From Heer and Ranjha to Laila and Majnu, love stories have had a difficult time in this part of the world and continue to do so. Though things are changing, much remains to be done. Regardless, if you are wondering if you can have a successful love marriage in India, the answer is yes.
Things are different in India compared to the West, where the autonomy to choose your partner was attained earlier. The celebrated American author-poet Maya Angelou said, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Still, the opposite was true for love marriages in India.
Whether a love marriage is good or not, individually, can be a very subjective question in any country. But, if you want to look at the whole picture of love marriage in India versus arranged marriage and compare their success rates, we have to do a bit of analysis and get into those devilish details. Don’t worry; we’ll try to keep it romantic.
Arranged Marriage Vs Love Marriage In India: An Analysis
Table of Contents
To understand what a successful love marriage in India looks like or why love marriages fail in India, we need to understand a few things. India has among the lowest divorce rates in the world. You would think this means most people are happy with the traditional ways of having an arranged marriage, but unfortunately, that’s not really true.
Divorce rates are lower in villages than in urban areas, meaning that what keeps most arranged marriages away from divorce is mainly a lack of awareness or access. Plus, the divorce rates in India, low as they are, are rising. This means people realize that it is better to be out of a bad marriage than in it and take that option. Well, people realize that all over the world, going by the rising global divorce rates.
When it comes to social reforms and people’s ability to choose whom to spend their lives with, a lot of work remains. Love marriage in India depends heavily on one’s privilege and social capital. People in the rural and the traditional regions still have practically zero autonomy to choose their partners.
In India’s society, those who opt for love marriage are judged to not be motivated by love, but by childlike decision making and a hasty approach toward marriage. The irony is lost on the advocates of arranged marriages, who usually finalize on marriages after a few months of courtship.
Plus, the system of arranged marriage has been around basically forever in India, and going against the norm, especially with a decision as big as this, usually isn’t the easiest thing to do. As a result, love marriages in India suffered from a bad reputation. Regardless, love or arranged, long-term relationships are still popular in India, with over 60% of people agreeing they believe in one.
Of late, the discourse is not so miserable and quiet in favor of love marriage in India. It is also a representation of the love marriage success rate in India. The change has been largely recent, and perhaps the inception of new ideas and a new way of thinking is to be given credit.
The recency of the change in perception is better seen through numbers. In a study by Statista in 2012, as many as 74% of respondents all over India said they preferred arranged marriages. However, in a study conducted amongst millennials in 2020, only 21.9% of female respondents and 32.5% of male respondents claimed they preferred arranged marriages.
So what makes love marriage so beautiful and strong? Different from arranged marriages, the love marriage success rate in India depends on a lot of things. Let’s take a look at a few factors that stand out in favor of love marriages.
Related Reading: 6 Facts That Sum Up The Purpose Of Marriage
9 Reasons Why Love Marriage In India Is Successful
Frankly, the question of whether love marriage is good or not is not that important. Love marriage in India seems to be on the rise, and people’s changing attitudes toward how they end up married depend on many social and personal factors.
There’s no denying the fact that the ability to fall in love before tying the knot is, well, humanly liberating. The urban areas strive as over sixty percent of educated and working millennial and generation Z population is moving faster toward love marriage and shunning old concepts of arranged marriage.
Love marriages in India are becoming increasingly popular despite the challenges they face from traditional values and societal pressures. In India, according to a Bombay High Court hearing, more love marriages end in divorces than arranged marriages. But that could be attributed to so many cultural and social factors.
As the percentage of love marriages in India keeps increasing, so does a healthier mindset toward the approach. Today, many youngsters and even mature folk are exploring love in their own way, despite the sanctions and pressures put on love by modern society.
Why love marriages fail in India doesn’t solely depend on where the couple is and even the manner in which they met. The reasons for a failing marriage are far too many to point out. Regardless of how people meet, a foundation of trust, respect, communication and love is absolutely necessary. If you look around and assess a successful love marriage in India, you will find a beautiful blend of the modern and the traditional.
You will also see that love marriage in India allows the couple to better understand each other beforehand. Nothing can guarantee a successful love marriage, but being privy to each other’s personalities definitely makes the first few years of marriage much easier than an arranged marriage. When you can, always go for the best-informed decision, right? Let’s take a look at why love marriages in India have been successful of late, and what the differences between the two can be.
1. Adjustments become easier
All kinds of marriages fail. Even love marriage in India comes with issues. Adjustment is one factor that can destroy even the most stable ones, love or arranged. However, a couple’s prior knowledge from their dating days ensures that they have an understanding of each other’s personality, character, likes, and dislikes.
This makes them more prepared with the tools to work on challenges that may arise in their marriage. Successful love marriage in India or anywhere is easier as you have prior understanding and knowledge of your partner from before the marriage. This gives you more amicable and creative ways to deal with each other when things get rocky, something that all kinds of marriages go through.
2. More give and take of culture
Arranged marriages are generally decided based on similar cultures, religions, or castes. The opposite trend can be seen with love marriages, where interfaith and inter-caste couples, with partners from entirely different backgrounds and traditions, tie the knot. This, with so much diversity, is making for a great channel of cultural exchanges that were almost impossible historically with so much diversity.
To bond better with your partner, there has to be a melding of cultures and traditions. For a successful love marriage in India, this give-and-take has to ensure that both partners feel equally represented in the relationship. Who says love marriages were no work? They are equal work, but one that you get to choose.
3. A love marriage in India means less involved parents, compared to an arranged marriage
As many Bollywood movies will tell you, Indian marriages are not between two people but two families. Since parents take the lead in an arranged marriage, they tend to have a significant say in the couple’s married life too. These days, with the percentage of love marriages in India rising, couples are visibly choosing to have more say and stake in their futures.
Parental pressure in arranged marriages is infamous in India. Cinema, television, and real-life, all three are ridden with how parental pressures destroy marriages. Be it the choice of their partners or how they handle their married life; couples are opting for autonomy that was not allowed in the older model of arranged marriage. In India, love marriages provide one great avenue for emasculation from any kind of additional parental pressure on the newly married couple.
Related Reading: Is Marriage Worth It – What You Gain Vs What You Lose
4. Partners have each other’s back
Any relationship can have immense love and support, arranged as well as love. But, the history of arranged marriages has majorly shown otherwise. Domestic issues and abuses in hostile arranged marriages rarely end favorably for women in India. And there is a visible bias in male partners against their wives that cannot be ignored. One of the major reasons, in popular thought, why a love marriage is better than an arranged one is the support from a partner.
Since love marriages in our society have to face a lot of pressures initially, the relationship becomes stronger. The partners have to depend on each other for support, especially when the world is against them. This also builds trust, which ideally should make them each other’s strongest allies in any given situation.
5. Intimacy is easier
Sex is a big factor in a marriage. But, in traditional arranged marriages, it is majorly never discussed beforehand. And, that is why the partners in an arranged marriage have to put work into creating intimacy together. If you are wondering if love marriage is good, consider this: how okay are you in being intimate with a stranger? Not everyone’s cup of tea, right?
On the flip side, physical attraction and mental bonding play equal roles in driving a love marriage in India or anywhere else. This leads to the easy scenario where the partners do not have to work hard to create that intimacy inside a bedroom. Many couples these days have a premarital sex life too and are comfortable with each other’s bodies, and hence, there is no awkwardness about being intimate with one another.
6. You deal with each other’s negatives better
In a love marriage, both partners come from a place of knowledge of each other’s flaws and negatives. On the other hand, in arranged marriages, they can be strangers meeting on the night of the wedding for the first time. Arranged marriages often have a power imbalance of women being the submissive half devoted to the husband’s daily needs.
Since it takes years to build understanding in an arranged marriage, the flaws of each other are revealed slowly over the years. One example is the endless debate about who does more housework, which is never-ending in a modern household where both partners earn. But, in a love marriage in India, things are better as both the partners know what to expect from one another. It makes them better equipped to know and work through even the negative aspects of their partner’s personality.
7. More freedom
As both partners know and understand each other, they have more freedom to express their opinions and live life to the fullest. Partners feel that the relationship and later the marriage provide a haven for them to be themselves entirely and live their most authentic lives without any pretensions or secrets.
For a successful love marriage, both partners need to be able to express themselves clearly and honestly. Without being intimate enough to talk about what might be bothering them, they’re most likely going to bottle all the feelings up. Communication problems usually eat away at a relationship.
8. A love marriage in India features more mutual respect
Given the way patriarchal society India operates, it’s no surprise that womenfolk aren’t given too much respect in arranged marriages. In rural and even some urban areas, newly-wed wives are discouraged from working, so they can supposedly “focus” more on household tasks.
A love marriage in India usually features more mutual respect and equality, which is the cornerstone of any successful partnership. Both individuals enter into the equation willingly, and both recognize the rights and wants of the other.
9. Conflict resolution may have already been established
When you marry someone after a long-term relationship, chances are you’ve both been through major fights. If the couple has survived the hiccups and managed to overcome the fights, in all likelihood, there’s already a conflict resolution and relationship reconciliation process in place.
Meaning, they know how to navigate the difficult times and the rough fights. Love marriages in India and all around the world feature a level of understanding about the other person, which helps when those nasty fights break out. In an arranged marriage, where you’ve met your partner a couple of months, knowing how they’d react in anger or high-pressure situations is near-impossible. And so, you have to brace yourself for many surprises along the way.
The Arranged Marriage Vs. Love Marriage Debate
Romantic or not, the debate between love marriage in India versus arranged marriage is essential. There might not be the “right” kind of marriage as far as two individuals are concerned, but the overall ability of a population to make their life decisions is vital. And that is why the love marriage success rate in India doesn’t matter so much as the freedom to have one if you so decide.
So, is love marriage good? While that question is completely yours to answer, the number of advantages that a love marriage in India has cannot be outnumbered by arranged marriage. One edge that love marriage will always have is that it’s based on love. With that crucial aspect of a relationship taken care of, leaving you to work on other aspects of your life together.
Love can make many things smooth, including personal or professional struggles. In an arranged marriage, the struggle can lead to a partner feeling short-changed or cheated post-marriage, whereas, in a love marriage, there is more acceptance of any curve balls life may throw at you. Love also ignites passion and romance, which is still trial and error in an arranged marriage. And with that, we made it romantic!
Yes, love marriages are increasing in India. Recent studies show that the young and working population are opting for more modern and non-traditional marriages outside of their cultures, religions, and castes. While the rates of love marriages are still low in India, there is a visible rise.
Love marriages are not that opposite to arranged marriages except for the fundamental right of being able to choose your partner with consent. They tend to have more understanding and support. They even provide both partners to deal with their differences in a more holistic manner devoid of all power balances and social biases.
Love marriages fail for the same reasons as arranged marriages do. People can fall out of love, have differences they cannot reconcile, or act in a manner that hurts the marriage irreparably. But if your marriage is formed with love rather than social pressure, the chances of it all sorting out are also better.