Friday, August 3, 2012

Arrange Marriage or Love Marriage

Heard a celebrity scholar comment on arranged marriages on the radio. He was of the opinion that arranged marriages are unworkable in our times. The forcefulness of his argument made me sit and  think. Are arranged marriages so bad? after all I have always loved love stories and of course love marriages are so exciting. But then marriages are not about love story.

Let us get to the advantages of arranged marriages:
  1. No dating pressure, peer pressure to have a girl/boy friend and will not have to keep looking for love if it does not happen.
  2. The whole processes of looking for a soul mate is out-sourced and elder family members will do it for you.
  3. People with absolutely no decision  making power will end up marrying. If not for arranged marriage, they would be single.
  4. 'Lemons'(not to be condescending to others. I respect everybody but then our society is prejudiced and I cannot deny it) -will eventually find partners. For example darker girls being married off even if it means a large dowry. (I am dark myself, and I am happy with my skin)
  5. Eventually there will be more couples and  procreation will go on. Not that our species is under the threat of extinction.
  6. Post marriage troubles are usually addressed by the elders.
  7. Fewer compatibility issues on the grounds on of food habits, language and so on
  8. Both the partners start with lower expectations. No love-rush before getting married and disappointment later on after the love-rush subsides.
Now for the disadvantage
  1. Arranged marriages are very expensive. The cost can be prohibitive and crush  people on the fringe under the load of debt.
  2. Everything goes for a price, and the natural bio-chemical attraction has no place in the market.
  3. Personality mismatch.

Now for the advantages of love marriages:
  1. You think you know your partner well enough and decide consciously to live together.
  2.  Pure bio-chemistry at play. Something inexplicable is driving the relationship and it must be strong enough to stand the test of time.
  3. The feeling of being in love is unbeatable. People go berserk when they feel they are in love.
  4. Love marriages unless taking the conventional wedding route can be very inexpensive.
  5. Children born out of love marriages are most likely to learn more languages.  They are also exposed to many more cultures and more likely to be more pluralistic.
The disadvantages of love marriages:
  1. Incredible amount of pressure to fall in love and find a partner and get married.
  2. Complete decision making on the individual. May be a lot of pressure.
  3. Pressure to find love might make people choose the wrong person.
  4. 'Lemons' might never be able to make it to the market.
  5. Courtship can be expensive, with movies and restaurant bills to foot
To see it in a way, arranged marriages are like command and control economies and love marriages are like free market.Just like the command and control economies, arranged marriages are planned and directed by some authority above. Just the execution is left for the individuals. The match is arranged, the date and venue everything is decided by the elders of the two families and the individuals might or might not have a say in all of  these. The  individuals just execute the plan given from above, get married and then procreate.

Whereas in the love marriage, individuals are free to choose whom they want to get married to and the way they get married to etc. They might want to have the wedding the way their parents desire but then the primary decision is all their own. That is, they decide what to do with their resource(life), and eventually execute it the way they want it. Just like free market.

So, if you are above average person (financial, looks,confidence etc) then try your luck in the free market. Free market rewards the 'haves' better than 'have-not'. And chances are that you will find a partner of choice and of course experience the love-rush that can beat the most thrilling of roller coaster. Otherwise arranged marriage might not be so bad.

The only take away from my  thought process is that an individual should as much have a choice of going for an arranged marriage as for love marriage. Just like no one should be stopped from marrying a person  they love (regardless of sex,colour, caste,creed) no one should be stopped from choosing arranged matches either. I  hate it when people stigmatize arranged marriages.  Not all arranged marriages are brutal and forced co-habitation of a city bred modern girl and a tribal from the Hindu Khush.