Open Debate : 5 Reasons For Early Or Late Marriage In Life – Life, Relationships, Arranged Marriages In India

logic behind arranged marriages in India, right time to marry in life, right reasons for a wedding, fears about settling down in life and marrying, arranged marriages in india

When is the right time to marry in India?

This debate sparks from my conversation with a dear friend Ram (Name changed). We were talking about late marriages and the threats involved in it!

I still remember the days I was thinking of quitting my job – I was 24 and wanted to quit my job to set out on a new venture, an unknown field and naturally the risks were quite high. You wouldn’t believe what my biggest fear was

– Some would have guessed it as finance

– Some would have guessed societal pressure

– Some would have also guessed career downfall?

Well, you are the smart one who guessed it right – My biggest fear was that I would not find a girl to marry by the time I was 27 since my career would take longer to settle down and then by the time I would ask my parents to look for someone to marry me off, it would be too late and no one would consider an old man with an adventurous spirit 😀 😀 ..

Naive? Stupid? Well, I can think of even sillier words but truth be told this was an honest fear and if I look back now, all that crosses my face is a smile and a feeling of contentment.

Fear is a funny thing isn’t it? It makes us think the worst of the circumstances and tells us that we are not at all prepared to handle the challenges in life.This, in fact, was the motivation for my article – 11 Practical Steps To Guide You Through The journey Of Overcoming Fears. That aside, it really gets us thinking and it takes over us sometimes. But this time, I thought, let us try and spur a debate about arranged marriages in India or love marriages or basically marriages in India and how they are perceived and how they can be perceived. Here are a few pointers to spur the open debate.

1) Marriage is not between two people, it is between two families

No better lie was ever told, was there? Well someone once told me that I was intelligent – maybe that was a better lie 😛 . But still this lie too comes up close to that one 😀

– It might have made sense with the previous generation where arranged marriages were the norm

– It probably made sense to marry someone to a family since the concept of joint family was very prevalent and the poor wife was expected to adjust to everyone in the family. And sometimes even the smallest kids of the family ended up bullying her just for the reason that they could!

– Or maybe earlier, marriage was a business transaction, a king would marry his daughter to his neighboring king as an act of diplomacy and to an extent common sense as well. Now this happens with the business families to an extent.

Apart from this, I find it hard to identify any other reason to endorse the above statement of marriage between two families.

2) Why do you want to marry? 

Well setting the debate straight, I don’t want to get into the question of whether love marriage or arranged marriage is better. Both of them have their own stories and we shall save that debate for another day. For now let us try and answer the question – Why do you want to marry?

– Companionship? Fulfilment of sharing and living your life with another person, your better half?

– Every one of your friends are already married or the last one is engaged

– You love someone and you realize that it doesn’t make sense living away from them

And so many other reasons I am sure. But in the bigger picture – what is the purpose of this marriage. What are your reasons to get married to someone? It goes a long way in putting the marriage in perspective.

3) Why marry early? 

Again trying to see the logic in marrying early in life

– The previous generation depended on a job where financial security was a HUGE concern and if someone married late, they would risk having kids when they are older and will not have enough savings to take care of them. The logical part of the brain says time, but in the materialistic world, money seems to have made its own inroads.

– All the good ones are gone! Well, without trying to sound like an obnoxious jerk, I have heard people say this – I want to get married early because all the good brides/grooms are gone! Yeah, as if they are a property for the bid!

– Although I completely disagree to the commodity principle in the previous point, for those who still believe in it internally, all I have to say is this – don’t let the illusion of scarcity get to you. There always will be choices in life!

4) The parental pressure

This might sound like an overstatement, but the sense of privacy in India needs a slight improvement. Every person around you thinks that it is their business to get you married. I wonder why they are so enthusiastic about what’s happening in our lives.

Every other function you go to, this will be the question – so when is the date? When are you going to offer us a nice dinner?

Sheesh! There is so much about life and marriage is a very personal choice and sometimes, we got to keep people away and this applies to parents too.

5) Your Life

In the end, all that matters is your life, your reasons to get married, your reasons to choose to be with someone in your life.

It is a very personal choice and you need to teach people to respect that. Or else they will start governing and planning every aspect of your life including when you are going to have a baby and which school you are going to send them to!

Forget the society – it is a great follower but not a leader. Your reason for marriage is when you feel that you are ready and you feel that there is someone who makes your life extremely beautiful and makes you smile for simply no reason at all.

Marriage is not about families, it is about love, happiness and personal growth. There is no perfect time or age to get married, it is just when you two feel like it.

Well, that’s my opening debate, care to join in with more thoughts? :).

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We would love to hear your point of view

  1. There is ten page introduction about India in Germany’s schools (for class 10 level students),in which they made an observation(along with some other good observations) that Indians want to get marry early,settle down and do their routine. No ambitions,no high expectations in life or from career,satisfied in routine job!!

    What it means that,marriage is on highest priority(compared to life’s other achievements for e.g. getting nobel!)of an average Indian,which is certainly true and I am agree with it.

    After all marriage along with other very few moments brings a kind of joy in their (common,average indian)family,so getting marry early tops the life’s to do list.and one more thinking is that marriages happens once in life,will bring “laxmi” (through dowry) so why wait so long that means knowingly ignoring true meaning of marriage.

    Many of my friends want to marry for the sake of sex,some want to follow society’s tradition but very few (rare)wants a partner which will act as a constant source of motivation, inspiration throughout next 50-60yeasrs if not “saath janam”☺

    In the end,if you are financially settled,sure about getting a supportive partner for next 50year you can opt for early marriage if not then wait

    On a lighter note, why you limited your options to India only??@24

    • Nikhil this is a really very interesting perspective. I wasn’t aware of the lessons being taught in German schools. Some Indians do marry early. But as compared to the west, I guess most Indians get married before they are 30. As for the high expectations or being ambitious in life, I am not too sure cos many Indians have gone on to do that inspite of being in a family or a relationship if that is what the German schools are getting at..
      He he, the reason for limiting the topic to an Indian perspective is just that many Indians are still afraid to take that call of a late marriage, including me. I mean most of these fears might be irrational and some illogical,but they are still there. As for the west, late marriages are quite common and they are not even viewed with a surprise, but here a guy of 30 is considered old and a poor girl of 25 is considered old and the entire society frets and unites to marry them off to some poor stranger. That makes me a bit confused about the whole idea of it..

  2. Oh! This is really a great topic to raise a heated debate. 😛

    I agree that there is a parental as well as societal pressure. It might sound cliched, but still I think that the urge to share the life with someone, to feel the presence of a loving one in life- should be the main reasons behind an ideal marriage. There are ample exceptions where the reasons are something else, but that is not germane to my discussion.

    You have put all the probable reasons together nicely Vinay… 🙂

    • He he he 😀 😀 .. Thank you Maniparna. For long I have been wanting to entertain debates on this forum and finally took that step to make it happen. I am loving the views of people here and the variety of lines of thought which I had naturally missed when I was making this post. .
      Thank you Maniparna, I completely side your views here. Marriage is a personal choice and everything else builds around those two people who want to share a life together. Same here too, I feel the other reasons are way out of my reach to comprehend and understand to add value to ..

  3. Marriage is still marriage between two families to most of the indians. Irrespective of nuclear family or joint family,certain castes tend to be bonded very strong. for example, Among Brahmins family bonding(extended family ) is generally weak whereas Vokkaligas or reddys(of karnataka) tend to be highly bonded to gether socially. In my example,I had to take a word of my aunts before fiunalising the marriage. Decision in these caste tend to be a family based descions than individualistic in nature most of the times. So this still depends from caste to caste and Arrange marriage is still a norm in india(Love marriages although increasing is still a miniority,until and unless you live in a uber rich society).

    • A very interesting perspective Raghunath.. I agree with the thought in an uber rich society. Maybe that is why it is so common in the west as well.
      I guess in this state we are still grappling to solve the issues either societal or personal and sometimes even financial as well. But I can’t help but wonder the situation of the two people who are actually getting married, about their personal space in life, their aspirations and dreams and how they want to lead a life. And at a time of marriage what the priorities should be., It seems like a pretty open question to me. I do see that an arranged marriage comes with a few strings attached to it, at the same time it makes me wonder about the personal life style.(Maybe I do it cos I am looking at it too individualistically.. Not really sure how right that is.. )

  4. Yes, you’ve got it bang on target… Many have this general fear….
    And you are right to say, fear drives us crazy. We think of conclusions which haven’t taken place. It’s a tough maze created in the mind, so bad that to come out of it is a tough task.

    • Thank you Lance, it is indeed a challenging place to be in when fear engulfs our thoughts. I mean theoretically and logically it seems fairly straight forward to come out of it, but when going through it, I think the fear has its own way of manifesting itself into many dimensions.. fears indeed!!

  5. Hey… this is a very sensible article. And well… I guess it is mostly loneliness and insecurity driving us to get married after a certain point in lives… anyway… yes we all have fears and those who are old in a sense already in their late twenties or early 30’s do feel fight on the how much to know and less choosy on the patners… yes parents still have requirements, expectations more than the guys or the boys… anyway I do very much agree that marriage is a matter of choice and things can be less tight… if you want to marry, you should also have a person you can get along and not get bored with or someone who can bond really well with you to walk with you the rest of the life and someone really worth sharing everything, body, soul etc etc… but I guess many of us end up in compromise boring marriages and relationships…sad… early marriage is fine too if you find the right person, you can cooly walk life delaying the decision to have kids, spend more alone time together…but early marrige like before 23 or 24 is a bit early only(:… anyway… yeah we all have lot of fears and to be free is to get rid of them… please don’t marry unless you are sure of a person…and please don’t reject anyone without knowing them because of their looks and something…give time and in time as you go with person you will know something if not everything… but yeah opting not to marry is a good thing as well…shows you are confident of yourself…just be confident and independent weather marriaging or not… but too much family and parents make things quite tight… but thats the way it is… anyway nice article…