Arranged Vs. Love Marriages.

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- 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….

15 thoughts on “Arranged Vs. Love Marriages.

  1. And we have an incentive to make it work too- instead of opting to call it off at the first sign of disagreement…i have quite a few friends/couples who keep blaming their parents for the wrong choice of partners they have been saddled with and i always ask them this one question "did your parents force you to tie the mangalsutra? Ultimately you did it-so its your choice too..or else you ciuld have stopped it at any time"

  2. Interesting Post Doc. I liked what you had mentioned in the fag end about It being your mistake, even if it happens to be a mistake. Yes,when there is no one to blame for our mistakes, we actually do sit down and analyze what went wrong. At least one step closer to solving the problems!

  3. if only the dopamine effect could be there throughout life..then nothing will ever come in the way of true love would it? and yes…not passing the blame onto mum/dad is one of the primary attractions of love marriage- atleast to me. dont know how many others will agree with that.

  4. Well said..but in arranged marriage, one can pass on the blame n make mom/dad responsible but same isn't possible in luv marriages. Also everything is fascinating during courtship period coz the darker side of the person gets hidden unintentionally or i wud say "other person in love ignores it" coz of the dopamine effect.

  5. Time i have Susan…a lot of it….i am in no particular hurry..if only the right person turns up…Btw, i kinda go with the flow- the muse is a fickle lady- when she turns up at all- so i rarely stop to edit before publishing…besides i do all this blog writing round about midnights- so forgive the grammatical errors..and have you given any thought about my earlier proposal- to start an editorial agency?? Would make a world of difference to people like me…

  6. Ha Karen…your comment reminds me of the old joke…that bachelors cant wait to get married…and married men vice versa…And yes…i agree that God/Fate does have a very big role to play…just to show us which side of the grass we are on…

  7. Doktor, you know the most irritating part of having married the one you fell in love with is the fact that no one can be blamed. Sometimes I go bonkers and blame myself saying, you wanted it, so live with it. I guess, arranged or love, settling in takes time.P. S. You need serious lessons in punctuation. Contact me 🙂

  8. Iceland, it seems. Anyway, interesting post… you know the grass is always greener on the other side. People in arranged marriages think that folks in love marriages have it better and vice versa. What it really all comes down to is, God… I guess, you never know who the right one is, you just pray and hope that everything works out alright. Of course, having being brought up on Disney and The Sound of Music and all the books I've read, I've thought only love marriages make sense… but then life surprises you and you learn to evaluate your thoughts.

  9. Vatsayana's my patron saint Karpagam..i always invoke him before doing any good deed…..and yes..coming from different cultural backgrounds is a big do i know this? becuase during various phases of my life i have dated a Benagali girl/a gujarati girl/ a bihari girl/ a malayali girl..even a foriegn girl- from iceland of all places…in addition to our local tamil girls..and i can very well imagine what you and your hubby went through

  10. Hey Ganesh – I truly loved those lines – "when the blinders come off". Hahaha… as opposed to the general belief that the first few months of married life is bliss, me and my hubby fought it out, gnawed each others head to get familiaries as both of us come from different cultural b/gs (which during preening period went unnoticed!) two years later, here we are in sufficiently safe waters! 😀 Lovely post bro! btw, why did you pull Vatsyana in?? 😀

  11. "Because even if it is a mistake, it will be my mistake…and that incredible sense of ownership will never come in an arranged marriage" – Wow, beautiful words, Doctor. For some good reason, made me go all 'yeaaayyyy' within! 🙂

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