Arranged Marriage: A Look from the Inside – Engaged Marriage

Arranged Marriage: A Look from the Inside

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Note: This guest post was written by Surabhi Surendra of Womantics.  I know I found this insight on arranged marriages to be fascinating, and I hope you enjoy learning about this cultural practice from a woman who is living it.

Arranged marriage.

This is how we refer to the practice that led me to my husband  in my home country of India.

Are you familiar with the term?  Whether you are new to the idea or understand how it works, I’d like to tell you more about it from my perspective.

It is an arrangement in which the parents or the close relatives arrange the marriage or, in better words, find a suitable match for their daughter or son.  In earlier times, marriage was solely a right of the parents or guardians and prospects hardly had any say in it, but with changing times and better education, the system has refined itself into a more friendly practice.

Today, prospects can not only voice their preferences, but they can even outright refuse a match if they are not comfortable with it.

My Personal Experience with Arranged Marriage

I will give my own personal experience.

Since my childhood, I somehow never believed in the concept of arranged marriages. Being a hard core romantic movie fan, I always dreamed of a prince charming who would suddenly appear (from no where) and would treat me like his princess. Being an Aries by sun sign added to my languidness of fairy world.

I told this to my parents. My father, an extremely understanding man, explained to me that I was free to get married to a man of my choice provided I complete my studies well and took up a secure job.

I did. At 23, I had an envious job and a likeable personality. Soon, I had the urge of falling in love.

I did.  Sadly, it was a bad choice. I tried it again with another man and failed despondently.

I spent around 4 years looking for my soul mate who was no where to be seen. Along the way, my parents were anyway looking for a match for me. They even introduced me to some of them – but I was not supposed to like them, I was waiting for my prince.

After four years of futile attempts, I became hopeless and started to believe that marital bliss was probably not in my destiny.

And then arranged marriage came to my rescue.

Dad introduced me to him. We talked on the phone and at once we knew we had a connection. We got married in three months, and I feel elated in announcing that today we are happily married and have a pretty daughter.

So what does the system of “arranged marriage” have to do with my story? A lot, I must say.

We all hanker upon the typical stereotypes associated with beauty, success and all materialistic attributes. So much so that we innocuously move away from reality and start chasing the non-existent. Meanwhile, our parents, being the more experienced and reasonable, know the harsh realities of the world and thus keep their expectations at a real level.

The only thing that distinguishes arranged marriages in the east from love marriages in the west is the way two prospects meet.

In the west, it is mostly an accidental meeting, while in the east the initial meeting is planned. From the first meeting on, the people involved decide how they take it forward. And nowadays this first meeting is often taken care of by the various matrimony websites where singles create their profiles and look for a matching partner.

Why Arranged Marriage is Not a Bad Idea

1)      Picking the best of the lot – the arranged marriage system lets one pick the best prospect. With preferences well chalked out, one can actually choose their partner instead of accidentally meeting their would-be mate.

2)      More informed decision with background check – as the prospects are suggested by family and relatives, one makes an informed decision. A thorough background check can be done to discover any hidden “skeletons.”

3)      Seeing the unseen – the biggest advantage of an arranged marriage lies in the fact that through it, we see what we don’t see otherwise. Sometimes in our endeavour to find love, we rush into things and mistakenly consider it as true love.

Arranged marriages let us see the not-so-obvious facts.

4)      Marriage is not an individual thing, it is a family affair – at least that’s what we believe in India. Here, marriages are about two families that bond together and not just two individuals. And thus when parents find a match, they take families into consideration and try to find not just a suitable match but also a suitable family.

5)      Arranged marriages are taken seriously – it is true. People take arranged marriages very seriously as two families are involved. One decision of divorce gives a jolt to two families.

The decision of getting married is taken with consent of elders and thus even the decision of divorce has to be pondered over by the entire family. Also at the time of courtship, the couple spends lot of time in understanding each other’s family and that simply adds to the foundation of the marriage.

6)      Love lasts longer – in a typical arranged marriage, two people meet, get to know each other, realize that they can spend the rest of their lives with one another and then get married. Once they get into the committed relationship of marriage, they discover each other more and with a sense of commitment, they fall in love.

In the process, they develop the trust, respect and deep love for their each other as well for the relationship. In this case, there is no fear of commitment and thus the love that develops out of it lasts longer.

7)      Parents know better – when I talked to my hubby for the first time on phone, I was not quite impressed initially as he seemed to be a tongue tied person very much in contrast with my extrovert nature. But one thing about him simply struck me – his honesty. He called me and the phone got disconnected. It took him 10 minutes to call back. When I picked up he said, ‘sorry, my phone ran out of talk time. In order to save money, I try to keep minimum talk time on my phone. The lesser the better for me ’.

Had it been any other guy, he would have certainly tried to flaunt his money, but here I was talking to a person who had no qualms whatsoever in accepting his financial constraints, despite the fact that he is an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer, the highest civil service in the country.

That very moment, I recollected what my dad had told me about him-  ‘you just can’t refuse him. He is too honest to be refused’. I thought to myself, ‘I am not sure of finding true love but at least I should settle down with a true person’. And that’s when I decided to say yes!  Parents are involved in every step of the relationship, and thus their guidance and experience is always there to show the right direction.

I do not blindly advocate arranged marriages.  Of course, like every other thing, arranged marriages also fail at times. After all, the success of a marriage does not depend on how you first met your partner but rather on how you take that meeting forward.

What are your thoughts and/or questions on arranged marriage?

Surabhi Surendra, a blogger and home maker by profession, blogs at womanatics.


About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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(47) comments

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with our success rate of love marriages so low, it is hard to be critical of other methods.


    Low rate of divorces in India is also credited to Arranged Marriages in our culture. Since the families are involved, whenever we are in doubt, we discuss with parents and guided better.


      You forgot to mention that India frowns on divorce, and girls who leave their husbands are often rejected by their families, so people are forced to stay together.


    You know SCW, I have to agree with you on this. Thanks for your comment!



As long as no one is being forced into an unwanted relationship, i quite like the idea of arranged marriages. Hopefully your parents and family want what is best for you, and usually they know you the best anyway.
I think that in western society, people get swept up in emotions and get married without really thinking about the consequences. I think that arranged marriages have the attitude that its for life, and that love is more than just emotions, its a choice you make everyday.


    Yes Mary,

    Though even here people rush into marriages and sometimes it turns out to be a bad idea. But one thing that sets Indian concept of marriage apart from the western concept is that we take marriages very seriously because we know divorce is not an option or it is not a good way out. So, we enter the deal carefully.


    I agree Mary, especially with this part “people get swept up in emotions and get married without really thinking about the consequences.”

    I’m all for love, but us “westerners” would be wells serve to spend time discerning and preparing for marriage – with the understanding that it is for life.


This was an intriguing post. Thanks to Surabhi for sharing your story and to Dustin for hosting her. I do believe that here in the U.S. it is important to get family input when considering marriage. I was inclined to marry my husband before my family met him, but the positive response to him from my best friend and parents made me more sure of that decision. If all of your family or friends are naysayers about someone, listen to them. They know you, love you, and usually have your best interests at heart. They can also see some things that the rush of young love can blur. Great thoughts.



You are bang on!

The point is to listen to people who, you know, care for you and will only give you the best advice.


I loved reading this post- thanks for sharing!

I am Nigeria and even though arranged marriage isnt as common, having your parents/family blessing is very paramount before entering a marriage. In Nigeria as well, you are not just marrying the man but his family as well. As a result a lot of families do extensive background check into the other family histories and vice versa.

I know there are a few cases where the parents are just been unreasonable but more often than not most parents want what is best for their children.

Off to check out Womantics 🙂


Thanks for sharing your cultural practice as well. I agree that parents always choose whats best for their children though sometimes even parents can be unreasonable or adamant.

Thanks for checking out Womanatics. What do you think of it?


I worked with a guy here in the US who went through the marriage arrangement process while I was working with him. It was a lot different than I had expected, and I was impressed by many aspects of it. I no longer work with him, but I know he and his wife have a daughter now and by all accounts are happy.


    Thanks for sharing this, Sheila!


On balance i am in favour of arranged marriages. The problem arises if the marriage is ‘forced’ which are the marriages that get into the press. To an extent all marriages are ‘arranged’ – most people marry predictably within their own class and creed – Christian with Christian, Jew with Jew, Muslim with Muslim. In a small town they would have been part of that community from birth and it would be instantly welcoming. Friends would already be shared and families would know eachother. Arranged marriages have 2 very supportive sets of inlaws and this will help in raising the children. Interesting article.



    I liked what you said, ‘to an extent all marriages are arranged’. Belonging to the same community and having the same culture adds to the growth of the marriage. And I also liked your idea of two suportive in-laws. Thats just true.


      Hi Surabhi

      It is worth remembering that the concept of ‘romantic love’ is very new in our culture. In previous centuries people would marry someone in their village selected by their parents – romantic love and choice is a recent luxury for many cultures and not always for the better.


Thank you to Surabhi for sharing your view point and Dustin for introducing her to us! It’s very interesting to learn of different viewpoints, and especially one that can have such benefits for those involved (both the individuals and their families).


I like arrange marriage, its really very beautiful concept of Indian culture.


Thanks for this post, I read it two times.
I like it so much, please try to keep posting.

In this relationship, nothing is about ‘you’ or ‘me’; everything is about ‘we’. Success can be of one, but celebration is for both. Problem can be of one, but the solution will be by both. This is the beauty of this relationship that’s supposed to be maintained by mutual efforts of both.

Let me introduce other material that may be good for our community. Free Wedding for one who is interested in Happy Arrange marriages.

Best regards


So interesting! Thanks for posting this. I’ve always viewed arranged marriages in a negative light, but perhaps that’s for cultural reasons. I need to give this issue more thought.

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All across the globe, there are various views on marriages as well as weddings. Others choose their would-be spouses and there are those who customarily have arranged marriages which is not a totally bad idea. This story shows that there are still couples who have turned out to live fulfilling marriages and their family members become even closer to each other.


    Yeah.. I think marriage means working it out.. it doesnt matter who chooses the partner.


I chose him, he chose me and when it all ended there was nothing that any family member could say or do to save the marriage. The marriage ended and a lot more people got affected by the breakdown. When a marriage ends it affects the whole family. The benefits of arranged marriages, I think outweigh “love” marriages as family members all have an interest in the marriage lasting.

What I do not agree with however are forced marriages. In the Uk there have been a number of young girls murdered who refused to enter into forced marriages


    Absolutely! forced marriages should not be allowed at all. And sadly, they still take place.


    Dream on. In most arranged marriages, the extended family could care less. They live their lives, and the people getting married live theirs.


Great Article about Arranged Marriages. We are also a company that promotes this idea online at and allow users to post their profiles with photos and contact other users.


hi…i read the articles and also comments…i am 26 nd still dont know what s best for me…tats love mrge or arranged..Parents are pressurising me to settle down but I am also waiting for my prince.And cant imagine to be with a person whom i dont know at all.have a good frnd with whom i wish i could spend my whole life with.But dont have courage to tell him fearing that it will be the end of our friendship.And my parents have found a match for me and i dont know what to tell them.


    Hi Radhika,

    I can understand this. I have been through it. I would suggest talk to your parents and explain them your concern. If you have even a bit of inkling about your friend’s feelings, you can tell him about your feelings too. Do you want to shoot this question in ‘ask womanatics’ section of my blog?


Hi Ms. Surabhi,

I must concur that your post is absolutely inspirational; as an Asian American from a Buddhist family, my culture and experiences is very similar to yours.

In conclusion, I also believe that arranged marriage is not only for the happiness, well being and compatibilities of the couple and families, but it is also about showing respect, gratitude and devotion. I believe this is to repay loved ones for all that they have done and sacrificed for us.

By the way, your family photo is lovely and you all look very happy. Can I ask you where you are currently living, in India or elsewhere? When my time comes for an arranged marriage, I can see this as a potential problem but I would like to hear from your feedback.

Best Regards


    Hi Molika,

    Thanks for this comment. And you brought out a very interesting point about arranged marriage being repay for love and devotion. So true.

    I currently live in Andamans, but soon I would be moving to Delhi. You can reach out to me anytime through the contact page of my blog. I always reply 🙂


I was born and raised in India, i have lived traveled, lived in US and different parts of world. According to me, arrange marriages are wrong because
1) Rich marrys rich, poor ends up with no option but to marry poor, higher caste marry higher, lower ends nowhere. I would be okay if there was intercaste and inter religion arrange marriage, but i do not think there is any. So arrange marriages promotes too much inequality in the system
2) Backgound check- Will a woman from good background like parents being a scientist, will marry a man from blue collar workers family? Just because her dad was smart does not mean she is smart too? Being smart and good at your work depends on your personality. Just because you are born in a higher caste of rich family does not make you a better wife or husband? So because of this whole background check thing, many times parents oppose grown up kids to get married just because they belong from different social background, generating inequality.
3) Parents Involvement- I am absolutely fine with taking final opinion on parents before getting married. But in a arrange marriage if things are not working out, it so hard to walk away. Just because of low divorce rate in arrange marriage does not mean couple are more happier.
Growing up in India i saw so many cases of domestic abuse of both husband and wife, just because divorce is a stigma or what will happen to kids if they divorce, couple decided to stay together. Off-course divorce is painful, but divorce should be seen as a freedom to walk away from a bad relationship.
4) No one knows you better than yourself- Parents know us well, but the real person in you, you are the only one who knows you the best. Some times you meet the nice guy but he is more like a friend and not a lover. You should click, he should have sense of humor, healthy body. Same for a guy he should like her personality too.
5) Sex has low or no importance in marriage- I have seen in many Indian people cases, both males and females do not work out. Some males have so big belly i doubt they can ever get their women orgasm. Isn’t mans job to keep his wife happy?
6) Kids- There are so many things in life we need to discuss before coming in relationship or marriage. One of things could be how many kids? In india they are so many street kids, orphans, nobody or very few wants to adopt, most want to keep making babies even when there are kids dying of hunger and neglect on streets. In arrange marriage you do not get much chance to discuss on likes and dislikes, future the way you want to lead the life.
8) Happy married life- Most males and females in India this is the first real relationship, intimate relationship(marriage). Dating in India is like friendship in west where you go drink coffee together and share common things but couple do not get intimate(sex before marriage). If it is your first intimate relationship in life you will feel happy, because you have never experienced any other intimate relationship. This is the first and final. So lack of previous relationship experience makes them feel, they are happy in relationship.

Note:- My brothers and sisters have done arrange marriage, I am not against it, but i am just pointing out the bad effects on society. In the end do what makes you happy. Constructive comments are welcome 🙂


Yesterday one guy came to see me… Al my family members liked him but i din’t like him. Totally he is wel n good . Nw ma parents asking me what should i say. If i say no they will scold me…


You know this was a wonderful article and experience to read about. I am 27 now and have actually been trying to figure out how to talk to my parents about helping me find my future husband. I know it sounds strange coming from a westerner, and you may ask why I would ever want to do that, but to me it feels somehow right. I feel as if my parents have my best interest at heart, and they know me so well, that they would be able to find men that they believe would be good mates.
It’s not that I have had many failed relationships, I have barely dated, and am still holding out for my husband, but I feel that every man I try to get to know is just not the right one. So the idea of my parents being able to use wisdom and their knowledge of me to introduce me to some people that may be better than my looking. Maybe a little advice on how I would approach asking my parents, or even if that is the right choice, I would love to hear what people think. Thanks!


Thanks for your post Surabhi. I’m going to have an arranged marriage. I’m an Indian and a christian and arranged marriages in my community are very rare. I was all paranoid, wondering if I’m going to land up into some $hit0l3 😉 but this post gave me a lot of confidence. Just that I’ve seen too many people have love marriages around me and arranged marriage seems like the most weird thing to do. But I trust my parents decision for me and since everything has just fallen in place so well, I just feel it is the best thing that has happened. There is nothing that I need to worry about too. Unlike my other friends who love a guy their parents are against and have to act all rebellious 🙂 We have minimal talks righ now coz we live miles away.. But I’m hoping we ;ll fall in love once we live together .. Coz love is not just about emotions… It’s a commitment for life! right ?:)


    Right!!! All the best.


    I knew a girl in college who is Indian and Christian who asked her parents to help her with an arranged marriage, and talked about it in one of my culture classes while she was engaged. She was really excited about it and explained she had a choice. I was really excited for her.


      This may have been said, but I didn’t read all the comments, but I’m not sure Western parents/families are equipped to be a hand in arranging marriages. Culturally, parents didn’t have the mindset that part of their job is going to be arranging a marriage for their child. I can’t say I’d be comfortable with my (divorced) parents arranging my marriage. However, I see the wisdom in arranged marriage, particularly seeing things most people are blind to at the beginning and the joining of families not just individuals.


thnx for your post.i am getting married after 1 month and it is also an arranged you i always dreamt about marriage.and i never dated a guy i thought when the person would come i would be very excited.such as seeing him my heart would stop,i would be smiling….but we are talking for 7/8 days over phone but i dont have these emotions..we talk about our professions,our likes,dislikes…i dont feel bad while talking him but neither so it normal?


    It’s absolutely normal. Give it some more time. Also.. stopping of heart means death and not love.. 😉 I mean.. things that are shown in marriage do not happen in real life. Give it some time. Try to know him more and open yourself a bit more.


I do like the idea of an arranged marriage, but after talking to some of the people in my church who are Indian and went to India to find a spouse typically got married within a week of meeting their spouse. I’m curious, does the groom get to propose at all or is it like signing a contract? I’m just curious. One of our pastors said he had a few girls in mind for me to meet but they’re from Central America. One guy from our church waited 3 months before his wife was able to come from India. I guess that sort of worries me as well as being able to propose. I’m a bit of a romantic myself.


Very nice blog


I am going t marry my cousin as it is my father’s wish. Totally for him. He did for me, my mother died when I was 7 and he was 45 then. He rejected his marriage proposals of second marriage for the sake of our lives. So its time to payback :). Happy to do this although i have a girl we both share many common things from education to personality.I really like her BUT today i am stable and have a life because of the sacrifice of my father. may he live a healthier life. From Pakistan 🙂


[…] It does not matter how you met. It does not make a deal at all if you dragged him into your life or he sailed or your parents scheduled the meet. What makes the difference is – are you both happy with each other? If yes, then three cheers to marriage! […]

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