The concept of an arranged marriage may raise a lot of questions for those unaccustomed to them. But, in many cultures and countries across the globe, it plays a huge part in family life.
Now, people are sharing their experiences of such unions on Reddit, to reveal what really goes on behind closed doors.
Redditors are known for sharing intimacies about their relationships, and this thread is no exception. While some praise the idea and have told stories of wedded bliss, others have not been so lucky.
Here’s what they had to say...
“Met my husband on the 9th, agreed to marry him on the 15th, and we were wed on the 20th. Literally said about two words to each other, and that was with five members of his family present. Been together 13+ years. It had its ups and downs, like I imagine any marriage would - arranged or not. We are very good together. He tries to make me happy in any way he can.”
“I am 27, my wife is 26, we are both doctors and we had an arranged marriage. I may be biased but I think at least for me this has worked out better. I had many social issues and a really low self-worth. I got matched to a really lively girl. I panicked when it started and I nearly ended the engagement because I thought we were so different - how could this ever work? What I was not expecting was how much I would fall in love with her. She awakened my sleeping lively side. She brings joy and fun to my life.”
“We’ve been married for close to twenty years. Both of us are very happy in our marriage. Obviously nothing is 100% perfect, we argue from time to time like any other couple. But she’s been a supportive, wonderful companion for all of those years and I like to think I’ve been the same.”
“I’m American born, but balanced that line between Indian and American. For American boys, I was too Indian. For Indian boys, I was too American. Never officially dated and studied a lot. Went through countless meetings with boys from Indian matrimonial sites and never clicked with anyone. As I reached my 30s, the pressure started to mount.
“I had pretty much given up on finding someone and had grown content with my work and small group of friends. My father sent me a random profile and said he wanted me to look at it. I was not at all interested. So, I pretended to be my dad and sent an email to his dad. His dad (who ended up being him) responded to my dad (me) that we should talk.
“So, I send an email to the guy and wait to hear back. A month goes by and I’m like ‘ok, fuck you then’. Then, I get an email on the first [day] of the new year in 2010. It’s him. He wanted to start the year off with me. We talk on email for a bit. Then the phone. Visit in February. Married in March. We have a six-year-old son and he and my husband are my world. So, quasi arranged. And I’m so grateful to my father for finding this man for me.”
“I was almost in several, before I married for love...My issues as a whole with arranged marriage are with how the family is always involved and there’s no room for me to be myself. Also given they are all breathing down your neck, there’s no time to really get to know someone in a chill casual way. You’ve got to always be alive to the possibility that anything you say will be discussed by their whole family and they will talk about it with yours.
“I eloped with a non-Indian boy. No drama...I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had clicked with one of those guys. For one, I would have had to wait until we were well into being married to have the kind of bonding my husband and I got with a month of shacking up. There would be a ton more in-law drama, because I’m not social like Indian women are expected to be, and that would be a source of huge conflict. I guess everyone ends up justifying their choices to themselves irrespective of what it was, so I don’t know. But it feels unlikely I would have found happiness with arranged marriage.”
“My parents arranged an engagement with one of their friend’s daughters.
“It was an international arrangement so it was a pretty complicated state of affairs with a lot of paperwork. So we got to know each other over a year while the paperwork was getting done.
“All in all it’s been pretty great, definitely not without the typical relationship issues. What’s really nice about it though is that our whole family is approving of the relationship so there’s a lot of support all around.”
“I’m 26 and coming up on three years of marriage very soon. Not really sure if I had an ‘arranged’ marriage per say [sic], I think a more appropriate term would be ‘match-making’. My family and my husband’s family had been friends for almost 10 years, but because both of our families are of the conservative-Muslim type we never met or spoke to each other. When his dad and my dad thought we might make a good couple, we spoke to each other over Skype (with parental supervision) twice because my husband was attending an out-of-state university. Before I knew it, our parents picked a date for an official engagement and we got married six months later. Like all marriages, we have our ups and downs and are generally happy and in love.
“In the beginning it was weird because I wasn’t in love with him. I liked him well enough and I knew that I would fall in love with him given time. It was disconcerting to be vulnerable and have sex with someone I hardly knew. It’s hard to explain, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that emotionally I wasn’t ready to be intimate with my husband, but obviously hormones ;)
“I wouldn’t change a thing about how I got married because whatever happened, it’s led to the beautiful, supportive, and loving relationship we have today.”
“Pretty much everyone in my family had an arranged marriage, so I have a lot of stories, ranging from really happy to very terrifying.
“I guess I can talk about my parents to start with...My dad was in his late 20s, and had been working for over 10 years at this point (including dropping out of college) since it was a big family he had to support. My mom had grown up in a small village, and was about five years younger. Since my dad had no hang-ups about whom to marry (he is still a very unfussy person), he said yes to the first person both his parents agreed to.
“They moved to a larger city after getting married where he was working in the public sector...My mom had a very utopian idea of what married life would be like, and apparently that didn’t work out so well, and she’d be morose a lot, and spend a couple of months at her mother’s house every year, until I was born. My dad had to figure out how to actually be a good husband, he did not really have any idea of how this worked.
“Over the years my dad developed heart problems, my mom went into depression, and there was a lot more yelling. It would always end up being resolved, since ending a marriage is never an option for families like this. There would be days when they just would not speak to each other. Sometimes it ended with mom yelling a lot. Sometimes not. They never really learnt how to resolve issues like adults.
“Now it’s been decades, and I find they are more like coworkers than anything else...I don’t think there’s any affection between them at all. They don’t go out, or do the same things together (they have 2 TVs), talk about anything other than serious stuff or go on vacation. I love them to death, but they aren’t the kind of relationship I aspire to.”
“So my story goes like this: I was in love with a girl pretty much my whole life. We were really close and eventually decided to get married after almost three years of dating. It all felt perfect until circumstances got as such that we mutually decided on breaking up. It was the worst heartbreak for both of us.
“Well a year from then, my parents told me about this girl they knew and thought I’d be open to considering her for marriage. I decided to give it a try and my family approached her family. They seemed really nice people and both the parents decided that they wanted to go ahead with the process. So the girl and I started talking and texting and getting to know each other. She seemed amazing as she wasn’t being all fake with me and gave me honest answers. We both really liked each other and decided to take the leap of faith and got married a couple of months ago.
“The love I have discovered with her is something unexplainable. The love I thought I knew with that girl before doesn’t even stand in comparison with what I have now. It’s still early on but I’m hoping for good things.”