Arranged marriages Vs free choice – a brief note from India

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It’s funny how your work follows you wherever you go. I used to watch detective shows on TV and joke about how convenient it was that the detective would always get caught up in some sort of mystery, even while on holiday, visiting family or friends or just going about their daily business. Since I got into the dating industry, though, I’ve found that it’s pretty much impossible not to end up talking about dating and relationships sooner or later. At the moment I am actually in India and it only took 2 days before I found myself having a conversation about love and marriage with my Indian tour guide in Delhi. He’s in his early 30s, married for 4 years, one son (2) and expecting another baby. His marriage was arranged by his parents. I asked him if he loves his wife and he said he didn’t know. I asked him if he was happy with her, he said he said so so. He did, however, say that when he saw her he immediately agreed to marry her. I told him the whole concept seemed incomprehensible to me, which it is, but I must say I’ve heard all kinds of stories about arranged marriages in my time and they weren’t all bad. If anything, people I’ve spoken to and others stories that have been related to me show that many young people in India and elsewhere are actually quite happy with the concept of arranged marriages. I’ve also been told of a more modern compromise that’s been doing the rounds here, where single women are introduced to several men by their parents and can then choose between them. Many people here say that you can actually learn to love a partner you’ve been married to by your family. On the other hand, I also gather that divorce is on the rise in India and that there are all kinds of sad stories of people in love with one person who are practically forced to marry another.
At the end of the day, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this concept, but the picture I get from speaking to people here is that the arranged marriage love life is no more or less diverse and complex than the Western one.

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