esponding to an online petition, the matrimonial website Shaadi.com recently removed a skin complexion filter that allowed people to search for potential partners through descriptors such as “fair,” “wheatish” and “dark.”
This is a welcome change. I certainly wouldn’t want to categorise myself using those descriptors. Some parts of my body are probably somewhere between “dark” and “darkish,” while other parts are between “wheatish” and “whitish.” My palms are “fair,” while my neck is quite “unfair.”
It certainly isn’t wise to judge a person, even a marriage partner, based on their skin tone. Horrible people come in all skin tones and so do good people. If you don’t believe me, just do a search online for “Top 10 Most Wanted Criminals in India.” You will find a wide variety of skin tones, not to mention a wide variety of mustaches.
The same can be said about other features, of course. Perhaps all filters on matrimonial websites need to be eliminated. We should not be putting people in categories according to religion, caste, height, and annual income.
It could be argued, however, that height is important in a marriage. I honestly believe that my wife has kept me around for 20 years partly because she’s unable to reach the top shelf of kitchen cupboards. If she had placed a matrimonial ad, it would have said: “Men under 5-foot-6 should not respond without photos of the ladder they will bring with them.”
It could also be argued that having the same religion makes married life easier. My wife and I have different religious backgrounds and it has certainly led to some challenges. I’ve attended a lot of ceremonies that I didn’t understand – but I did understand that there’d be food served at the end.
My wife and I enjoy the same types of food, but more crucial to marital harmony is that we have similar political views. Our marriage would have probably ended years ago if we disagreed on politics. Perhaps that’s why an Uttar Pradesh couple decided a few years ago not to get married.
According to a Times of India report, the couple had met at a temple in Kanpur to discuss how they would pay for their marriage ceremony. The subject of the economic slowdown in India came up, and the bride, a government employee, blamed it on the Prime Minister. The groom, a business owner, disagreed vehemently. Following a heated argument, the couple decided to call off the wedding. Hopefully they are now happily married to spouses who are in total agreement on whether to praise or blame the Prime Minister.
It’s not necessary, of course, for couples to agree on everything politically. Just look at Kellyanne Conway and George T. Conway III in the United States.
Kellyanne is a counselor to President Donald Trump, part of his inner circle, but George is even closer: he’s a thorn in the president’s side. George is a founding member of the Lincoln Project, a conservative group dedicated to ousting Trump from the presidency. Their marriage has lasted almost two decades, so their disagreements on Trump are unlikely to break them up, though I haven’t checked the betting odds in Las Vegas.
Jennifer Merrill, a book editor for an American trade association, might be less optimistic, having divorced her husband of 24 years a few years ago. As she told Voice of America, “I just couldn’t see sharing a bed with somebody that agreed with what Trump was doing when I was so against everything that Trump represented.”
That begs the question: Do you have to discuss politics in bed? Can’t you just discuss sports instead? If you’re rooting for India in the cricket World Cup, but your husband is rooting for Pakistan, you probably won’t get a divorce. You might make him sleep on the couch for a month, though.