I am on my way back to Gurgaon after attending my best friend’s wedding in Kolkata. A traditional Bengali wedding is like watching a scene out of Sanjay Leela Bansali’s ‘Devdas’ – minus the glitz and glamour. The bride was dressed in a Red Benarasi saree, and the groom in a Dhoti. Unlike our gorgeous Delhi/ Punjab and North Indian weddings, there were no blaring Hinglish/Punjabi music or a DJ console. Food was extremely tasty, catering to the traditional Bengali non-vegetarian taste buds. I absolutely loved the fact that it was a private affair, with only close friends and family invited, and not a pompous garish exhibition of wealth. I got an opportunity to meet a lot of my childhood friends, after 10 long years. Meeting your bosom childhood friends is like seeing a flash-back scene out of your life’s movie. It makes you realise how much you have changed; and how much is still the same. You are transported back to your carefree happy childhood days, no matter how old you are.
In this trip I realised that Marriages, love or arranged, are probably made in heaven – we only crystallise them on this planet. My best friend and her husband knew each other for 19 year – first as classmates, then as friends, then as best friends, then as lovers; and now, after five years of a painful long distance relationship, they are finally ‘man and wife’. All of us were in the same school, and I had never imagined that these two totally different personalities would ever fall in love and get married one day. There is definitely some fate involved here.
Marriage – love or arranged? Being a fan of novels, stories and Bollywood flicks, I am a little biased towards love marriages. But with growing age and understanding I see the difficulty in a marriage that is decided purely on blind love and passion. Although I speak here without much experience I believe that in a love marriage the feelings of love and passion get depleted as the years pass by. The main culprit seems to be the high expectation from each other. Both the partners constantly want to experience the zing, craze and passion they had felt when they first fell in love. When they come face to face with the fading away of that heady feeling, they start questioning their own decisions. The family support usually dries up. And hence we see the rising divorce rates, especially in the case of love marriages.
Traditionally, elders have been advocating that arranged marriages are far more likely to lead to lasting affection, than marriages of passion. Within ten years, the connection felt by those in arranged marriages is said to be around twice as strong, mostly because love and affection gradually develop. Partners have fewer expectations from each other. The newness of such a relationship lasts till the kids and other responsibilities come into the picture. Families put extra efforts to make such marriages work. However I have seen a couple of my friends whose arranged marriages are not as happy, primarily due to the lack of an emotional bond between themselves.
So, if marriage is so much of a gamble, how can one be certain before taking the plunge? If two people in a love marriage have chances of falling out of love with time, and ultimately lead unhappy lives, then there are equal chances that the two people who get into an arranged match may never connect – and their lives may remain loveless. I don’t agree when some people try to convince me with views like ‘marriage is all about security and society’. I firmly believe any type of marriage is all about togetherness, companionship, and a bond which will be the strongest support for the rest of your life. All this cannot be achieved when happiness, affection, love, laughter and togetherness have left the building.
Taking sides is futile, because marriage—whether love or arranged—does not come with a guarantee card. In both the types, the couple have to work equally at it. And to do so, there has to be genuine liking and affection between the two – so that they come back to each other, even after the fights and misunderstandings. The marriages that are truly successful are probably so because both the persons involved genuinely want to be together against all odds. And this is where destiny comes in – because falling in love is easy, but maintaining the love, and living up to that commitment for the whole life is the real deal. I don’t know whether all marriages are truly made in heaven or not, but what I know is that God can’t do our work for us. He can show us the path, but we need to do our own bit to succeed. Marital success should be no different.