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People Share Their Stories Of Arranged Marriages  

Mick Jacobs
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The concept of an arranged marriage remains something many people do not understand, especially in the West. However, according to people who have had arranged marriages, a lot of misconceptions surround the practice. For one thing, many relationships people might classify as "arranged" come with far fewer restrictions than one might think. Many couples in arranged marriages describe their relationship as one they entered into out of their own free will, though members of their family initiated it. Even many children of arranged marriages describe their parents' coupling as a blessing and hardly something they resent. And honestly, plenty of weird laws surrounding marriage feel far stranger than the idea of an arranged marriage.

That said, as with any relationship, there are those arranged marriages that do fail, often with grave consequences. But "love marriages" come with the same risks: Time may lessen your feelings, outside circumstances may alter your relationship, or you might simply find out that you are not compatible with the person in the way you once believed. These arranged marriage stories from Reddit cover both the good and bad aspects of this practice, proving that these unions experience many of the same ups and downs as any other relationship. 

Their Parents Gave Them A Choice

From Redditor /u/anonanswer090:

I am a girl living in a western county and this is how my arranged marriage went. After I had finished school, my parents approached me and asked if I was ready to marry. I disagreed and so they left it (I was 18 - almost 19). When I was 21, I was approached by my parents again asking me if I was ready, this time I said yes. Then slowly people were asking my parents about me -friends of parents and others from our community. My parents were obviously telling me who was asking about me and if I wanted to arrange a meeting with said person. I rejected two without a meeting because from what I heard I wasn't interested.

The third I said yes to. He and his family came to our house and sat and talked with my family over lunch, I, however, wasn't in the same room as them as I felt too awkward. After a while, I was sat in another room and my mum told me we should talk (me and him) so I agreed. I wanted to know more about him. They left us together and we spoke for quite a while, asked loads of questions regarding character and the future, etc.

After about a week or so, he proposed through family members. I wasn't sure, so I didn't give a reply for about three weeks... when I did it was a yes. We were engaged for a year and are now married. We're like any other couple now - we're completely happy with each other. And we're scarily really compatible in the things we both like or don't like and agree or disagree with. As with any relationship, we do argue but I can honestly only think of two times we've really actually argued otherwise we mostly have jokey fights.

Theirs Has Lasted 20 Years

From Redditor /u/city-of-stars:

So my marriage was arranged. I'll give a brief rundown of my "courtship."

First met my wife-to-be in Chandigarh, India. My grandfather and her father were both in the army and had been posted there, so our respective families had a get-together. This was right after I had graduated college (she was still in high school). I don't remember much, we both said "hi" to each other but that's about it. Around this time our families started the "process," for lack of a better term.

Soon after, I moved to the United States to get my master's degree in computer science. I studied in the States for two years, and upon graduation, I accepted a job offer at Intel. I worked there for a few years and would visit India often. By now my wife-to-be was studying at Indraprastha College for Women at the University of Delhi.

After working at Intel for a while, I moved to a better-paying position at IBM. At this time, my family and her family broached the idea of us getting married. By this point, I barely remembered my wife-to-be, having only met her that one time several years ago. We met in India, and at that point, we started "dating." She had graduated from the University of Delhi and was planning to apply to a PhD program.

After a year of dating (that's essentially what it was), we got married in Telangana (both of us were Andhras). We knew each other relatively well at this point. Soon afterward, she joined me in the States, having been accepted into a PhD program. I continued to work for the next few years before we had our first child.

We've been married for close to 20 years. Both of us are very happy in our marriage. Obviously, nothing is 100% perfect, we argue from time to time like any other couple. But she's been a supportive, wonderful companion for all of those years and I like to think I've been the same.

Says Their Parents' Marriage Is Complicated

From Redditor /u/craniocaudal:

I'm of full Indian origin (but living in the UK). My parents got together through an arranged marriage. The whole process would have taken place in the late '80s, I guess.

Basically, their respective families already kind of knew each other through the grapevine, and so, once my parents reached marriage age, a meeting was set up. In this meeting, baseline personal compatibility was established as well as an appraisal of each person's job prospects/family wealth and status. With those boxes checked, the wheels started turning and my parents slowly got closer together. They'd see each other several times over the coming year or two (writing love letters, too!) and finally an engagement was set.

25 or so years later, they're still married. Are they happy? Honestly, yes and no. They still enjoy each other's company but they've sadly nevertheless become two very different people. Also they are prone to arguing (especially my father, who is quite hot-blooded). That's not to say it wouldn't have happened in a regular "love marriage" but that's just how things have turned out here. 

Their Mother Endured A Lot For Arranged Marriages

From Redditor /u/night-wing-politics:

My mother came from rural India, and by the West's standards was fairly poor. During the '50s, '60s, and '70s, Britain was actively transporting people from the Commonwealth to boost England's economy and revitalize population numbers from the impact of WWII. After a while, Britain reduced immigration numbers, but they didn't account for each immigrant family to be a kind of anchor to bring more family members from their birth countries.

Notably, in South Asian cultures, parents were eager to send their kids to places like North America and the UK to give them better life prospects.

At age 17, my mum's parents told her that her brother who already lived in England had found my mum a husband, and preparations started to send her to England the following year.

The groom was a well-respected businessman from a respected family who had... links with our family.

However, sometime before the wedding, my mum's brother had a huge falling out with the prospective husband. The wedding was called off and my mum never even met this man. And she got to stay with her family for a few more years. This, I'm sure, relieved my mum to no end.

A few years later, they found my mum a new groom. He came to India. They married, and in the early '80s, mum was taken from her family to live with strange new people, in a strange new country without even knowing the language, at just age 20. I can't even begin to imagine how terrifying that must have been for her.

My father had a less well-off family than the first groom, but his father and the rest of his family were extremely respected elders of the community. They came from the Carpenter Caste and were revered for the way [they] built up their trade and life in India, Kenya (until the government blamed all Indians for the economy), and now England.

Except, my dad was a c*nt. He was an abusive alcoholic and treated my mum like his personal slave. In my dad's eyes, she was just someone her parents bunged him with to act like his mother. I can go on about [how] horrible he was to my mum, brother, and I, but I'll leave it or else I'll be here for a while.

In the '80s my mum had a few miscarriages, which I can only assume is from exhaustion, stress and having such a bad life in general. Until she gave birth to me and my brother in the '90s. My father was completely unloving, cold, and distant to us. He was constantly angry, and I'm sure since my childhood, he's resented his kids.

My parents have been married now for over 30 years and I'm sure they hate each other. They hardly speak, my mum is the sole wage-earner, and my dad just stays at home getting drunk complaining how every one in life has trod on him. Doing all this while his wife cooks, cleans, and basically keeps him alive.

Arranged marriages can be good, and loads of people in my family and even my generation have had them. The parents basically act as a matchmaker and organize dates for their children with desirable matches. But ultimately, the choice is up to the kids.

But in some cases, the marriage is forced and you get sh*tty relationships like my parents.