How can I marry someone who I barely know!

It’s ironic how some idealist parents won’t let you have a relationship with a person of the opposite sex all your life, but are somehow happy and delighted to see you sleep with a complete stranger on your wedding night! Could you just suddenly love a stranger?  Like most age-old traditions the concept of love marriage too is trolled and questioned by the new generation. Well, we can’t completely blame them. Some aspects of their arguments are completely justified.

Yet, arranged marriages as we know it has stood the test of time, generation after generation. It is still a very integral part of our Indian culture and will continue to remain so in the foreseeable future. Arranged marriages are here to stay. For those who question, people can fall in love after marriage, for love is something that needs. And I will go even a bit further to proclaim that love in arranged marriages is stronger than love in love marriages. Well, I am not exaggerating or saying things out of the blue.

A study published by Usha Gupta and Pushpa Singh, of the University of Rajasthan, in 1982, confirms the same. There are certain caveats with the study but nonetheless it helps drive the point home. For instance, the study used an American love scale, called the Rubin love scale, for a concept that’s relatively non-American and completely alien to most of the western world.

The study compared the love in love marriages to the love in arranged marriages with the help of the Rubin's love scale. The study found that love in love marriages, undoubtedly starts out very high, obviously! But..but...but it decreases over time. In the case of arranged marriages, the love, yes, starts out relatively low. Because people don’t know everything about each other as they hardly meet their prospective partners before marriage. This scenario is changing, but, we’ll stick to the times the study was conducted. A bygone era, where communicating with your bride-or-groom to-be was a task comparable to a lone soldier fighting the war. You had to carefully write a letter in secret, post it without anyone’s attention, and hope that the person receiving it, too, received it and read it in secrecy. Back to our study. The study found out that even though love was fickle and almost absent in the initial years, it only grew stronger as time passed and people got to know each other. The love between arranged marriages couples grew so much so, that after ten years of marriage the love amongst such couples was twice as strong as the ones who had love marriages.

We can speculate on the reasons why love marriages may be losing out on the happiness:

  1. When we fall in love, there is a rush of hormones and we do things to please our partner that is not really in our nature and then finally the reality takes over. Unfortnately after marriage, and we end up missing the version of the partner before marriage and resenting the one with us in the present. But, in an arranged marriage, the reality is what we start with, the hormone induced rushes are not so strong in the begining, each other's images are built on what they really and then love starts to blossom.
  2. Marriage is a lot of work, a lot of adulting and so many routines and formalities that you need to adhere to. This reality is very different from what you see , all these can be overwhelming. It ends in bringing out the real, sane, you. And in some cases, it is very different from what we expected.
  3. There is also some kind of idiot proofing done in most arranged marriages. Usually there will be some parity in class and culture of both the bride and groom preventing shocks. And therefore, reducing dissapointment. Afterall, Indian marriages are about the families also, still true for most of us.
  4. And then, a kind of a double sword, but parents are much more involved in arranged marriages. There is a stronger sense of affinity between the spouse and the in-laws as it was their choice also. So unless you ran out of luck, you have a support system, within the family to help sort out those crumpled edges.

Thus, we can very well deduce that in love marriages the honeymoon period starts early and sadly ends early too. But in the case of love marriages, the honeymoon period begins after the actual honeymoon and lasts much longer. If you were to ask me, I’d prefer arranged marriage over love marriage any day.

Mom, are you listening? Let’s find some rishtaas the good old way!