Love or arrange marriage 1

"If you don't love each other, a lot is easier"

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Mei, too, was soon troubled by the love she lived. She was happy for a long time. But nobody could really understand them. For most women in China today, the only thing that counts is a man who can achieve something. Home ownership is the minimum. Financial security matters a lot in China. "Most of my friends have married rich men. They can afford more than I can and they value expensive clothes," says Mei. When her marriage threatened to fail, she for her part understood the choice of girlfriends: "If you don't love each other, a lot is easier," she says. "There's nothing to lose in marriages like this. Maybe my friends were right."

The arranged wedding, which is still common in India, is now waiting for Arun. He will marry a woman chosen by his parents. He doesn't have high expectations, but tries to take marriage seriously. He doesn't want to see his great love again. "Who knows, maybe I can learn to love my wife. Just like my parents did. Maybe I'll be happy with her," says Arun. In his eyes speaks the hope of a young man who, despite all disappointment, does not want to be bitter.

Arun only knows his future wife from the photo

"If the marriage fails, at least my parents can't blame me. After all, they chose the bride," he says. He doesn't know much about the future. He once wrote to her and offered to make a phone call so they could get to know each other a little. Arun only knows her from the photo. "Don't rush. That can wait until after the wedding," was her reply. He laughs when he says that. "I'm sure she's right." There is no going back anyway.

There was no turning back for Mei either. Their marriage failed when her husband withdrew more and more, devoting himself only to work. The otherwise so loving husband and father suddenly stopped taking time for his wife and children. Mei was disappointed. "Be happy," said her friends. "Now you have your peace and quiet, you can do what you want". Or: "As long as he pays, you don't have to worry." It is the common Chinese view of marriage. That's how many think and don't ride it badly. The marriages of the friends lasted, Mei's attempt at love marriage failed. She is now divorced. Still, Mei knows that she has experienced priceless happiness that many of her friends have never met.

Arun doesn't regret his relationship with the woman he really loves either. "I can understand her," he says. Everyone in India knows how difficult it is to get married against parental will. The parent generation has never questioned arranged, caste-compliant marriage. Lovers who defend themselves against parental judgment are still threatened with persecution and honor killings. So Arun finally comes to a similar conclusion as Mei: "Perhaps arranged marriages have better chances." At least you have no opponents.