Yesterday I told you that a facebook friend of mine had come. In one of our longer talks, we of course also came to the topics of culture, relationships and love. We shared a few thoughts on the problems that can arise and of course talked about their possible solutions as well. With all of this thought processes going on, I wanted to share a little part of that with you, too.
When talking about Indian culture and relationships, there will always be one issue coming up: arranged marriages. A lot of people here, the majority of Indians in fact, still believe very strongly in this concept. That includes young people as well who, from the beginning of their lives, get the idea that their parents would definitely find the right partner for them. What do you need for this idea to work though? Apart from the luck to find someone compatible, it requires trust. What to do however if the child doesn’t have this trust?
I believe this can happen a lot in this society and even more with the advance of modern media, globalization and possibilities to travel, see and understand more and be freer. Young people get to see a lot more than what they were able to know in the past. They may not trust their parents to make the right choice anymore. And often you don’t have to go very far to see why: in their own home, they can often see an example of how marriage should NOT look like.
Fights, suppression and even violence – nothing very uncommon in many Indian families!
It is also no wonder, in my opinion, that this scars a little child. And it may scar him or her so much that the idea of marriage is too scary. That there is the wish for love, closeness and intimacy – but the fear of experiencing violence too big! There is no trust – in the other gender, in parents to make the right choice and even in themselves to choose correctly.
A young woman may very well get afraid of her future husband beating her the same way her father was beating her mother. Young men may be afraid of his future wife nagging and constantly trying to get into fights, showing her disappointment just as his mother was doing to his father.
At the same time, they long for that ideal love which they see in movies, hear of in stories and feel a desire for the same experience in their hearts. They have this need for acceptance and love but they don’t dare.
For me this makes one more thing very clear: we have to do more to stop domestic violence. We have to make people aware of their options, of the possibility to leave and even press charges. We have to make this pressing of charges easy and possible. And in the end, I believe still arranged marriage is not the right way, as more people will feel disappointed with the partner that was chosen for them. This leads to conflict and an unhealthy environment for children.
More than anything however I want to ask parents: be an example for your children because they learn from your actions much more than from your words!