Communicating in Arranged Marriages

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat: Do you tend to see different issues in couples with an “arranged” marriage versus a “love” marriage?

Have you seen patterns or differences with your clients who have gone one way or the other?



Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat

Communicating in Arranged Marriages Has Family Baggage

What’s sad is they’re not very different. The one thing that is distinctly different is the amount of baggage someone has about family issues.

I think with arranged marriage, it is sometimes far greater. You really have no choice or control.

You agree when looking at the boy or the girl. You feel, “I like this person. I’m getting married.” Then you don’t realize the quirks of the family members.

In a marriage where you’ve chosen your partner and you’ve had the privilege to date, it’s quite sad.

People even there don’t focus or pay attention to differences. They see very clear signs that there is going to be an issue in this family with my lifestyle, the way we live right now or the interference of the folks.

Communicating in Arranged Marriages: Same Core Issues as Every Marriage

It’s only different in the beginning stage.

Once you come to the core issues, they’re all the same. I don’t see any difference.

In fact, I see a lot more issues with people who have chosen their own partner and it’s not an arranged marriage.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

Communicating in Arranged Marriages Includes Families

You see more patterns in terms of the family issues. With arranged marriage, the families are coming together. That’s a big component of the driver for the relationship to begin with. One knows about the two families before getting into it.

You said that initially they tend to be different issues. Is the difference of family one that tends to be an issue?


Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat

Let’s take arranged marriage, for example.

Communicating in Arranged Marriages: Soft Approach

In the beginning, if the guy has an issue with the girl’s parents or the girl has an issue with the guy’s parents, there is a very soft approach to it. They take their time.

When they start living their nuclear married life or when they have involvement or interference of the parents is when they start voicing it and talking about it.

The man says, “I really can’t do this.” It is a more guarded way of approaching it.

In a marriage where you’ve chosen your partner, there is a level of freedom because you have known each other.

You see that I really don’t like your mom, for example. I don’t like the way she talks to me. I don’t like the way she addresses me so don’t ask me to entertain any time she calls me. I’m not going to pick up the phone.

Communicating in Arranged Marriages Less Aggressive

There is a level of aggressiveness in the beginning from both parties. It’s not the woman or the man. Both of them have the comfort of knowing each other.

You are able to voice it out.

  • One is a little more guarded, slow approach.
  • With the other one, you’re saying, “I won’t do it. This is done.”

Eventually, as they evolve, the issues, the core crux of it and how they break down, all fall into the same categories of the issues. The flow of it is all the same.

Communicating in Arranged Marriages: Don’t Forget It’s About You Two

It’s about embracing each other’s families, accepting the parents and accepting lifestyle changes and some of the quirkiness that people bring in.

You are able to see the big picture. Remember that those are all peripheral. At the end of it, it’s about the two of you. How do you lose focus that you chose to marry each other?

Agree that it’s a greater involvement of the parents or a brother or sister who lives close. At the end of it, there is a lot that you both feel common about, that you both love about each other.

There is a lot that you connect with that got you together. At what level do you feel suddenly, “She won’t get this. I can’t deal with this?”

  • How do you start segregating that point?
  • At what point does that happen in a relationship?

Communicating in Arranged Marriages Stems from Confidence

I think that’s the most important time to note immediately when it happens. You can say, “I don’t see that. I don’t get it. I don’t like it. This is not the way it should be.”

Communicating in Arranged Marriages: Make Every Conversation Count

The first time it happens, if you can intervene and communicate the right way and get it all out of your system and fix it, it won’t cascade into an issue.

Often, there is either a level of confidence in a relationship or there is a lack of it that leads it to cascade into something that’s not pleasant.


Tell Us:

What are some communication challenges you face in your relationships? Communication in arranged marriages cases, do you tend to have a softer approach? Share with us in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat.

The entire interview transcript is at: Bhuvaneshwari Bhagat Interview – Marriage & Family Counselor

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: Insights from an Indian Marriage & Family Counselor

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes