Arranged marriage, a proactive solution for modern men? ANUJA UPADHYAY

Have arranged marriages become a practical and progressive solution for love and romance for our modern Nepali men? The first thing that comes to mind in an arranged marriage is the boy-meets-girl tradition, and it’s almost pre-decided by the family members that they should be married.

Surprisingly, this isn’t true in many cases in contemporary Nepal. Today, the phrase “arranged marriage” does encompass a whole lot of styles in it.

They can go by the names of “arranged love marriage” (traditional arranged marriage without force), “forced marriage” (the children have no say on it), “modern arranged marriage plus courtship” (where the prospective spouses are encouraged to get to know each other) and “introduction-only” marriages (parents only introduce the children to prospective spouses and they take forward from there).Many modern men in our society who had earlier scoffed at the idea are now embracing one of the above paths. Is it a more progressive and practical way to finding long-term love and happiness?

For Uday Shrestha, 32, and unmarried, working for an international organization in Kathmandu, arranged marriage was something he abhorred.

He laughed at the choices of his friends and relatives. He had hopes of meeting a nice girl, having a relationship and then getting married, as he explained that women found him reasonably interesting. But now, as he doesn’t see much of a chance of meeting woman either through work or socially, he’s open to the idea.

Seeing both arranged and love marriages not working out, he wants to take a moderate path without bracketing it as an arranged or love marriage. He would like to call it a “modern arranged marriage.”

He feels that it’s sometimes smarter to marry someone the family approves of, as one is saved from the nagging of relatives and friends for having made a wrong choice. However, he doesn’t want a woman he can’t connect intellectually and emotionally.

Even some experts agree that that arranged marriages haven’t lost their significance and might teach us a few things.

Radhika Chopra, a University of Delhi sociologist, says that arranged marriage is a highly trusted institution and hasn’t lost its validity among the youths despite the growing number of young people working at multinational corporations.

Reva Seth, attorney and journalist who writes for major Canadian newspapers, including the Globe and the Mail also talks in favor of arranged marriage in her book “First Comes Marriage” by saying that “…arranged marriages have a lot to teach us about dating, love, long term happiness.”

However, there are way too many marriages breaking up, and mismatched/incompatible couples around that make one a little wary about arranged marriages. But the success rate of love marriages is not any better, either.

Another newly married man, Adi Sharma, a 35-year-old software engineer based in Washington DC, who had just tied the knot in February this year had his own thought on this.

Although having an arranged marriage never occurred to him when he was younger, he realized that deep down he was quite traditional in many ways versus the modern man he thought he was and was ready for it once the right time came.

Having met his wife through his family, he was as happy that things clicked between them. In fact, he confidently said that since the two of them were already in love before they got married, one cannot label it totally as an arranged marriage but rather an arranged love marriage.

He felt the need for the woman to be accepted and accommodate herself in his family to a certain level.

In fact, he was very clear in his head that if had fallen in love with someone before the family had introduced him to his present wife, he wouldn’t abandon that woman for his family. He would somehow win his family over.

So the man’s thoughts were quite progressive. He was practical, too, as he mentioned that it was likely that trials and tribulations would be present in their relationship, but they had decided to overlook the unimportant and trivial things and try their best to make the marriage work, as any relationship required nurturing and building on.

The journey of discovering his wife, he felt, was interesting and challenging, as it meant trying to coexist in harmony with different expectations and personalities.

Taking a middle ground when it comes to marriage is sensible for men, but of course one should have shared values with the partner and not compromise on what is most important for the person. Common interests are not as crucial as shared values.

So are arranged marriages a practical aide to finding love and happiness for our men today? Marian Salzman, the co-author of “Next One: Trends for the Future”, could not agree any better. She says, “Arranged marriages make sense in a world in which the search for the one has disappointed so many people.”

So, has the romantic notion of love marriage gone out of the window, and arranged marriage become the flavor of the day?( republica)

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