Arranged marriages usually come across as constricting and confining to most people; they are viewed as forced and wrong, when in reality, the truth is far from that. Modern day arranged marriages have a lot more input from the soon-to-be wife and groom. Even though arranged marriages are not so arranged anymore, will their atrocity in the eyes of many South-Asians ever change?
A stereotypical arranged marriage is usually arranged by the parents. The requirements for the “jodi” to be a success include: good family backgrounds, the groom’s family is well-off and respectable, the groom has a stable career (even more typical would be a doctor, pharmacist, or engineer), and that the bride is decent looking. Although most of the requirements are beneficial, usually that is all that is looked for; no details are asked, no personality is questioned, no compatibility is determined. The happiness of the bride and groom is usually the main goal, however it is made clear that the two will have to “grow” to love each other. Not only that, but the bride must be the submissive one in the relationship and agree to her husband’s every command.
Arranged marriages are not like that anymore, although some aspects of the stereotype are true. Parents pick out possible prospects and the person can choose which he or she likes the most. The soon-to-be wed are even allowed to talk on the phone and see each other which helps in determining compatibility; at least the newlyweds will not be complete strangers on their wedding night.
There are mixed opinions on arranged marriages; some people want one and some people don’t. Although the majority is against arranged marriages, don’t assume that everyone has their “prem kahani” planned out. Some people wish to have an arranged marriage because nowadays not many love marriages last. In an arranged marriage, the happiness of the couple is not the only thing at stake. The bride must keep her in-laws happy with cooking and cleaning; the groom must provide for the bride and her family if need be. However, the strongest aspect that keeps an arranged marriage together is honor. The family’s honor must be protected at all costs and a messy divorce is not a good way of doing it. Not only that, but it is quite difficult for a female divorcee to marry again, especially if she is over the age of 30 and has children.
- Parents are happy
- Usually financially stable
- Bride and groom are not familiar with each other
- Spouses may not be compatible
Although the way an arranged marriage is planned depends on the family, I hope you have the basic idea of what a South-Asian arranged marriage is like. Don’t be so close-minded if your parents suggest that your marriage be arranged; and don’t freak out either…well unless they’re really traditional and are forcing you into marrying a 60 year old man for his money…well then yeah go ahead and freak out.