The Changing Terrain of Marriage

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The idea of having an arranged marriage is a very familiar to Asians

For centuries and in many different cultures there has been a very distinctive fascination and interest with the concept of love. However, individuals from certain cultures find this concept of love very elusive and obscure and would rather throw themselves into a pre-arranged marriage. The idea of having an arranged marriage is a very familiar one to the South Asian Community.

By definition, an arranged marriage is a mutual agreement between two parties who, after subsequently meeting, agree to enter in to marriage. It is important to know that there are categorical differences between the perception of an arranged marriage and that of forced marriage with the main difference being that both the bride and groom agree to the marriage without interference of their parents. Nevertheless, marriage is not what it used to be. Many youngsters are more curious and questioning in their search for a soul mate and are starting to adopt more conventional methods.

Advanced methods such as online dating and using social media sites are becoming increasingly common with young couples not afraid to challenge their instincts and delve deep into what they are looking for. Balancing the tradition of culture and their need of modernity has always proven difficult as they are always proving a very harsh culture clash. Marriage is important within the South Asian community as the repercussions of a disastrous marriage heavily impact on the wider family.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Shamim Chowdhury highlights how important marriage is for an Asian family; especially on daughters. “For South Asians, marriage is an obsession. It is the cornerstone of the culture. It is a hard-wired a mindset. Young Asians – mainly girls – are cultivated for marriage from their first breath. Wedlock is seen as the single affirmation of self-worth, so that regardless of how well educated, self-sufficient, beautiful or accomplished a woman may be, if she is unmarried, she is, in the eyes of the community, a failure. That anyone can genuinely be happily unmarried is inconceivable.”

“That South Asians place more importance on marriage and family than other cultures is nonsense. Every day, all over the world people are getting married for the right reasons- because they genuinely want to be together, share the same values and envisage a future together. We Asians do not have superior knowledge about what makes a successful marriage and we should stop pretending that we do.”

The very fact that the South Asian community have adapted the stance that arranged marriages are accurate has led them having ultimately shut out the idea of even thinking about love marriages, which is nonetheless unreasonable. This is a culture which has steamed up some of the most romantic stories; which include Heer Ranjha, Laila Majnua, Sohnri Mahiwal and Mirza Sahiba; and yet refuses to be associated with the mere thought of affection. Not every marriage in the South Asian community is blemished with the pressure and some have flourished, but those that have not been able to and are seeped into pressure are forever condemned with misery.

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