There are times in a person's life when he needs to take crucial decisions on his own. Marriage is one of them. Believe me, the decision on whom to marry is the most important decision a person will make in his life. After marriage, your wife is the most important person in your life. She can make or break your life. The mere thought of this is very frightening.
Some of the questions that crop up are -
● What sort of a girl do I marry?
● Will she adjust in my family?
● How can I decide on a girl by just meeting her for a few times?
● When should I get married?
● This is my life. So, I should choose the girl I marry, but then what if I make a mistake?
............................so on and so forth...
I will try to address these & many more questions in the following sections.
The Nine Rules of Arranged marriage
● Rule 1 - Magic no. 28
In an ideal scenario, a girl goes to college at the age of 18. By the time she graduates, goes for her post graduation and/ or works for 1-2 years, she will be about 23- 24. This means that she has spent about 5 years away from her home. In the 5 years period, she would meet many smart guys at college or during her first few years on job. So, in all probability it would be difficult to find a good girl older than 24 yrs. Secondly, in Indian families there is lot of pressure on the girl's to get married by the time they become 24-25.
Statistics says that there is a generation gap after every 5 years. So, in such scenario, one would prefer to marry a girl who is about 3-4 years younger to you. Thus, working backwards, an ideal age for a guy to get married is by 28. Earlier the marriage, the better it is.
Well, as we all know, in the current market scenario, there will never be stability in our career. So, I believe there is no such thing as, "I will marry when I settle down".
● Rule 2 - Subset of marriage-able girls
At times you hear statements like, "I am not getting the right match, I will look after 3 months, I will find a better match then". Well the truth is otherwise. The subset of unmarried girl looking for a match is fixed. From this subset, there would be girls who would get married & there would be new girls added who would be looking for a match. The net result is that at any given time, the variety & number of marriage-able girls are fixed.
● Rule 3 - Competition for girls
Like all other facets of life, there is lot of competition for good girls. In my own case, I was rejected by girls. So, if you are looking for a girl who is post graduate, done her Engg, is working, very beautiful, smart, from a good family etc. etc, just think again. There are other guys who are also looking for similar girls & probably they are better off than you in terms of career, looks personality etc. Given a choice every guy would like to marry Aishwarya Rai, but then for all Ashs in the world, there are many Salman Khans who also want to marry them. So, set your expectations accordingly.
● Rule 4 - Understanding girls
You would have met a lot of people during your life. As we all know, its difficult to judge a person based on a few meetings. I am sure you would agree with me that in case of girls it is even more difficult to understand them in a few meetings. I am still trying to understand my wife... ;-).. Understanding your spouse is a life long assignment. So, then how do you select a girl based on a few meeting? This is where you need to take the help of your parents/ friends & latest technologies like email/ chat to choose your girl.
● Rule 5 - Society expectation
The selection process is tough on every one who is involved in the process. In arranged marriage, involvement of family & society is pretty high. You can't meet a girl 3-4 times & then say no to her. It is bad for her future. So, you should have a good short-listing criterion. Meet only a few girls & be sure what you are looking for. It is for the benefit of everyone involved.
● Rule 6 - Marriage between equals
Unlike love marriage, in arranged marriage you also marry into the girl's family. In arranged marriages, family support plays a major role in ensuring a successful marriage. This is where the compatibility of social status, family values & caste/ religion plays a major role. Its important to note that in case there is a perfect match between the two families, the marriage is destined to succeed.
● Rule 6 - Know yourself
Unlike love marriage, in arranged marriage you first marry a person & then fall in love. So, it's very important that you do a self-assessment on the kind of person you would love. They say, "Opposite attract", while they also say, "Bird of same feather flock together". So, you take a call on what sort of person you like. Take a pen & paper; write down the kind of attributes you are looking for in a girl. Say, she should ideally have the looks of Sonia, the style of Monica, the voice of Sheena, the patience of Rashmi. You will certainly not find the perfect girl, but then you would have a good idea of what you are looking for. The secret here is to set some minimum criteria for selection. Don't forget rule no.3 here.
● Rule 7 - Girl's Beauty
A girl's looks attract, but then no one wants to end up marrying a dumb blonde. It is like buying your bike. When you initially buy it, you are crazy about the looks, but later on you love it for its reliability, fuel economy & comfort level. Similarly, a girl's looks are important, but then it should not be the most important criteria. Later on it life, you will get bored of her looks. It is then that her personality & behavior will make all the difference to your marriage. I am sure your parents will be able to advice you a lot better on this topic.
● Rule 8 - Taking advice
As I have mentioned in the next rule, it's very important that the final decision on whom to marry must necessarily be yours. However, don't do the mistake of isolating yourself from the world while planning your marriage. Discuss with your parents & very close friends on this issue. They are your well wishers. Secondly, in such important matters its necessary that you analyze all possibilities. Remember, I am not suggesting that you follow others' advice, but don't forget to take their advice.
● Rule 9 - Own decision
All said & done, it's your marriage & your life that is at stake. Once you are married, you & your wife are the only persons who will be facing the music. Don't marry a girl just because your parents or friends asked you to do so. After marriage, if things don't work out & you end up saying, "It's because of my friends or my parents that I married you", then your marriage is destined for disaster. If the girl is of your choice, it is you who will be responsible for whatever happens. That's when the marriage works out perfectly. So, ensure that you marriage the girl of your choice.
How to approach the selection process?
From the day, a person decides to get married; the selection process takes a minimum of 3 months. The whole process needs a lot of patience & commitment. The ideal steps to be followed are:
● Definition phase
- Define the minimum criteria for the kind of life partner you are looking for in terms of education, physical appearance, social status, family values, future career plans. Remember the Rule 3 here.
● Lead Generation phase
- Place ads in various newspapers, magazines, websites, through friends, family friends, family societies & association etc. You need to exhaust all possible means of getting biodatas at one go. Remember the Rule 2 here.
● Short listing phase
- Based on your selection criteria, short-list the interesting biodatas. The general process followed for correspondence is as follows:
• The initiator sends a one page profile of himself/ herself
• Based on the profile, the receiver sends his/her one page profile along with request for detailed profile, photo, horoscope
• The initiator then sends the requested information along with a request for similar information
• The receiver send similar information
• If the biodata is selected, it is passed over to the next phase
● Casual interaction phase
- Based on shortlisting, about 7 to 10 biodatas are taken forwarded to this phase. The next step to follow here is to exchange email/ chat ids. The guy & the girl then interact for 10 - 15 days to try & judge mutual compatibility through email/ chat.
● Family interaction phase
- Based on the earlier phase, about 5 leads are taken for consideration in this phase. During this phase, the parents get involved & check the background information about the families to find mutual compatibility.
● The dating phase
- Based on the earlier phase about 3 leads are taken forward to this phase. During this phase, the guy & the girl interact by going out alone for 2-3 times. The guy needs to prepare a set of simple questions like who is your favorite star, what are your hobbies? He needs to use his judgment to analyze the girl based on her responses.
● The D-day phase
- Finally, the D-day comes when the guy has to select the girl he wants to spend his life with. If the process if followed systematically, there will be no ambiguity in deciding who should be your life partner.
Finally, my dear friends, marriage is all about compromises. In spite of all the planning that you do, there are a lot of uncertainties in a marriage. In fact this is the best part about marriage.
Just remember that the person you marry must be of your choice. In such case, there would be no going back for both of you.
A few words of advice: To make your marriage a success; just believe in the age-old virtue,
"Never do anything to others that you don't like for yourself".