I have heard this question put forth to me too many times to ignore it – which is better – love marriage or an arranged marriage? Well, to all of you out there who wonder, here is something for you…

At the onset, I believe that the term ‘love marriage’ is a misnomer – is it that arranged marriages are devoid of love? Of course not! In fact, all marriages are an ‘arrangement’ between two people, with a promise to ‘love’. The actual question ought to be whether you begin loving your spouse before marriage or after. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages; but just as they have their differences, they also have several similarities.

Now there are those of you who are already in love with someone and plan to marry him/her, yet in a small corner of your head you may worry as to how it may all turn out in the future. If parents do not support me, would conflicts arise in the future? Would my in-laws continue to dislike me and therefore cause a strain in marriage? Would I get bored of my partner? Would our love fade over time? Would things be more stable if my parents arrange for a groom/bride?

If you currently have no love interest in your life, you would probably be allowing your parents to pick your partner, but even you might be plagued with certain doubts. How will I know if he/she is the one for me? Suppose we end up disliking each other and never experience love? Suppose he/she was in a relationship before? Can I get married to someone without knowing them properly? Will that spark and chemistry be there in our marriage or would it end up just being a comfortable arrangement of living together?

Your parents can certainly help you find your life partner and provide their inputs, but at the end of the day, be it a love marriage or an arranged marriage (for want of better terms!) it is you who has to make the final decision. And you ought to! However your marriage has come to be, you and you alone must take responsibility for its success (or failure). It rests on you to resolve conflicts in an amicable manner, to continually invest in the relationship making it grow, to establish stability, and all-in-all to develop a powerful bond that supports the both of you through trials and tribulations.

It has been said that a marriage in India is not a marriage between two individuals, it is between two families. Well, this may be so, but at the end of the day, your family is not sharing their lives entirely with your spouse’s family! Whatever said and done, the two most important individuals in the marriage are you and your partner, and your compatibility must be the prime focus. The hard truth is that one day your parents will no longer be there for you and you will be left with only your spouse (and children)…and that thought ought not frighten you.

Love at first sight, whether you believe in it or not, is not what carries a marriage through. Your first crush may not end up as your spouse, just as your spouse may not be someone for whom your heart immediately beat faster for! The love that can sustain a marriage is a mature one that grows stronger and more resolute year after year.

I may have played the devil’s advocate here, going back and forth and not really telling you which is better, but this is simply because neither is better than the other! Both require mutual love and respect, sharing and caring, cohesiveness and joint values. However my advice to you would be: Do not pine away avoiding marriage, waiting until you fall in love with the ‘right one’. If it has not happened so far, who knows, may be Mr/Ms Right may actually enter your life in the form of an arranged marriage proposal!

Pre-Marriage Checklist:

    • Be mindful of your comfort levels with the person – the vibes. There are some people whom you feel an instant connection with, and there are others with whom you feel ill at ease. Use these cues to guide you.
    • Spend a lot of time with the person and get to know him//her as he/she truly is.
    • Be honest and open about yourself, even your not-so-nice qualities and be willing to accept that same honesty from the other.
    • Do not concede to marry just because you feel pressurized or forced into it (either by your romantic partner or your parents). It must be your choice, your responsibility.
    • Be aware of the extent to which your early life experiences and family as well as your partner’s early life experiences and family can influence your marriage.
    • Do not carry the past into your marriage. Resolve all hurts and step into marital life with a clean slate and a fresh start – a new chapter in your life.
    • Take your time – marriage is never a decision to be rushed. Even though the option of divorce does provide one the possibility of later opting out, it would be ideal to believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment, which therefore requires careful premeditation.

Moreover, always remember, whether ‘love’ enters your life before or after marriage, is irrelevant to whether or not your partner can be your best friend and trusted confidante. So good luck to all of you who are yet to find your life partner! There is someone out there for whom you are right for and who is right for you, so choose responsibly, invest in your relationship wisely and live life with no regrets! 🙂