So I was talking to M yesterday and she is looking for guys in the arranged marriage setup! And she was telling me how hard it is to find someone and how she has a detailed criterion to shortlist profiles to respond to. Some other friends of mine also met several guys through the arranged marriage setup but I wasn’t paying too much attention then. However, talking to M made me think, isn’t it wrong to put people into all these categories and select the best candidate like you’re recruiting for a job? Isn’t marriage about emotional connections and finding someone you will be compatible with? And I realize that these criterion are sort of considered to predict compatibility, but how can you predict compatibility from someone’s degree/salary/height/language?
Some things that M said also made sense. For example, she doesn’t want to marry a guy who has a PhD because there’s job insecurity in academia and since she is in that situation already, she wants to marry someone who has a more secure job. Another example was that she doesn’t want to pursue a guy who is currently doing an MBA because she wants both of them to be able to invest in the relationship in the beginning and start a family soon.
All this made me think, did I somehow miss growing up? I am such a contrast to this.. I’m 27 and in a relationship that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I don’t feel like I’m in a rush to get married. I do have phases when I want to because I value companionship and love and want to get married, but I want to wait till I find the right person. When I think of options, I always hope to find someone I can be more compatible and happy with, and hope to find him on my own. I feel like I want to move to another country after my PhD so I can have a better life, and I don’t consider marriage in this equation. Regarding career, I still want to explore and figure out what I want to do. And I would give the same freedom to my spouse, to figure out what he wants to do and get any additional degrees he needs for that.
At this point, the qualities that are important to me in a would-be life partner are a caring nature, commitment, respect for me and my ideas, feminist and humanist ideals, some shared interests, and a love for life (and of course love for me!)! But listening to my other friends talk about all these practical and quantified criteria makes me wonder if I’m living in my own fantasy land? Or if I forgot to grow up?
I feel like I’m not mentally prepared for the arranged marriage scenario, and that’s why my expectations are totally different. And I do realize that a lot of people find loving partners through this and are happy. But the point that I’m trying to make here is how can you judge someone based on their job/family/degree/language to get married? Shouldn’t the criteria be based on values/interests/goals in life?
P.S. I should mention here that I’m normally considered a mature person (more mature for my age sometimes). However, when it comes to marriage, I have started feeling like a rebellious 16 year old because I don’t want to accept and follow the rules!
Song on my mind – Mujh mein tu from Special 26.