#LoveMarriage – TRENDING!!
Till less than 100 years ago, arranged marriage was the norm all over the world. Parents chose spouses for their sons and daughters based on class, wealth, social status, and looks- many of the factors that we in India still look at today. All over the western world (and even many parts of the east), arranged marriage has broken down. In the West, the concept of arranged marriage, in its traditional sense, is looked upon as something archaic and retrograde. What were the reasons that broke down arranged marriage in the west?
First- women and men became equal as schools became co-ed and women entered the workplace. As women and men interacted on equal terms, they had an equal relationship. Second, children became less dependent on families as the corporate/industrial sector became stronger and offered them jobs and chance to move away from home. Thirdly, women discovered their sexuality and sharing a good healthy romantic/sexual relationship with your spouse became crucial to the marriage.
In India too, love marriage is taking over slowly and steadily. The number of love marriages in urban India has tripled over the past 7-10 years. The factors for the breakdown of arranged marriage in India is pretty much the same as those in the west (though with an Indian perspective) and today more than anything else two people look for compatibility. The old factors of wealth, community, caste, and class are slowly disappearing. For example, it is not uncommon for two people from totally different cultural backgrounds, but very similar education backgrounds (they could both be engineers or doctors) to fall in love, because they feel that they want the same things from life- career, travel, exposure, fun, etc. This is probably the reason why love-cum-arranged marriages are becoming so common. Here we have a bit of a compromise between parents and their progeny as both have some say in the wedding. But I feel that soon, in the next decade, even this sort of marriage will find their way out the door.
Comparability between two people is very different than what it meant in our parents time. Earlier, wives were meant to follow in their husband’s footsteps, and that was pretty much the bottom-line. Today, women and even many men want a 50-50 partnership. Women want careers, they expect their husbands to help in child-care; they want a best-friend who they can discuss their heart with, and someone to walk beside them in the journey of life. This makes marriage more enjoyable perhaps, but also far more complicated- and this is why we see so much strife in love lives and marriages today.
Young Indians are looking for partners who will help them grow as individuals because of commonly shared goals, rather than just a pretty bride or well-to-do secure groom whom their parents chose for them.
For Indians, individuality is becoming increasingly important. They no longer want to be these engineer/government drones that their parents want them to be. They want to express themselves (and that is why social media has become so important) and perhaps the most crucial way of doing this is to find a partner who will be an expression of yourself rather than of the family. And that is probably the biggest reason of why arranged marriage is breaking down and will continue to do so rapidly in the future.