1. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    The Commodity called Marriage

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Neha, May 22, 2015.

    Okay, so that's the pretty weird topic, I know. But I'm currently a management intern at one of the largest matrimonial site in the world for Indians(primarily). My project involved forming a direct marketing campaign for one of their products for which I had to interview a lot of people about marriage and their views on it. So I got a lot of varied opinions on the entire subject.

    A lot of people here don't know me. I'm an old member of the forums, from India, who is currently getting a masters in management. If you've heard about India, you have probably heard about how arranged marriages are a norm here(which is surprisingly contrary to what my research says).

    Anyway, what are your views on arranged marriage? (I've probably asked this question to a different set of people here). Also, the product that I told you about? A 3 month subscription for that is around 1200 USD. It's the most expensive product that they have. Do you suppose this makes marriage a commodity to be traded? If guaranteed a high success rate, would you be willing to consider an arranged marriage?

    Also, if you're currently married, or in a serious relationship, how did you meet them? Was it through mutual friends or a chance meeting or something else?

    Or is this just a plain, weird conversation to have?
    I'd love to know your views either way! :)
     
  2. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hi Neha! :superhello: It's nice to meet long-time members who were active here before my time.

    Honestly, I don't know much about arranged marriage in India. Didn't even know it's a business (or something like that). I didn't even know it's a norm! I'm not even sure what a matrimonial site is... Is it like match-making? What does a high success rate mean in this context? Like finding and arranging a partner who seems like the best match, so the marriage will last longer? Are divorces common in India? If my parents had arranged me to get married with the boy from the neighboring town, could I turn him down if I didn't like him?

    Is it a specific demographic, like the urban youth, who are more resistant to the idea of arranged marriage?

    Sorry, I know I sound dumb now. :(

    I can't really imagine an arranged marriage happening to me or my future kids. It's not traditional where I live (Finland). Especially for city kids, parents' involvement in their love life isn't exactly an appealing notion. I don't even know anyone who's meeting with their significant other was arranged by their parents with their possible future marriage in mind.

    Me and my hubby got married after 4 years together. Originally we met on MySpace, started chatting about music and stuff, and then decided to meet irl. We got along great and also noticed there was something romantic in the air, so we decided to give a relationship a shot. It was worth it. :)
     
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  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Neha,

    From a UK perspective, I'm aware that arranged marriage has been common in Indian society; I don't know how prevalent it is currently. One of my colleagues (until recently) was Goan, and I believe that her marriage had been arranged...which makes it bizarre that her father and husband are, apparently, at daggers drawn!

    In my own case, I met my wife through a common social activity. Most of my previous girl-friends had been somebody I met at work. However, that was 40 years ago...so here's some more current data.

    Our son met his wife through a common social activity.

    Our oldest daughter met her husband by chance on a weekend break (holiday romance, anyone?) in Ireland. It just had to be serious when he kept flying over from Australia to see her!

    Daughter No.2 met her partner via a dating website, like @KaTrian, etc.

    Daughter No.3 met her partner at work.


    Since I'm happily married, I wouldn't be interested in your product, no matter how good (and 1200 USD for 3 months does sound expensive) the value for money!

    I suppose that the current situation of online dating sites does function a little like an arranged marriage, but...

    What is the function of an arranged marriage?

    I think that in one way it's a case of finding somebody who would be a good soulmate for your child. In this way, online dating where your personality is matched for compatibility is much the same sort of thing, only reducing the uncertainty to how good the statistical modelling is.

    The other function is to find a "good" marriage for your child. Marrying your daughter to a doctor or solicitor, or your son to a society heiress. (Yes, I'm aware that it sounds sexist, but I suspect that this is how the "good" marriage market works). Again, online dating can function like this, in that you could reject everybody who isn't rich enough. Although you might end up sad, lonely and broke if your standards were unrealistic!
     
  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    MySpace was kinda like proto-FB. Though, come to think of it, I'm not sure if single people really use FB or MS for anything else except to look for potential fuck-buddies. o_O I think I was inadvertently doing that too...

    I've never had an ad on a dating site, but I've heard that if you put it there as a chick, you'll get hundreds of replies. If as a guy, you'll get,like, 5. :supergrin:
     
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  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oops, sorry!

    Showing my ignorance of social media!
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I met my husband in an online chatroom when we were kids. We were really good friends for thirteen years, telling each other every secret and leaning on each other during hard times. Then a year and a half ago, I decided I wanted to be with him, dropped my life, and moved halfway across the country to be with him! A year later we were married, and we've been happily married for, oohhh.... three months. :p

    Being from the US, where it's uncommon to have arranged marriages, I probably would have been pretty upset if my family tried to arrange a marriage for me. That being said, I don't know how I'd react if I lived in a culture where it was more common. I don't look down on people who have arranged marriages. If they're okay with it, then that's great! I don't think the concept should be forced though (if the parents want it but the children don't).
     
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  7. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tallies with my own experience. A well-drafted, elegant first message, which took 25 minutes to write, is more often than not disregarded straight away by most girls simply because they get so many. Weirdly, my ex contacted me, and we hit it off. For a bit. Until she got weirdly possessive over cooking.

    Currently single.
     
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  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I actually (honestly) would almost say I'm against the idea of marriage, and I don't like the idea of an arranged marriage. It's not something I think very much about though, but I can't help but honestly find the idea rather distasteful.
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Arranged marriage seems strange to me, as it probably does to most people who haven't been brought up in that culture. I wouldn't sign up for the site you're describing even if it guaranteed a 100% match. People change over time, and one of the things that's great about dating someone for a while is that you get to see how both of you adapt to that change.

    As for how I met my girlfriend, it was through a mutual friend. We've been going out for a while now, and I could definitely see myself marrying her. I just love the thought of having all those legal benefits her so much.
     
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  10. VirtuallyRealistic
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    VirtuallyRealistic Active Member

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    My dad met his current girlfriend (First serious relationship he's been in in some 15 years), and he echos this sentiment. He received few replies, while the woman he's seeing now received 20-50 a week, some times more. It shows the contrast between women and men clearly, haha.

    Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Arranged marriages are a foreign concept to me, being from the US. I've heard that they are still commonplace in India, though. I, personally, think it's an outdated concept and should be abolished everywhere, but who I am I to judge a foreign culture?

    I don't know much about this concept, so please correct me if I am wrong:

    Arranged marriages usually turn out unfair to the woman involved. If I'm correct, it's usually the father offering their daughter; not a father offering their son. The male has more choice in the matter of their marriage than the females. While he can turn her down without much backlash, a woman will be scorned and possible disowned for disobeying their father's bidding. This is backwards in today's society.

    Women's rights is something that's taken for granted in most the western world, and we some times forget there are still women treated unequally all around the world. If given control, I would abolish forced marriage.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you should learn a bit more about it.

    I've known several people (with Indian heritages) who have gone ahead with arranged marriages despite being raised in Canada. Not because they're oppressed, just because it's part of their version of "today's society".

    These marriages weren't the bride-selling version you seem to be imagining, @VirtuallyRealistic - they were the product of careful matchmaking by both the man and woman's families, based, as I understand it, on the personalities and interests of both people involved, the future career paths, life goals, etc.. After the match was set up, the couples were introduced, went on dates, and either could have backed out. When they DIDN'T back out, they got wedding presents from both families that essentially set them up for life - a totally paid-for house, new cars for each of them, etc. (One of the couples I know were married when he was in law school and she was in med school, so these aren't uneducated people who don't know their rights or that they have a choice).

    It's different from what I was used to, but I don't see how it's wrong.

    We can work against oppression and abuse without destroying all aspects of a culture. If arranged marriages work for some people, that's great. We make sure we have adequate social supports for anyone who doesn't want to be involved in one and needs help, just like we should make sure we have adequate supports for people who pick their own partners and end up being abused and needing to escape.
     
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  12. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    First off, I didn't like the title of the topic because marriage should never be a commodity. Then I read you're from India and the whole marriage business and I understand now.
    I've read an article, BBC was it I think, in which a single Indian woman speaks on the issue and it's quite sad and interesting at the same time.

    It's sad because no-one should be held under the guillotine of time and it's interesting how these tendencies were formed in the first place.
    I can hardly imagine how difficult such life must be, I mean I felt under the weather already in my being-single-position, but then again
    I was depressed by the sexual frivolity of my nation, which is a different story entirely.

    It's certainly a very strong response to the over-sexualized, attitude-free western world, which I welcome with open arms. At the same time,
    it does hurt individual people. That one particular woman said one thing that's been resonating within me ever since, mostly due to the fact
    that I've always held the same creed: "Compromises shouldn't be made about the choice of the partner, but rather within marriage." It's a
    very strong, umbrella statement that surmises many factors that are at stake.

    I encourage you in your endeavours, it would be very compelling to read sb's testimony about their life. You can do a lot of service to your
    fellow-Indian people through this.

    If what you do or are a part of helps people be happy and unite under otherwise impossible conditions, then yes, what you're doing is good.

    Quite on the opposite end of the cline stands this fella:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32746405
     
  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm curious, and also slightly confused. How does other people's frivolity depress you?

    I think the freedom to do as we please in the west is something of a response to arranged marriages or old-fashioned pressures to get married. You're free to marry and be faithful, or you can have an open marriage, open relationship, be single, and there's less stigma in not getting married and being single. You won't be seen as such a freakzoid if you're 35 and unmarried nowadays. Sure, there's still some, as we talked in that thread you started about your FB friends; nothing's ever perfect. But I think in the west, by and large, we're on the right track when it comes to relationships.

    Hah! I guess there are all kinds of ways to fight for women's rights and equality...
     
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  14. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Every age has its evils - in the old age it was the arranged marriage, today it's the extreme freedom and openness to everything.

    You're confused, well then. And I'm a freakin' Catholic, that's why.
    I was depressed to the extent it showed on me physically; it's Calvary to abstain from sex in a society which does not give two damns about its appropriatenes or preaches sanctified individuality on these matters. Then of course, have you ever tried to hold a diffrent opinion on a fundamental issue that the rest of the damn world has the opposite stance on? It's a bitter taste and you'll get fed up. You will.
    And then, I chose that path, crackpot masochist allright.

    To get my message right - and far from moaning about my fate or my choices - you asked and were confused.
     
  15. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Something to note is that amongst the aristocracy of Europe (including UK), arranged marriages in practice if not in form were common for centuries. And unless the Indian arranged marriage was such that neither the man or woman had any say in the matter, which I think has been rare for a long time, it is not so very different from match making that was common all over Europe as well.

    Now we have Dating Agencies which do exactly the same thing. They match people by a set of specified criteria and facilitate them getting together. Having paid the fee to the agency, I would say that the members do feel a certain degree of pressure to make one of the introductions work. Is this not arranged marriage by another name?
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd need to know the definition of arranged marriage. One could argue that a dating site is a form of arranged marriage (at least, if it's a dating site that primarily caters to people who want to get married), but no one does. Presumably we're talking about marriages where both partners have a full legal right to refuse to marry. But if there's social/emotional pressure to marry, I would disapprove.

    Also, I participate on various forums about toxic families, and one of the conclusions that I've come to there is that when couple is married, they should be each other's top priority, and the needs and wishes of their families of origin should drop, drastically, in priority. If the families of origin arranged the marriage, it seems to me that this would be less likely to happen. I'm not saying that there's a clear obvious straight line to that conclusion, but that's the way it feels.
     
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  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the "drop in priority" thing makes sense if that's the culture you're living in, or if that's the expectation of one or both members of the marriage. But I think it's fine to maintain close ties with original families if that's what's expected/desired by everyone involved. Kinda sounds like a truism, I guess, but what I'm getting at is that I think the problem comes from a disparity of expectations, not the expectations themselves.
     
  18. JessAlways
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    JessAlways Member

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    I don't know what I think about arranged marriage.
    I know it was very common in areas of the world in the past. But nowadays, it seems pretty uncommon.
    Arranged marriages, normally have the guy talking to the girls parents, and that is a good thing. But, the girl not really having known the guy, and then to just be married, that isn't the best. But, I would say, if the father of the girl, likes the guy, and thinks that it would work, then it could work.
    I myself, haven't been in a relationship, but I do like someone.
    I could never see myself having an arranged marriage, or in the future doing that for my kids. My parents wouldn't do that. They trust me to find a good, Christian young man.
    For me, I will choose who I marry. The guy I do like, my parents do too, so that makes me happy.
    As it is, allot of marriages end in divorce, so if it is arranged, it is even more likely to end in that result.
     
  19. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The divorce rate for arranged marriages is actually dramatically lower.

    It doesn't automatically follow that arranged marriages are happier, but just in terms of divorce? Much less likely when marriage is arrange.
     
  20. JessAlways
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    JessAlways Member

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    Dramatically lower, hm. I guess I'm alittle surprised.
    Yeah, I suppose. But I'm not sure how happy the couple would be with an arranged marriage, I guess that always made me wonder.
     
  21. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    I can definitely see that. Arranged marriages are still common in areas like the Middle East where women aren't allowed the same freedoms as they are in the West. Islam tends to rule that area, and I don't think it allows people to divorce.
     
  22. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    They trust you to arrange your own marriage? That just seems lazy...
     
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  23. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    While I'm not into arrange marriages myself and not raised with that in my culture, I can see certain advantages. Assuming a healthy, loving relationship between parent and child, and assuming the child has the right to refuse anyone he/she doesn't actually want (which seems to be the case in the healthier version of arranged marriages), it can actually cut out a lot of stress and emotional turmoil.

    Now I prefer choosing your own partner and dating, but at the same time the commitment phobia that's prevalent these days, the whole idea of you can't let the other person know how serious you are about the relationship, the fear of talking about the future lest you scare the partner away, pretending you don't really care about marriage when you actually do all cus you don't wanna lose the partner, entering a relationship wanting or not wanting marriage and/or children while fearing your partner might want the opposite... All this is pretty much eliminated through arranged marriages. Both parties know the end goal - marriage and children. The stress of wondering if the partner is suitable is also reduced - again assuming a healthy, loving relationship between parent and child, there's no reason to think your parents would set you up with someone who's completely monstrous. Usually the norm is parents do want the best for their children, after all.

    I remember when I was 17 or so, I asked a Sikh girl about dating and she told me she's not interested, she would like an arranged marriage. I was gobsmacked and asked why. She just smiled and said, "I trust my parents." We've lost touch since but on Facebook, her pictures look happy and she has a husband and child now. I shall assume it was arranged.

    I think the trouble comes when the child's mindset and/or priorities and preferences clash with that of their parents'.

    So basically, in the ideal case, I can see arranged marriages can be a good idea. Whether it works out though would depend on the people involved.

    Anyway, when I think of arranged marriages, I'm thinking it's the parents' initiative and as far as I'm aware, in some cultures anyway, the man's parents would send photos of their son to the woman's parents when they hear that there's a daughter who is of age to marry, and the woman's parents will invite those they approve. The children get some private time together I believe? And after a certain number of sessions or a period of time, if both parties agree, they marry. I seem to think up to 1-2 years of courtship isn't too unusual. It's not as quick as some think, or not always anyway.

    As for me, if I wasn't already married, I can see myself trying out dating sites. Why not, after all? But how is this arranged marriages site different from regular dating sites? And how is it "arranged" if there's no third party involved in the selection? Anyway, for $1200, there're far too many sites you can use for free or for a low fee that I don't think I'd bother. No one can gurantee you a match - just cus the site may put a man at your door doesn't mean you'd fall in love with him and find him a suitable partner. Those are false promises made by businesses trying to lure customers and I don't believe it for a second. For $1200 I'd rather go on holiday I think!

    Although, another advantage of arranged marriages - I think people go into the marriage with a different mindset. Often couples in an arranged marriage learn and grow to love one another. Theirs is not spontaneous passion but something they put in effort to build and grow, and this steadiness - this consistent effort on both sides to make the marriage work, to stick it through no matter how you might feel from time to time - this sort of commitment is greatly lacking in marriages in the west. I'd venture a guess that this may be why there's actually a lower rate of divorce in arranged marriages - at least partly (the fact that divorce would be seen as a disgrace in cultures where arranged marriages are prevalent is surely another factor, of course).

    Anyway, in the West it's often that people don't seem to think they need to work on their marriages, that love should come spontaneously and if you don't "feel" it then you should just leave for something better. There's a lot of focus on MY needs and not HIS needs (or HER needs), a lot of focus on what makes YOU happy, what makes it fun. And while all these things are important too, there doesn't seem to be enough focus on sacrifice, on building something, on simply sticking it out through thick and thin sometimes. On saying, "I'm going to choose to love you and I'm going to put you first, even though it doesn't make me feel good."

    In any case, I'm already happily married. We actually met first via a website - I was looking for a housemate for my final year at university, and he was looking for a house since he'll be starting his masters degree at my university. By the time he contacted me though, someone had already taken the room in my house, so I passed him onto my good friends 2 doors down who were also looking for a housemate. I met him for the first time when I came to show him the house, found him incredibly hot and thankfully already had his number haha :-D :agreed: And since I'm obviously friends with the house's existing occupants, I was there a lot, which gave me a good excuse to interact with my now-husband. 2 months later we got together. Within the month we were already living together (he told me recently the reason why he slept at mine so soon, every night, was cus his own room was freezing cold lol). Then a few years later we got married in Prague :)

    As for my sister, she met her husband at university. I think he liked her since the first year of uni but she was dating someone else then. Then my sister left her ex, and she and her husband sorta had a "thing" towards the end of their final year. Then they graduated and my sister resolved to forget about him, since he was supposedly going back to France to his family. (they weren't dating at this point - it's just that my sister really liked him) I think the story goes that they met in London a while later and kissed, and then started a long distance relationship. Married a year or two later :)

    My parents met at their summer jobs - supposedly there was a last bottle of coke and dad let mum have it, and that's how they met. Mum grew up in deep poverty and often went without lunch, so dad always bought this meal deal that came with extra rice, and he'd share the food with mum. He'd tell her he wasn't hungry and she should eat as much as she likes. It was only a long time later, once they started dating and mum met dad's sister that the sister told her, "Oh he came home and raided the fridge everyday!" :rofl: In Chinese culture I don't think there's such a thing as grand proposals - it was sorta just expected after a while. Think they dated 2-3 years and then got married and are still together now 30+ years later :)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  24. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if it's a cultural or religious thing or what, but I have a hard time seeing freedom and acceptance as evils of our age as long as you're not hurting or harming anyone else while exercising your freedoms or accepting anyone who hurts or harms others (e.g. pedophiles who abuse children).

    I mean, people have fought for the freedoms we get to enjoy today, be it about women's fight for equality between the sexes (which includes their freedom to choose who they marry, who and how many people they have sex with without being slut-shamed etc), racial minorities fighting against discrimination and for equal opportunities, sexual minorities fighting for their rights to simply exist, to be accepted as equals etc.
    I'd be more inclined to see the refusal or retraction of those freedoms and returning back to an age where we don't accept such diversity as evil.


    I have and do, and I know so does @KaTrian, but we don't worry over what others do unless they're hurting or harming others. Live and let die etc. Cultivating that attitude makes it easy to accept people different from you without getting depressed over the life choices of others even if you don't agree with them.

    Anyway, for the OP, I'm pretty much against arranged marriage as long as there's any pressure, be it social, cultural, or whatever, for either party to accept to marry or stay in the marriage.

    That view depends, of course, on how we define arranged marriage: if there's zero such pressures set on the individuals in question, we're starting to move into the realm of semantics: how does an "arranged marriage" without any pressure either way differ, by definition, from any situation where a third party introduces a couple to each other and says "do as you please"?
    If we're talking about an arranged marriage like that, with zero pressure on the couple, of course I have nothing against it because it leaves the couple with all the freedom in the world to refuse without any fear of repercussions if they choose to walk away from the proposal.
    I see nothing wrong with that scenario, but I'm not sure how many instances of arranged marriages are quite as perfectly lenient, especially if the women in a culture with arranged marriages as the standard aren't all that into it. That's assuming I understood correctly from the OP's post that most women in India don't like arranged marriages even though it's the norm over there.
    I'm also not entirely sure cultures with arranged marriages as the expected norm offer an equal starting point for men and women; from what I've understood, most if not all countries where arranged marriages are the norm have pretty significant problems with equality between the sexes, and in such situations it's questionable if all the women supporting the status quo do so without any pressure to support circumstances that keep them under the control of the patriarchy. I'm not commenting on the OP's research, btw, just wondering in general.

    Also, regarding some of the comments commenting on a few at least seemingly happy arranged marriages: I'm not sure if it's possible to judge a marriage by how it seems to us as outsiders because so many times couples hide marital problems from outsiders, even family, like their parents, and a lot of couples are very good at such deception. I should know; I grew up in a household where the problems stayed inside the family, hidden even from close relatives. Just to point out that what may seem like a happy marriage on the outside can be a nightmare to one or both parties (probably more often to the woman) or their children.
     
  25. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't agree or disagree with your conclusions, but some of your logic doesn't really work...

    People fighting for something doesn't have anything to do with whether that something is good or not. People have fought for all sorts of ugly things - they fought to exterminate Jews, they fought to exterminate First Nations, etc. Fighting for something isn't good evidence of it being worth fighting for.

    Fair enough, but then we have no way of knowing how many happy unarranged marriages there are, either. Well, we know that about 50% of them are quite unhappy, by the end, but we don't know how many of the undivorced marriages are happy or unhappy.

    But my friends who took part in arranged marriages were the children of arranged marriages, as are most westerners who agree to arranged marriages. So if you were able to see the unhappiness inside your parents' marriage, we have to assume my friends would have seen any unhappiness inside their parents marriages as well... and still chose to take part in arranged marriages.
     

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