Miguel Helft: “A Decent Proposal”

Table of Content

In Miguel Helft’s story “A Decent Proposal,” he talks about an Indian couple (Rajiv Kumar and Vandana) who fell in love due to “contemporary, arranged marriage.” Although “arranged marriage” is part of their Indian tradition, they chose to follow a different and more modern path. “Contemporary arranged marriage” and “arranged marriage” widely contrast from one another. In Contemporary arranged marriage, Rajiv explains it as her parents doing the “legwork,” while she is still in “control.” Although parents help their children find their “soul mate,” the children have the “final say.” In arranged marriages, the marriages are planned, while the bride and groom’s guardians have the final say. Contemporary arranged marriages are a much better option, because the parents still have a respected opinion, but the bride and groom still get to have the final decision if they want to marry or not. I disagree with arranged marriages, because love is not guaranteed, the bride and groom have no standpoint, and the relationship could unknowingly end up abusive.

Arranged marriages are a poor decision, because the bride and groom may never fall in love. “I had told my family that they should not have married me to him, but they said I was ridiculous.” When a bride and groom never get the chance to become friends or discover one another before marriage, there is a high chance that they may not feel love. People need time to get to know each other, because in the end, they might not be satisfied with whom they are with. When parents make the ultimate decision as to who their children marry, they could potentially be doing their children a disservice. Having a close friendship and romantic relationship before marriage, gives the lovers peace of mind, because they are already in love, and know that they want to be together. “His father asked his mother if she loved him. No, his mother said. I hardly know you.” In Western culture, arranged marriage is almost unheard of, because Westerners believe in falling in love first, and becoming wed later. “Love and passion first, marriage later.” Indian culture is the complete opposite when it comes to being married.

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“In Indian culture, marriage is the starting point in a relationship.” It is extremely difficult for some couples to be happy with their new spouse, because they are complete strangers, and have no idea who they just married. “When I told my family I couldn’t fall in love with a stranger, they told me Indians don’t have to feel like “poor, helpless Americans.” Although it is possible to fall in love in an “arranged marriage,” it is better to be safe than sorry, and get to know who you are marrying before you tie the knot. When a bride and groom have no standpoint in their marriage, it is unfair and can cause a lot of problems. If the bride or groom is unhappy with whom the parents have chosen, they still have no say, because the parents are the only ones with the power in this situation. “I knew my arranged marriage was set in stone. Saying “no” (though I still longed for) was not an option—the stakes in our honor-and-shame-based family were too high.” In some situations, the female bride is much younger than the groom. “The girl, identified only as Rawan, was married off to a 40-year-old man late last week in an arranged marriage.”

These types of situations are not just disturbing, but are common in foreign countries. Young girls like this have no option, but to follow their guardian’s demands. Many of these arranged marriages hurt the new married couples because it is not what they intended for their life. “We choose,” they said triumphantly, as if their notion of choice would make me feel free.” Although parents that participate in arranging marriages want the best for their children, it does not always work out to be the best choice after all. Everyone deserves to have a standpoint when it comes to who they are going to marry, because marriage is meant to be a life long journey with someone that you love and care for.

Unfortunately, some arranged marriages end up turning into an abusive relationship. Children who are involved in arranged marriages do not know who they are marrying most of the time, so the bride or groom is at risk of being in a violent relationship without even knowing it. “Women who are brought to the U.S. as part of an arranged marriage think they are going to have a great life when they get here. But in some cases, they’re physically, sexually and emotionally abused.” It is unfair that people have to go through abuse in arranged marriages, because it is not their fault. The bride and groom have no choice, and are forced into marriage, whether it is abusive or not. Divorce is an option, but it makes the parents look irresponsible because they put their child into an extremely dangerous situation. “The blame here lies with the parents for forcing them both into a marriage, they did not want.” It is important that a bride and groom get to marry who they believe is best for them, so that these types of horrible issues can be avoided.

Contemporary marriages and arranged marriages are very different from each other. In a contemporary marriage, the bride and groom have the final decision as to whom they want to marry, while in an arranged marriage it is the complete opposite. I disagree with arranged marriages, because there are too many problems that go along with them. I believe that people are much more satisfied with their marriage when they have the “freedom” to choose who they spend the rest of their life with. Although “arranged marriages” are an old “tradition” in some countries, it needs to be broken. In arranging marriage, love is not guaranteed, the bride and groom have no standpoint, and the marriage could end up being abusive. Marriage is a very special thing, and should always be based on two people that love each other, not two strangers that randomly got paired together because of parents. Arranged marriage takes away love and happiness, and instead gives off a feeling of obligation.

Works Cited

  1. “I Am In An Arranged Marriage Arranged Struggle.” experience project. N.p., 3 Jan 2013. Web. 2 Oct 2013. .
  2. John Tuohy, Bill McCleer, ed. N.p.. Web. 2 Oct 2013.
  3. Mohan, Keerthi. “Yemeni Child Bride, 8, Married To A 40-Year-Old Man, Dies Of Internal Injuries After Wedding Night. International Business Times, 11 Sep 2013. Web. 2 Oct 2013.
  4. Thomas, Debie. “My Parents Chose My Husband.” slate. N.p., 16 Aug 2013. Web. 2 Oct 2013.

Cite this page

Miguel Helft: “A Decent Proposal”. (2016, Jun 01). Retrieved from


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