By Shobhan Bantwal – author of The Full Moon Bride
One of the most feared but anticipated moments in the life of arranged-marriage couple is the “Wedding Night.”
Back in the days of my parents’ generation, a bride and groom met for the first time in the marriage hall, surrounded by their respective families, friends, half the neighborhood if the bride’s family could afford it, and even strangers/party-crashers. Despite the happy smiles and tears of joy, there was one huge concern that loomed large over the couple’s heads – the night.
In most instances both the newly-weds were virgins, entirely naive and clueless about the intricacies of sex. Modern society has changed that to a large degree. Unlike the old days, when couples were painfully young, and brides were barely into their teens, couples nowadays, even if they are virgins, are older, wiser, more educated in the nuances of sex. They are exposed to sex via TV, movies, books, and videos, so there is a certain awareness of what to expect. Some are even experienced, having had experimental sex with one or more partners before entering into holy matrimony.
Nonetheless, despite any amount of mental preparation or experimentation, the wedding night in an arranged marriage is still an adventure. Anticipation and anxiety, passion tempered by clammy hands and cold feet, and a sense of “sink or swim” war with one another in the minds of the newly-weds. After all, they are married; there is no turning back. With luck, they manage to overcome the nerves and discover the joys of the marriage bed, but the night could easily turn into a disaster.
Of course, in my old-fashioned Indian culture, no one talks about the wedding night. Very rarely is there a mother-daughter talk involved, since every parent prays that their children will instinctively follow the dictates of their bodies and brains. Everything else is left to karma. If they are destined to be together, they will discover they are soul-mates, and it will work out as it is meant to be.
Having had a strictly arranged marriage myself 37 years ago, my husband and I went through all the expected joys and pains, thrills and tribulations of the wedding night. But we discovered each other. Then we settled into a long and happy marriage.
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