I’m 23 years. I don’t have a partner. But I’ve agreed to them to look for a partner but I want to marry if I like the person only. My parents brought about 6 proposals but I didn’t connect with any. They are forcing me with a final one. They say they don’t want to look for more because it is a humiliation for them. But I don’t like the person. I spoke to him but I feel like we’re very different. And I am not physically attracted to him at all. My dad says he’s supposed to marry me off before 25. Now they are fixated on this person. But I don’t like him. My dad said he will force me into it despite my preference. I offered the option that I would like to become a Buddhist nun. They are not willing to comply with that either.
Buddhism (DN 31) says Buddhist parents have a duty to organize a suitable marriage for their children. The Pali words are:
- patirūpa = fit; proper; suitable; befitting
- dāra = a wife; wives
- saṁyojenti = joins; combines; binds
Buddhism (AN 4.55) says a suitable partner has four qualities:
- the same faith
- the same ethics
- the same generosity/sacrifice
- the same intelligence/reasoning
The same faith not only includes the same religion but also includes having the same life goals. For example, in the modern world that has effective birth control, whether both people want to have children or do not is another criteria that must be considered.
This link summaries some Buddha teachings about a suitable partner.
Therefore, for respective parents to identify a suitable partner also requires input from the children because life today is more complex than 2600 years where the people of the Buddha's time lived in large clans or extended families. Today, there are factors such as education, living location, occupation, financial goals, having children, etc, that may effect who is a suitable partner.
In summary, it is not okay to force a child to get married in Buddhism. Instead, both parents & children must provide input into what is a suitable partner. Also, in Buddhism, becoming a fully ordained nun (bhikkhuni) requires the permission of parents. However, parents permission is not required to live in a monastery as a ten-precept nun.
Becoming Buddhist nun is a good idea, however it is a tough life. Tougher than a layman or laywomen style of living. If you have a true inclination towards a Buddhism then you should seek a partner who also believes in Buddha. Without a common ground of understanding no marriage can work.
If you are being forced to get married to someone who doesn’t believe in Buddha then it is unfortunate. However if things are out of your control then you should show love and compassion towards your spouse. You can extend your love and compassion to neighbors, city , countries and world. You should also extend your love and compassion in all directions, up and down , left and right , forward and backwards , east and west , north and south. Doing so will harmonise your relationship with your spouse and will change your general outlook and attitudes, and your life will be ful of joy.