Arranged Marriage or Love? A Generation in between Tradition and Freedom – 31 Oct 12


Yesterday I told you that many arranged marriages actually fail but are counted as a ‘success’ just because the couple is not getting divorced. Today I thought I should dedicate some time and space on my blog to explain you the reason why I think it does not work and the dilemma of the current generation in regards to marriage.

It is a generation of young people who grew up in modern India. They have the background of this ancient culture with all its traditions and habits. They are however heavily influenced by all kinds of international cultures which are brought to them by modern media, through the TV but also through their education. Globalization is everywhere.

They are a generation in the middle. Their parents never had all those possibilities to connect with the world. They just know their old traditions. These young people have been to colleges and universities and they may even had relationships in that time. They may have had their first time, their first crush, their first love, that all already before they even think of getting married.

When it gets to marrying however, they want to respect their parents and the traditions of centuries. They don’t want to revolt and actually don’t even have the feeling that an arranged marriage could be wrong. It is what their parents did, too, and they are happy. They want to respect the wishes of their elders and thus agree on choosing someone of their caste, marrying someone who is chosen by their parents. After all, it is their parents’ biggest wish to get them married properly.

And then the problems start. They don’t get along at all. And they blame their parents. It is a good excuse: you chose this person, not me! It is not my responsibility! But you are the one who has to live with your spouse for the rest of your life, not your parents!

Well, no, that is not fully true, either. As the wife lives with her in-laws, she does have to spend a lot of time with them, too. And with every marriage debacle that I see here, I get the feeling that this is one of the main problems, too! Before marriage, this young woman experienced freedom. She went to university, wearing pants, she was at home, wearing a salwaar suit, and now she is sitting in her new home and is expected by her in-laws to be wearing a sari. Even more, she should cover her face when her father-in-law or any other respected man is around. She wants to respect her in-laws and follows their rules – but it kills her happiness, because it kills her freedom. Whenever she goes to her mother’s home, she will wear whatever she likes, jeans, salwaar suit, whatever. When she comes home, she is back in the role of daughter-in-law.

Dear parents: I know you want your sons and daughters to be happy. Your time was different and their time today is different. Don’t forcefully put them into a marriage. Don’t put this burden on them, if they don’t follow your wish for them to get married the way you like, that they bring dishonor on you. If they are not happy in their marriage, you won’t be happy. You need to understand that your children grew up differently and will need a different marriage than you had.

Dear parents-in-law: If you have your daughter-in-law in your home, give her freedom to be the person she really is. Respect her, then she can respect you. If you put her in a cage of rules of what to wear and how to behave, she will want to move away with your son and hope it will get better. It is right of her to do so, as you try to force – and this is how families break apart. Don’t let it happen in your home!

Dear unmarried young people: Take the decisions of your life on your own. You need to take your responsibility for your marriage, you cannot blame your parents forever for your life.

I don’t think the next generation will have this problem. They will be even more modern and think more for themselves. When the current generation will be parents, they will do everything to avoid the problems that they themselves had with their parents. They won’t want to take the responsibility or blame for the marriage of their children and the children would not accept it anyway.

Maybe in the time of my parents arranged marriages were more effective and reasonable. In today’s time they are definitely not. The future will tell people to marry with love, to make a marriage more than a ritual or a paper. This generation may be in between, the generation of change, but the next one will be able to go the path of love more easily.

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