I think like Shail-ji says yours was not really an arranged marriage in the true sense of the word…Even I have had a marriage similar to yours..and though RD and I didnt spend too much time with each other, we used to talk regularly and stuff…..well I am hopping over to IHM’s space now..have missed that post due to the blog break :)

  16. Deeps,

    This is just such a true post. Arranged and love apart, the only thing is about knowing the person one marries and loving him/her for it.
    Also, I developed this fancy of saying mine was a love and arranged marriage – I really thought since I loved the man and then our parents arranged it, we should only call it so.
    Also, honestly, no matter what type of marriage one chooses even after careful analysis, none can guarantee the “success”. Marriage requires a special friendship that can happen in either kind of a wedding. And if it doesn’t, one can always follow their calling. I feel this will probably remove all the stress around weddings.
    Oh, I got married in november 2011 so not really my age or experience speaking. Just thoughts.

    • “Marriage requires a special friendship that can happen in either kind of a wedding. And if it doesn’t, one can always follow their calling.” I agree!

  17. the second para of this post reminds me of an sms I received few days back on arranged marriage :

    all your life your parents tell you to not talk to strangers and suddenly one day they expect you to sleep with one

    any way this line steals the show : R & I, although found for each other by our families, chose each other! :)

    And needless to say I agree with you that in any type of marriage generalization can’t be done…adjustments and enjoying differences is the key to a healthy relationship-arranged or love!

    3 utmost important ingredients for any marriage,according to me,are: readiness [to adjust], respect [each other's individuality] and reassurance [that we both can make it work] – and these have to be applied by both the partners !

    • the whole point in both my comments is that ‘guarantee toh kisi cheez ki nahi hai…marriage is not a product which comes with a guarantee,warranty or even exchange policy’ ! :)

      • Exactly theres no guarantee in marriage. Any marriage- love or arranged, the responsibility for its success or failure lies on the couple involved. And the amount of effort that goes into it varies from one relation to another.

  18. What I believe is that the ‘typical’ arranged marriage is not healthy – and that means when the girl and boy don’t get to meet, or get to meet only after engagement (when they’re not allowed to reconsider). I always wonder what I’d have done if I had to see someone and decide that he is the one, in an arranged set up. I always feel that the arranged marriage funda will work better when the parents are out of the equation for a while, so that the couple doesn’t feel undue pressure. But if the boy and girl are given time to get to know each other before things are finalised, how does it differ from a love marriage? :)

    • Yes an arranged marriage which was much in practice before where the girl and the boy never met until the day of the wedding cannot be called healthy. But off late I believe that it has gone through some positive change, where the families do acknowledge the interests of their children before arranging their marriage :)

  19. Wish arranged marriages worked in this ideal a set up. Then we wouldn’t be bashing up that concept so much. It’s practised for all the wrong reasons and with the wrong set of priorities. That’s where it all starts going down the chute….

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  21. In the UK, we have similar debates: Arranged marriage Vs Love (or Choice) marriage. I laugh at those English people who can’t seem to get their heads around ‘Choice’ marriage – at which point I remind them that the King’s and Queen’s in UK have had arranged marriage – history backup my claim including Prince William and Lady Diana.

    D: So true there!

    Arranged marriage is no different to choice marriage – the difference is who does the finding. But life is not as simple as this, is it. I have no preference, other than knowing that arranged marriage tend to survive longer than love marriages or choice marriages.

    As society changes, people become more and more independent at an early age – I feel more and more people will plan to marry much later in their lives. I for one don’t believe in Love – and I make no secret of my feelings. Love is now as cheap as chips and its been devalued in my opinion.

    Arranged marriage also has a flip side, which is what we hear often and that is ‘force marriage’. This has nothing to do with culture, religion or society but is everything to with bad decision. We hear all the times, that so and so has been forced to marry in Canada, or someone in India or Pakistan – but let’s face it, society is unable to deal with such problems unless those affected come out and speak.

    D: You’re right. A marriage which is forcibly arranged cannot be termed healthy. Any relationship for that matter, where force is involved cannot thrive. Absolutely agree with you. Unless people speak out against atrocities or unfairness society will never be able to deal with the problems.

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  23. I am single and about to get married in a couple of years probably. I can smell it not from inside but from outside (my family, friends etc.). Actually they want me to get married no matter how. So I am reading such articles to make myself ready and honestly guys “I AM AFRAID” all the above philosophies seems threatening to me. I feel like all you guys are married and trying to keep yourself satisfied with the decisions taken by you or on your behalf. I am sorry guys but that’s what I feel :(

  24. A lovely post. As a child, my own parents had a choice marriage and I then lived for a year with a family who were in an arranged marriage. It is not the choice marriage that is still together! I think many people who don’t understand how arranged marriages are organised have many misapprenhensions about how they work.

  25. i am about to marry a person whom i dont like but my family force me to do that.i love a person for 5 years, how could i marry him i dont know?

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