top of page
Indian Married Life
The undercurrents!
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
What all things to think of before agreeing to a marriage?

Mental readiness Health

Place of residence Mental attitude of the other family members

Make it work Prospecting

The maze of relationships Aversion for lowering of respect

Appraisal by the servant class Cultural themes

Knowledge of English The varying castes

The attitude of the spouse A career girl

Girls with superlative attributes A theme on leadership

Government employees Ideological affiliations

A factor of astrology Validating the information

When love comes calling Forced association with the distasteful

A bit of inside information


Usually in the typical Indian social condition, marriages are arranged by the family. In this context, family may just mean the parents or may, as in most cases, mean the whole lot of relatives of the person to be married. They proceed through well-established routes of social conventions, to achieve a result, which is, more or less, acceptable to all family members and to the society at large.

Many of the things I am going to touch in this chapter on the issues that should be thought of before fixing up a marriage, are, more or less, done by the family members in an automatic conditioned manner. In fact, the whole affair of prospecting does all these things in a much understated manner.

Mental readiness: But before we go into all that let us see how mentally ready the persons, who are to marry, are to be. Men, especially from among the average middle class Indians, are ready to marry only when they have a sustainable job, or a reliable source of income. For, such a standing is required for a person to exist in society as a respectable person. Now, there is no dispute that this should be so. But it need not be so, also. It depends on the family of the person, his mental acumen, and his spirit of enterprise.

Since everything is intertwined in with so many other factors, that can be discussed only later, we can go to a simple form of discussion on this theme, for the present. If the family is supportive and understanding, the person can marry without a reliable source of income, provided the family has income on its own. But here it may be stated that the person should be wary of certain other things, such as that the parents or other members may be having other vested interests in getting him married. For, many parents like to have an unpaid servant who cannot escape, even though there is no chain as the slaves were made to wear. If this factor has been thought of and found to be not relevant, then the person can agree to a marriage.

A person, who is not living with his parents, or family, but on his own, can also plan for marriage. Even if he is finding it difficult to make ends meets, he need not be deterred from this. For living alone is not cheaper than living as a couple. In fact, living alone as a bachelor is more expensive. And socially, more unacceptable. Once married the person will find that he is having more access to family circles than he had as a single person. The only thing he should be careful about, is to get a woman as his wife who is willing to put in the extra efforts to make his earnings last longer.

But this issue may be complicated by the existence of her relatives who might or might not be a help. This theme also requires a lot of analysis, which can be done at a later stage along with the discussion on wife’s relatives.

Health: The second factor is that of the man’s health. If there is anything that can stand as a barrier to a happy married life, the person involved should first try to get rid of this factor. For, otherwise the mythical bliss of married life will be inaccessible. And could be the cause of more mental pain, later.

Place of residence: Third, there should be a place of residence to bring the bride to, where the married persons can live a life of a married couple. If there is any lacking in this factor also, there is no meaning in getting married.

Mental attitude of the other family members: Apart from this, there is another factor that has to be understood with all the seriousness possible. What is the mental attitude of the other members of the family, who live in the same house, where the husband and wife are to live? If they are the types, who would make the girl’s life a hell, then a possible place to move off after marriage should be contemplated. In this aspect, the man should not be misled by his love for his parents, for they may or may not have love for him. But if they have a crooked mind, that aims to wreak havoc on his married life, he has to be ready to fend for himself. In this context, a very shocking and at the same time unnerving thing must be divulged. That is, there are many parents who have their own purposes and agenda, and love for their children is only accidental and not always without ulterior motives. This is not a general case, but when one is in a precarious condition, it is only good to have an understanding of this theme. Persons, who find that their parents are trying to attach strings of gratitude on to them, ought to be careful. For, in such cases, it is possible that the parent has a motive in his or her display of affections. But generally, in cultured families, the theme of unconditional love for their children is there.

Make it work: Above all, the marrying person should want to get married and have a mental preparation to make it work.

Prospecting: Now we can go into the basis of the process called prospecting. Indian marriage is very much different from the marriages of the English world in this aspect. We discern society to be divided into various levels, with persons existing in varying mental frameworks. All aspects of living, which include behaviour, respect, companionship, access to places of authority, general standing in society, posture etc. are all dependant on this aspect of one’s social level. It is more or less created and then accentuated by the hierarchical languages. Not many people will admit this character of our society, but it remains as a reality. In marriage prospecting this is a major theme; one which remains as a very forceful, yet non-tangible factor. And the fact is that this factor should be thought of very, very carefully before any confirmation of engagement is done. The one place where this is not taken much heed of is in the case of love marriages. Persons, who go through love marriage without thought for this aspect, may cause much pain for not only themselves, but also for many others who may include their relatives, friends etc.

The maze of relationships: When two persons get married, it is not just two persons who are getting related. A whole lot of persons are getting related. The bridegroom’s father, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins, and other distant relatives are all getting related. And the bride is getting a position in the bridegroom’s house, and the bridegroom will have a position in the bride’s house. Now in a country, where there is a factor of respect surrounding everyone, which depends on many aspects such as social position, family, financial status etc. the wrong person in the midst of others could cause the utmost agony and social problems. The problem is that of the birds of the same feather flocking together issue in that, persons of different cultural background have different mannerisms and ways of speech, which combined with the factor of respect can cause havoc on the social scene. The very communication with the different relatives could be painful and may end up, in there being absolute cutting off of communication.

Aversion for lowering of respect: And, again in a country, where the language insists that one should be given the respect by one’s address and class of companions & acquaintances, many of the relatives wouldn’t like to acquire a connection which may bring them to the levels of non-respect or disrespect.

Appraisal by the servant class: Also, if the person is one who the serving class of the family cannot respect, then also there might be some problem, which may or may not continue. {For, basically Indian languages maintain the lower classes in very powerful positions, from where they can measure and lend marks to each person. Everyone is wary of the disrespect of the lower class. The disrespect of the higher or equal class is a symbol of competition, but the same from the lower class is social death}.

But it must be admitted that very rarely do such things happen, for marriages are done through proper enquiry by the family members. And in most cases, the marrying persons are also very much aware of this factor, and take the utmost care to see that no mistake takes place.

Cultural themes: Now we come into other factors about marriage. It concerns cultural background. Though it may be argued that our country is uniformly progressing for the sake of argument, the reality is that our country is moving in different directions. Some persons are going into the liberated form of living and thinking standards, (here I do not mean anything bad or negative), and many are going into more and more conservative form of family life. Considering from this aspect, it would be a grave mistake for a girl from the former culture to get married to the latter culture. For, then it could mean the end of the life, she has been used to. And it is not a very good argument to say that in life, one doesn’t get everything one wants, and that one should adjust to what one gets. The intelligent way is not to find something that does not suit one. Girls who have been brought up with daring and guts should not step into an atmosphere where every moment would be painful.

But boys, who have been brought up in the liberated manner, can take a risk of marrying into a conservative family, if they have the means to be away from that culture in his regular life. Only thing is that he should be able to see that his in-laws don’t come in the way of his ideas of living. And that could happen if he has to live in places, which are near to his wife’s home.

Knowledge of English: In this aspect of marriage, knowledge of English is also a factor. This language, by its very liberated and cosmopolitan words and usage gives a person a lot of individuality that may not be understood in the vernacular. So, when girls who are good in English communication, and has at least some of its aspects of behaving, marry a person who is not attuned to this, then it could be the starting point of problems, especially if they do live after marriage in an ordinary Indian town, away from the cosmopolitan culture. It would be advisable to look for similar aspects in such cases in the prospective bridegroom also. It would be a disastrous mistake to think that in this case opposites would attract.

At the same time in Indian conditions, the case of the English-knowing male marrying a non-English knowing female is not the same as above. For, many of the English-knowing boys do not mind a wife, who does not know English. They are happy with the homely housewife who goes about in the traditional manner. At the same time, if the husband is good in English and wants his wife to be of the same culture, he can get her accustomed to it, though it may take time. In this case, the chance of a bruised ego, is very much less, and so one irritant in married life is less. Yet, a little more needs to be said about this, as a caution. It will be dealt with later.

The varying castes: Now we come to the case of the culture as exhibited by the different castes. Through the ages, of varying social experiences, the various castes have acquired characteristic mannerisms, attitude, dialects, peculiar usage of pejoratives etc. And this problem is also there in the sub-castes and also among the people of the same caste, but living in different geographical locations. In all these cases, for persons who are not living a life of high individualism, acquired and maintained by good financial resources and good professional qualifications, it is better to marry from among the people of the same culture. For, in such cases, there is no uprooting of culture, or cutting-up of relationships. But again, there are persons, who can rise above this need to get away from the stifling traditions and ways of life. They can opt to keep a wider range of selection in choosing their spouse.

The persons, who have lived a life in which they have not been embedded in the traditions of their own castes and tribes, or religions, and are reasonably well versed in the ways of the world, need not worry about the stranglehold of the native culture. This may appear in the form of antipathy of prominent persons of the community. They can dare to choose from among their professional community or some other interacting group.

The attitude of the spouse: Yet, they have to be wary of one thing. That is, that the spouse may be deeply embedded in his or her own community. Or he or she may have family relations who may not rise up to his level of liberated thoughts. Once married, he or she may have to adjust with this factor throughout life. So, if decisions are being made on such marriages, this factor should also be thought of with adequate equanimity. For, in the presence of relatives or in a native cultural environment, a spouse could exhibit unbelievable metamorphosis in temperament. And the other individual will have to adjust to live with another personality, of the spouse.

A career girl: Now we come into the question of, should a man marry a career girl or not. In many cases, it is an absolutely individual decision. There are men who prefer a wife who is earning and adding to the family’s income. And others who are always available at home, doing the odd things in the home, which include taking care of the food preparation, looking after the children, taking care of the aged parents etc.

And again, though some men may not mind the wife working in the government service, they may not be able to bear their wife working in a private firm. The former may give his wife more social prominence, while the other may give her a position of servitude to another individual. This problem is more in conservative area, where vernacular is the language of communication. This is not exactly the social environment in high-class English-speaking private or corporate firms, where the staffs, including the women, get a lot individuality and freedom of articulation.

Apart from this aspect, there is a different atmosphere when the husband is in a position of acute subordination to an individual or individuals. In this case, he may not like his wife to be a person from this same professional arena. But then, they may have met each other and got engaged in the same suppressive atmosphere. Then it may not matter, or if it matters, the wife may have to stop working there.

Then the question of, who should a professionally qualified person marry? Again it is a question that can be answered best by the individuals concerned. A male doctor marrying a female doctor could be a union, which would have a lot of ideal aspects in terms of professional practise. But, if the man needs someone for looking after his home, then such a relationship could leave a lot of undone jobs in hand. For, a doctor is one who is 24 hours on the professional plane. And in many cases, would find it difficult to allot time to look after the various aspects of housekeeping, which will include, apart from taking care of food preparation, shopping for the daily necessities, taking care of the neatness of the house and linen and many other things, the duty, nay the responsibility, of bringing up children also. But again, it depends on the person, and for there are exceptions that can prove the rule. But, among ordinary individuals, it is a combination, that might not get the best of either, that of a good lady doctor or a good housewife. Yet, it must be admitted that if the housekeeping part is handled by some other persons in the family, then it could be a great combination.

In this context, it may be said that there is a lot of ideal situations in the husband and wife being from the same professional background. For, it could make them a team, which could be the envy of many other partnerships. But then in this aspect, if the husband is having an uncomfortable standard among his fellow professionals, it may not be a conducive atmosphere, if his wife is also a daily witness to his discomfiture. And in this case, the husband may not enjoy the presence of his wife near him. But, again it depends, for, if it is a really understanding wife, that he has been lucky to get, then they may in time be able to turn discomfiture into an atmosphere of ease.

Girls with superlative attributes: Then we come into the general aspirations of men when they aim to marry, such as that the girl should be tall, fair, beautiful, convent educated, rich, from good financial background etc. all in superlatives, and such other things. There is nothing wrong in these aspirations; and it may be possible to get all these yearnings satiated. However before making the decision on the life partner, both women and men should see if there is any aspect to this person, which is really unbearable to his or her mental conditioning. Such things as looks, wherein if the looks and expression cause intense distress, or is incompatible; gesture, postures, any of which could cause intense irritation due to some cause; some family member who is close to the person, and who will be a part of the parcel, who has a temperament which is not endurable; a disposition to excessive drinking; keeps the company of a particular level of persons, which is not conducive for happy social interaction; etc. Such things, if possible should be perceived, and if there are really unbearable aspects to this person, then if there is a choice, it is better to aim for a better choice.

A theme on leadership: Also, a man should strive to marry a woman who can see him as her leader. For marriage is teamwork, with a very clear position of a leader in view. Like this, a woman should strive to marry only a person who comes above her in attributes, at least to her own understanding. Generally women from the labour classes, and such other groups should seek men who are from the physically endowed class, rather than the intellectual class. For, it is very much possible that they may not understand the finer elements of high class/intellectual levels. Again women who mentally are in the intellectual class should aim for men from the intellectual class. Here again, the term intellectual class can have a variety of meanings. And also, the concept of at home in English class also need to be understood as another definition of intellectual class; even though it may have a different definition and understanding. There is also the need to think of leadership in the wife also, but that we can deal with later.

Government employees: The general tendency is that a government servant is seen as having a security in life, and enough and more income. If persons aim for this, then aim for one. In the feudal culture, that prevails in our country, such a match could get a person access to social prominence. But at the same time, good businessmen or persons who are active in the numerous other activities, which are what actually propels the country forward, are also not a bad proposition. And their life has the charm of the uncertainty that could send the married couple to unimaginable heights and a variety of glorious experiences. And these persons could have a more informed living standard, which the government servant may not be able to match, other than the feudal stature they may be able to exhibit with careful premeditation. But in our country, a failure is also a horrifying experience, especially for the non-government employed.

Ideological affiliations: Before marrying, such minor things, as vegetarians aiming for vegetarians and non-vegetarians aiming for non-vegetarians can also be thought about. And persons having the faith in the same deity also, is a nice thing. And if they both have similar ideological or religious philosophies etc. then it might bring in a degree of cohesion in their mental attitudes. But similarities in political beliefs and affiliations to political parties may or may not be useful. But in our nation’s conditions, unless anyone of the spouses is a party functionary or a person with ferocious attitudes of loyalty to a party, there is no need to give much importance to such things.

A factor of astrology: This has become a major factor in marriages. Especially among the Hindus. There are persons from other communities also who get an advice from this source when making up their minds on fixing the marriage. There is no need to go into the merit of this, here. It may or may not be a reliable science. And if one does not have any faith in this, then there is no need to worry about it. If all other aspects are okay, they can go ahead with the marriage. But in this case, there should be a mental commitment not to go and seek advice on compatibility from any astrologer, once the marriage has been consummated. For, then it would be playing with fire. For, at that moment, a dissertation on compatibility from a rank outsider would amount to rank disloyalty to the spouse. And any negative input that might come from him at a stage when the marriage is much old could induce incompatibility in a family where there was none. In this context, it may be remembered that life has times of ebb and those of swells. And the need of the hour might be to fortify, not to wither.

In the case of those who do believe in astrology, it is good that they consult a good astrologer. And when making a final decision, it is good if they get a second opinion in this regard.

In this case also there are certain things that should be noted. There are usually two broad systems of astrology followed in our country. The western and the eastern. The majority of people have access to the eastern version. Both are, more or less, compatible to each other.

In the usual circumstances about ten main factors are taken up for analysis of compatibility, which are more or less done in a automated manner. And if the positive compatibility factors count above five in number, then the usual practise is to declare the persons as compatible.

Now, what has to be borne in mind is that generally in small towns and villages the general tendency of the astrologer is not to hinder a marriage, as the formalities that usually reach the stage of consulting an astrologer would have been considerable. He would not want to play the spoilsport in the life of a girl or a boy. This factor has to be borne in mind in these circumstances. For, he might give the go ahead, if he does not see any grave dangers, but there may still be significant negative spots.

Another thing is that this count of more than five points of compatibility is not a dependable measure unless on what all qualities compatibility has been seen and on what all points incompatibility has been discerned. Usually astrologers won’t divulge it on their own. One has to specifically ask question pointedly to get a focused answer. If it is not asked, then it won’t be mentioned. Beyond that, in spite of there being compatibility on this score, there might be mighty problems in the matching of the planet positions, which again may have been dealt in a cursory manner. There might be problems of financial instability, mental incompatibility, issues of infidelity, and such other things, which the astrologer may not find it significant enough to mention. It may be mentioned here that certain horoscopes match fantastically, and certain others don’t.

Then there is the problem of downright dishonest astrologers, who may simply say the wrong things. For, what purpose, god alone knows! And it may be mentioned here that the practise of influencing the astrologer, when the other party is scheduled to visit him is also, in vogue, in our country.

Another important thing about going to the astrologer is that, do not allow anyone else to do it. As far as possible, let the person who is going to get married himself, or herself, get the consultation. Relatives and friends may be relieved of this responsibility. For, in all such cases, a factor of what the relative or friend needs may also creep in. In this nation, where treacherous behaviour is way of life, it might be good to go to an astrologer, without telling anyone else who it is one is consulting. Even though this may seem a silly suggestion, in situations, where one needs to protect oneself from being cheated, this is a very good stance.

Validating the information: Apart from all this, before agreeing to a marriage, the concerned person himself, or herself, should go through all the facts. Never jump into this most important event on the word of anyone, even if they are his, or her own, mother or father. And don’t do it unless this person has seen his or her prospective spouse, with his or her own eyes, and liked what is proposed. In this aspect also trust no one, other than one’s one judgement and intuition.

When love comes calling: In the case of love marriages, all these cautions may be thrown to the wind. For, the persons involved may believe that it is a very personal issue that is being negotiated, and that their own judgements and desires are the only thing that matter. It fact, that is how it should be. But outside the domain of the sphere of their mental atmosphere, the world and society are very different. In a society, as is seen in our country, it would be difficult to continue in such a manner, if the persons involved are depending on their relatives and their community for their livelihood, or are interacting with them on a daily basis. Sometimes they, with their stubbornness and boldness, may be able to get on their way in the midst of their relatives, but it may cause deep resentment and sorrow in them.

It is useless to advice when love of a deep nature is involved. It is something almost all human beings are vulnerable to. But a sense of propriety and a mental maturity is this matter would be highly welcome. In the Indian context, love affairs do suffer from certain shortcomings. First of all is the sort of effect, which I would call, the Miranda effect as seen in Tempest, in which the lady Miranda falls in love with the first human being she has seen other than her father. The story does not deal with the fallacy of this effect, but it is a general human phenomenon.

When a girl who has led a secluded life comes to meet someone from the outside world who impresses her as being of a dynamic character, in the small, secluded settings in which she happens to meet him on a regular basis, a feeling akin to attraction and love could blossom. As far as the man is concerned, it would really tickle his ego, to see that he is the cause of so much emotion in a female. Such type of love affairs, between persons who haven’t had the occasion to interact with a wider world, don’t have much to recommend them, as, as interactions with more persons come about, there could be more such occasions, which could cause more intense emotional reactions. At the same time, the chances of marriages based on such romances succeeding or failing cannot be computed on the basis of the quality of the romance. Their success and failure could depend on the other external factors, which include the financial condition of the couples and the other various factors enumerated above.

Forced association with the distasteful: Apart from this, as has been mentioned earlier, in our country due to the severe stratification in society, persons are extremely choosy about whom they want to associate with or to relate with. If the daughter or son goes forth and marry someone who brings in associations and relations of person who the parents can’t bear, tolerate, or be mentally comfortable with, then there could be severe reactions, which might include even ostracism. Or if that is not possible, they, the parents, might themselves move out of the area. This is a social reality in our country.

In the case of persons, who have interacted with the world and know what is what and what they want to do with their lives, the idea of finding out a life partner through romance is not a bad thing at all. But, in most cases these practical and mature persons would opt for a marriage that would not inconvenience their many relatives and acquaintances, on whom they depend on for their enjoyment of daily interaction. They would not want their marriage to be a problem to anyone, least of all to themselves. For, their energies and time could be better spent on more profitable things than the issue of a troublesome marriage.

A bit of inside information: Before marriage, there is one more thing that can be checked up, if possible. This is of more importance in the case of women who are going to get married. That is the type of house she has to go and live after her marriage. If it is in her husband’s house, with his parents, then an idea of how they might behave to her once she goes over to live with them would be very valuable information, especially if she is going to be a housewife. And about how many others are living there. And about them. And also about the space constraints or its absence in the house. It is known that some persons have even been specific about getting knowledge about the toilets therein.

bottom of page