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The Cross-cultural Relationships in India: Arranged and Love Marriages

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Arranged marriages are still a big thing these days especially in part of the world that are not westernized but when we think about it we could consider a lot of marriages arranged marriages. Many people seek out love makers, matchers, or rely on their parents and even though they make like the person they still sought out someone to match them with someone else. They didn’t find someone on their own so this can still be considered arranged. “A study involving 50 couples from India suggests love in love marriages decreases somewhat over time, that love in arranged marriages grow over time, and love in arranged marriages may eventually surpass the love that occurs in love marriages” (Gupta and Singh, 1982, Epstein, p. 341). In their culture they marry someone first and then fall in love with them later. As we look at people coming from cultures that are not westernized and marrying people of different cultures or even Americanized people there is going to be a strain in that marriage. These people may be coming from cultures where arranged marriage is expected but are deciding for themselves that they want to find someone on their own for love. As they enter into these relationships and then marriage there are going to be different expectations on the marriage as they are seen from either sides of the different cultures.

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As marriages that were arranged in India were looked at divorce was very low. It was only about 1% of divorce where in America it is about 50%. As we look at Indian culture when a couple gets married they are married for life and there is no thought or consideration of divorce. In other cultures’ we also see girls or boys being promised as the spouse to another child for a price when they grow old enough. I feel like this is disrespectful. In America we would find it rude and disgusting to be bought or sold to someone but in some cultures it is the norm. People also need to consider what religion they are marrying into because in Islam law men are allowed to have 4 wives and in addition to that have their concubines as well. When we are looking at arranged marriages or even marriages where its cross cultural when it comes to women it costs more when you are committing a man to a woman. The parents have to pay more to the husband’s side than the wife. “Women make a larger initial physiological investment in reproduction than men, and they generally provide more direct parental care. We argue that these reproductive differences shape marriage transactions around the world” (Huber, 340). Marriage is to be decided upon depending on status, income, and plans for the future. Woman are seen as weaker and less valuable as men.

Some women are even solely chosen because they would be good to produce children for the husband and start a family. In a lot of cultures women do not work and are expected to stay home to cook, clean, take care of the livestock, and raise their children. The Bible does not say anything about marrying cross culturally it just warns us not to marry someone who does not have the same faith as us. We should not be in a relationship or marry someone who is not as a Christian as well as us. Deuteronomy 7:3-4 “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.” If we date or marry someone of a different belief there is a higher likely hood that they may pull us away from the Lord and bring us to believe something else because they are persistent and we are around those beliefs all the time. We may be the strongest Christian but want to be loved and feel that we have to transform ourselves and our beliefs for this person to accept us fully. The Lord loves us and wants what is best for us. The Lord creates us: all our different cultures, beliefs, and ethnicities and he wants us to be with who we love as long as they are following the Lord. 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” We as Christians are believers and followers of the Lord who is our light and if we choose to be yoked with an unbeliever than we are no better than them. As we look as cross-cultural marriage there tends to be more issues there. Problems arise in their social lives but also with their physical.

As two different people grew up raised certain ways, believing certain things, and are from different cultures they are going to see everyday life in very different ways. We could see a Hispanic woman with a white man, a black man with a white woman, or an Asian man with a black woman. As we look at all the cross cultural relationships shown here there will be many differences between us person of the couple. I am a white woman dating an Asian man and there are huge cultural differences between us. He grew up in a culture where children had a lot of responsibility from cooking, taking care of a younger sibling, and catching food to even washing laundry. I grew up in the states and here as a young child the parents did that and it was not the responsibility for a child. As we are moving closer to marriage I can see a lot of differences between us which is not bad but some thing he finds important or things he does I just do not understand and it is the same for him with things about me. I have a friend who is black man and is dating a white woman and some things that he does are so strange to her. As a young black man he was beat when he did something wrong but as a white woman there were no beatings but spankings and timeouts instead. It is just something that I cannot fathom that black children just get beat back when we were growing up and we were just spanked.

We also look at a Hispanic household where family is super important to them. They have big parties and have family over all the time even having a lot of the family living with them. As a black or white person being in a relationship with a Hispanic person we are not used to have partied every weekend or have our whole extended family living with us. My baby daddy was Hispanic and I am white. My daughter was born and looking at her she looks very Hispanic. I look very white and would not expect me to have a Hispanic background behind me but when they look at my daughter they expect her to speak Spanish and have a Hispanic culture but she is very Americanized. Sometimes getting into a cross cultural relationship is not going to be hard. Your significant other may be a different culture but maybe they grew up here so their culture and beliefs line up with yours as well. 1 Corinthians 7:39 “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” Whoever we marry whether it be cross-culturally or not we need to make sure that they are the one because the Lord despises divorce.

When we get married its done unless our spouse passes away and then we are allowed to get remarried. Cross-Cultural marriage can be exciting if you are open and willing to learn about your spouse’s culture: way they live their life, their beliefs, and how they see the world. They did a study on Korean women immigrants who married American men. As languages and culture come to play this can make life very difficult because maybe the wife wants to speak Korean but the American husband wants to speak English and their cultures are very different in different countries as they are here in America. “Furthermore, Jang and Kim ([27]) identified the adaptation challenges experienced by women in international marriages in Korea as different family structures, a lack of cultural understanding, cultural differences, and Language barriers, which generated social anxiety, loneliness, and lower levels of self- expression” (Junhyoung, 1095). When you marry your spouse you want someone who makes you feel loved, accepted, taken care of, and comfortable. Sometimes with cross cultural marriage you can feel lonely or abandoned just because they do not understand how to properly comfort you or what to say.

In there culture they have been taught that they do not cry and that they are strong people so they keep it in and when you show sadness they do not know what to do. If we are looking at someone from another country who came here there English may not be as good as they would like and they may not understand everything that you say which would create barriers are you are talking and may become discouraging and frustrating. If we are looking to marry someone of a different culture we need to be willing to try and understand their culture and your differences because this cause many issues in your marriage as the other person will not feel cherished and loved but instead will feel lonely, depressed, sad, and rejected. Children are a source of joy and help keep marriages together more times than not. “The more spouses liked children the less they thought of divorce and the more they believed children were helpful to maintaining their marriages” (Perlman, 829). When you are married and have children whether cross-culturally or not the children cause another source of love that you do not understand until you have children.

The pain and hurt from a spouse not understanding your culture may be helped by having a child together and that child growing up in the two different cultures. That is a way that someone that is loved by both sides in the between can show each side a glimpse of the culture of the other person. Children bring joy and happiness to many people as they just have an innocence and love for others that is not seen as they get older and see the real world through adult eyes. Online dating has become a big thing more of recently and many couples end up in cross cultural relationships that way. Being on an online platform and being able to hide behind a screen gives you a way to be honest and transparent with a person. Online dating can end up with you meeting someone who you never would have though you would be with just because of their skin color or culture. It gives you a way to talk to a lot of different people and really meet someone that may be culturally different. They may take you to a restaurant that is of their culture that you would have never gone on you own but you find out that you actually like it. Cross cultural relationships can be a great thing leading to experience new foods and experiences. “We have in mind those Europeans and Americans who choose marriage partners from developing countries, where ‘modern’ values co-exist with ‘traditional non-Western values and attitudes” (Shunaq, p. 169). As we live in our modern ways we may see that our modern ways are totally different from someone else modern ways.

Through cross-cultural relationships and the internet we see that our ideas for a relationship and expectations on how they should go could be negotiated between the couple and come upon an agreement that may be different but works for the both of them. It is all about making compromises but making sure that neither side feels like they are losing themselves or having to give up their culture for the other person. You do not have to give up your values or culture to marry someone of another culture. It is all about compromise. If you love the person you should be willing to make sacrifices for them and sometimes it is keeping both or your cultures and traditions in your household and raising your children also in both. “It is now common for Hong Kong people to practice traditional Chinese wedding rituals, including the picking up ritual, tea ceremony and evening banquet” (Cheung, 2006, Lo Wai, p.130). They tend to wear their Chinese clothes as they get married instead of a wedding dress even though America has influenced China in the way they dress and other things. There values are starting to line up America in a lot of ways but people there tend to want to wear their Chinese dresses to get married as it is cultural even if they are marrying an American man.

They love their future husband but they also do not want to lose sight of their culture and ways of living. “Relationships travel best over strong bridges of trust. Think back on your strongest relationships—maybe a friendship, a good marriage, a parent- child relationship” [Duane p. 76). As you are marrying a spouse from a different culture you need to bridge that relationship with your spouse to be understanding of their culture and make bridges and trust with them as you share in your different cultures. In conclusion it can be very hard to get married cross culturally because of all struggles and understanding but it can also be a good thing. It is a good thing because you can learn how to love someone unconditionally even when they are not culturally the same as you. You can be accepting and loving towards them.

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