With our parents’ generation, marriage occurred something like this:
Parents research, screen, and speak with parents of other single boys and girls until they mutually find suitable candidates for their children.
Parents set up introduction.
Boy meets girl.
Boy talks to girl.
Boy and girl decide they like each other.
Boy and girl get engaged, and married.
Boy and girl fall in love.
With our generation, growing up with the singsong phrase “first comes love, then comes marriage,” we found ourselves confused on how we would approach marriage. Would we meet someone, fall in love, and then get married like our non-Indian friends? Or would we be introduced to our spouses, walk around the sacred fire, and expect to fall in love like our parents did?
I’ve seen my South Asian friends marry people they’ve met and fallen in love with on their own. I’ve attended weddings of friends who met their spouses through the traditional arrangement, and watch them fall in love after the wedding. Lately, I’ve seen a combination of these two paths to holy matrimony merge and evolve the way arranged marriages are done:
Parents research, screen, and speak with parents of other single boys and girls until they mutually find suitable candidates for their children. (I’m convinced this will never change)
Boy and girl receive each other’s names and e-mail addresses. After Facebook and Google research, they e-mail.
If e-mails go well, they speak on the phone.
If phone conversations go well, they meet.
If the meeting goes well, they keep meeting. Meeting flows to dating.
Dating flows to engagement.
Engagement leads to a walk around the fire in the mandip and they live happily ever after.
I’ve seen three couples meet and marry through this relationship path in the past year, and their happiness is enviable. More and more of my Indian friends are open to being introduced to potentials through their parents, their friends’ parents, and well-meaning aunts and uncles.
No longer must we choose whether to find a spouse on our own or marry our parents’ choice. We can finally have the best of both paths.