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Love Marriage

Love marriage, which is the union of two individuals who have chosen to marry each other based on their mutual feelings of love and attraction, has become an increasingly prevalent form of marriage across the world. While it represents a significant shift away from traditional arranged marriages, which are still practiced in many cultures, love marriage is not without its challenges and criticisms.

What is Love Marriage in Anthropology & Sociology

What is love marriage?

A love marriage, often known as a “romantic marriage,” is a kind of marriage in which two persons select each other based on mutual affection, desire, and love. Unlike arranged weddings, where families and matchmakers are engaged in the choosing of a mate, love marriages are based on the individual’s independent decision. While love marriages are popular in many cultures worldwide, they remain a matter of discussion and examination. Some view weddings as a sign of modernity and personal freedom, while others believe that they violate cultural norms and damage the social fabric of society.

In anthropology, marriage is considered a cultural institution that differs among countries and historical periods. Love marriage, or the practise of selecting one’s own mate based on love impulses rather than arranged marriage or other cultural standards, is a relatively new phenomenon in many civilizations.

Anthropologists have researched love marriage as a cultural practise, looking at how it is impacted by elements such as economic, social, and political developments, as well as human wishes and feelings. Some anthropologists have also looked at how love marriage links to wider cultural themes such as gender roles, individualism, and globalisation.

For example, some studies have indicated that love marriage is more prevalent in communities where there is a high degree of individualism and where individuals have more liberty in selecting their mates. Other studies have looked at how love marriage connects with gender roles and found that it may challenge established views of gender and family structures.

Overall, the study of love marriage in anthropology entails analysing the cultural, social, and emotional variables that define this practise and how it fits into wider cultural and historical settings.

Types of Love-Essence Marriage

There are several forms of love marriage that have been discovered by academics and experts. Here are some of the types of love marriages:

  • Romantic love marriage: This sort of love marriage is based on the deep emotional and physical desire between two people. It is marked by passion, closeness, and dedication.
  • Companionate love marriage: This sort of love marriage is built on a close friendship and camaraderie between two people. It is defined by closeness, commitment, and a shared life together. [16]
  • Pragmatic love marriage: This sort of love marriage is founded on practical concerns such as social position, financial stability, or family expectations. It is characterised by a more pragmatic and practical attitude towards finding a spouse. [15]
  • Organised love marriage: This sort of love marriage is organised by families or matchmakers with the permission of both participants. It is defined by the slow growth of love and affection between the two persons through time. [14]

Overall, these forms of love marriage demonstrate the diverse aspects that might impact the establishment and maintenance of romantic relationships in different cultural settings.

What is Love Marriage in Anthropology and Sociology

Impact of Love Marriage on Culture

Love marriage has been described as a “revolutionary” change in marital practices that has challenged the traditional cultural norms surrounding marriage [9]. In many cultures, arranged marriage was the norm, and it was seen as a means to maintain social status and familial ties. Love marriage, on the other hand, emphasizes individual choice and autonomy in marital decisions.

This shift towards individualism has had broader cultural implications, particularly in terms of gender roles. In patriarchal societies, arranged marriage was often used as a means to maintain male dominance and control over women’s lives [7]. Women had little say in their marital decisions, and their primary role was to fulfill the expectations of their families and society. Love marriage, however, empowers women to assert their agency and make decisions based on their own desires and aspirations [3].

Furthermore, love marriage has brought about changes in the way relationships are perceived and experienced. It has created a space for romantic love to be acknowledged and celebrated, which was often overlooked in arranged marriages. This shift towards romantic love has also led to a greater emphasis on emotional intimacy and companionship in relationships (Regan, 2017).

However, it is important to note that the impact of love marriage on culture can vary depending on the society in question. In some cultures, love marriage is seen as a threat to traditional values and customs, and there may be resistance to its adoption [7]. Nonetheless, the impact of love marriage on culture is undeniable, and its influence on attitudes towards relationships and marriage continues to be felt.

Critical Analysis

Individual autonomy and agency: Love marriage enables people to express their autonomy and agency in selecting their life partners, depending on their own choices and sentiments [8]. However, this also suggests that the responsibility for the success or failure of the marriage is largely on the people themselves, which may be a cause of strain and tension [1].

  • Compatibility and commitment: While romantic love and emotional closeness are key aspects of a successful marriage, compatibility in terms of values, aspirations, lifestyles, and personalities, as well as a shared commitment to the partnership, are equally critical [2]. Neglecting these variables may lead to marital discontent and divorce, even in loving marriages [13].
  • Cultural and social norms: Love marriage may challenge conventional or conservative cultural and social norms, which may see arranged marriage, family honour, or social standing as more significant than personal choice or passionate love [6]. This may lead to difficulties and tensions between people and their families or communities, particularly in circumstances where love marriage is stigmatised or forbidden [4].
  • Gender and power dynamics: Love marriage may be impacted by gender and power dynamics, since women may experience more pressure to comply with societal standards or family beliefs or may be exposed to restrictions or violence if they pick a spouse outside of their group or faith [10]. Moreover, men and women may have differing amounts of autonomy and decision-making ability in selecting their relationships, depending on their social and cultural circumstances [11].
  • Emotional and psychological well-being: A love marriage may have a substantial influence on the emotional and psychological well-being of the persons involved. Positive results such as love, friendship, and support may boost their happiness and life satisfaction, whereas bad outcomes such as conflict, abuse, or adultery can lead to sadness, anxiety, and trauma [5].

In conclusion, love marriage is a complicated and dynamic phenomenon that has both benefits and disadvantages. A critical examination of love marriage should take into consideration the numerous cultural, societal, and personal elements that impact its creation and consequences and address the dangers and rewards connected with it.

FAQs on Love Marriage

End Notes

[1] Cox, M. J., & Demmitt, A. (2013). Marriage expectations among newlyweds: Implications for early relationship satisfaction and long-term marital stability. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(3), 327–338.

[2] Fletcher, G. J., Simpson, J. A., & Thomas, G. (2000). The measurement of perceived relationship quality components: A confirmatory factor analytic approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(3), 340–354. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167200266007

[3] Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2018). Social influence and bullying among adolescents. Social Science Computer Review, 36(1), 5-22.

[4] Kumar, A. (2019). Love and arranged marriage in India: A sociological analysis. Journal of Developing Societies, 35(4), 367–388. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3786027/

[5] Lavner, J. A., Karney, B. R., Bradbury, T. N., & Fraley, R. C. (2014). Predicting marital stability and divorce in newlywed couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(5), 786–798. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037683

[6] López, A., & Ruiz, V. (2017). Love or arranged marriage? India’s young adults debate. Journal of Family Issues, 38(15), 2137–2158.

[7] Majumdar, M., & Parry, J. P. (1994). Marriage, morality, and modernity: The Indian elite and the making of a consummately modern society in colonial India. Modern Asian Studies, 28(3), 575-600.

[8] Mangla, A. (2017). Choosing a spouse in urban India: Love marriages versus arranged marriages. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 48(3), 337–354.

[9] Nanda, S. (1999). Neither man nor woman: The Hijras of India. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

[10] Rajan, S. I. (2019). Marriage, patriarchy, and women’s agency in India. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 26(1), 29–48.

[11] Sadiq, N. (2019). Perception of gender roles and romantic love: A cross-cultural comparison of India and the United States. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 50(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.3138/jcfs.50.1.01

[12] Regan, P. C. (2017). The mating game: A primer on love, sex, and marriage. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

[13] Whitton, S. W., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2007). Effects of parental divorce on marital commitment and confidence. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(4), 589–593.

[14] Lee, J. A., & Yoon, J. (2017). The increase of arranged marriage in Korea: A study of marital immigrants’ decision-making Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43 (4), 543-559.

[15] Kim, Y. H., & Cohen, R. (2010). Information, anticipation, and satisfaction: patients’ behavioural intentions after visiting a chiropractic office Journal of health communication, 15(2), 188–204

[16] Hendrick, S. S., & Hendrick, C. (1992)). Romantic love. Sage Publications.

Drishti Kalra - Author at Anthroholic
Drishti Kalra

Drishti Kalra is an Assistant professor at DCAC College in the Department of History, at Delhi University. She is also a PhD Research scholar at the Department of History at Delhi University. She has also been employed as a Research Assistant on two projects at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and JNU. Currently, she is also working as a Research Associate at the DU Centenary Project on the "History of Delhi University". She has lately held positions with institutions such as The Telegraph, Médecins Sans Frontières, Intern, and Hindu Business Line.

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