Let me state a disclaimer first. There is this contest about love vs arranged marriages (Sony Entertainment Television’s the “Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage” IndiBlogger contest- https://www.facebook.com/LoveYaArrange) and I have been asked to state my views on both. My first thought was hey, I am disqualified from commenting because I have not had either and the only way I could write an expert blog post about this topic was to marry twice- one arranged and one love and then after comparing the two experiences write from authority. But on second thoughts I realized that I am not in politics but I criticize politicians, I have not made a single film yet, but I freely critique films, so if I can do these things without in-depth first hand experience but merely by watching others then I am qualified to do the same with marriage. After all, Vatsyana was supposed to be a Sanyasi and celibate all his life- but he produced that masterpiece Kamasutra. So after a mental prayer to Vatsayana I started to think about this topic.
So this contest has allowed me to clarify to myself first on what my views are about these two categories of weddings. At various times of my life I have been pro-love marriages, anti-love marriages, pro-arranged marriages and anti-arranged marriages and back again to pro-love marriages. I know life is a big circle and you are supposed to run round and round around it. But to get back to the starting place shows that either you run out of ideas or that you are not afraid to admit that you have been wrong and have the courage to change your position based on your new understanding. So currently I am pro-love marriages. Why I will explain now.
First lets see what marriage is all about. Marriage is nothing except accepting a person someone else than you wholeheartedly- the whole package, warts and all. If you think I am joking. Think again. How many times have we forgiven ourselves for something which we would have raised hell for, if someone else had done it to us? So accepting/treating others like we treat our own selves is just about the hardest thing to do in life..Not for nothing did that great man Jesus once said “do unto others as you expect….”
And this is the basic necessity to make marriage work- acceptance. Easy to say but hard to do. And in a way in arranged marriage’s it is easier to get that wholehearted acceptance because you start off with pretty low expectations as it is and know for a fact that there is nothing you can do about it once you open the package (the whole package) and see what’s inside. On the other hand, many love marriages falter on the rocks of expectations. When we court- we preen and we pimp and we sail in false colours. It’s an accepted part of courtship to say or do anything to conquer. But once the ring goes on the finger, the mangalsutra gets tied onto the neck and two people start living together in the same room, day in and day out- the blinkers come off and you start seeing reality- the ugly truth so to say. And where better sense prevails over the instant feel of betrayal- there lie’s successful love marriages.
So why knowing all this, why do we yearn to get married? I mean why the hassle? Because relationships are so addictive. We are genetically hardwired to need people, desperate for connection, for reciprocal relationships, to be admired and to be listened to. And that’s the attraction of marriage- a stable partner who will tolerate all our quirks.
The lazy among us- outsource this to our parents as arranged weddings.
Hoping that when someone is of the same social standing, religion, culture and caste- they will have pretty much the same taste- in life and eating habits…for never forget many a marriage has gone down the drain (to divorce court) because the wife was a vegetarian and a husband a non and she put restrictions on bringing THAT stuff into MY house (source: my mom- a practicing advocate/family law specialist). So if the parents do all the early vetting and they succeed in finding the perfect daughter-in-law, it so often works out that she is soon transformed into the perfect wife too in the eye of the husband. That’s the prime attraction of arranged marriage- the shot cut to marital bliss, with parental/societal blessings.
A love marriage on the other hand- is pure hard work, sheer slog where you are left to fend for yourself- for good or bad (still a fact of society). And at the end of it all, come the first serious fight- you are left wondering whether it was all worth it- all that rebellion to choose your own partner. And that’s where the worm of doubt strikes- when you tend to forget the reason for loving the other person and focus on the faults alone. It takes a very special person, to move on from the blame game and focus on the good to the exclusion of the immediate provocation.
And this is often exaggerated in love marriages because the parents, who often harbor a sense of betrayal (even if unexpressed), stand on the sidelines watching rather than help in solving any issues between the newlyweds. Also, in unhappy marriages mired in unresolved arguments and pent-up resentments, people often blame their partner instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. And the worst thing is they keep it all inside till it blows up one day. The only remedy is to listen to your partner fully because when someone doesn’t feel listened to, they don’t share the most intimate parts of themselves, because they don’t want to be vulnerable.
So, as I feel I have been slightly sidetracked from the original Arranged Vs.Love theme – I will get back to it. Which works best? In my biased mind- the top of the totem pole is Love marriage. Because even if it’s a mistake- it will be my mistake. I will own up to it, take full responsibility for it and work hard to make it better. And that incredible sense of ownership will never come in an arranged marriage- where you just eat what’s served on the plate instead of ordering from the menu. Some people are fine with it. Cool. Let them be. Me, I am different, I like to make my own bed, write my own destiny, and live my own life. So a love marriage works for me. Heigh Ho!!
Poocha mera pyar kaise, mera jaan? Mera pyar hai, mera Bhagwan…..From the movie “Prem-Quaidi” circa early 1990’s….