In their congregation, the pressure to get married early was intense. “Once the announcement was made in church that we were getting married, I was trapped,” she says.
“I couldn’t back out of it.” Marsh would do anything to stay in her mother’s good graces; she couldn’t bear the thought of losing her again. “I wanted to run, but I didn’t dare.” She had told her husband about her history of sexual abuse, but he told her not to worry, that they would get through it together.
The girl was stunned; she had met her husband-to-be just once. For a few months before, her mother had been shopping her around while sizing up men in the congregation—some more than 20 years older—looking for a suitable husband.
Before the marriage date, both the parties spend a lot of time in preparation and exchange of gifts.
On the marriage day, the bride and the bridegroom and relations on both sides assemble in a public auditorium or a temple premises, or in the house of the bride's parents and participate in an elaborate ceremony conducted by a priest.
The concept of arranged marriage may sound impractical to the Western world, but in India, it is a usual norm.
No matter how westernized India may have become, arranged marriages are still viewed as the most preferred choice in the Indian families.