Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Arranged Marriages and Chosen Marriages

The jury remains out on whether the Western idea of people choosing their partners or the Hindu idea of arranged marriages is the preferable one.

Probably the most frequent argument made in favor of the Indian idea is that one's parents have life experience, whereas one oneself does not. My response to that is that while the parents certainly have more experience than does the child, they have experience being themselves and none being him. There are vast differences between people; and that someone has had more life experience does not mean that that person has more experience being oneself. I have more experience than does my daughter, but I have no experience being my daughter. Which means that my life experience does not always speak for her.

Now I have seen a number of arranged marriage situations that have worked out well. And yes, I have seen any number of choice situations that became a disaster. I have heard the arguments on all sides. I came up with a compromise. I have no ill will at all toward people who willingly choose the Indian scenario. But for myself I continue to insist on choosing my partner.

In case of my daughter, I would not dream of telling her whom she should marry or what life path she should take. The only two things I do not want her to be is a criminal or a punching bag. I would inform her enough about life so that she can make informed and rightful decisions; at which point she will be able to make informed and rightful decisions for herself.

As a responsible parent, I cannot accuse in this of being a brat or anything of the sort. I am looking at how to make things better for my daughter. I will not push her into marriage with someone I like while ignoring her own wishes on the subject. I will inform her about the world well enough that she can make more informed choices. And then she will be able to do the right thing without being pushed into something that people think to be right but isn't.


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