I am often asked about arranged marriages:
– Why did I settle for an arranged marriage
– Do I advocate them
– Is it sensible to marry a stranger
– What makes an arranged marriage work and such
I am not a proponent of any particular ‘kind’ of marriage. I only advocate ‘happy’ marriages and like everything else, they require hard work.
I never wanted to have an arranged marriage. I longed for a ‘love’ marriage, because I wanted to have a real fairy tale in my life. Because I always dreamt of telling my own love stories to my grand children and because, after watching numerous Bollywood films and reading YA novels, I thought eloping with a boy was thrilling and romantic. This was until I turned 26.
By the time I stepped into 27, I had realized that love and marriage are two different things – one is a feeling and other is a commitment.
After a failed relationship and with a tender heart that had been broken several times, I was almost clueless about love and marriage both. Heck! I was even clueless about my career which seemed good to others but felt suffocating to me behind those cubicles in IT firms.
Pressure of marriage was mounting upon me. I was 28 and still there was no sign of marriage even remotely and even though my parents had reluctantly agreed for love or intercaste marriage, I was blank because I had no love life.
There was a point when I looked back at my life and regretted few of my choices and finally decided to get my life pacing up.
But even in those times when I wasn’t sure about anything, I was certain about one thing – my life would never be a compromise.
That is when arranged marriage happened to me. Or rather, my husband happened to me.
Papa told me about him, his life and struggles and wanted me to talk to him. Papa had always given me the liberty to interact with the prospects before making a decision and that has made all the difference.
I spoke to Sanjay on phone and I hated him for his attitude that seemed arrogance to me then. But I think we were destined to be together. After few emails and chat sessions, I was enamored by his charm and enchanted by his simplicity and honesty. It hardly took us a month to confess our feelings to each other and we got married 5 months later.
More than anything, I trusted my instinct when I said yes to Sanjay.
Happily ever after huh?! Maybe, maybe not.
Because happiness is not a destination. It is a journey alongside life.
How I worked on my marriage with a man who had totally opposite tastes, raw rigidity and polarized views about almost everything, is a different story and needs a separate post.
Today, I have been married for over 8 years and I share a beautiful relationship with my husband. Best thing about my marriage is that it is my coziest comfort zone and Sanjay is more of a friend and a lover than a husband.
So, did I marry a stranger? NO. I talked to him over phone for months before saying yes. Sometimes you need only a few conversations to know someone while other times it takes a lifetime.
So, did I settle for an arranged marriage? I don’t know. All I know is that had I met him on my own with the same attitude that sounded arrogant, I wouldn’t have talked to him ever again. Papa’s pressure was what forced to me to talk to him again and ‘know’ him and that has worked well for me.
So, what makes an arranged marriage work? Lot of things and all the things that make any marriage work – memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other.
So, what would you say to these young people writing to you? I would say this:
– Never compromise on your life’s most important matter. Do not get married because your parents and neighbors and relatives are pestering you. Marry because you have found the right person.
– Do not worry if everyone around you is getting married. Age is just a number. Do not marry because you are getting old. Marry because you do not want to spend anymore time without that right person.
– Do not focus on who arranges the first meeting. Whether it is a love, intercaste or arranged marriage. Focus on the person you are getting married to.
– Do not fret over past failed relationships. They happened to you for a purpose – to teach you some lessons. Learn from them. I learnt a lesson from each heart break – small or big alike.
– However you meet the prospect, interact with him before saying yes. Trust your instinct. Listen to your heart.
– Do not say yes under any kind of pressure.
– If you have huge pressure of marriage, like I had, best thing to do is to take up a job in a different city than your home town. For all those years, I worked thousands of miles away from my home town and that saved me so much from mental stress.
– Finally, look for the right person. If the person is right and you respect him and your instinct tells you that he is a nice, sincere, honest person, love will happen.
Questions? Feel free to write to me at – firstname.lastname@example.org