Marriage is a pretty complex concept ...
In India, it is not just 2 individuals who get married but 2 families who get married. Hence the concept of Arranged Marriage is still very prevalent where marriages are arranged / fixed by the family elders.
The entire concept of 'Love Marriage' as made popular by Bollywood where the rebellious young hearts go against all odds to get together has made the youngsters somewhat crave for such a fantasy and often mistaken lesser feelings for Love.
But of course, many a flames stand the test of time and emerge the so-called 'true love' who eventually lead a 'happily lived forever' kind of life. Some of these love stories go through without a hitch with understanding / open minded parents while a majority of these face stiff resistance from their families and go through a lot of struggle. Some perish (the relationship, I mean) while some fight their families, some others emerge victorious winning the hearts of their families.
Coming back to Arranged Marriages … unlike what possibly happened half a century ago, increasingly the boy and girl getting married have a greater say in the arranged marriage process. They meet, interact (albeit for a short while) and get to choose to say no even if the families are saying yes.
Similarly, love stories also have a better change of getting a hearing in families these days. Families give their youngsters a chance to present their choice and give their verdict. If unacceptable, sometimes they are able to convince he youngsters while at other times they just give-in to avoid the case of the youngsters eloping which would result in a bad name for their families. This gives us an interesting phenomenon called "Arranged Love Marriages" where the families support the love stories and arrange their marriages.
The traditional Arranged Marriages more than often lead to happy couples who tend to love each other with their love growing as time passes …. "Love in Arranged Marriages".
I have seen both forms of marriage result in very happy couples … two individuals who have come together and formed their own private happy world. Irrespective of love or arranged, love has blossomed between them fertilized by understanding and respect for each other and the need for preserving the relationship. Such couples reinforce the age old belief in the institution of marriage.
And then there are marriage failures … Arranged marriages where the partners are completely incompatible leading to regular fights and general disconcert in life … leading to domestic violence and even death or divorce. But then failures are not reserved to Arranged Marriages alone. They are present in love marriages also. In fact, they come as a greater surprise in love marriages where one feels both partners know each other very well and hence there should be no conflict.
In the love marriages on the other hand, the girl and the boy have known each other for long and 'assume' that they 'really know' each other. Once married, as they begin life together being with each other 24X7 instead of occasional or few hours a day kind of being together; a lot of things surface. Both feel that these new discoveries were hitherto hidden deliberately and the feeling of 'being cheated' only increases. Tolerance levels are low and hence the fights are frequent. In fact, some quant statistics show a greater failure of love stories as compared to love stories (that is, if such studies are even to be believed)
Marriage is a complicated and extremely complex phenomenon. Love and Arranged marriages though prominent are not the only forms. There are several other varieties which are prevalent in small measures but the love and arranges debate is a favorite topic of many a youngsters (including yours truly, at least when I was a youngster, anyway).
The complexity of the concept makes it difficult to call one option better than the other. In either case, love or arranged, it is ultimately the two individuals who come together that are responsible for making it a success or failure. Whether love comes before or after marriage does not really have a strong bearing on the life of the marriage; the level of tolerance, understanding and commitment of the two individuals has all the bearing.
I have been myself a part of many a 'Love v/s Arranged' debates and discussions with friends during my college days. I always enjoyed them and FYI, I was a strong proponent of Arranged Marriage. Well … life has shown me greater wisdom and I now respect both forms of marriages and just hope that a greater number of love marriages as well as arranged marriages are successful (and Divorce lawyers end up looking for alternate professional works).