The sights and sounds, the words and cheers of marriages and weddings have made me contemplate this phenomenon more often than I usually would. It has just started to sink in that in a few years time (quite a few years, please) I will also be "submerged in similar bliss".
So after reading Ro's post on marriages, I begun to wonder, yet again, what exactly are the arranged and love marriages.
To Westerners, as much as it is unfathomable, the concept of arranged marriages actually intrigues them. This is how we explained it to them what it is. When a boy or a girl is ready to settle down, but haven't hooked up with someone already, they ask their parents (or their parents may ask them if they want to) to look for a match for them. Their first reaction is -oh, it's like dating, only with parents involved. Exactly! We do not have the pressure of having to find a partner before we are twenty so that we don't stay unmarried all our lives, because we can count on our family's support when it will come to finding a partner, if we haven't already.
How is it too different from dating? Except you are dating for a husband/wife and not a boyfriend/girlfriend, with the wisdom of your parents thrown in, along with your own choice.
Love happens. You cannot force it to. Marriages don't ensure love, like neither do being in a relationship. A love-marriage that signifies falling in love before getting married, doesn't really mean that. What a love-marriage actually implies is you chose your partner, without any help from your parents. Friends often set up dates, pair one friend with another but that's not called arranged, but it seems no different to me.
In every relationship, you learn to love, begin to love on one fine day and it has nothing to do how you met, and when you got married.
Arranged marriages and love marriages are real misnomers. Love can be a part of both or neither, and the marriage is not the crux of the matter. The real thing are the two people in it. Love is different from Marriage. And entirely different from Love-marriage. No marriage can ensure you love, whether be it your choice or your family's. And again, some of the most wonderful love stories that I have seen have been from arranged marriages.
The worst idea that we have is in an arranged marriage we don't choose who we marry. It is the most dumb idea to have. We always can get to choose (with some exceptions of course, of the extremists that still exist today) who we marry, sometimes we do it with the pre-approval of our parents, sometimes we get the approval later (some do have to fight for it though).
Marriages should be just that - marriage. Arranged marriages are the wrong word as it's either you or your family who 'arrange' the who-to-marry. And love marriages are all the ones that have love in it, no matter the how, the where, the when.
Personally, I fell in love when I wasn't looking for it. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have "looked" for a love-marriage, searching for a person who I can marry. It just happened that I met the man I love before I married him, even before I thought of the word 'marriage'. And I'm marrying him (whenever that is) not because it is the natural transition but because I want to, we want to (try prying me out of singlehood otherwise!). I could have married him the next day to when I learned he loved me back too, that was the height of enlightenment, the depth of understanding. It would have been the same if my parents had been looking for a boy for me. They would have chosen him, given the choice (if they had known of him - he is the kind of guy my parents would choose for me - being their daughter I had known what they hope, want, wish for me), and I would have had the same clarity of knowing that I had the first time. Only then we would have gotten married in a few months time, and now we have to wait a few years.
The best ever example of a wonderful love marriage that I saw first-hand is that of my parents. The wife of a couple (who are friends of my parents) after narrating to my mother the story of their love marriage, asked my mother, "You had an arranged marriage, didn't you?" Before my mother could say anything, my father spoke up, "No, ours is also love marriage." As the lady looked up confused, as her question was rhetorical, and my parents' arranged marriage, legendary (people find it difficult to believe) and common knowledge, my father smiled and continued, "Yours was 'love before marriage', and ours was 'love after marriage.'"
That is the most amazing thing I had ever heard anyone say. And it shut everyone up!
Love matters. How it happens, never does.