Arranged marriages used to be the standard way that couples met and got together for centuries, in Europe as much as in India. Back in the day, emotional manipulation was used to “force” two teenagers to marry, so the families could cement a business/political agreement
Today, two individuals are introduced – by friends, family, or a matchmaker – and together, they decide to opt for marriage, often (but not always) with the full support of their family and friends.
My own parents met through their best friends – their matchmakers. You can meet through a group event – and the event organiser becomes the matchmaker. And several friends/relative have met through algorithm-driven platforms called Tinder, Shaadi.com, et al.
In working as a professional Indian matchmaker, I found that there are many common myths about modern-day matchmaking. Hiring a professional matchmaker is often compared to using websites like Tinder or Shaadi.com, which use artificial intelligence to offer you “matches”, but do not actually propose a potential partner, just like LinkedIn offers a list of jobs, but doesn’t promise a long-term permanent contract with great benefits.
Here are four myths about arranged marriage, and how professional matchmakers like me work with clients:
Myth #1: Low-Quality Matches.
The first common myth about modern matchmaking presumes that most matches are bad matches, and that bad matches are standard fare.
Old way: Parents hire an unverified individual/marriage bureau who works on the McDonald’s model, paying peanuts, receive low-quality profiles. Dissatisfaction and dismay. Neither side likes the matches.
New way: Professional, Verified, with a Proven Model.
✅ A roster of client testimonials.
Myth #2: “Friends/family will be able to help.”
The second common myth about modern matchmaking is presuming that friends and family will be able to help you find someone.
Old way: Asking people who have no stake in your/ your child’s future if they know someone the same age as your son/daughter.
New way: Understanding what you want, need, and desire in a partner, and what you can offer in return. With a professional’s help, creating a detailed inventory of your and your family’s criteria, preferences, and dealbreakers. Developing clarity on what you could offer (emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually) to a potential partner. Attracting into your life someone who shares your values, lifestyle, and same level of thoughts.
Myth #3: Arranged meetings are uncomfortable and unnatural.
Old way: A third Common Myth about Modern Matchmaking states that Caste and community are primary factors defining your choice of life partner. You end up meeting a random stranger from the same caste/community, with both families present. Everyone is uncomfortable, dehydrated, and on edge.
New way: Shared Values + Mindset is primary. Meeting 1-on-1 on Zoom at a mutually-convenient time + date, with a glass of wine (or water), already familiar with the other person’s interests, hobbies, and background. Relaxed, curious, interested.
Myth #4: “It’s time to settle down.”
Old way: Insane pressure from parents, relatives, and every Aunty within 100km to “get married because it’s time.” Huge, expensive wedding with hundreds of strangers. Being drenched in strange liquids that are called “blessings.” Waking up with a total stranger. Dowry deals. Fear, discomfort, and stress.
New Way: Building the foundation for a stable, long-term relationship, one conversation at a time. Get to know a like-minded person via conversation, spending time together (online and offline), sharing new experiences (like food and travel). If and when both sides feel it’s the right moment, going for the next step. This could be moving closer to each other, living together, or signing a co-living agreement (one level below a marriage contract). The next step is often a “trial run” before opting for marriage. Curiosity, excitement, feeling supported and accepted by someone who feels SO DAMN LUCKY to have met you.
What are your thoughts on arranged marriage?
Would love to hear in the comments below.
Top photo by Jill Burrow. second photo by Anete Lusiana. Two men chatting photo by Johaer. Dawn photo of group by Martin Adams. Indian wedding photo by Krishna Studio.
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