The concept of arranged marriage may sound impractical to the Western world, but in India, it is a usual norm. No matter how westernized India may have become, arranged marriages are still viewed as the most preferred choice in the Indian families. This kind of marriage has its roots laid to the time, when the ritual of child marriage prevailed in the country. Child marriage was essentially performed, so as to restrict the children from marrying outside their community and social status. The practice was essentially a way of uniting and maintaining the difference between the rich upper class society and the poor lower class society. This practice of caste system gave rise to the concept of arranged marriages.
Earlier, an arranged marriage in India was seen as a way of promoting caste system or racism. It was just a tool for the upper caste people to protect their community and to maintain their social status. As such, they married their children to the person of the same caste or same social background. The practice eventually passed on to the lower caste as well, where it is used for the same purpose. The rituals and customs of arrange marriages in India vary depending on the caste and religion of the people. The system, though very old, still is one of the most prevalent practices performed and has today, become synonymous with the Indian society and culture. The only difference with the yesteryears is that it is less rigid than that practiced in the past.
In countries or cultures where matchmaking is the norm, people are very aware of the pros and cons of arranged marriages. One of the strongest reasons for arranged marriages is finding a partner who is compatible ethnically, religiously, socially and culturally; in fact, this reason is the primary reason arranged marriages occur in some immigrant communities in Western countries. In ethnic or religious communities where assimilation is frowned upon, such as Greek expatriates or Orthodox Jews, arranged marriages are looked upon as a way to perpetuate the faith or culture.
Arranged marriages have been a topic of interest for centuries. Arranged marriage is usually a safe way to ensure a family’s approval of a union. Yet although the marriage isn’t initially based on love, there’s always that sensual tension simmering beneath the surface, we know it’s inevitable that the two are going to fall deeply and irrevocably in love. • But what about real life, where things don’t always work out so well? Arranged marriages are commonplace in a number of countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan and India. They’re more common than you’d think even in North America, where cultural diversity is cherished and encouraged. Young people in countries where arranged marriages are commonplace are told from an early age that their spouse will be chosen for them. To deny an arranged marriage is seen as a sign of disrespect toward the family.
But how are suitable spouses chosen? In Japan, for instance, “when a woman reaches the marriageable age of 25, she and her parents compile a packet of information about her, including a photograph of her in a kimono and descriptions of her family background, education, hobbies, accomplishments and interests. Her parents then inquire among their friends and acquaintances to see if anyone knows a man who would be a suitable husband for her”. Usually, the most important aspect of choosing a suitable spouse is the bond between the two families, rather than the relationship between the couple being married. Property or land with the aim of securing social status sometimes seals marriage agreements.
Do arranged marriages work? Opinions tend to differ. Statistics place the divorce rate for arranged marriages much lower than those in the United States, where marriages out of love are the rule. However, research also shows that the pressure a married couple encounters from both society as a whole, and from the respective families, suggests that divorce is often not an option.
Can love grow out of an arranged marriage? Absolutely, and in the same way that love can grow in romance novels from a marriage of convenience. But there’s more to love than finding a suitable match. Love can grow for many reasons, from lust at first sight to friendship that develops over a long period of time. It’s impossible to predict whether a union will be successful. The only two people who can make it work are the bride and groom, the hero and heroine of their own story.