Arranged marriage is a wrong terminology, because all marriages are arranged. By whom is the only question. Whether your parents or friends arranged it, or a commercial website or dating app arranged it, or you arranged it – anyway, it is an arrangement.
The idea that arranged marriage is some kind of a slavery – well that depends on whether there is exploitation. There are exploitative people everywhere. Sometimes, even your parents themselves may be exploitative – they may be doing things for their own reasons, like their prestige, their wealth, their nonsense.
Recently, someone asked me about choosing a girl for their boy. One girl is well-educated and pretty, but another girl had a wealthy father. They asked me which they should choose. So I asked a simple question, “Do you want to marry the girl or someone’s wealth?” It depends on what is your priority. If your priority is such that someone’s wealth by marriage becomes yours and that is all that matters to you, that is fine. Well, that is the kind of life you have chosen.
Arranged marriage and divorce rates
The success of something is in the result. Luxembourg, a small country which is held as one of the most economically prosperous and free societies, has a divorce rate of eighty-seven per cent. In Spain, the divorce rate is around sixty-five per cent; Russia is at fifty-one per cent; United States, forty-six per cent. India: 1.5 per cent. You decide which works best.
Well, people may say the divorce rate here is low due to the social stigma associated with divorce, but definitely how it is arranged is also an important factor. When parents are the basis of organising the marriage, the success rate is a little better because they will think more long term. You may just like the way a girl is dressed and you want to get married today. Well, tomorrow morning you could realise you don’t want to have anything to do with her! When you are twenty, due to various compulsions or peer pressure, you may take decisions which will not last a lifetime. But sometimes you really hit it off with someone and it may work out – that is another matter.
Everything is an arrangement. You may think so many things about it, but it is arranged by your emotion, your greed, or by someone. It is an arrangement. It is best that it is arranged by responsible, sensible people, by those who are most concerned about your wellbeing, who have a larger reach. You cannot find the best man or woman in the world because we do not know where they are! With the limited contacts that we have, we can arrange something that is reasonably good. That is all it is.
If a young man or young woman wants to marry, who will they marry? Their contacts are very limited. Within those ten people that they know in their life, you marry one guy or girl. Within three months you will know what it really is. But in most countries, there is a law: if you make a mistake, at least two years you must suffer before you can divorce. It is like a jail term. Well, many religions have fixed it that you cannot divorce, that it is completely wrong. But where such religions are practiced, there the divorce rate is highest. So, neither God’s diktats nor the law is able to stop the breakups.
When parents organise a marriage, their judgement may not be the best, but they generally have your best interests in mind. If you have matured beyond your parents’ judgement or prejudice, that is different – now you can make your own decisions.
Conducting your marriage responsibly
When I married I did not know my wife’s full name. I did not know her father’s name. I did not know her caste. When I told my father that I wanted to marry her, he said, “What? You don’t know her father’s name? You don’t know who they are, or what they are? How can you marry her?”
I said, “I’m only marrying her. I’m not planning to marry any of the other things that come with her. Just her. That’s it.” I was absolutely clear about her potential and what she will bring to me, and she was helplessly in love from the first moment.
Though I never took anyone’s advice in my life, there are always self-appointed advisors who said, “You’re making the biggest mistake in your life, this is going to be a disaster.”
I said, “Whatever happens, whichever way it happens, it is for me either to make it a disaster or a success.” I knew this much.
Because who you marry, how you marry, which way it was arranged or by whom it was arranged is not important. How responsibly you exist – that is all there is. How you arrange the marriage is your choice. I’m not saying this or that is the way, but whichever way you do it, please conduct it responsibly, joyfully. You need to understand to fulfil your needs, physical, psychological, emotional, social and various other needs, you are coming together. If you always remember, “To fulfil my needs, I’m with you,” then you will conduct this responsibly. Initially, you may be like that, but after some time, you think he or she needs you; then you will start acting wantonly and, of course, ugliness will start in many different ways.
This happened. A young man and a young woman got engaged. So once the ring was slid on her finger, the young woman said to him, “You can lean on me to share your pains, your struggles. Whatever sufferings you go through, you can always share them with me.”
The guy said, “Well, I don’t have any struggles or pains or problems.”
She said, “Well, we are not yet married.”
If you think you are full of pain, struggles, and problems and need someone to lean on, there will be trouble. You know, they have been saying, marriages are made in heaven, but you are cooking hell within you. If you think someone else is going to fix you then there will be trouble for you, and of course, unfortunate consequences for the other person. If you make yourself into a joyful, wonderful human being, then you will see, your work, home and marriage will all be wonderful. Everything will be wonderful because you are!
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