Razdan , A. (2003). What’s love got to do with it? Are arranged marriages healthier than romantic attraction? http://www.utne.com/2003-05-01/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it.aspx
The focus of Razdan’s article is to discuss the way in which socio-cultural backgrounds can affect how a person feels about love and marriage. Her purpose was to analyse whether arranged marriages are better than non-arranged marriages. The thesis for the article was: Love cannot be analysed. This paper will show support for her thesis, as it is stated here that love does exist and it is not meant to be analysed like a scientific experiment because it goes beyond human understanding or human explanation. Sometimes words are just not enough.
Razdan’s article brings up many issues that many of people may not consider usually: Is love real? Can people choose for themselves who to love? And can love be evaluated and measured the in a scientific way? Underlying the article is a focus on how socio-cultural backgrounds influence choices. For example, her parents had an arranged marriage in India, but Razdan was born and raised in Illinois and does not want to have an arranged marriage for herself. Although her parents believe in arranged marriages, and wanted to do the same for her, Razdan was also living and going to school in a Western nation where arranged marriages are not the norm, where love and romance are encouraged. Razdan grew up to want romance and love, and to choose her own partner. This is reasonable as her culture is the West.
Like many other Western people, Razdan believes in love and romance and freedom of choice of marriage partner. Socio-cultural background includes not only a person’s family and relatives, but also the neighbourhood one lives in, where a person goes to school or work, the people who a person socializes with or spends their leisure time with, T.V., radio, advertising etc. We are children of our culture. Western culture bases many of its ideas about love on fairytales, where there is a prince charming, a helpless woman/girl/princess and a ‘happily ever after ending’. If
everyone in a society or culture approves of such ideas then it is understandable that as people grow up they come to believe that these ideas are the best way to think about love, romance and marriage. It is interesting though that the using the fairytale as a guide, is not so different to an arranged-marriage, because again the people involved are seen as not having a choice because fate decides through ‘love at first sight’ or the ‘magic kiss of the one true love’. Razdan does not believe in this idea of love either, as she strongly believes love is something that happens by a person’s choice. Perhaps her strong beliefs are because she is a child of an arranged marriage. Being exposed to her parents way of thinking of love (that it is over-rated), and perhaps many of her relatives felt the same as her parents, Razdan may have been ‘immune’ to Western fairytales that she saw on T.V. or in books. In the same way, because of her exposure to Western T.V. etc, she may have been ‘immune’ to her parents’ way of thinking about love and marriage. Instead, she is somewhere in the middle: Love exists, but it is an act of choice.
That Western thoughts of love and marriage are influenced by socio-cultural context is said to explain the high divorce rates in the West by many expert ‘love’ psychologists and other researchers. If people meet each other and see each other to be their ‘soul mate’ based on how they feel (in love) then they do not take the time to really get to know each other. In the old days, courting was a way to get to know another person over time. Razdan interviewed experts who said that internet dating was a lot like an arranged marriage in that people got to know each other over time. Having an idea of love based on fairytales may stop Western people from developing their relationship skills because they expect things to just ‘happen’. This is not so different from an arranged marriage where the people believe that love will happen over time if they share the same values and beliefs.
It is a good thing to think over, the idea of love and marriage, as these two ideas are very important for most of Western culture, and this is the reader’s culture now. How a person in the West thinks about love will influence how they talk and act around people of the other sex. This can have a lot of impact on how a person feels about themselves, and in turn this can influence how they act in everyday life – at school, at home, at work etc. So it these are important ideas to think about. If divorce in the West is so high then perhaps there are parts of arranged marriage, and the socio-cultural background that causes this way of thinking about love and marriage, that can be used in the West. This is an idea that one of the psychologists that Razdan interviewed suggested. And that the internet may be the way to take a little bit from each.
The reader thinks that since Razdan made her own choice about the existence of love, and that she thinks that marriage should be by choice that she has drawn on the two socio-cultural backgrounds she is a part of and so has made a choice. So love does exist, and marriage can be by choice and work.