According to a study on arranged marriages conducted by Statistic Brain, roughly 53.25% of marriages worldwide are arranged, while 90% of this percentage pertains to the method of marriage in India. What are arranged marriages? An arranged marriage is a type of marriage in which two people, the bride and groom, are selected to be married not by themselves but by their family members. In the Indian culture, the family members select the bride and groom based on the caste system and what profession each person is in. Many families believe arranged marriage is the best method for marital union not because it is a long rooted tradition but also because it offers a sense of safeguard and financial protection towards females. Unfortunately, this is oftentimes not the case. In fact, with arranged marriages there is a important requirement for women to play their feminine role in the marriage which includes the pressure to show love and affection to their spouse whether she is emotionally connected to him or not. Also, in many cases if the man is unhappy with the female, he will begin to abuse her physically and mentally. If this is the case, the women generally puts up with it and stays in the toxic relationship to avoid having her family and herself from being embarrassed by the community. In this way, the female is maintaining family pride and the utmost respect rather than facing humiliation for leaving her husband. Although some may believe arranged marriages are the best form of marital union due to having been proven to lead to the least amount of divorce rates, they provide no sense of security and protection towards women.
First of all, arranged marriages offer very little independence and freedom for the bride. In an article by Guardian, the author explains a situation in which a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan was forced to marry a Pakistani man and states “Once a white boyfriend became a possibility, Sairah was told her family’s honor rested on her engagement.’ This goes to show that females do not have any consent to decide on the person whom they will marry. It is up to the family’s discretion to decide this, so the bride must conform to the family’s expectations in order to maintain respect and pride. After all, in this situation as the author has stated, it is the engagement that will determine the fate and respect of the family. So when the bride and groom are selected by their relatives to get married, the female feels the mental pressure to live up to her parents expectations such as carrying on the family tradition of her future children marrying into the same caste, casting rituals, living with the in-laws, staying at home doing housework, taking care of the elders, and so on. In a normal love marriage, however, the two would select each other, but their own interests rather than the family’s interest. This would in turn give them more freedom and independence in deciding what is best for them regardless of family traditions and beliefs. Therefore, it would be more suitable to get to know someone before marriage so that the two can get to know each others personalities and desires better to ensure respect and love is maintained prior to accepting wedding vows.
Also, arranged marriages take away a sense of security and protection from women because they are unable to have the freedom of speech. In the Indian culture, when the men physically and mentally abuse the female in a relationship the female is not able to say anything or strike back. Instead, she will have to put up with this toxic relationship for the sake of maintaining the utmost respect for her family in the traditional society they reside in. In other words, women must not only obey her family’s tradition, but she must also obey her husband. For instance, if the husband is bothered by the genre of music the female listens to, or the movies she watches, her freedom and sense of liberation is ultimately being taken away from her because she will have to change her interests for him. If the female disobeys her husband, she will be abused thus indicating that arranged marriages do not provide any form of safeguard towards the females. This is rather disturbing to me because it also goes to show that women are seen as inferior to men in this traditional culture. However, in the case of love marriages the two are treated equally regardless of race or gender.
On the other hand, some believe arranged marriages look out for the best interests of females because parents are much more experienced and are able to eliminate potential men who are bad for them. In an article by the Daily Life, the author states “they will do a much better job of finding the right person for you because their judgment won’t be clouded like yours would almost certainly be if you were swooning over a new lover.” This clearly indicates that those who are in favor for arranged marriages would prefer an older relative find a good match because they will base this decision off of long term traits rather than the short lived feelings one gets when they meet someone. These qualities are often linked to economic stability, and both families having an interest in one another and belonging to the same caste rank. Although the bride and groom haven’t been able to emotionally connect, once the knot is tied they will be able to get to know one another better and connect as time passes.
All in all, in many countries such as India, the long rooted tradition of arranged marriage is still in full effect today. According to Indian traditions, arranged marriages are the best form of marital union because it binds two people based on the interests and caste ranking of the family, and it looks out for the females’ protection. Some believe arranged marriages are better than love marriages because the couple are more understanding towards each other while others believe just the opposite because women have to mold themselves into someone they’re not to please the husband and family. After hearing both sides, as a female I am strongly against arranged marriages because it deprives women of their sense of freedom and independence. Instead, I believe a love marriage should take place because the idea of marriage is not just for two people to get together and marry but instead it is to emotionally connect with someone whom you wish to spend the rest of your life with. One cannot assume the two will connect after arranged marriage because in some marriages this will not be the case.
- Das, Sushi. “Are Arranged Marriages More Successful than ‘Love’ Marriages?”Daily Life, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 Oct. 2012, www.dailylife.com.au/life-and- love/real-life/are-arranged-marriages-more-successful-than-love-marriages- 20121022-280kd.html.
- Deveney, Catherine. “Without Consent: the Truth about Forced Marriage.”The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Mar. 2012, www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/11/forced-marriage-pakistan-matrimony- laws.