Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage – Similarities & Differences
The love marriage vs arranged marriage debate has been raging on ever since the idea of marrying for love has become a common practice in India.
In contemporary India, there is a growing perception that arranged marriages are giving way to love marriages due to changing education levels of the population and increasing the ability for women to exercise choice. Arranged marriages are also being perceived as a failure on the part of the man or the women to find someone to marry on their own!
What is love marriage?
When two individuals choose to marry for the sake of love and not base their marriage on any other factor such as religion, caste, economic background, social status or any other criteria that go into matchmaking by a third party, it is a love marriage.
What is arranged marriage?
When two individuals choose to marry based on the recommendation by their family members who base their choice on factors such as religion, caste, economic background, social standing and other factors, it is called an arranged marriage.
Just remember that not all arranged marriages are forced marriages!
Difference between love marriage and arranged marriage
The difference between love marriage and arranged marriage is when the couple falls in love – before marriage or after marriage! With love marriage, you are going into a relationship knowing this is what you really want. In arranged marriage, you get into a relationship hoping that you made the right choice.
Similarities between love marriage and arranged marriage
Irrespective of how and when you find love, any successful marriage requires oodles of flexibility, compassion, empathy, selflessness and sacrifices for it to succeed. Love can grow over a period of time or it can gradually fade away as well. The success of a marriage boil down to a supportive social environment and the willingness of the couple to make it through the ups and downs of married life.
We certainly don’t want to take sides before discussing the pros and cons of love marriage and arranged marriage. Check out these arranged love stories!
Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage – Sensible arguments
If we were to break down the process of getting married into three key stages, it will be become easier to evaluate practical challenges and issues in order to come to a conclusion on the love marriage vs arranged marriage debate. The three stages include finding the right set of prospective matches, shortlisting the person you want to marry, and post-marriage support.
1. Finding the right set of prospective matches
When it comes to finding the right set of people to evaluate your options, arranged marriages come out trumps hands down. Your parents and family do all the hard work and all you have to do is nothing!
While this approach is a God sent for Indians who may not have the social skills needed to find a partner on their own, it has its disadvantages.
You have no control about the criteria you parents or family members may apply to select potential matches for you. Invariably, they may use hard parameters like vital statistics, skin colour, religion/caste, and income. While these factors may be important, they may not necessarily mean long term happiness.
Women tend to be at the receiving end of the arranged marriage process. Forced marriages can cut short a woman’s dream to pursue her dreams and we see this play out every day, especially among economically weaker sections of the society.
if you are someone who believes in finding a soulmate on your own, you are pretty much left to your devices to find the special someone. The advantage of love marriage is that you have all the freedom to pick and choose the “hunting ground” from where you may net a catch eventually! People in western countries and in urban India get into the dating process to find their match. However, marriage is not an immediate outcome in this approach.
The biggest challenge that young men and women in India face is that they may not have the required social skills to interact with the opposite sex in a casual setting. Also, in India, it is difficult to meet single men and women in a social setting without attracting undue attention.
Verdict: Arranged marriages are great if you know your parents and family understand your personality and expectations. If not, love marriages seem like a better option to look for prospective matches.
2. Shortlisting the person to marry
Once a limited set of prospective matches are identified, the arranged marriage process moves on to the rather tedious process of finding that special someone. This involves the awkward arranged marriage first meetings.
The biggest advantage arranged marriages offer is the focus on objective facts and the complete absence of “heart” or “emotion” at the start of the shortlisting process. This is probably helpful in taking the right decision about a potential match.
But if the focus on objective decision making is taken too far, you will end up offending people and create hilarious situations like these stories here.
Probably the biggest question people have in the arranged marriage shortlist process is “How can I shortlist someone after having met them once or twice?” This question once again proves that it is very to bring in the emotional element in the shortlisting process.
Love marriages come up on top because it provides plenty of options to interact with someone you may like or love before getting married. While Indian society gives very little public space for people in love, love marriages happen after the couple had known each other’s likes, interests, and behaviours very well.
The biggest challenge the couples in love face before marriage is the lack of objectivity. When your heart is racing and hormones are acting up, you will see no drawback in your chosen partner. However, these drawbacks can start becoming apparent after marriage when the realities of life hit you hard.
Verdict: Love marriages seems to have an edge as the couple will have plenty of opportunities to make sure they are compatible. However, if the arranged marriage process can provide more opportunities for the prospective couple to interact with one another one-on-one, arranged marriages may win this round!
3. Post marriage support
Arranged marriages happen because your parents and family played a key role in the decision-making process. Hence they have a stake in the success of the marriage as well. In terms of post-marriage support (emotional, financial, and physical presence), arranged marriages have definite advantages when compared to self-chosen marriages.
The fact that parents and family members continue to be involved closely in arranged marriages can also cause a lot of issues to the married couple. Living with in-laws or in a joint family has its own challenges to deal with. Lack of privacy, inability to take decisions without family consensus and demands by other family members can derail arranged marriages.
In love marriages, especially those where the couple leads an independent life, there is complete freedom to choose a lifestyle that works for the couple without the fear of having to conform to traditions, expectations, and rituals associated with the extended family members.
However, when love marriages or intercaste marriages happen against the wishes of the family, there is no social support in case the couple faces marital challenges, financial issues, health issues, or the burden of rearing children.
Verdict: Arranged marriages where the couple has the luxury of leading an independent life with the occasional involvement of the extended family probably delivers the best of both the worlds. However, love marriages do provide a stress-free environment for the couple to lead their lives the way they choose to.
Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage – Expert opinion
As we have seen, love marriages and arranged marriages have their pros and cons. We would like to present an objective view from experts.
If you examine the practice of arranged marriage, you will notice that arranged marriages represent the coming together of families. It’s no longer about you and your spouse. There is an inherent pressure on the couple to make things work and getting a divorce is not just the couple’s decision (there are exceptions always)!
According to Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, arranged marriages are inherently biased against women.
She says, “Many arranged marriages in many countries are associated with a lack of choice for young people and are particularly repressive to women. The fact that arranged marriages tend to be more stable is not a measure of success because we know that people are sometimes held in them without any options.”
That’s a major point against arranged marriages in the love marriage vs arranged marriage debate!
On the other hand, there are some positive effects of arranged marriage when it is not a forced marriage and the bride and the groom agreed to the marriage in the first place. Here is an interesting article on this topic – Does love last longer in arranged marriages?
Another factor that contributes to the success of arranged marriages is the fact that matchmaking is fairly objective in terms of ensuring that the bride and the groom are well matched in economic and social standing.
Invariably, people falling in love also happen to choose partners with a similar personality, background, and attitude! However, as the matchmaking process places greater emphasis on caste, horoscope match, and racial stereotypes such as skin colour (in countries like India), arranged marriages continue to strengthen societal differences and fissures.
Dr Robert Epstein from the Harvard University has studied the subject of arranged marriages for eight years, that focused on arranged marriage practices among Indian, Pakistani and Orthodox Jewish communities. His research on the topic of arranged marriage provides an unlikely shot in the arm in favour of arranged marriage in the love marriage vs arranged marriage debate!
Here is an extract from The Daily Mail UK that talks about the findings of Dr Robert Epstein.
He has interviewed more than 100 couples in arranged marriages to assess their strength of feeling and studied his findings against more than 30 years of research into love in Western and arranged marriages.
His work suggests that feelings of love in love matches begin to fade by as much as a half in 18 months, whereas the love in the arranged marriages tends to grow gradually, surpassing the love in the unarranged marriages at about the five-year mark.
Ten years on, the affection felt by those in arranged marriages is typically twice as strong.Dr Epstein believes this is because Westerners leave their love lives to chance, or fate, often confusing love with lust, whereas those in other cultures look for more than just passion.
We really love this quote from Dr Epstein. “The idea is we must not leave our love lives to chance. We plan our education, our careers and our finances but we’re still uncomfortable with the idea that we should plan our love lives. I do not advocate arranged marriages but I think a lot can be learned from them.”
Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage: Research Study Involving Birds!
A research paper titled “Fitness Benefits of Mate Choice for Compatibility in a Socially Monogamous Species” was published in the journal – PLOS Biology. The authors of this paper designed a series of experiments with 160 Zebra Finches (a species of bird).
The researchers formed groups of 40 birds each, with each group comprising 20 male and 20 female birds. These birds chose their mates on their own as they do in the wild.
They allowed half the female birds to breed with their chosen partners, but they forced the other half to switch their partners with male birds chosen by other female birds in the same group. This is similar to arranged marriage that involves coercion. We can even call it forced marriages!
Natural pairing lasted longer among the birds
According to this review of paper on The Guardian,
“When the birds were first released into communal aviaries, 46 out of 50 chosen pairs remained together, compared to only 38 out of 50 arranged pairs, indicating that force-paired birds were less willing to breed with each other and were more likely to divorce.”
It appears love marriages among birds last longer than arranged marriages!
Natural pairing produced 37% more offsprings
Researchers found a dramatic difference in the ability of pairs that chose their own mates produced 37% more offspring compared to birds that were forced to mate with random birds chosen by the researchers.
One more point in favour of love marriage!
Love marriage triumphs (at least among birds)!
According to the Guardian article,
“The researchers concluded that birds have idiosyncratic tastes, and they choose mates that they find stimulating in some way that isn’t necessarily obvious to an outside observer. These behaviours maximise the happily paired birds’ likelihood of perpetuating their genes through their thriving offspring.”
Need we say more?
Love Marriage Vs Arranged Marriage: Our Verdict
The question of love marriage vs arranged marriage boils down to the question of free choice. We believe in the strengths of arranged marriage process, namely the commitment and the involvement of the families in ensuring a successful match.
However, we do not endorse forced marriages and the concept of “husband is God” no matter what he does. According to the 2014 ICRW – UNFPA Survey, as women’s education levels increase in countries like India, the proportion of women meeting their husbands before marriage is increasing. This does not necessarily mean love marriages but rather indicate free choice in selecting a husband. That’s an encouraging trend.
In fact, Jodi Logik was started just to provide an opportunity for young men and women to exercise choice and not base their marriages (even when arranged) just on what parents might consider important.
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