Arranged Marriages, a Curse or a Blessing?

Is marriage right for you? If so, which side will you choose?  It’s really not up to you, like people say, but it’s up to you and your family together.  Marriage is a decision that solely rests with the family as a whole.  I’ll be honest, at first I wasn’t into this arranged marriage thing but after a while, after experiencing “prem” with the wrong girl, I realized that it knowing the girl’s family does make a difference.

Arranged marriages are seen as a barbaric practice where young girls are forced into marriage, and having male counterparts who are way older than them.  Let’s have a reality check here, this isn’t Afghanistan where it happens 80% of the time, it’s Bangladesh, an open society country where love and peace is tolerated.  By the way I don’t mean any insult to Afghanistanis; I was referring to the Taliban and the tribal ways.

The differences between arranged marriages and love marriages expand to certain degrees based on the couple; however, I’ll stick with the basics.  Unlike love marriages, in arrange marriages you have no expectations, as in if there is a flaw in your partner’s character or habits then it’s not much of a big deal because you don’t know that person that well before hand.  And you are sure that your partner’s family isn’t corrupt or anything of that sort because your parents or relatives have already done their background checks on them.  And whenever there is disagreement between you and your spouse, you will surely have the support and counseling from other family members since they arranged your marriage.  With love marriage, you’re not going to have that much support if you fought for your love.

Am not against love marriages because everyone has their own choices of the type of marriages they want but I see more success with arranged marriages.  I believe that not knowing a person that much saves a lot of arguments after marriage.  I don’t want to get bored with my wife; I want to explore her personality, interest, character, and so wouldn’t want to spoil the fun by talking to her night and day on the phone.  I never realized but that’s one of the great things about arranged marriages, you’ll have your entire life to get to know your partner.  It’s also the same with love marriages but being on the phone all night with your lover before marriage, isn’t going to make things that fun after marriage.

Arranged marriages nowadays are not the same as the ones in the early years and that’s why I see them fit.  Arrange marriages nowadays are technically “semi-arranged” as in 50 percent arranged.  Let’s take me for example, I’m not married but I’m a potential single.  If someone, let’s say my older cousin found a girl, who seems to be her friend’s younger cousin, and the girl seemed to be a good match for me, then my cousin would tell my parents about her.  My parents would do their Desi background check and give the green light of approval.  Then they would bring the proposal to the girl’s parents usually through a young adult like my older cousin.  The parents would talk before hand and introduce me to the girl.  From there the final decision rests on us, the “potential” couple.  We would go on dates (chaperoned usually since, Bangladeshis are mostly Muslims but the Hindu community does it too and I don’t know about the Christian community).  So over time usually 6 weeks to may be 6 months, if we like each other, as in we like each other’s characters, interests, looks, and personality then we give the green light of final approval of marriage to our parents.  There’s more to this but I don’t want to get into details; I just gave you the general picture.

Where does love come in?
This is what parents, who arrange their children’s marriages, prioritize last; they think love should come last out of everything.  The first things they plan to secure of the couple is their education, their financial stability, and their family compatibility.  With arranged marriages love is considered to develop overtime as the newly wedded couple spends more and more time together.  It’s seems weird at first, especially to western observers, but it plays a vital role in creating relations between two different families, which is part of the Bengali culture.  This tradition is not only in Bangladesh, but also in India, Pakistan, and China; there are probably other countries which practice it, but the countries I just mentioned practices it f

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