Recently an article of mine; about weddings has been published in World Re-known magazine "ASIANA Wedding". Volume 1, Issue 2 of 2011.
Which is Better, Love or Arrange Marriage?
By: Prof. Ayesha Kashif
Marriage can be defined into a number of ways; rather every culture or religion defines it according to their own beliefs, customs and traditions. Legally, marriage is the union of two adult human beings who have agreed to live together until their marriage is dissolved by death or divorce. Another description of marriage is that it is a contract between two individuals, who have made it public that they are joint emotionally, economically, socially and legally. Elbert Hubbard explains this definition in a more comic way; he says “Marriage is a legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other for ninety-nine years, or until death separates them”
Usually when we talk of Pakistani weddings, we try to link it with arrange marriages. Due to the social and cultural pressures, the concept of arrange marriage is dominant in Pakistani weddings since ages. On the other hand, even in this modern era; love marriages are still considered to be as a taboo among many families. For them, two people should only be connected in a relationship with the decision and consent of their parents and the blessings of their family and relatives.
It is a common saying that “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” So we can safely say that there is no hard and fast formula that either arrange marriage is always successful or a love marriage is better. This concept is very humorously quoted in this statement “Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery." Erma Bombeck.
As far as love marriage is concerned; the two people tie in a relationship only after falling in love with each other and mostly; after understanding each other for a long time. They get sufficient time to know and explore about the good; as well as awful habits of their partner, well before marriage. This gives them a leading edge to develop a good comfort level after marriage, quite effortlessly. On the other hand, in case of arrange marriage the couple does not know much about the partner, so they might get some reality shocks soon after the marriage in shape of personality conflicts. They might require more time to develop a level of comfort and understanding after marriage. So in this scenario love marriage weighs more then the arranged one.
Expectations from others; play an important role in our relationships. Lesser the expectations from your partner, stronger would be the relationship and less chance would be that you will get hurt.
In case of love marriage, the couple usually lives in a world of fantasy, where everything stays beautiful and romantic. Both the partners love and care for each other and shows their concern even in very small issues. When the couple starts living together under the same roof, they do not realize and recognize that their roles have been changed, from lovers to husband and wife. They do not take the responsibilities and role demands of their changed status; that results in conflict which ultimately leads to domestic fights and disturbed relationship. They perceive that the best part of their life was before the marriage, and after marriage their partner has changed and the element of “love” vanishes leaving it just “marriage”. A witty quotation can explain this fact even better “Before marriage, a man declares that he would lay down his life to serve you; after marriage, he won't even lay down his newspaper to talk to you.” Helen Rowland.
One of the biggest advantages of arrange marriage in Pakistani culture is that; if the marriage turns out to be unsuccessful, there could be a number of family members and relatives who can control the situation and can help to resolve the conflicts. Moreover in case of young age couples, the family could support them not only emotionally but financially as well. On the other hand, the couples who have opted for love marriage; without the consent and permission of their family members would have to handle all their crises on their own, because they might have been separated from their family. This is one of the reasons why arrange marriage is considered to be more secure in Pakistan.
In the end I would just say that, husband and wife are the two wheels of a vehicle, and the road for driving that vehicle is not always smooth. So both have to stay strong and united to have a safe and happy journey of life.