Is Arranged Marriage a Good Thing?

Tangy Tuesday PickThis post has been selected as a Tangy Tuesday Pick on BlogAdda for Apr 12 2011

I first met her five long years ago and we became part of the same group before long. We used to have such fun teasing her on her accent and the way she couldn’t pronounce certain words. In Malayalam , the word for rain is mazha. However, she always said it as “Mala” which meant mountain 🙂 And we would tease her saying that she came from a district without the letter zha. She was one of the chirpiest girls I knew – quick to be roused and quick to calm down.

She had an older brother and a sister, and being the youngest of her family, I expected her to be the pampered pet. But that wasn’t the case. She was a well-grounded individual with strong likes and dislikes. Her home was around 12 hours away from where we worked and she loved going home. Yet her father always forbade it. Whenever she asked if she could come home, he would say – “Why do you have to come now? Don’t you have any work there?” And she would suppress her desire for Home and even work the weekends at Office, especially since she had nothing else to do.

Life went on and her brother and sister got married and were settled in their lives. Next it was her turn to be “settled”.

One fine morning, my friend was asked to report home. She was eager and excited and kept saying “My Dad actually asked me to come home.” Little did she know that her life was being arranged there. When she got home, she found out about the IT groom, and could do little to dissuade her Dad.

Her Dad had this quirk – he wanted his son-in-law to be a Doctor. Her sister had married a College lecturer and now, he wanted a doctor for his second daughter. High and low he searched, but could find no doc to suit. Finally, he found a suitor from the IT industry. But this prospective suitor had a sister who was a doctor and her husband was also a doctor. So, Dad thought – “What the hell! If I can’t get my daughter a doctor, then I will marry her into a family which has 2 doctors.” And thus the marriage was arranged. Without asking her consent.

Her Mom had no voice in the home and her brother and sister could care less about her wishes. And so, half-heartedly, she succumbed to their demands.

Her family never even enquired about the groom at his place of work or elsewhere. He had a good reputation in their village (where he hardly stayed for 3 days at a time since his college days) and that was deemed to be enough. he was known as a nerd in their area, which is equivalent to “Excellent groom material” in the parlance of Indian parents.

The engagement period lasted for around 4 months and while she was on the phone with her suitor, we could hear the chords of dissonance in their chats. He always seemed to scorn her and her work, and tried to belittle her and try to force his will on her. So much so that almost within a month of being engaged, they stopped talking to each other over the phone.

Come August, and her family celebrated the wedding of the youngest daughter of the house. Thus ending an era in my friend’s life. Her new life had begun. Her husband was stationed in the Garden City, while was she was in a different place. He didn’t bother to take his wife to his place till 6 months after the marriage.

And once she got there, she realized that he had rented an apartment close to his office, while she had to travel over 2 hours to get to her office. She suffered in silence. Not that talking it out brought any peace. If she ever disagreed with him on anything, immediately he was on the phone to her parents complaining about her behaviour and threatening to divorce her.

After a while she was so used to his threats, that she began to eagerly look forward to him actually carrying out his threat. She was not allowed to do anything, or rather, anything with him. They existed in that house as 2 individuals sharing an apartment. Nor could she find any solace in her family – they only said “Please adjust. Everything will be fine.”

Her in-laws were completely supportive of their son’s erratic behaviour that they started calling up her family themselves, complaining about how headstrong she was. Once things got to such an end, that the village elders were summoned to take an action in their son’s life. Since her family’s honour was at stake, my friend demurely nodded to all the threats and advice given by the village elders and promised to abide by them.

Once, her husband quit his job and took off God knows where for around 4 months. During this time, she was hit by a car while on her way to work, and she had no one to care for her, including her family. Her husband didn’t even bother to call her. A couple of friends took her to a hospital and tended to her during her convalescence.

She is unable to break free because of her family – whose honour will be shattered in the village if she gets a divorce.

Today, they still live in 2 poles in the same house – whenever her husband came around. At all other times, she stays in a hostel. They hardly speak to each other and neither does she go home. her siblings are of no help to her as they are busy in their own lives.

She still doesn’t know why her husband married her. She doesn’t know where he works today, or whether he works at all. She doesn’t know if he is treating her like dirt because he wants to be rid of her (in which she would be happy to oblige) or whether he has a secret paramour somewhere.

And she still awaits her fate. Alone.

What do you think? Is it her fault that she doesn’t break out of the golden cage? Or is her family to blame? Most of all, do you think an arranged marriage still works?


18 thoughts on “Is Arranged Marriage a Good Thing?”

  1. Do u think this is a function of only an arranged marriage. Sometime in love marriages also we don’t know the real person we are married…

    I hope your friend finds the confidence to live life on her terms and for her self.

    1. I agree….but in a love marriage atleast the girl is confident about the guy she is going to marry, atleast till she gets married. What happens after that is upto the couple – whether the marriage is arranged or love. Whereas in an arranged marriage, the girl cannot be blamed in any way if the guy turns out to be a loser.

  2. This is so wrong. Times like this,the main thing that family can do is to morally support their gal but sadly, it is not happening here.

    Arranged marriage or not, it is totally upto the individuals to make it work.

    I pray for your friend that things should work out for her FC.Ask her to be strong.

  3. Wow – I will definately be praying for your friend. I can’t even imagine how lonely she must feel. It breaks my heart that her own family would let her remain in a situation like that. I hope that someday she can break free.

  4. The problem is that not only her parents, but probably even she sees staying married (and only to this man) as the only option.

    She hopes he will ask for a divorce, and she wants to be free too… and there are ways out, but I wonder if she seriously gave it a thought.

    I doubt it, because her family would never allow that.

    I wonder if a family that doesn’t respect her or care for her happiness is worth bothering with. She seems to have a one way relationship with her parents, where they expect and she obeys 😦

    A woman could face a similar situation in a love marriage or choice marriage too, but there she will be able to walk out more easily.
    Successful divorces and Successful (i.e. not long-lasting but happy) marriages both are necessary for a society to be considered a healthy, balanced and civilised society/community.

    1. She is from a very small village and her husband is also from the same village…now you can see how small her parents’ world is. And without anyone to support her (namely her relatives), she won’t take that leap into the unknown.

  5. I don’t think the arrange marriage can be blamed for this but yes the parents of the girl are certainly to be blamed for not doing a good job of doing a background check to whom they are giving away their daughter too.

    As for the girl, she is torturing herself for no reasons. I think it would be better if she tries to break away from such false relations and give a thought about her own individuality.

    Life is never easy for some, but if one gives up without trying, they will never know what would have happen if they had reached on the other side of the road….

    1. Yes, life would certainly be better for her if she could just find the courage to break away from tradition. But you know, this is not just a single instance. There are so many in society, who are silent sufferers like her – who present a very happy front to the public, while they are seething inside.

    1. I agree that people may change after love marriage too…but I would also like to think that they may atleast have some happy memories with each other. Also, a girl who is bold enough to go for love marriage in Indian society, may be strong enough to break away as well if it doesn’t work out. Just a thought.

  6. This is not a marriage, it is a travesty. Arranged marriages do work … but only if the people involved are pro-active towards building relationships. Otherwise its a sham

  7. The dating that we find in America is a good opportunity for boys and girls to know each other and select their future partners with total freedom and true consent. However, this opportunity is misused by many boys and girls and have brought disaster to their own lives. They totally discard desires of their family. They take dating for total freedom from parents and religion, and total freedom for sex. This has brought much misunderstanding about dating, especially in the circle of people of India.

    Arranged marriage system in India is bad in one sense but good in another sense. It is bad when marriage is arranged with such a hatred and prejudice over other religions, castes and races; it is bad when parents over-protect and control their children to the extent of denying every wish, and even every right of their children in choosing their partners. Arranged marriages are wonderful when parents and children love each other sincerely, and total freedom is given to children for final consent to marriage; and, when arrangements are made for the would-be-spouses to meet and to know each other.

    Dating system in America is bad when children totally disregard every genuine wish of their parents and consider everything as their freedom and fundamental right to the extent of practicing sex before marriage and considering marriage as a mere contract that can be terminated by a divorce decree. They often have no respect for their religious values at all. According to a friend of mine, dating system is to help the youth to learn to divorce and not to marry. You date with some one, then reject the person and accept another one; so you learn to divorce. It is wonderful when there is sincere attempt to seek the partner for an intimate union. When this happens, there is respect for family and religion; and, they seek parent’s advice.

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