Ritesh and Sonia fell in love while they were both working for an MNC in Gurgaon. They didn’t realize it but over coffee breaks and office parties, they got closer and closer till they decided to get married. Hailing from a conservative Marwari family, Ritesh had to coax Sonia out of her shell till she fell for him. Both faced stiff opposition from their families as they sought an inter-caste marriage.
The next two years saw negotiations, refusals, a breakup and a patch up. It took a lot of effort on their part. They were, finally, able to convince their parents about the many inter-caste marriage benefits.
Even with an upsurge in inter-caste love marriages in India, couples face the same uphill battle of convincing parents, combating age-old traditions, relatives, a barrage of questions of caste, community biases, religion, practices, value systems and negative comments among other things.
10 Ways To Convince Your Parents For An Inter-caste Marriage
So, you’re madly in love with someone. You are the perfect fit and make each other truly happy. You can’t wait to spend the rest of your lives together but there is one hitch – you are both from different castes. And now you’re scratching your brains over how to convince your parents for inter-caste marriage.
We have very methodically charted out the 10 ways in which you can sway your parents’ opinion, and marry the partner of your choice. If you’re in love with someone from a different community and are wondering how to convince your parents for inter-caste marriage, follow these tips:
1. Build a good start
Slowly, float the idea of a ‘love marriage’ with your folks and see how they react. Look for examples of successful inter-caste marriages among your friends and relatives, and weave them into conversations at home.
Highlight the inter-caste marriage benefits through a series of conversations with your parents. Try to convince your parents that the most compatible couples are those who have similar value systems and perspectives rather than traditional factors.
The idea of arranged marriage is now old and doesn’t fit into the modern era. If a couple disagrees on the fundamental values, then the marriage can never be successful.
Pro Tip: Broach the subject of inter-caste marriage by telling your folks about a co-worker or high school friend opting for love marriage and how it is working out well for them.
2. Bring in a trusted ally relative to make a case for you
If there is too much resistance to the idea of an inter-caste marriage, ask a trusted friend or elderly relative to step in. They can weigh in on the concept and work on convincing your parents. Ensure that this ‘ally’ has the family’s goodwill at heart, and knows you and your partner.
Most families require a second opinion or a trustworthy source to help them make a decision. The ally should jump in and explain all the inter-caste marriage benefits to your parents to win them over.
Pro tip: Introduce your partner as a friend along with a group of colleagues to your folks so that they can interact with them without any preconceived notions or biases.
3. List out parental concerns and discuss how to combat them
Bring up all the issues that are likely to create conflict once the families are approached about the match. You have to work on normalizing inter-caste marriage, and show that most long-lasting and successful relationships are born out of love.
Build a narrative of how love marriage is better than arranged marriage in the long-term through examples and rationalization. While you portray inter-caste marriages in a positive light, also project all the good qualities about your partner.
Help your parents understand what made you fall in love with this person and why they’d make the perfect life partner for you.
Pro Tip: Jot down and go over each potential conflict area and think of creative ways to solve them together. Take help from trusted and supportive friends in this.
4. Having “the talk” with your parents
Approach the subject of your inter-caste marriage with your parents at a time when they are calm and relaxed, and most of all, open to a conversation or new viewpoint. Avoid bringing up the topic at a stressful time or when you have guests over. Don’t bring it up in a social setting or when they are preoccupied.
Pro Tip: Approach the more supportive parent first. Let them set the ball rolling, and take their help in approaching the parent who is more likely to put up a stronger opposition to the idea.
5. Be patient and ride out the initial negative backlash
Understand that it won’t be easy for people to forget their conditioning in an instant. Keep in mind that they have been raised differently, and are afraid you will forget your culture and values. Prepare yourself to hear a flurry of negative feedback or refusals. Don’t be defensive, dismissive of their fears. Listen patiently.
Show that you respect their point of view and are willing to wait. Allay their fears calmly by addressing their concerns confidently. Strive to show you care for their feelings and show that you respect them no matter what.
Pro Tip: You should chill out and be as normal as possible. Take them out for dinner and talk like nothing will change. Show them that you will be the same person with the same values and manners.
6. Harp on your partner’s qualities
From their successful career to their cooking skills to their inherent qualities like kindness and empathy, talk about the good characteristics of your partner. Bring out the best in your partner and how they could be the perfect fit for your family.
Tell your parents constantly how this relationship has made you happy and helped you grow. Tell them how your partner has changed you for the better, and how much you have learned by just being with them.
Pro tip: Take your partner’s help in sorting some minor family issue, so your family understands that they are by your side. They should be convinced that this inter-caste marriage is not going to pull you away from the family.
7. Meet the parents
Introduce each other to your families in a non-confrontational way and in a comfortable setting. Ensure the meeting is between your partner and close family members. Avoid relatives or friends who could judge and influence their opinion.
If bringing them to the house is not a good option, then it is best to meet at a restaurant or a café which is non-threatening and a neutral environment for both parties. Take an ally along if it helps things and makes a good impression.
Pro tip: You should try to dissipate any tension that builds up with a bit of humor maybe. Prepare beforehand to avoid bringing up any sensitive topics that your partner may be unaware of.
8. Highlight similarities rather than differences
At the meeting and even later, always remind your parents of the similarities in both families so that they can get comfortable with the idea. Much of the opposition stems from the irrational fear parents have of differences cropping up in case of an inter-caste or inter-faith marriage. So, work actively to reduce those.
If you want to know the best way of how to convince your parents for inter-caste marriage, it is familiarity. The more familiar experiences both parties have had, the better.
Pro tip: Remember not to manipulate an outcome and let one happen organically. It would get tricky if you get caught faking it.
9. Be patient, trust the process and your partner
Many times the waiting process could take a toll on the relationship. Patience is key here. Ensure refusals or backlash doesn’t strain your relationship.
At times when a partner is feeling down, remember to instill confidence in your conversations and back each other up. This could be an excellent way to test the strength of your commitment to each other.
Pro tip: Stay strong in the face of opposition so both sets of parents know that you are in it for the long haul and would not go for another option. You need to prove to them that you are serious about each other.
10. Educate yourself on the caste system
Tell them how you are reading up on the history of inter-caste violence, and the social and political movements that have been initiated to eradicate this ignorance of people. Educate them about these social evils, and influence them to be more progressive.
Pro tip: Remember, knowledge is power. The more you read and learn, the more you will be able to fight your case. You will be able to challenge the common myths and taboos about inter-caste marriages.
More and more couples are opting for inter-caste and inter-faith love marriages. Once the initial hurdle of convincing parents is taken care of, the rest can be a breeze. Follow these tips to convince your parents to agree to an inter-caste marriage, and help fight your case. After all, they only want what’s best for you!