Sunday, February 12, 2017


Can Arranged Marriages Work?

So in Indian culture, there's a taboo of physical contact before marriage. Usually, the boy or girl study first (more emphasis on the boy tho because he has to have a stable job before marriage duh) and find a stable job, then get married. Any contact with the opposite sex before that is seen as unnecessary and a distraction in the best case scenario, and in the worst case scenario, there is an underlying fear or paranoia that you will fall in love with somebody not respectable enough and get pregnant/get them pregnant.

Indians are also practical people, so they think marriage can't be based on "love" which can be a fleeting emotion. Instead, marriages are based on compatibility of the families, income, stability, security, same religion, etc.

This is because the purpose of marriage isn't to bring two people together who love each other (like the western ideal), it's to set up a family unit that can function inside the larger joint family unit and propagate children to continue the lineage. The compatibility of the children is not seen as the main point, and the logic is that as long as they like each other, they will "adjust" to each other after they're married, since they're stuck together for life.

That's why there are certain expectations for both people in the marriage, especially for the woman. It's assumed that she will move to the boy's house. If not that, there is an assumption that she will take care of the boy's parents. Also, she will know how to cook and take on the responsibility of the household chores and also keep up the religious festivals and the culture. Obviously she will quit her job or pay less attention to it after a child is born (children are assumed also).

The boy's parents are not only looking for a wife, but a daughter-in-law that can bring joy to the household and cheerfully take care of the family and get along with everyone.

There is a horrible self-fulfilling prophecy in this system where both the boy and the girl don't learn anything if their life is set up for them. Moreover, if they are told not to engage with the opposite sex, then there is no chance to learn about healthy relationships or how the opposite sex thinks, feels and behaves. The children grow up sheltered from reality.

For girls this results in an ignorance about anything sexual and a low confidence about her abilities after being told that her end goal is marriage. For boys this results in a sense of entitlement where they expect their wife to fill their mother's shoes even if those wives have an equal education. It also results in them not knowing how to talk to women and therefore being "creepy". They grow up thinking women are mysterious or to be feared.

If anyone breaks these expectations and "fails", such as getting pregnant before wedlock, or getting raped, obviously it is because they did not do as they were told. If they had just listened to the elders, this wouldn't have happened.

Now, not all arranged marriages are bad. They can be a great way to meet people if you know what you're looking for, who you are as a person, and if you think for yourself. In the end, even the parents don't really know what they're doing because arranged marriage is a crap-shoot, especially if you both have 0 relationship experience and are expected to stick it out.

The best thing you can do is see how many morals/values you have in common (not to be confused with hobbies) and ask a ton of questions.

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