I grew up in a small, southern town to Indian parents. To elaborate, both sets of my grandparents emigrated from India to Canada in the late 1960s and were obligated to have arranged marriages. My parents, however, were not bound to the same constrictions, and were free to marry whomever they chose (so long as the spouse was approved by their parents). The arranged marriage worked well for my grandparents, and to this day, they are all still married to each other, respectively. However, today, the arranged marriage gets a bad reputation, as Westerners cannot fathom the idea of marrying someone they hardly know. Contrary to popular belief, this idea is outlandish to Indians too, particularly of my generation. Growing up with Disney princess movies and the idealization of romance not only gave young girls (like me and the rest of my generation) hope for the future, but set a discourse for the way “love” should be found, portrayed, and embraced in our society. But, with our generation, in which dating is filled with ghosting and awkward first messages on dating apps, is the idea of the arranged marriage truly dead?
Arranged marriages have a connotation of being forced and unhappy. But, in reality, many cultures have embraced it. Iranians use “LoveHabibi,” Indians use “Shaadi.com,” and the Latin and Latina community uses “AmoLatina.” Some of these sites are so specific that you can even filter by astrological sign or wealth status. Obviously, it is working for some people to find relationships that work, free of the extra drama from our dating apps. And with dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, is it really that unreasonable to think that family or friends might know best when it comes to the marriage or commitment thing? Many people think that with the rise of so many apps, it is easy for us to perpetually be unhappy in any relationship or arrangement we might find ourselves in. By simply opening up your phone and being able to swipe or click right, you can have an ego boost from people who are messaging you or making you feel wanted. Whatever you feel like you might be lacking from a relationship, you can easily find in a person online. This is not only devastating to the sanctity of modern relationships, but to mental health.
Back to the notion of an arranged marriage. When we are all caught up in this dating scene, it is easy to lose sight of what our priorities and long-term goals are in a committed relationship. While this notion might seem archaic, I don’t believe this often-shunned notion should be left completely in the dust. There should be credence in what our friends and families think is best for us, and while this isn’t always the case, it should be taken into account in today’s dating. (Even though it often isn’t. I mean, come on, when is the last time we all texted an ex against the advice of our girlfriends?) Dating can be what you make of it, but the arranged marriage concept seems to be working for some, so why not consider it?
Take ownership of your dating lives. Consider all your options. You are not limited by anything, but arranged marriage can be a viable alternative for many for a variety of different reasons.