Imagine this scenario: Your parents are murmuring through the phone, voraciously nodding and talking with one another, exchanging sudden pleasantries with your extended family and making subtle hints about the ‘M’ word. Jokingly, they mention someone that your uncle or aunt thought would be perfect for you. “Maybe you should just meet him/her once before you say NO”. No wonder, a tinge of fear creeps in and you know this won’t be a joke until long enough.
Through the passing years, the concept of arranged marriages have been thought to decline, especially in the urban areas but even now, about 88% of marriages in India are arranged. With a fair share of love and arranged marriages taking place, it all comes down to the matter of personal choice or lack, thereof. While not all of these marriages are successful, some of them certainly are. What one is left with is the persistent thought of whether one should love and then marry or marry and then hope to love.
Marry And Love?
In an arranged marriage scenario, marriage is popularly regarded as the union of not just two people but of the respective families as well. Matters of status, stability, security, education and values take precedence over personal choices of their sons and daughters.
When looking for a partner for their sons or daughters, parents ensure to check the compatibility with the potential bride or groom’s side of the family. Once they feel they can safely marry their son or daughter into this family, they are assured that they will be taken care of.
More often than not, in the Indian cultural milieu of marriage, it is seen that the brides end up living at the husband’s place with his parents. They often feel helpless and give in as an obligation towards parents. They feel that they have to accept their parents’ choice of a life partner for them in order to be respectful.
If one is looking for physical and emotional understanding, it is generally overlooked and the entire concept of “being in love with your partner” is not existent. Another drawback is that the couple might not be given enough time to know about each other’s views, beliefs, and feelings. As a result, a lot of adjustments are required to be made. Finding a balance between one’s own desires and satisfying our parents’ wishes is a hard task which we all struggle with.
However, it is possible to fall in love after marriage. When couples learn to accommodate each other’s strengths and flaws, they learn how to become more emotionally involved. They spend more time with each other, do things to make their married life interesting. As a result, love grows through a mutual sense of respect and care.
Love and Marry?
One of the greatest advantages of marrying someone we love is the freedom to choose our own partners. Having spent time with someone long enough enables us to feel more connected – physically, emotionally and intellectually – to the one we love, thereby enhancing understanding and empathy.
There is a sense of comfort and safety of already knowing the partner’s strengths and weaknesses thus helping us to be prepared in case of a discord. At the same time, there is the excitement and joy of having to spend the rest of life with the one we love and care for. To marry one’s own partner instils a sense of independence too.
Because of the mutual sense of attraction and compatibility, it is perceived that couples in a love marriage tend to be happier and eventually last longer.
Despite the beauty of a life being spent with the person we love, there are issues which plague the couples even if they are deeply in love. American psychiatrist F. Scott Peck quoted, “Love is not effortless. On the contrary, it is effortful”. Contrary to popular beliefs, a love marriage needs as much work as an arranged marriage. Few love marriages do not get approval from the parents. This might limit social support in terms of accepting the partner and their ways. We are automatically bound to take responsibility for the same. Moreover, living together even if it is with the person we love has its own ups and downs. There are times when couples become disinterested over time and the effect of love starts waning.
This could be because couples enter love marriages with a lot of expectations such as the drive for passion, romantic feelings for each other but when marital reality and responsibilities come in, these feelings may be overpowered by more pressing issues such as adjustments and compromises.
No marriage is perfect and there is no quick fix to the problems that arise among the partners.
Whether it is a love marriage or an arranged one, love is something that develops overtime and for it to last, it must be nurtured. It bodes on the individual to be open, transparent and genuine in their relationship with their better halves in order to keep the marriage healthy and alive.
If you have marital issues or want couples’ therapy, reach out to our experts at YourDOST.