At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

Sharing a question Kay asked in a comment in response to this email: “My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon”

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves and perhaps forgo the arranged marriage institution? I’m pretty sure the internet is rife with these stories wherein any person (you don’t need to be highly educated for this) realizes that an getting arranged marriage is like stepping into a field full of land mines. Sure you may be able to navigate your way around the mines, but odds are, you’re probably going to step on one and blow yourself up.

Surely, it can’t be surprising that the complete stranger you married turned out to be someone different than the person you expected him to be (and speaking to someone on skype for 6 months doesn’t count).

In addition to setting up marriage prep courses for the socially challenged who can’t seem to find their own spouses, perhaps we can also make women aware that they can date, have relationships, break relationships, do whatever they please.

I think these posts give an idea of what young Indian women, who allow their parents to pressurize them into semi forced marriages, face:

“Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

A comment: One more thing, had I been financially independent I would have never got married.

“A clandestine, and irresponsible, affair may prove dangerous. A city girl learnt it the hard way,”

An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.

How illegal bans on Valentine’s day and birthday parties are connected with dowry deaths and sex selection.

What Khaps need is a strictly implemented law against Forced Marriages.

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“let me ask – how many girls in city remain pure till marriage ?”

“Both boy and girl were responsible, who had done marriage without informing their parents.”

No second chances for an Indian daughter.

Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

And what might help:

18 questions for young women (and men) of ‘marriageable age’.

“Here’s what I would tell my future/potential daughter, if I ever have one.”

A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

What would you not change for love?

“Why didn’t these women find life partners by dating?”

If your boyfriend is abusing you physically…

96 thoughts on “At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

  1. I know two kinds of people who are very happy in such marriages (where you’ve barely met the guy/had just a few phone calls pre-wedding):

    a) You are quite comfortable with traditional gender roles – these could be things like accepting that its “natural” to live with your in-laws, your parents will play second fiddle, you will have children immediately, you will adopt all the customs of your in-laws’ family, your career may take a backseat, you will do most of the household chores etc. Your husband and in-laws may even be quite loving, but the roles essentially will not change, or change only very slightly (so, you can wear jeans, but he will still not be the one responsible for the housework; he may “help” but its your job.)

    b) You are otherwise a liberal person and do not subscribe to traditional gender roles, but – you lucked out and happened to land up with a person who is liberal too – I’ve seen this happen in my family, but it is rare.

    If you don’t fit the first situation and don’t want to gamble on the second happening – you should be aware and stay away from a traditional arranged marriage. It’s time educated young women took a little more interest in the course of their own lives. It is true – a comment by someone on one of the previous posts – that we pay more attention to selecting cutlery than a prospective life partner.

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    • my cousin did exactly the same. after 2 meetings married the guy and now sits at home no career looking after in laws and the children. No career no nothing but is she right or I am wrong? I know not. she looks at me with distaste that I am a bad daughter- since I am 37 and SINGLE gasp. I for one don’t understand her lifestyle choices. You are right we do seem to pay more attention to cutlery than a life partner.

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      • Loved your words BK ” we do seem to pay more attention to cutlery than a life partner” it is amazing how many young educated smart people marry someone chosen by their parents and either spend their lives adjusting or cheating on their spouse with someone else with whom they click better,

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      • > sits at home no career looking after in laws and the children. No career no nothing but is she right or I am wrong? I know not.

        Thanks for that message of disgust and shaming towards homemakers. Congratulations, you are doing the good work of the patriarchy very well by respecting only traditionally masculine things (working outside the home and making money) and devaluing traditionally feminine things (working inside the home for no pay). Your motto seems to be “I RESPECT CHOICES ONLY WHEN THEY ARE MINE.” Amazing. Keep it up!

        PS: you might want to rethink posting this kind of comment on a blog titled “Indian HOMEMAKER”, though.

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      • If she looks at you with distaste, you are no different either don’t you think? When did we all become this judgmental about other’s life choices. When did we all started hating Marriage as an institution just because we are not into it? To each his/her own.

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        • > you are no different either don’t you think?

          Huh? When did I express distaste or disgust for her life choices? I expressed disgust at HER DISGUST AT HOMEMAKERS’ LIFE CHOICES.

          > When did we all started hating Marriage as an institution just because we are not into it?

          Huh????

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      • My cousin also married after 1 meeting, she lives with her in-laws an dher MIL is a pain, but her husband puts her first, she does the same. they take the decisions and MIL falls in line , she sits at home too, but it is her choice , it would have killed me to be with a mil and sit @ home but we are not the same people, we both are diff, sisters yes but our needs are different.
        so no one situation is distasteful, it’s what works for the individual.

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    • A woman who wants to have a say in the choice of husband….and has rejected a few (in the traditional bride viewing) is called a “fussy person”.

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      • I dunno. Logically, it seems like complete nonsense to me that you can agree to marrying someone whom you barely know. I’ve asked my parents about this and usually they say “oh but we know the family very well and they are good people”etc. which doesn’t make sense. it’s quite rare in my community to have the ladkewala mentality so both sides have to “adjust” to the in-laws, maybe the men’s side even more, bc most celebrations are at the woman’s home.
        Reading this blog, I’ve become more aware of the problems indian women face when undergoing such marriages, and that’s been really useful cos ppl don’t speak about these problems in public. But then my parents had an arranged marriage like the one Kay protested against-my mother agreed to marry my father after one meeting(and six months’ worth of daily letters) and they’ve both told me, seperately, that the other person is the best thing to ever happen to them. They appear to be very happy. And most of my uncles and aunts who’ve had arranged marriages seem to be happy as well. Of course, I don’t know the real story, and of course the way arranged marriages are done is not ideal, but sometimes it does work. Against all logic. And against all reason.

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  2. Whoa! Didn’t anticipate you’d put this up as a whole new post! But I’m glad it’s here because I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this topic.

    I do want to specify that I was particularly talking about the LW in the terrible in-laws + spineless husband in the US situation a few posts down. She’s educated, she is supporting herself by working, and she seems to have nice/supportive parents who’ve told her that she doesn’t need to take any crap from her in-laws. This makes me wonder–what would make someone from such a household choose arranged marriage?

    Also–I know there was another comment about checklists for arranged marriages. But I’m very skeptical about those as well. How do you know that the person/family will not lie or make up crap just to get the girl to say yes and then go back on their word (another scenario that has been well played out in the arranged marriage market).

    One more thing–something I haven’t seen brought up too much. Do either parties demand an up to date medical check up? Are pre-existing medical conditions disclosed (I’m thinking type 2 diabetes etc)? Are STI’s even brought up? I read a horror story about a woman who [arranged] married a ‘software engineer’ who’d been working in the US only to end up getting herpes from her new husband.

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    • The checklist – that was me. I don’t advocate arranged marriages over choice/love marriages. But if someone decides to go for an arranged marriage, I’m saying don’t walk in blindly, don’t assume the other person sees things as liberally as you do, at least have a series of conversations about what matters to both of you. Many people are insulted by these questions and their negative reaction to even being questioned conveys how they view marriage. And yes, there is always the chance that a few people will lie and pretend.

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      • If the prospective bride (or groom for that matter) can see someone’s physical negative reaction to questions, then sure, it may be helpful.

        But I’ve read (in this website and others) about scenarios in which the in-laws were ‘very nice people’ looking for a ‘modern wife’ for their son who also wanted a ‘modern wife’ only to have the whole thing go 180 after the wedding. It’s a pretty big risk to take for such a serious legal contract.

        I don’t think anyone would start a business, put in year of hard work into it, only to sign on a 50% partner without putting in some serious research. I don’t know if this is legally possible in India, but can people have prenup agreements in which these kinds of pre-conditions are set?

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        • Kay, prenuptial agreements are basically for ensuring that the partners are not financially discriminated against. What you have to remember is that things such as forcing women to stay at home, putting adult women under restrictions, choosing their dressing for them, not allowing them to speak with their families would actually be already illegal. How can you put in a pre-nup that ‘first party must not bang on the bathroom door even if the second party is not out in 5 minutes’? Also, a prenup is generally between husband and wife, so how do you deal with the in-laws?

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        • Honestly, in the Indian context, the words “liberal” and “modern” cover a wide variety of meanings, some of which don’t have anything to do with genuine egalitarianism (plenty of letter writers on this blog describe themselves as liberal and modern, when it’s clear that they’re really nothing of the sort). If a woman’s prospective husband describes himself as a modern guy, she might think that that means he wants an equal relationship. In reality, all it might mean is that he’ll allow her to work, he won’t beat her, and he won’t force her to practice sex-selective abortion. It doesn’t mean that he won’t expect her to move in with his parents and grovel and kowtow before them and him.

          I think wordssetmefree’s checklist was good because it relied on concrete things, not buzzwords that mean different things to different people. It’s true that some people might still be inclined to lie, but it’s harder to successfully lie when faced with a specific, rather than a general query.

          Just as concrete words are important, concrete actions are too. If a woman is considering an arranged marriage and she wants an equal relationship, I suggest that she do two things:

          1. Wear Western clothes around her prospective in-laws and husband;

          2. Call her prospective husband by his name, and use “tum” rather than “aap” for him (or their equivalents in languages other than Hindi).

          I don’t think genuinely traditional families will be able to observe these things without speaking up, and then the woman will be able to comfortably eliminate them from consideration. A lot of women make the mistake of pretending to be more traditional than they are in the hopes of ingratiating themselves with prospective ILs/husbands. Just as men shouldn’t lie about how modern they are, women shouldn’t lie about how traditional they are.

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        • @Kay, I find that how you look and act in the first meeting can really help elicit honest reactions. If you wear jeans and a sleeveless top, drive yourself or take a cab, come alone, make direct eye contact, and ask straightforward questions, that in itself will put off someone who is traditional because that doesn’t fit his definition of “modern and liberal” but rather raises alarm bells in his mind – he’s thinking “fast”, “loose”, and “dangerous”. This is why looking, acting, and talking in a way that reflects your viewpoints makes the problem of lying moot. They will lie only when they see a benefit. With such a blatantly independent girl, they see no benefit and hence have no incentive to lie.

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        • How can you put in a pre-nup that ‘first party must not bang on the bathroom door even if the second party is not out in 5 minutes’?

          I LOLed.How does the MIL NOT SEE how ridiculously petty she is being?!!

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        • @Fem–you can sort of add clauses to marriage agreements in the US (not sure about Canada) so I was wondering if there’s something similar that can be done in India. If possible, however ridiculous it may seem, it may be worth a shot to add ‘must not bang on bathroom door’ and similar clauses to marriage agreements here.

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    • maybe because not all guys are fools enough to stand in front of the gal’s college gates on their bikes waiting like slaves for those ‘princesses’ to come,out, wait in restaurants stareing at others till that woman comes for a date, wooing her with flowers or jewellery because what is love without money & finally begging for her hand by kneeling down in front of her with a ring.

      Those sick tiring dating rituals in the name of love & romance! yuck!

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        • Don’t respond to him Kay. Have you forgotten his rabid responses to the plight of the young woman who had written in wondering whether she ought to live separately from her in-laws.
          This gentleman cannot engage in respectful discussion.

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        • Kay, I sense some bitterness from Nitesh. He is one of these : a troll, recently shown his place by a girlfriend, strong believer in patriarchy. He is not even interested in engaging in a decent, civil conversation. Why bother?

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        • Or perhaps a troll who’s angry that women in his generation have become independent and he’s being bypassed for dating or arranged marriages and has gone a bit mental.

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      • Okay, so because not all men are foolish enough to waste time wooing women, women are left with no option but to have an arranged marriage. Isn’t that what you mean? Well, not all girls are fools enough to fall for those guys who have nothing better to do with their time than to wait outside their college gates on their bikes. And it may come as a shock to you but you know what–it need not be such a one-way street. A good number of times a woman may like a guy too and may ‘even’ attempt to initiate a relationship on her own, which, of course, may or may not work out.

        If those “sick and tiring dating rituals’ are all you think there is to love and romance, good luck to you!!

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      • Nitesh,

        You clearly have no idea about dating. Stalking a woman, staring at her… that is not dating. Getting to know someone, spending actual time with them, becoming their friend, getting into a relationship, and then deciding if you two want to spend the rest of your lives together.

        very different from your skewed idea of what dating is.

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      • What I infer from your delirious response is that you haven’t seen too many (if at all any) ‘love marriages’ happen around you, so maybe you tried to compensate for that by watching how such ‘love marriages’ play out in Bollywood flicks.

        My advice would be to go out into the real world, see such marriages happening first-hand and then pass your expert judgements.

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    • @ Kay

      I’d argue that the problems you attribute to arranged marriage- the in-laws from hell, the spineless husband, and the unfair expectation on the DIL- are a product of Indian society, not of the type of marriage the couple had.

      I’ve seen arranged marriages where the women from traditional households married men from much more liberal ones (and lived happily ever after), and women who married men after years of dating, and even living-in only to be subjected to crap from the in-laws post wedding.

      I concede that the risk of such nasty surprises is probably lower in ‘love’ marriages, or that they are mitigated by the husband who already loves you- but I don’t believe the risk is that much lower.
      I’m not sure what a viable solution is, but I do know this- If I were to have an arranged marriage, I would be very very careful and turn down a great guy with orthodox parents. I’ve actually had a ‘love’ marriage, and I admit

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    • Love can be pretty blind too,.….I have couple of friends who had love marriages without medical check up, same for my sisters.educated people who didn’t even think of it.
      About ppl making false promises and reneging on them or providing false information,….. Its pretty common in love marriages too.One of my above mentioned friends is experiencing that first hand.
      Just saying,.…..in relationships and between people mostly things are grey.

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  3. I agree, but with some mixed feelings. Yes, we must forego the arranged marriage system. I did over 2 decades ago. But for that, I was willing to marry outside my community, live with my family’s (at least some member’s) disapproval and other negative emotions, same from my in-laws. But that is not the only challenge.

    I am seeing what is happening with my niece today. Dating in India is hard. She was determined to date, eventually meet someone she likes, fall in love, and marry. 5 years later, she is thinking about going for an arranged marriage – or at least like being set up – check out the proposals that parents/neighbors/relatives suggest. I’m not saying she is either right or wrong. I don’t want to judge people who’ve tried to meet people on their own, failed to do so, due to our suffocating society, our near lack of socializing/dating avenues in many towns and eventually settled for an arranged marriage.

    I don’t want to be automatically dismissive of all arranged marriage relationships because I’ve seen some people make it work beautifully – because there is/was the foundation of emancipation. If the woman respects herself as an individual, and the man is comfortable with her as an equal, the marriage can still work. A case in point is my maternal uncle who was so caring with my aunt. Now, in their 80s, they are still so openly affectionate with one another. He always thought of her needs first and consulted her on all important matters. She was his equal in every way and when I was a little girl, they looked like best friends to me. This is not to glorify arranged marriage, but I’m saying not every couple who is in a arranged marriage should be judged as having failed.

    I agree though that in general, the arranged marriage system (the way it is traditionally followed) is stacked against women and we should be moving toward choice marriages. For that, we must first discuss barriers to dating.

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    • Yes and no – sure, dating is hard. But what prevents people from pushing back on their parents to have more face-to-face time with the alliance? Most people in 20’s I’ve met advise me talking isn’t really necessary.

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      • Niketan, I agree with you. My brother in law is going through the arranged marriage route and keeps hearing from his parents “What do you need to talk for 3 weeks for? Can you not talk 2-3 times on the phone, skype to see her and then make a decision?” because that’s entirely normal for them. I feel for him and push my in laws back as much as I can. Fortunately for us, I share a phenomenal rapport with my parents in law and they really trust my judgement about these things, so I’m able to advocate to them against pressuring my brother in law into anything and that if and when he’s ready, he’ll let us know. Most parents would never allow this type of pushing back.

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      • That is exactly what I’m saying Niketan. Even now, she’s unable to find someone who has clear specific ideas about marriage, relationships in general, parenting, etc. They all think, “if we’re nice people and we’re committed to each other, we’ll figure it out, and everything will be fine”. They don’t want to discuss everything before marriage. Everything will NOT be fine. And nice is NOT enough. Respect and agreement on fundamental values and a common vision make a huge difference to the relationship. But she is having a hard time getting this through to people. Maybe I should set you guys up🙂 Just kidding🙂

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        • That’s true. From what I’ve seen with my friends, if you end up with someone who doesn’t want to talk before the wedding, you end up with a relationship that is okay in many ways, but also lacking in some fundamental ways.

          One of friends’ wives doesn’t approve of drinking at all, and the guy drinks without her knowledge and evades being caught. He acts entirely convinced that his marriage is successful, and he tries to convince me that talking for more than a few times is pointless. I politely disagree, and it touches a nerve – he knows he isn’t entirely happy with his marriage, but is unwilling to accept it.

          Why not just see the truth? Even worse, why sell your ideas of marriage when you aren’t convinced it’s right? I don’t get it.

          Btw, I would agree to being set up if I didn’t already have someone😉 Thanks for the offer though😀

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        • But what’s the alternative? Arranged marriage in a traditional set-up? Would that give her the freedom in her marriage, equal rights and true love? I mean, I agree completely with what you are saying and where you are coming from and I really understand the problem. But arranged marriage, in this scenario, is not a solution. It is just another problem to contend with. Also, I think that the guys who are not really interested in discussing stuff like this won’t be marrying her as they already know they will be toeing the family line when the time comes.

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    • Bull’s eye!! Also, I find many posts passing laudatory opinions about dating relationships and arranged marriage as dooms day theory. Neither is dating a fashionable trend that need to be looked upon nor is arranged marriage an age-old tradition that need to be trashed. It is again a personal choice. Even in arranged marriages, the parents give the pair ample space to come to their own decisions and their choices. Sometimes it works better, because the lifestyle and the routine followed in both the families will match, and there will not be hassles arising out of this.
      The point need to be looked into, is the understanding both the man and the woman need to have in both types of marriage, rather than talking of one as liberating and the other as binding in shackles. I say this with emphasis, because, I am married into a family with traditional practices considered sacrosanct. But my husband (from arranged marriage) is quite liberal in not heaping his views on to me. It works really well and we are more like friends. I found it all the more interesting because, in the initial phase both of us had the inquisitiveness to know about each other and understand each person’s interests, without much knowing about it earlier. Also, we accepted each other for whatever we are. (of course, he passed some of the basic criteria that I had and I also passed some of his….like clean habits and education).

      There are people who do this in many matured relationships, where there is no ego-hassles. Again….this is not a laudatory note on arranged marriage, because it has worked for me. I am trying to say that both marriages will work well, if there is understanding between the partners and non-interference from the other extended members. Even if a person dates for one year, they may be surprised, if the husband in due course becomes biased towards his family, after the marriage? Are we considering that possibility also while discussing?

      To conclude –
      1. Need for marriage need to be from both partners. Both men and women should take responsibility for getting liberated and not just women.
      2. Parents should start inculcating the sense of responsibility that arises out of the children’s actions, so that when they grow up, they would not have grown up just ‘physically’ but also ’emotionally’ so that they will know to live a responsible life, rather than blame some one for all their troubles.(that they may get through arranged or dating relationship).
      3. If the relationship does not help them in leading a peaceful life, then we should be there to support whatever decision they take, instead of disowning them, as we see happening in many families. The moral support we give is just an anchor that will help them in staying in perspective, and not getting washed away by their emotional turmoil.

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      • This is the absolute, unbiased truth. I’ve seen arranged marriages work very well. Either ways, both people should feel the need for marriage and should be mature enough to adapt and grow up together.

        I think when people talk about ‘arranged marriages’ on this blog, they mean the type of marriage where a pair of strangers are expected to start a life together. That’s almost an unrealistic marriage.

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    • Yes, I also have many instances of successful arranged marriages in my family. I also have three aunts (two maternal, one paternal) whose marriages were unequal and lonely.
      A lot depends on the man’s emotional maturity in an arranged marriage. If you are lucky, you will marry a man who realises that successful marriages are a two-way street and will pull his weight.
      If you’re not lucky, you find yourself married to the kind of man so often encountered on IHM’s blog.

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  4. You know, given that this post was spurred by LW situation of spineless husband & controlling in-laws, I really must say that situation is not as bad as it is made out to be. LW mentioned in her letter that things were pretty good with her husband while she was away from said in-laws. She needs to put the in-laws in their place & stand up for her rights. Perhaps once she does so, everything will be smoothened out (or she’ll know whether she wants a divorce).

    I do agree with Kay that the LW in question shouldn’t have taken crap from in-laws. I can’t agree with Kay that just on the basis of that letter, it’s a marriage which she should have never gotten into. A lot of marriages go sour with similar problems even when they’re not arranged.

    I’ve seen ‘love’ marriages where the in-laws were worse than the particular LW’s situation. For that matter, I’ve seen love marriages where the husband (and wife) turned out to be a bastard/bitch. To say that one option has land mines while the other doesn’t is not accurate. It’s unfair to associate arranged marriages with non 21st century, non-emancipated women.

    The answer to Kay’s question is, for now, every individual decides for herself. Or himself. There’s no point or time at which most women abandon an entire system. It goes without saying that as India gradually takes on a more dating-friendly culture, especially in small towns, arranged marriage automatically fades away.

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  5. How does it matter whether its a arranged or choice marriage till people’s esp parents (boy’s) attitudes don’t change..whichever type of marriage, the expectations are the same though they may vary in the degree of medieval-ness depending on the ppl involved.
    I for one know of friends who have been in relationships fr 2-3 yrs before tying the knot and still facing similar situations as described by the LW with the guy having the gall to say that he thought she will change after marriage.
    Till ppl don’t learn to respect the individuality of a person in India, nothing will change, even with choice marriages on the increase.

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    • I get what you’re saying–but do you disagree with that an arranged marriage is more risky than a ‘love’ marriage.

      I do get what you’re saying about ‘love’ marriages, but I feel that relationships out here are sometimes very superficial. So even if someone’s been in a relationship for a few years, they may not know the other person at all.

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      • Hi Kay. I agree with you that arranged marriage is extremely risky, provided, you have a value system based on individuality.

        While human rights are inviolable, the major cultural clash lies in preferences. In individualistic cultures, preferences are sacrosanct. So you gotta respect freedom, preference and make it a win-win, mutual thing, for any relationship.

        In collectivistic cultures, preferences are trivial, meant to be sacrificed for the family. As Aparna put it, if you buy into your society’s gender roles & authority patterns (i.e. who you have to obey and who obeys you), then arranged marriage is OK. It has little to do with preference, which comes second after ‘duty’ & ‘honour’.

        I know a lot of people of my generation (20 somethings), who don’t mind an arranged marriage because it gives them that familiar sense of control. They don’t mind having to bow to an MIL, as long as they’ll be able to boss over their DIL. They don’t mind having to do silly things as ‘men’ of the house, because they get to boss over their wife. That’s a vital part of human nature too – wanting power, comfort, stability, tradition & familiarity. That’s how any gender roles & authority structures in human history carry on, generation after generation. It’s not my thing, as I’m individualistic, but it does help me to understand the power dynamic & lust so I can deal with traditional people.

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        • That’s such a wise reply. I often wonder what leads an individual to choose one over the other.
          I am deeply individualistic and I suspect that it has a lot to do with what I read growing up.

          Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett and Wuthering Heights’ s Heathcliff were my favourite fictional characters as a 15-year-old.

          Even at 15, I admired these characters because they were unconventional, individualictic and fiercely independent. I also read M&Bs but those sappy, insipid heroines did not fire my imagination as did Jane Eyre, or Catherine in Wuthering Heighs or Shirley in Shirley.

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      • Kay, I wouldn’t go so far to say one option is “more risky” than the other. One might to point to the west and say while they are full of love marriages, they’re also full of failed marriages(I do agree that the level of tolerance for nonsense is much lower and therefore people are more willing to walk out of an unpleasant relationship). Anyway, coming back to the scene in India, I know of several people who married for love and face these exact same issues as the LW detailed. Interfering in laws and a spineless husband are not exclusively the domain of arranged marriages.

        The biggest problem still lies with this concept of the girl moving in with her in laws which keeps the guy in home terrain and puts the pressure entirely on her to both figure out a new marriage and a household full of perfect strangers. When both the man and the woman have equal footing in making it work because they’re both out of their comfort zone and have the need to please each other to make for a happy household, this equation will not change.

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    • I have seen hard core love marriages turn ugly because guys believed that the girl will become “more adjusting” post marriage. My sister had a love marriage after 5 years of courtship and then she divorced her spineless husband within one year of marriage. The root cause was her straight-from-hell, widowed MIL and the guy who almost tricked her into marriage. My sis is an exremely strong headed woman. There was a family joke about her that whenever she gets married, we would pray for her MIL’s safety and not for her. She is a complete no-nonsense woman and never took crap from anybody. This guy literally cried in front of her to marry her. For 5 years he behaved as if she is his world and he just can’t survive without her. He did everything in his power to convince her that he is the best choice for her. He very well knew my sister was not the regular girl who could be domesticated as per the Indian patriarchal system. Naturally, after 5 years of continuous wooing, she believed his words/actions and married him. Within 2 months of marriage, he started showing his real colors. He and his mom had a hard core patriarchal attitude and started to mentally torture my sister with their regressive beliefs. On one occasion he rebuked my sister in front of his mom for using her maiden surname post marriage. This to the girl whom he had known for 5 years and had known that she would kick his b****/walk out of the marriage if in any way he insulted her. Obviously she did walk out. Even after all this, he came back to my parents for helping him win their daughter back and confessed to not treating her properly because of his mom. When my dad asked him why he behaved like a patriarchal pig with my super feminists sister, this is what he answered, “I thought she will change after marriage, all girls do. I thought she will become more Indianised and more adjusting” !!! We still have so much fun at his expense for even thinking that he could ‘Indianise’ (to quote him) my feminist sister.

      I know there are so many guys who believe their girlfriend will become Ekta Kapoor Bahu once she becomes their wife. One of the guys in office said the following when he came back from a club with his slightly tipsy girlfrend, “I let her have fun now since we are getting married in just 6 months.” This shows the expectations he has from her. Obviously they never say that openly to the girlfriend (some do) but nurture the dream of the girlfriend converting into the Sati Savitri abiding DIL of his entire clan post marriage.

      The guys need to understand that such hidden expectations is just not fair and they should accept the reality of today’s modern girl. This goes for guys who are marrying their gf’s or who are taking the arranged marriage route and meeting/talking to eligible girls. Only if they don’t have this in their mind – “Oh, she will change after marriage”, things would be so much better.

      Like

    • Men’s individuality has always been respected in Indian culture.
      It’s women who are expected to conform to some impossible, unachievable Bharatiya Nari ideal.

      Like

      • Truth. Men can carry on with their jeans wearing, late night outing, plonking on the sofa after work type life well post marrying with no one as much as batting an eyelid. Now coming to the women….

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        • I don’t know where this opinion comes from, men are also expected to behave responsibly down south as well. Very often, I hear random chaiwallahs advise my men friends asking why they are staying home late and if they don’t have family responsibilities. Or my flat uncles who often advise young men not to talk to other women in public.

          Even worse is the odd guy who loses his job – that’s treated so shabbily in our society. People ask if he had no sense to take a job with more security or what not.

          My friends ignore it and still continue doing what they want though. The difference is they aren’t seeing as uncultured for ignoring others’ opinions ,but women are penalized😀

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  6. Basically it doesn’t matter if it is an arranged or love marriage because in an arranged marriage, you’re being set up by your parents or uncles who generally do have your best interests in mind.
    (When I say this, I speak of parents who don’t mind that their kids bring home a person of their choice & if the kid doesn’t, then they just want to help the kid find a partner of their own – no force)
    And ofcourse, once you have frank conversations with the guy & if you feel that the person is lying or just saying only positive & cheesy things & not voicing opinions of his own by agreeing everything you say on different matters then you know that there is something wrong.
    I’ve known people who have dated & gotten married & I also know people who have got arranged married & both types of marriages are working out…
    It doesn’t really matter how you meet, what matters is how you understand the person & ensure that his/her interests are similar to yours. If you are liberal then you must ensure that they are too. And the only way you can do that is to have frank conversations & leave the rest upto your intuition. If your gut says they’re wrong for you then they’re wrong for you.

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  7. I for one believe people should marry, if they want, who they want & when they want.

    Like many others, I would not automatically lump arranged marriage with failure or no freedom. Indian societal structures complicate things. These issues also come up worse when love marriages happen and parents use that as a bargaining chip to blackmail their sons for life because he broke their hearts by marrying a woman of his choice. So, breaking free of these structures & getting over the need to please & be accepted is the key. SO many of these LWs write a letter here only after everything they have tried does not win them acceptance.

    Also, since arranged marriages face the same problem, might as well marry someone you like because arranged marriage does not ensure his in laws will treat you well.

    All in all ,we need people standing up for themselves, parents stopping to interfere in their children’s lives & women refusing to be treated with disrespect, over glorification of marriage

    Like

    • “All in all ,we need people standing up for themselves, parents stopping to interfere in their children’s lives & women refusing to be treated with disrespect, over glorification of marriage”

      That was exactly my point in making this comment. When do we expect people to stand up for themselves? If women who are educated and can live/work/support themselves in the US are opting for arranged marriages, should they hold themselves accountable?

      Like

      • Standing up for themselves & arranged marriages can be independent issues. Many women in love marriages also do not stand up and do give a hefty dowry, so that the guys parents will let them marry their son. If someone chooses to go for it, I don’t see an issue but in most cases it is in a traditional setting. Many people do not have issues with following traditions, as I have observed.

        The issue with the LW was, not the arranged marriage, she moved in with her in laws (to please all and sundry), allowed people to treat her like shit & is only now feeling bad. She is in a way accountable because she allowed people to treat her in a poor fashion and showed that she would adjust & do anything to win their approval.

        This points to a bigger issue than arranged marriage – it shows how we bring up our daughters to be pleasing their husband & his family & allowing people to treat them with disrespect. This issue is not restrcited to arranged marriage system only. I observed it in plenty of patriarchal cultures with not arranged marriages. Yes, they have it better but this overarching low self esteem of women without a man at her side is very hard to ignore.

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  8. Arranged marriage as an institution will have its inevitable death in near future in India too as it happened in Western countries. But even in choice marriages women will continue to be a second class partner unless they get educated about and practice feminism.

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  9. @ Boiling

    ………. parents use that as a bargaining chip to blackmail their sons for life because he broke their hearts by marrying a woman of his choice

    Even if I believe you for a sec, how did you miss out on parents of daughters who might do the same. There go your biases.

    Why wouldn’t a parent’s heart break, if he/she realises that the woman, the son is marrying/about to marry is simply a gold-digger who’s marrying not out of love. a drug addict, an abusive person with anger issues, has had multiple affairs with men in the past & so doesn’t really know the true meaning of love (& it’s only a matter of time that she might ditch their son too after marriage), might be at risk of venereal diseases & so on………

    The son may be blinded to that that woman’s faults by ‘love’ but his parents aren’t. They are only being rational and would do they every best to ensure the well being of their son.

    Finally, I am not biased , so you can apply the same to the daughter’s parents too.

    I would advise you to watch the Reese Witherspoon movie “Fear”

    Like

    • I did not miss out on gilr’s parents blackmailing but I am primarily refering to the cases in India because it is the woman who has to “ADJUST” with her husband’s family. Do you ever hear the girl’s family tell the husband to adjust? I don’t think so, maybe in the rarest of the rare rare cases

      Like

    • @nitesh, if the guy is blinded by love, cannot see the impending risks…he still is an adult, parents nd friends can try talking sense to him but ultimately its HIS mistake to make…you cannot blackmail/disown the son saying you broke our heart..!similarly whats if the parents are blinded by patriarchy nd the son actually understands what he wants? what are the chances of that happening? Yes the same applies for women too.. just to say im not biased too:)

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  10. 21st century women should take responsibility for themselves as soon as they start thinking liberally for themselves!

    Arranged marriages in India happen between two families and not between two people. There are so many unwritten rules that come with this “arranged marriage” . A couple cannot get married in an arranged way (? what am I typing) and still live without their in-laws interferences. To keep all of them away is next to impossible. The arranged marriage thing has been practised in India for centuries . To change the customs,culture,traditions,rituals etc.,however insane they may be, is a very difficult thing.

    In my opinion ,in the case of marriages in India , instead of trying to change the rules , it is much easier to change the game itself. When the base,foundation or the concept of ARRANGED MARRIAGE is very weak ,immoral,biased towards men,illogical,nonsensical and primitive, there is no point in trying to make changes outwardly or only at the top. An alternative to arranged marriage seems to be the only choice ,which would be love,easy,convenient,common-sense marriages.

    For most of the people here commenting in this blog who I think are intelligent,well educated, have a lot of exposure to a lot of things in general, it is easy to suggest the whole of India to ditch arranged marriages , given its uncompromising demands,disadvantages etc.How would a person (irrespective of gender), who is traditional,conservative,from a humble background and with not much exposure to things , get in terms with the idea of dating,love, love marriages etc. ? I`ve asked this question before in a separate post and this was discussed extensively I guess. Letting go of “ARRANGED MARRIAGES IN ITS CURRENT FORM” is the right way to go , but it will take time. People have to learn to be independent more,travel more,know more etc. to accept change in a positive way. It may take 20 or 30 years, or more, or less for most of suburban and rural India to think about an alternate way of marrying. Its fine as long as it is in the right direction!

    Like

    • “Letting go of “ARRANGED MARRIAGES IN ITS CURRENT FORM” is the right way to go , but it will take time.”

      True. I don’t think arranging is necessarily the problem – the problem is the current form, where you often marry a person you know very little about. An incremental step would be at least to spend time getting to know the person you are considering, even in an arranged marriage.

      Like

    • @ Kabilan, you raise a very important point. We must grow in incremental steps. AND WE MUST INCLUDE EVERYONE IN THE GROWTH PROCESS. Those who are not so privileged will grow at a slower pace – but even that must be seen with hope and encouraged. They may appear more confused about what is “liberal” and what’s “traditional” but their attempts at liberalization must not be condescended. I really don’t like the “all or nothing” attitude of privileged people in India. It only leads to 5% of the population advancing at a rapid pace, and the remaining 95% getting left behind and our constant cribbing – “things will never change in India”. I feel that the privileged in India are severely lacking in empathy and it comes back to haunt us. Unless we help each other move forward, our success (which is the success of a minuscule minority) is hollow. If we turn up our noses at those who are struggling to grasp the concept of emancipation, we may well win the battle and lose the war.

      Like

  11. I think we need to ask ourselves the question that way do educated independent women fall into the trap of arranged marriage or even if it is love marriage they end up in patriarchal setting.

    I think the root of the problem is importance given to marriage. Parents start pressing their children to get married Before it is too late’ because they feel the relatives will consider them and their children as good enough as they still have not been taken. The ‘liberal’ parents let their children find their own spouse as long as they fill certain criteria and are ready to get married.

    All this creates a dire need to get married to fit in before people reach 30s. When you are that needy it shows in your behavior and you end up attracting people who will exploit that need. It could be in form of arranged marriage or love marriage which is more or less on the same pattern as arranged.

    This need to get married is also fueled by friends. They see their friends shopping for marriage, discussing wedding plans, roommates moving out to get married, people advicing them to get married, spinsters being made fun of…i think all of this along with parental pressure leads women to doubt their own independence and strength. Parents don’t really help kids to grow up as a complete individual who values herself over society’s opinion about herself. They have only taught her to fit in.

    And then there is conditioning that women ‘must’ make ‘minor’ adjustment else they will never get married as if that is a disaster. Sprinkle that with some guilt about younger siblings not been able to get married because of the elder one.

    I really don’t think the problem is love vs arranged marriage. The problem is glorification of marriage and not bringing up your child to be a well rounded confident woman who doesn’t feel the need to fit in and who doesn’t look for societal approval. It is because the woman is so focused on that need it leaves them vulnerable to be exploited no matter how educated and independent they might be.

    Like

    • Agree. However, men past 30 are also under tremendous pressure to get married in India.
      Yet, very few men exhibit the sort of desperation that is seen in women and their families.
      Men also do not make the sort of compromises that women do.
      At work I routinely come across men who are not very attractive, rotund techies who without exception desire a fair, slim “modern but traditional” wife.

      Like

  12. I m so tired of this “arranged marriage ” and “love marriage” debate.! its all BULLSHIT..(pardon my Language here) i mean…setting up people, making people meet…no matter who does it ..parents, family, brother, ex-boy friend for that matter should be okay with ANYBODY.. i mean how you met your partner..can only result in a very entertaining sitcom at best🙂 !( that isn’t so bad !) but arranged marriage is not only about setting up is it? it never is ..it never will be…! it always /in the most liberal parents’ situation also ..comes with some unsaid rules..at least certain timelines. (timelines are very important i believe.. i might take 3 months to decide that i like a guy but 5 years to decide whether i would want to commit to him in marriage. Don’t you think i have a right to do so?

    Entering into a marriage should be solely the two persons’-involved decision. when,where,how and even why..left to them!( by why i mean-there are different reasons y people get married, some for stability,some for love, some for security some for money..we are no one to judge..as long as both the partners are in the knowing of each others reasons) Arranged Marriage can never facilitate this,can it? (i m not intending love marriages do all that and world at all !)

    Now , coming to “love marriages” – by that if you mean understanding/liking your partner and being clear and happy with mutual expectations before you sign that marriage license, isn’t that how a “marriage” should be? correct me if i m wrong,say if i marry my best friend..we never dated,fell in love ,passion etc..we both wanted to be get married nd didnt get to meet any one we like so thought why not get married because we make each other happy ..thought about it for couple of months..then decided to get hitched…do you call that a “love marriage”??? my case in point is when we say love marriage we are just talking abt marriage (by supposed def) nd arranged married isn’t the same thing as marriage( again by definition) its just different.

    Coming to so-called-love/choice marriages , To err is only human, people sometimes screw it up, thats why there is divorce in the first place isn’t it? why are we even talking about failed marriages… people fail at all kinds of relationships,not just in marriages… i mean my husband failed miserably as a brother, but is a very loving uncle (towards his sister’s son).

    There are many such “love marriages” in india that fail only because of deep rooted patriarchy in its participants. the girls don’t know what to expect..because they are brought up in the same society discouraging any kind of questioning/limiting expectations .the guys are fed on guilt and filial responsibility/piety(indirectly women too)..its all half baked scenario you see.

    Arranged Marriage stems from patriarchy , eastern style of parenting..where in the parents own their kids and the kids should always owe it all to the parents nd be indebted for upbringing them nd giving them food and education. (they want to exercise control on ADULT lives of there children!!!) So i don’t consider arranged marriage as a normal marriage , i see it as the participants (the guy and the girl) CONFORMING to patriarchy , whether its in a small little way or bigger way ..going all the way like getting married with out meeting each other personally even once…!!Depending on how “liberal” the arranged marriage is (rolling eyes!!)

    The 21st century educated indian woman..only wants fragmented freedom/equality and a lot of peace of my mind.(Disclaimer: totally my opinion and off course i agree there are exceptions, i myself am an exception) i m very frustrated by these almost hypocritical lives (life choices) women around me live ,but i know think things are not going to change in the near future and i cannot do much abt it either.(except vent it at random blog comments like this)

    I know one thing for sure, if both “Divorce” and “Marriage”( in that order) were not a big deal with no prejudice attached to them, women would be encouraged to seek real equality nd real freedom instead of a sorry excuse !why can we suggest divorce lightly?we are only suggesting.. why is it such a bad word? I mean , Divorce nd marriage or both legal contracts ..they should not define your life..should not be such a big deal they are made out to be… don’t you some times think..all this is sooo stupid nd irrelevant in the actual context of life??Relationships as such are very traumatic when they fail, do we need to add prejudice and peer pressure to it ..is n’t that torture? shouldn’t that be illegal?

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    • I agree with you on everything except …. divorce is messy, stressful, a huge time, energy, and money drain. A friend of mine here in the US is going through a divorce. Here there is zero social stigma and so that’s the least of her concerns. Believe me, she’s exhausted. It’s been 5 years and the the case is now getting closer to being closed. Her husband keeps spreading negative rumors about her to prejudice all the witnesses against her so he can win custody of the kids. She has spent an enormous amount of money on lawyers already. I agree marriage shouldn’t be made a big deal. But if do choose to marry, we need to be careful who we end up marrying.

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      • //But if do choose to marry, we need to be careful who we end up marrying.//

        Right now people are not brought up to think that marriage is a choice. They are conditioned to think it is a must. Spinsters are made fun of. They are considered sex starved and they have to deal with unwanted attention from unwanted men, people ask intrusive questions as to why they have hate marriage. Unless parents bring up their children to be emotionally strong and complete individuals who do note care about fitting in marriages will be considered a necessity than a choice. When it is a necessity sooner people get done with it better. Hence all the problems of not knowing what you are getting into.

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        • I completely agree. The sister about whom I spoke above is a single, independent woman who is completely ‘into’ herself. She is genuinely very happy and doesn’t feel the need to get married. We, including my parents, do not see this as something terribly wrong. Yes, we would like her to find somebody who is compatible with her “out-of-this-world views” (quoting a concerned relative!!!) but are ok with the possibility of her never being married again. While nobody in our extended family has the nerve to criticize her openly, they do talk about her behind our back. The lamest thing I have heard is that she does all the “Happy” things in life to cover up her real “sad and lonely” life. How can people insinuate that if a girl is not married, she is not happy ? In fact they just assume the girl must be lonely, unhappy and miserable since she is single/divorced. To face this mindset, you need to be a real strong woman in India, which is not such an easy task, given the obvious reasons.

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      • @wordssetmefree, i totally agree with you about being careful about whom you are marrying. its about those times when we fall in spite of being very careful..i know for a fact, how messy divorces can be. i would rather petition for change in divorce process, than give the (failed)relationship another undeserving chance and waste some more time nd expose oneself to more abuse ( in many cases). i m again re iterating ,we are only suggesting ..we are not deciding for the LW. By suggesting we are conveying her there is a way out, and its not as forbidden as you think it is.Is n’t only fair to do so?

        P.S: i know we are on the same side of the fence here, as i follow all your comments here on IHM blog, i must say i respect and regard your points of view very highly.i learn/understand a lot from the personal/relatable examples you give🙂

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    • Agree with you completely–I wouldn’t that a marriage either.

      I don’t think divorce is a big deal either–but sometimes I have a difficult time understanding why someone would put themselves through such an unpleasant ‘marriage’ when they have the option of supporting themselves.

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      • @kay its because of what all they got to lose. they have to face strained relationships with immediate family (for being such a disappointment!!), considerable limitation in social circle, loneliness, no or very little support from friends nd family, knowing its unlikely to find a better partner because you are a divorcee,(bec of prejudice ) add the prejudiced courts nd incompetent systems in place …any body would be cajoled into thinking “its only emotional abuse, he only beats one or twice..all men are like that(normalising abuse)..its best to ADJUST here than face all that ” .

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  13. I believe that no matter the situation, you’ll have to take responsibility – whether you married for love, or married in the anticipation of love, you signed a social contract. Both parties must agree that the terms of this social contract are negotiable and based on individual preferences. Many LWs are in a bind, because they signed a contract which only favoured one party. They didn’t or couldn’t know what was expected from the contract. Ergo, the necessity of exchange. I can’t remember who, but in the last few posts, someone made a fabulous list of what you should discuss when you are planning to marry someone. Immediately it becomes clear from this discussion that you are aware it is a social contract, but wish to be informed of, and decide the terms early on. I realize that I make marriage sound clinical by calling it a social contract. No one said contracts can’t be fulfilling to both parties!
    Self-arranged vs Parental-arranged marriages: Kay wonders how describing yourself as liberal can exist with signing away your rights for partner selection to your parents? I think it boils down to the individual and society. I have friends in cultures where self-arranged in the major and only route; I see friends who are introverts, shy and reclusive, finding it hard to find partners in such a culture – because to find one, they have to overcome a very basic character type. To stand out, to attract attention – this is really hard if you are shy by nature. I know in Indian culture, for this personality type, parental-arranged marriages are easier. Here, the entire family can be liberal, and find a partner for their child. The types who say caste-no-bar, religion-no-bar and mean it. The types who will initiate the meeting, provide it legitimacy and give support to their offspring, but allow them to make the final decision. Don’t you think this too is a type of self-arranged marraige? In my mother’s family, both she and my uncle were asked by my grandfather – do you have anyone in mind? When the answer was no, he started to hunt. Both of them married people they would never have met, if not through the parental-arranged route. Bottomline – not all processes are purely ineffective or effective; different strokes for different folks.

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  14. IMO it has nothing to do with the type of marriage, of course i leave the forced/blackmailed marriage aside. I have no answer for that and parents who force that.
    But ont he whole, there is no guarantee in any marriage. arranged or love. There is no guarantee even in live in relationships and that is what needs to sink into indians minds, men, women and parents.
    there are spectacular failures in love marriages, nasty abuse in live-in relationships and torture n arranged marriages. Nothng to do with the type of marriage.
    At best I’d say we as women need to do our due diligance nad marry someone whom we live, whom we think suits us, whom we dont want to change, whom we feel is our friend, companion and soulmate. — yes these exist. The men need to do the same, yes these can be evaluated in arranged marriages and love marriages – just takes time. but witht he caveat, it is not necessary that what the other person portrays is actually his/her true nature. at best it’s faith.
    I also think indian men and women need to make sure they are attracted to the other person, sexual compatibility or at the least attraction does play a part in the initial smoothing over of relationships.
    in our case I cant stand his Dad, he’s not so fond of my mum but we try t aim for respect and dont force the other to be in their company for long periods of time .
    finally if you have to live with someone some small adjustments are required on both ends, if that’s not an option then i would say DO NOT GET MARRIED. simple.
    from all the cases in my family i see
    1. men laying down conditions, women agreeing to them ( desperate to get married??) and then drama ensues, botht he ego get inthe way and no one gets peace
    2. Women very clear on what they want, hit 30’s and for reason compromise , men take advantage of that and are complete jerks. once kids are born, power shifts back and the women becomes a nightmare, drama ensures.

    why is this. we as women need to make up our mind, stand up for ourself and most imp make sure we can support ourself before hitting the marriage mart. and men…. I’d leave the advise to wiser men..

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  15. One thing I experienced growing up is that our culture push us to think about what kind of a life we want, what qualities do we look for in a partner, what marriage means to us individually. There are set defined rules about how a good marriage looks, defined qualities that a good husband/wife must have (earn well, be respectful, share responsibilities), but beyond that not too many people think about whether personalities match, whether the two people want the same things out of life, etc.

    I happened to meet my husband outside the ‘arranged marriage’ scenario, got time and opportunities to get to know each other and make a sound decision. But its a tough world out there, and its not very easy to meet like-minded people. Even for people who grow up in completely liberal atmosphere, like in the US, it is not very easy to find people they want to spend their life with through the traditional dating system (online or otherwise). Personally I feel the arranged marriage system in India is a good option to have, as long as all the people involved get the time and space to make a judgement without being pushed for a decision based on parental expectations.

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  16. Ok..so I might be wrong here, but what percentage of educated ,21st century woman stay with their in laws? I have a lot of married friends and may be 1-2 % of them stay with in laws. And most of the women that i know who had given up career have done so after having kids, because they wanted to invest their time in child rearing ….And how fair is it to say the traditional role of wife being in charge of household chores etc etc comes only with arranged marriages? This is kinda a common practice in India(unfortunately) and is as typical in love marriages as in arranged marriages…it is more because of the social set up and mind set..I agree the system of arranged marriage is not the coolest thing out there, but why it works is because for a marriage to work ,I believe, it would be helpful if the partners are more or less from similar family circumstances,same belief systems, similar financial mindset etc and arranged marriages ensures that most of these things are in line…yeah, the most important thing is the mental compatibility and it is not something that stays permanent,individuals evolve every day🙂

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  17. We as indian women are trained a certain way, we need to change, we need to think for ourselves, learn to take care of ourself for all our needs, emotional, social, financial etc., and then find our partner. Take for instance our situation.

    I was working in a diff city ( decades ago) and my parents were out in force hunting for THE alliance. Till i got into the work force the only males i was in contact were school mates and collegemates – no one i remotely considered marrying.. i had plenty of men as friends , no one i would consider marrying, so if my parents found someone i would have absolutely met him. no qualms. however i met my husband in golf club, randomly, a few times and then we stuck up a friendship. he traveled regularly to meet me, and after a yr we wanted to marry him and found i out that he owned the place and was wealthy…whaaat, here i planned to get a job in bombay and planning a life in a 2 room home. we talked, spent hours discussing future plans and thoughts and issues and philosophies and yet so much for my knowing him!!!!!

    When i choose him i did have pangs of fear , what if he turned out to be a monster? i just wiped the thought thinking if i could walk out of my parents life i could walk out of his.
    irrespective of How one gets married, women and men should be
    A. Open to making adjustments ,
    B. Put the partner as No.1
    C. Leave and not make life hell if it doesnt work out.

    then the union has a fair chance of success.

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  18. A little late but I was reminded of this post and the follow up comments when I read this article:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/02/the-first-lesson-of-marriage-101-there-are-no-soul-mates/283712/#comments
    One of the things that really stood out for me were these quotes:
    “The instructors teach students that once they learn to identify what is important to them, what values they hold, what they like to do on a daily basis, and what their sexual preferences are—in other words, once they know who they are—they will then be in a much stronger position to be able to recognize when they are with a partner who is compatible and shares their worldview. ”
    I think this is what is lacking in a lot of marriages in India both arranged and otherwise, self awareness in both men and women. This is partially because people enter marriages very young and they haven’t had a chance to figure things out but it’s also because most Indians (men and women) are not taught not to think about themselves too much. It’s considered selfish to give yourself and your preferences too much thought. So people go into marriage not quite knowing what they want themselves and are often instead told what it is that “should” want.
    Then this self explanatory quote “Pairing up with a partner is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life, more important than some of the other things you’ll learn in college”
    It would be very interesting if instead of the cooking, finishing school type of lessons preparing women for marriage we had classes like this in colleges in India for both sexes. Probably will never happen though.
    Maybe material for an entirely separate post?

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  24. Pingback: What about girls who are not very academic? Must they be condemned to forced marriages? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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