2. Change in the Aim or Purpose of Marriage:
The traditional Hindu marriage considers ‘dharma” as its primary object whereas the modern Hindus give more importance to “life-long companionship” between husband and wife. Marriage is taking place not very much for the performance of religious duties, but for obtaining “lifelong companionship” of the individuals of the opposite sex.
3. Change in the Process of Mate Selection:
In the three areas of mate selection we find significant changes today.
(i) Field of selection has become very wide. It is wide enough to include inter subcaste and intercaste marriages.
(ii) Party to selection: Parents do not take an active role in the selection of life-partners of their children. The practice of young men and women selecting their life-partners by themselves is becoming popular today.
(iii) Criteria of selection. Much importance is given to individual interests, preferences and considerations rather than to family considerations. This trend is reflected in the increase in the instances of love marriages.
4. Change in the Age at Marriage:
Child marriages [at least at the level of middle and upper class people and educated people] are virtually not found now. As per the present marriage Act [that is 1978 amendment to the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929] a boy below 21 years and a girl below 18 years cannot marry. Pre-puberty marriages have thus given place to post-puberty marriages.
5. Change in the Stability of Marriage:
Legislative provision for divorce has virtually affected the stability of the marriage. Hindu marriage is no more regarded as indissoluble. The legislative provisions for divorce and widow remarriage have undermined the importance of the value of “pativratya”. The concept of equality of sex has also affected the value of ‘pativratya’.
6. Change in the Economic Aspect of Marriage:
The practice of paying dowry is associated with marriage. This practice has grown into a big social evil today. Bride’s parents are compelled to pay a huge amount of money as dowry. This practice has made marriage a costly affair. Marriages are often settled only on considerations of dowry.
Marriage ceremony is also becoming a costly affair since huge amount of money is lavishly spent on decorations, processions, band sets, video-shooting, music, orchestra and so on.
7. An Increase in the Instances of Divorce and Desertion:
Though the Hindu marriage is regarded as a sacrament instances of divorce and desertion are on the increase.
Though these new trends are observed today the importance of marriage has not diminished. It is still universally practised. Though its sanctity is affected a little, it is not reduced to the level of a mere civil contract. Hindu men and women are still emotionally involved in their marriages. There is no apparent danger as such to the Hindu marriage at present.