12 March 2008

Marriage

Today there was a session of palm reading at work by one of my colleagues. A couple of interested people asked if they would have an "arranged" marriage or a "love" marriage. Whenever the "palmist" pronounced "love" marriage, there was a lot of back-slapping whereas whenever she announced "arranged" marriage, there were disappointed and pitying sighs.

What exactly is a love or an arranged marriage? Who coined these terms? Is it so very derogatory to get married via the "arranged" manner? Why is it still the most prevalent way of getting married in India then? All these questions started a train of thought in my mind.

I myself have had a "love" marriage. By that, I mean that neither of our families knew each other before nor did anyone recommend us to each other. We were not even brought up in the same city. We just happened to work at the same organization and were part of a group of friends. I guess that qualifies as "love" marriage - meaning we met and decided to get married on our own, without undergoing the rigmarole of "seeing" prospective brides/grooms over tedious cups of tea / coffee.

Flash forward by a few years(the time I've been married) and I can assure you that the quality of our marriage is no better, or worse, than any of our friends' who got married in the arranged way. Indeed, many of the so-called "love" marriages of my friends have ended in bitter divorces whereas the arranged ones that began on the sceptical note of "I think he is better than most of the guys I saw; its time I got married" are doing extraordinarily well. The question then is not of what is "love" or "arranged" marriage, but that of "what is marriage itself?".

Marriage is not always the natural result of love, but love is indeed the most critical ingredient of a successful marriage. There is no fool-proof way to marry the "right" person. But the only way a marriage will survive is if both the partners ensure that they are the "right" person for each other. No astrology, horoscope match, or any science, superstition or person can guarantee the success of your marriage. The only people who can are - you and your partner. It is immaterial how you met your partner - whether by love or through relatives - what matters is what you do "after" the ceremony to make the marriage work. And believe me, making the marriage work is a life-time task. "Until death do us apart, in sickness and in health" is not a joke. It is a life-time commitment that thrives on healthy doses of love and affection, constant communication, lot of understanding and forgiveness, a short memory and long periods of "alone" time. A successful or healthy marriage is not one where there are no fights, but one where the couple has the openness to indulge in a good fight and then get on with life as if nothing happened.

Marriage, infact, is not a destination but a journey. The question to ask your palmist then, is, whether you will have a "good" marriage. And whenever you do take that all-important step, take it with the confidence that it "will" be a good marriage!

13 comments:

Veena said...

Neel, Gosh ! That was really good ! My sentiments exactly.. I loved the last para "But the only way a marriage will survive is if both the partners ensure that they are the "right" person for each other. No astrology, horoscope match, or any science, superstition or person can guarantee the success of your marriage. The only people who can are you and your partner. It is immaterial how you met your partner - whether by love or through relatives - what matters is what you do "after" the ceremony to make the marriage work. And believe me, making the marriage work is a life-time task. "Until death do us apart, in sickness and in health" is not a joke. It is a life-time commitment that thrives on healthy doses of love and affection, constant communication, lot of understanding and forgiveness, a short memory and long periods of "alone" time. A successful or healthy marriage is not one where there are no fights, but one where the couple has the openness to indulge in a good fight and then get on with life as if nothing happened."

Nilu said...

thanks, veena! Am glad you liked it. I've wanted to write about it for sometime.

Naren said...

Sounds very practical :)

I will post another comment...may be after 2-3 years based on my experience :D

Ed Vis said...

Nilu, Thanks for a very thought provoking blog.

There is nothing wrong about "love marriages" but don't you think it is always better to fall in love with some one, whom your parents and friends met and approved

When we fall in love, EMOTIONS will take over and LOGIC & REASON will take a second place.

So it is always nice to have some one else with JUDGMENTAL eyes to watch over, so that marriage will be a great success.

It is sad but true, many times the moment you say I DO, after wedding your spouse will tell you I DON'T.

Gayatri Karthik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gayatri Karthik said...

Nilu - That was a very insightful article. Could not agree more.
Especially like the statement - Marriage is a journey, not a destination..

Shruti said...

Dear Nilu,

You said in your email that I didn't comment on your marriage blog. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for that. It was pretty much perfect. I comment on a blog when I have something to add to it. I couldn't have added a single sentence to this blog to make it more perfect. And after a point, it becomes tedious to read a bunch of remarks saying "That was really good" :) But you hit the nail on the head with this post saying a lot of things I have always thought.

Shruti

J P Joshi said...

Our ancesters were very intelligent people who devised 'marriage'. I believe, this has a little to do with the two individuals who get married, but more to do with the continuation of our race. Marriage is a commitment, like they say 'till death do us part'. It cannot work any other way, because marriage is a roller coaster ride, the difference is only the diameter of the wheel. You can get on it of your own free will, but you can only get off it safely when the wheel stops, otherwise you are likely to get deeply hurt.

Imagine, two individuals with two independent brains, two independent lifestyles, two independent value systems, backgrounds and so on coming together to live under one roof at a reasonably mature age.....guess what, who is going to change...both need to. The only one thing that both of the partners have in common is love for the offspring, because it is 'theirs'-something they have brought into this universe together. Human child is the most fragile. Watch animal kingdom and you will realise the truth about this. This child needs both parents throughout its life .......and marriage is the only institution that provides this framework. Arranged or love....take your pick... the aim is the same in both cases. More later....my wife is calling me.

state of mind? said...

Hi Nilu!

Ur post says it all...ur thoughts, ur experience...

M being terribly pushed by people around me to tie the knot as I have reached the marriagable age! but m kinda very sceptical about it for the same reasons u have written..commitment, gelling up with a stranger n his family, temperaments, habits etc etc etc...

i guess ur post will act as a tranquilizer for my worries ...:)

Serial Thriller said...

Marriage is an incompletely defined system.

Hence there are issues in its execution.

Our great Indian ancestors designed an "unplanned-way-in" and "difficult-way-out" system where they should have been concentrating on "easy-way-in" and "easy-way-out" system.

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