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Can a Sikh convert have an arranged marriage?

Discussion in 'Love & Marriage' started by Hardas Singh, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh (previously Satyadhi) SPNer

    I have decided I would prefer to have an arranged marriage. Unless I just happen to meet a devout Sikh girl who likes me and get her parents approval, which is kind of unlikely. Arranged marriage just makes more sense to me, but the problem is that I sort of doubt my American Christian parents would agree to help arrange a marriage for me.

    Is there any way for someone to fill in for my parents place and locate a potential marriage candidate for me?

    Most Sikh children have parents who can decide when to begin looking for marriage partners as well as narrow down the best choices.

    How do I know when to start the arranged marriage process?

    Is there anyone who can do this for me?

    How long does it usually take to find a suitable match?

    I want to get married as soon as reasonably possible, which probably will mean waiting at least four more years.

    I am currently 22 years old. I should have my associates in science and have a career as an RN when I'm 24. I plan to work as an RN while going to college and eventually get a doctorate in nursing. I should have my doctorate by the time I'm 30. After that I want to get my PhD in asian religions focusing on Sikhism. I should have my PhD by the time I am 36 if all goes well.

    I know this is different for each person, but please try to give me a general idea of when I should get married.

    Please try to answer each seperate question. I would really like the sangats insight on this.
  2. spnadmin

    spnadmin Well-Known Member SPNer

    Hardas Singh ji

    You are planning to live a busy life. Promise to find a wife that will be patient with the time-consuming studies that you have planned for yourself. I won't lecture on this point - promise.

    The question you are asking is a good question. Arranged marriages are between families, with significant relatives on both sides working out the details of the match in advance. Many of the details pertain to financial agreements and living arrangements. That of course is the practice when the traditions are followed and snap-matches are not made which have been the ruination of many Indian women. We have more than one thread detailing their plight.

    Yogi Bhajan arranged marriages of converts to Sikhism within 3HO as a matter of practice. Some marriages ended in painful divorces because the individualistic values of Western culture often work against the foundation of "arranged" marriage. The idea is that families are joined and the couple is working within a family system that is extended and more complex than is found in the west. I am however told that the trend in India leans now more toward couples finding each other and then seeking family members on both sides to work out the economic details and living arrangements, and giving their blessings.

    One story that we reported recently was of Roop Singh, a famous Sikh story teller in England, whose daughter married recently. He said -- Now it was time to marry her off. So I asked her which of these chaps do you like best? I took that to mean that he, or someone in the family, perhaps a sister or aunt, found a selection of suitable partners, but his daughter had the freedom to choose, and presumably so did the bridegroom.

    Just as an historical note - In old Punjab, someone on the boy's side, usually an aunt but sometimes an uncle, would begin the search for suitable brides for their nephew. Then the suggestion of a match would be made through a series of visits to the girl's family. After that, a male friend or distant male relative of the girl's family would visit the home of a prospective bridegroom on a pretext of being there to do something else. Perhaps just to pay respects. But he was really there to scope out the financial situation of the boy's family -- to be certain that the marriage was not being arranged and a dowry paid to bail the boy and his family out of financial difficulty. In other instances, children were promised to each other in infancy or sometimes before birth by their fathers. This was taken to heart on both sides, and like an oath, not something to be broken later on when boy and girl were grown.

    I am relating this just so you know how complex the custom is. And how embedded in culture it is. The bottom line - it is taking me forever to get to the point - sorry about that. A friend can stand in for a family member, but it gets complicated. An arranged marriage implies much more than picking out a suitable life partner for a son or a daughter. We have some threads with a lot of information that may help you think more about specific issues.
  3. ranghi29

    ranghi29 Member SPNer

    Go to a Sikh marriage site :happy:
  4. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh (previously Satyadhi) SPNer

    Patience is high on my list of qualities I am looking for in a wife for many reasons.

    One of the main reasons I am attracted to arranged marriage is the emphasis on bringing two families together, I feel it creates a better support for marriage. I was hoping to marry someone who comes from a Sikh family or at least have a network of Sikh friends preferably some who are older and have successful marriages. Arranged marriage isn’t required in Sikhism, but it seems to have the potential to reinforce Sikh values. In many ways I have never fit into mainstream western society. In fact becoming a Sikh was like finding my cultural identity as well as spiritual identity.

    I’m not sure how to phrase this, but I don’t want race to play a role in deciding who I marry. I don’t want to sound like a white guy who is pretending to be Indian, but there are many things about Indian culture that I prefer over western culture. This is not always the case, but there have been many times when I’ve thought to myself, “I feel more at home with this culture than the one I was raised in.”

    There are not too many devout Sikhs in many parts of the U.S., and I’m rather awkward at meeting people anyway. The economic details worry me greatly. I definitely plan to support a wife and family, but to be honest I also plan to live a humble and simple life dedicated to charity and helping those in need. I don’t plan to make much money. I don’t plan to live in poverty, but most people want to be well off financially.

    Most examples of Sikh marriages I’ve come across have always allowed the bride and groom to turn down potential partners they did not like.

    I have read a little bit about historical Punjabi marriage and it is quite interesting so I do have a vague idea of how complex it is…

    Once a friend or family member assigns themselves to the job of finding possible partners how do they go about finding potential partners? I’ve heard that normally adds are placed in newspapers and posted on Sikh marriage sights and the parents search through them until they find one worth pursuing. Is this true?

    If this is true then could I post my own adds describing myself, and talk to parents of potential partners and then if they approve of me, I would meet their daughter assuming I could not find a friend or family member to meet the parents for me.

    Would this be considered acceptable to most Sikh parents?

    I’ve heard that when the boy and girl meet to decide if they approve it is acceptable to be very up front with what each other expects in a marriage partner. Is this true?

    How long does the whole arranged marriage process usually take from start to finish?

    How do Sikh marriage sites differ from those silly western dating sites?
    Gyani Jarnail Singh and spnadmin like this.
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin Well-Known Member SPNer

    Hardas Singh ji

    This is not my area of expertise, forgive me. I am not sure why you seem to prefer an an "arranged marriage." Keep your mind open to all possibilities. Life often does not work according to our personal plans and schedules. The hand of Waheguru is always at work in the background.

    A few thoughts have crossed my mind as I read your last comments.

    First of all approach marriage sites on the net with caution. When two sets of parents from India are involved in monitoring the progress of matches made that way, you have the eyes, ears and savvy of not only two fathers and two mothers, but all of their sisters and brothers, to keep an eye on the funny stuff that can go on. You don't have that advantage.

    Be careful of Internet sites because, just as the lives of Indian women have been ruined by hasty matches on the net and also in real time by ill-planned marriages to NRI's, so young men have been bamboozled by people looking for a visa and a quick way out of India. The girl takes off! There are actually people who specialize in that. The boy is left wondering what happened to his marriage and his money. This problem of marriages of convenience cuts both ways.

    Keep in mind that on Sikh matrimonial sites the vast majority of ads are placed by parents on behalf of their sons and daughters. Spend some time reading those ads. Gret emphasis is laid on the caste, education, and wealth of both prospective partners. You are not a member of any caste. To those who are advertising for a Jatt or a Khatri you are an out-caste. Quite seriously, you have no social standing.

    How would you engage your family in a discussion of "a marriage between families" -- if they are like you members of a culture where arranged marriage is an alien concept? Why not start the dialog with them slowly and see where it goes?

    Final reaction for now. You are to be commended for understanding the importance of "patience." If you really intend to take your time, give this a thought. Go to India to live and work and get to know people there over a period of months, maybe even years. I doubt that as a nurse you would not find a niche working in a mission hospital or agency of some kind. Maybe even as part of an international mission. Learn the language, culture and people well. Develop a network of close friends. Let that be your way of connecting in a way that would make an arranged marriage more tuned into the personalities of both partners.

    Please be open-minded. Who knows? Maybe someone here in the states will meet you and decide you are the one, and her parents will agree. You don't know. Be open to every possibility. Even love matches. For now, explore this subject thoroughly.
  6. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh (previously Satyadhi) SPNer

    Narayanjot Kaur ji,

    I am still open to other possibilities it just seems like most devout Sikhs come from families who practice arranged marriage; although I know there are many converts who do not. I just don’t want to end up marrying someone who is going in a completely different direction in life.

    I’m kind of hoping to use marriage sites as a last resort. If I do use them then I’ll ask my friends and family for their opinion of each candidate. I think my family would at least give an opinion if they were asked about a specific candidate for marriage, even if they wouldn’t help me go through the process of finding possible matches.

    I have read quite a few stories like that one.

    It has always bothered me that so many Sikhs emphasize caste when looking for suitable matches. If they refuse to marry me simply because I have no caste then that means they were not right for me anyway. I want to marry a girl who tries to live the gursikh life, or even better a girl who comes from a gursikh family who do not pay any attention to caste.

    I guess it would be more difficult if her family was used to the idea of arranged marriage and I came along and just asked their permission. But if it is Waheguru’s will then I’m sure if I’m patient her family will understand. This is assuming she comes from a traditional Indian family. I would be equally happy to marry into a traditional Indian gursikh family as I would be happy to marry into the family of an American Sikh convert.

    One of my biggest dreams would be to serve those in need in India working as a nurse. I probably won’t be financially prepared to start living on my own until I’m 28 because of my arduous educational path, but I guess if I focus hard on my studies by the time I turn 28 I should be able to get a small place of my own. Which means I will finally be able to adopt the full Sikh lifestyle and attend a gurdwara (something which my parents do not permit me to do while living in their home). Hopefully I can develop a close network of friends at a local gurdwara and then when I turn 30 and get my doctorate in nursing I will take a two year trip to India to work as a nurse practitioner and hopefully develop a close network of friends there as well. Through my network of American Sikh friends and my network of Indian Sikh friends I’m sure Waheguru will have a wife for me to spend my life with. I really don’t care if she is from India, the states or from Timbuktu, if she is the gursikh Waheguru has picked out for me then she’ll be perfect. I just wish Waheguru would hurry up and point her out to me though. I guess Waheguru will just have to bless me with more patience until then.

    Thanks, you really helped me think this through and pointed out stuff I wouldn’t have known on my own.
    dalbirk and spnadmin like this.
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin Well-Known Member SPNer

    Hardas Singhji

    Just for your own sake - lighten up a little and take things according to the maxim that all your plans are subject to repeal by the Satguru. This is not a bad thing. It releases us to enjoy what we have in the moment and be grateful for it. You are supposed to enjoy! :thumbup: Do keep us tuned in to developments on your end. Your comments are always worth it.
    Hardas Singh likes this.
  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Sawa lakh se EK larraoan SPNer

    Guru Piayare Hardas Singh Ji...
    RELAX...SEHAJ is a most important attitude...repeatedly stressed in the Gurbani of SGGS...
    A fruit that is allowed to ripen naturally and slowly at its own pace...it tastes sweeter...also its said..Man proposes..BUT its God who Disposes !! In Gurbani Guru Ji says...."Man plans to Go East..but God takes him West.."...
    So take your time..get a complete education..be well prepared to stand on your feet economically, socially and physically...have a social standing as a well brought up young Sikh Man...attend local Gurdwara Sangat....and slowly thin gs will fall into place..some Sikh mother/Father may be impressed..and your wish will come true..most importnat..be a practical Sikh daily..do ardass..and Waheguru Ji will listen...my own personal experiences of the past 60 years of prayers and ardass...never disappointed even once...:happysingh::happykaur::happysingh::happykaur::welcome:
  9. Hardas Singh

    Hardas Singh (previously Satyadhi) SPNer

    hmmm... both of you are right. I just sometimes want to hurry up and start living my life, I have good intentions and I want to accomplish good things. My problem is that I so badly want to live a life dedicated to doing Waheguru's will that I forget that he has put me in my current place in life for a reason and when it is Waheguru's will he will move me to the next stage in life. Your right I need to relax and do ardass, and one day I will be like him:happysingh:.
    dalbirk and spnadmin like this.

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