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Summary of Question:Arranged Marriages
Category:Love & Marriage
Date Posted:Saturday, 9/04/1999 8:23 PM MDT

Dear everyone,

could you please explain the benefits and the rational behind arranged marriages or marriages where the persons are introduced but are under no obligation to get married but do anyway. In the latter scenario, it is obviously love which bonds the two people and there's no problem with that. But with "forced" arranged marriages, what are the benefits of such? Would there not be any feelings of resentment at being married off to someone u may not want to spend the rest of your life with? I live in a western society country and thus believe in love marriages, be they Sikh-Sikh or interracial mariages. Also, what is the standing of sex in Sikh marriages? I know that in other cultures, sex is seen as a common bond between husband and wife and is practised right throughout their lives together. Is the same true in Sikhism.

I look forward to hearing the responses to my well-meant questions above.

Thank you.

Greetings in the Name of God, the Light of every soul, and in the Name of Guru, the Light of every Sikh. There are advantages and disadvantages to arranged marriages. Arranged marriages may serve to provide a more secure environment for the young married life of the couple. The social circumstances have been evaluated to ensure the success of the match. The parents of the bride and the groom are already united in their blessing and support of the marriage, and their accord can make relations between the new couple much easier. A form is already in place that allows the relationship greater freedom to grow in a graceful manner.

The disadvantages are that if the match is a purely monetary agreement, or arranged for the benefit of the parents and family of the couple, especially when the couple do not wish to be married, then all parties involved are demeaned. The environment for the couple is not graceful. If the extended family is weak, their social support breaks down and it will not function to help the couple through their trials.

Every situation and couple is unique. People who fall in love fall out of love. The only true love is love that is a commitment unto eternity. In an arranged marrage the couple may not experience "falling in love" at the beginning of the marriage, but many find they grow to love each other over time with a deep and abiding love. Conversely many people who fall in love get married based on that feeling, find within a few years they have lost the feeling and fall out of love. Only when a couple brings their commitment to their God and Guru unto infinity to their marrage, find the inner strength to pass through the tests and trials of their marriage together. Then marriage becomes a carriage unto infinity. Couples may begin with an arranged marriage or a love marriage - it does not matter. Only their purity, courage and honor to uphold their commitment will keep their marriage together. Love is not an experience of our human nature. It is an experience of our divine nature or essential spiritual core. Divine Lov
e is unconditional love and unconditional love exists eternally.

Regarding your question about sex in Sikh marriage, yes, Sikhs believe in sexual union in marriage. Guru Nanak taught a lifestyle of Grist Ashram - the path of the householder - which is a marriage of two bodies and one soul. Guru Nanak called grisht ashram the highest yoga. It is a monogomous way of life that includes sexual union as a creativity, whether or not it is procreative, sexual union is a creative spiritual amalgamation with the marriage partner. Thank you for writing. Humbly yours, Gurumeet Kaur Khalsa

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