I have heard many people saying that lack of love in arranged marriages is a tradition since older times. That it was inappropriate for couples in an arranged marriage to be in love or exhibit loving gestures in the past generation. And people take pride in it by saying that it represents Indian culture which stays away from indecency and earthy pleasures. I want to ask one question to those people- why is love seditious when it is essential for any relationship to last happily?
Our parents’ generation was never taught about falling in love. All they understood about love is that it is something that needs to be hidden from the eyes of the public. A seditious feeling that is good as far as it is a secret. But is it right to label it as our tradition? Is it right to consider lack of love as a norm in our society? Just because in older times talking about love was seditious, should we blindly emulate the same in the present? Shouldn’t we try to change and follow what is right- the expression and importance of love in an arranged marriage?
Love in arranged marriages
In the past generations, marriages were mainly arranged. The reason is again the same- the restriction on the expression of love. A person wasn’t allowed to express or feel love for anybody and marry them. They were either supposed to hide their feelings or be exposed to severe scrutiny in family and society. Similarly, to avoid social scrutiny as a consequence of love, people married into arranged marriages. But they were wrong to assume that arranged marriages didn’t require love.
For any marriage to be successful, the presence of love is significant. Love determines the happiness and the term of any relationship. Continuing a relationship that is out of love is like riding in a boat with a hole – it is certainly going to drown one day or the other. Many people will say that marriages in older days, especially arranged marriages, lasted longer than those of the present age. But did they ever think about the reason behind that?
Marriages lasted longer in past generations because they were not bound by love but by unequal compromises. Women were asked to adjust beyond the limit so that they don’t lose the safety and security that marriages offered to women. While men adjusted in marriages, even though less than women, because they were not ready to face the criticism of society and family if they break the relationship. So even in the absence of love, marriages in past generations worked solely because of compromises and this is not a sign of a healthy relationship. What are we trying to prove by emulating a toxic tradition? Is a marriage with love happy or one that is just a contract built on compromises and fear?
It is a good sign if, in the present age, people have a bit more freedom in relationships. They can not only express love openly but also walk out of relationships when they feel it’s not working anymore. I agree that criticism and obstacles posed by family and society is still present. But even then the scenario is better than the past generation. At least people are realising the difference between a toxic marriage and a marriage that has love. This is very important because sustaining a toxic relationship takes a toll on the mental health of couples.
I am not trying to support love marriages but just trying to normalise love in arranged marriages. Even today, it is not easy for couples to express their love openly even though they are married. We cannot forget the case of the couple in Ayodhya who was beaten up because they kissed in a holy place. But it is high time we normalise that. It is high time we stop considering love a seditious feeling. We need to fall in love with the idea of love and as they say- rise in the relationship based on love.
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