Why Indian Women Opt For Arranged Marriages?

Arranged marriages tend to be preferred by Indian women over love marriages. Since “parents know best”, the majority of Indian women consent to arranged marriages. True in some ways, but for others, marrying for love seems like a dream come true. According to studies, getting their marriages arranged by their parents and elders makes women feel more comfortable and secure. Women in India believe that marrying their long-term boyfriend is a blessing, but only if it does not cause their parents to  disapprove. 

Indian Arrange marriage ichhori.webp

While parents may not be entirely opposed to the man she loves, they would be much happier if their daughter marries the man they have chosen for her. Women enthusiastically accept an arranged tie in order to honor their parents’ decisions.

Commonness of arranged marriages in India

Arranged marriages seem to be on the rise, with the figure remaining at a staggering 90%. A matchmaking website conducted a survey in 2009, and the findings revealed that young Indians still prefer arranged marriages, hence it remains common. More than half the users favoured arranged marriages, and only 18% preferred love marriages.

Arranged marriages account for 55% of all marriages in the world today. In India, arranged marriages account for 90% of all marriages. The man in an arranged marriage is usually 4.5 years older than the woman. In South Asia alone, 48% of the girls engaged in arranged marriages are under the age of 18. The divorce rate in India is very low and accounts for just 1.1%.

According to a recent survey, despite the growth of social networking platforms and matrimonial sites, the conventional arranged marriage is still preferred by the majority of Indians. According to the Taj Wedding Barometer, a survey conducted by the Taj Group of Hotels in Mumbai, 75% of Indians, including 82% of women and 68% of men, are following the traditional route and favour arranged marriages. Women choose their parents’ and family members’ decisions, while men strive to make their own choices about their potential mate. Arranged marriages are preferred by 82% of young people in North India, compared to the national average of 74%. 

Reasons why Indian women opt for arranged marriages

1.Mentality of ‘Parents know best’

Women love and trust their parents, they agree that their life experiences and wisdom are extremely valid when choosing a life partner. Young women may feel more secure because of their family’s collective experience. If there is a crisis, they believe that the whole family will come together to help fix it (Dr. Nirmala S. Rao).

Once they feel their family may have had reservations for them, women often let go of their love interests. Despite the fact that parents were not entirely opposed to the guy she was seeing, she realised that they would be happier if she married someone they preferred (Priya Kapoor). Around 90% of women who said yes to arranged marriages say that clearly parents know what was best for them.

2.Not meeting the right man

According to clinical psychologist Anindita Chowdhury, young women who are financially self-sufficient and educated often find it difficult to date. Corporate rules prevent them from dating male coworkers. Furthermore, busy work hours leave little time to meet men outside of the office. Weekends frequently go in a flurry of catching up with friends and relatives, or caught up in household tasks, leaving them little time to look for marriageable partners. These women are already 30 by the time they are ready to look for love, which is very late in Indian marriage standards. Most of the men they know are already dating someone or married. This is when they begin asking their parents to search for a compatible partner. Women claim that they would have liked to marry someone they know well and love, but they thought that time has already passed.

An independent woman needs a partner who does at least as well as her. Arranged marriages work because it involves a lot of “digging” into the man’s past and profession. His financial security, temperament, living standards, educational and professional history, may all be assessed by the girl’s family. (Kinger)

3.Heartbreak or a shattered relationship

Women may be compelled to accept an arranged marriage as a result of a broken relationship (Clinical psychologist, Sahely Gangopadhyay). After a breakup, several women agree to marry someone they don’t know. Many Indian women believe that an arranged marriage is the only way to recover from a heartbreak; it is more like a rebound effect.

Adopting such a broad and sociological view of love heartbreaks allows for a critical examination of the concepts of “arranged” and “love” marriage. A  debilitating romantic experience may leave a person wounded, exhausted and uninterested in entering another relationship. As a result, they may opt for a more systematic method of spouse selection, in which they are recommended an appropriate spouse by their parents or matchmakers. 

4.Rejections by other potential partners

In India, a woman’s worth is often determined by her marital status. Women are taught that being accepted by a man makes them more valuable, attractive, socially accepted and desirable. So, instead of scrutinising the man and his family, when the family begins searching for a potential groom, the woman is desperate to be recognised as the ‘appropriate bride’. 

If a woman agrees to an arranged marriage, she must embrace rejection gracefully and recognise that every man has his own desires, which are not a representation of the woman’s worth (Zaveri).

5.Discouraged to be opinionated and to ask questions at a young age

In most Indian homes, girls are taught to follow what their family members say. They are not encouraged to challenge or question their elders, especially the men of the family. When a young girl is told not to associate with boys, she follows the advice. She listens when told not to enter a job that requires her to work late nights. So, when her family asks her to marry a man she has never met, she goes along with it, since its what she has been following all her life. She assures herself that her life has turned out great so far. So it would not be too different is she is forced to live with a man that her own family has chosen for her. 

Particularly after marriage, this reluctance to doubt and question other’s actions or intentions persists (Kinger).

  1. Inter-faith/caste marriages

Many young girls and boys are brainwashed into believing that their religion, caste, or community is superior to all others. Families forbid inter-caste or inter-religion relationships, especially marriages. And their children grow up imbibing this prejudice. It is still considered important to marry into one’s own caste or class. Interfaith marriages will take decades to break down these barriers. In the end, many Indian women feel that the love of the family who raised them is more important than any bond they can form on their own. 

How common are inter-caste marriages?

Despite women opting for arranged marriages, inter-caste marriages are still popular among Indians. Inter-caste marriages account for about 11% of all marriages in India, with women marrying men from lower caste in 5.58% of all cases, and women marrying men from higher castes in 5.38% of cases. In general, it is predicted that as society develops and progresses in education, the caste factor will weaken, increasing the number of inter-caste marriages. In the southern part of India, inter-caste marriages is just 9.71%. Inter-caste marriages is found to be the most common in the Western region (17%). Inter-caste marriages account for about 20% of marriages in some states. 

To conclude, marriage is a sacred union that takes place not only between man and woman, but also between their families. The bond is unaffected by the form of marriage or the amount of money spent on it. Neither a love marriage or an arranged marriage can guarantee happiness, and each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. 



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