Marriage Arrangements Planned by Parents

By Harry Persaud

My dear beloved brethren: I am indeed perplexed over a most ungodly condition which is very prominent in our nation today. For example, the rapid rate of increase in divorce, abortion, and premarital sex statistically is alarming.

We may well ask who or what is responsible for this deteriorating condition, which continues to create many problems? Is there no cure for these ills and solution to these problems? Will you kindly permit me to share with you some of my humble experiences while in Hinduism?

Seventy-five years ago I was born a Hindu in George- town, Guiana, now independent Guyana, South America. My ancestors came from India being brought to George- town by the British people as immigrants to work in the sugar plantations.

At the age of twenty (February 1944), I was married to my wife, under the Hindu culture, and in keeping with Hindu tradition. My wife was thirteen years of age at the time. This beautiful and harmonious marriage has lasted for 55 years in which our family has grown to include one daughter, three sons and daughters-in-law and five grand- children. The young age of marriage may be attributed to Hindu custom and tradition, the system being characterized strictly by parental arrangements and supervision by both sets of parents. In the best interests and in consideration of the best welfare, parents of both myself and my wife were seeking and choosing the wife and husband respectively. With this thought in mind, both sets of parents will investigate and examine thoroughly the background and history of each prospective husband and wife; sometimes requiring months of periodical meetings together between the parents before they finally decide upon the proper partners for marriage. The final decision in this important matter is based upon the findings and analysis of the parents. While all of this investigation and study is being done by the parents, the boy and the girl do not even see each other. When the decision has been finalized by the parents agreeing for the son to marry the daughter, the parents of the son will then bring him to the girl’s parents’ home to meet the parents of his prospective bride. This is the first time the boy and girl have any knowledge that they are to become husband and wife. Thus, according to Hindu custom and tradition, the boy and girl have no choice but to respect the decision that has been made for them by their parents. They under- stand that, just as was the case in the lives of their parents and grandparents, they must live together “until death do us part.” Under Hindu arrangements divorce, fornication, adultery, abortion, and things of this nature were relatively unknown. In fact, virginity was highly respected and honored and both husband and wife, under this arrangement, have the highest regard for each other, although neither knows God or Jesus Christ or the gospel.

The girl was brought up to understand and came to a realization that her husband was all she possessed for the rest of her life. She must serve him “till death do us part.” This she has inherited from her Hindu culture.

I would now like to present some very interesting facts of the Hindu system which regulates the conduct of the prospective marriage partners. After the boy and girl have seen each other, they are not permitted any association with each other until after the marriage. Please note, that this rule does not imply a lack of trust, but I know it defeats the Devil in his devices to corrupt the prospective marriage partners before the marriage. During the waiting period before marriage, there is absolutely no love-making. In fact we did not know what love-making meant or was all about. We were simply following the rules and examples of our ancestors and this we understood that once married it was for all time and despite the hardships and trials they stuck together till the end. Since it was not possible to visit or touch your future companion until after marriage, we were ignorant of romance — dating, love- making, courting, kissing, etc.

Although Hinduism is idolatry and it may be backwards in culture. with the prohibition of the contact between the prospective partners, the Devil has a difficult time exercising of his plan. We may not altogether agree with these Hindu principles or Hindu culture, but I believe we can see the wisdom in some of these principles. In Hinduism, young women are taught by their mothers and grandmothers to love, respect and serve their husbands till death. During the Hindu wedding ceremony, the garment of the bride and the garment of the groom are literally tied (joined) together. As they walk slowly forward, she follows behind him in symbolic recognition of her husband as her guide and leader and in humbleness of heart she never feels equal to him. This is in great contrast with the attitude of many (some Christians) today. Too many wives today have very little, if any, regard for their husbands and this in a so-called “Christian nation.”

Now what is your estimation of the value of these Hindu principles. Please consider, if you will, that young people in our day and culture are most fortunate; living in a fully developed western civilization and “Christian” influences. They have the right or freedom of choice and decision. We are characterized by a society which professes to know God and his son, Jesus Christ, and yet we are besieged by the most degenerate prevailing conditions. The divorce rate is alarming, abortion may be had almost at will, and pre-marital sex is free on demand. Where are we lacking and who is responsible?

I do not recommend that in our culture marriages must be arranged by parents without the consent of their children as is practiced in Hinduism. But I humbly suggest we get back to the Bible, the teachings of Christ will make us better.