Going out to lunch or whatever with people in this country often results in conversations skewing toward things they’re curious about, but somehow feel you’re the right person to clue them in on—like the concept of arranged marriages. Now I’ve been through my spiel numerous times, and I think I’ve polished it to a fair degree along the way.
But there is still one aspect of all of this that people here simply do not understand, and I’ve stopped trying to bring it up as a result. It’s not that they’re unintelligent or unsympathetic, but it’s just that they’ve led very different lives.
People from my part of the world (or at least I) come from a very shielded and protective environment—an environment where everything is handed to you (for long after it is necessary), and one that provides a safety net for you to shamelessly fall back on at any point in your life. While this is good if you’re too lazy to make your own bed, it is not good if you’re looking to develop into a strong and independent individual, or even figure out something trivial, like operating a bank account.
My point being, they nudge you, kicking and screaming if need be, every step of the way until they (and society) decree you’re mature enough to stand on your own feet. In stark contrast, most people I know here have had to fend for themselves since a much younger age. They’ve had (even if small) jobs since mid-teens, they’ve made it this far in academics with little help because they’re passionate about it, and are a hell of a lot more experienced in the ways of the world.
Sure, they’ve all had phases where things have gone awry, but the important aspect of this has been that they’ve picked themselves up and not been broken. They are stronger as a result, more independent and have been through so much more.
But what does any of this have to do with what I started off talking about, arranged marriages? Not much really, but the biggest problem with the system from my part of the world is that the child never really gets a sense of true achievement.
For instance, parents put you in a good school after spending a lot of money. Even if you don’t do particularly well, they spend a lot of money and get you into a half-decent college. They then make a large donation, like build a library, and get you into your dream grad school. Once you’re done, if they assume you’re struggling to find your first job, they call a friend who knows a friend who knows a guy who gives you a job.
See where I am going with this?
Now, after all this and so much more, if they’re going to find you a woman and get her to agree to marry you as well, just what is it you’ve achieved for yourself?
And it is for this reason that people I know have an unspecified resentment toward arranged marriages, even if they can’t articulate their problem just yet. It has little to do with their parent’s actual selection. And this is not something I can explain to people here, nor do I try to anymore.