The popularity of TV shows about arranged marriages such as “Married at First Sight” and “Arranged” highlights a different way to form a permanent relationship. In many countries arranged marriages are customary. On the TV shows, some of these relationships work and some don’t. In the real world, arranged marriages seem to have a higher success rate.
What is an Arranged Marriage?
To clarify, an arranged marriage isn’t a forced marriage, although family pressure could make it seem that way. People do refuse arranged marriages, sometimes right at the altar. Most arranged couples marry.
Many arranged marriages follow the pattern of a former coworker’s marriage. He was from India, highly educated and working in the U.S. His bride-to-be was from a similar background. Their parents knew each other and had introduced them during one or two chaperoned “getting-to-know-you” meetings. He went back to India, married her and brought her back to the U.S. The latest news was that they had a child and seemed happy.
Very Low Divorce Rates for Arranged Marriages
Love matches are actually in the minority. About 55% of all marriages worldwide are arranged and have a divorce rate of only 6%. Couples are from similar backgrounds and have similar expectations of a stable marriage, not a fabulous love affair.
In the U.S., finding the love of your life by yourself is challenging, to say the least. The odds of a divorce are 50% or better.
Should You Let Your Parents Choose Your Spouse?
Now, your automatic answer is undoubtedly a loudly screamed “NO”. If your parents have been divorced themselves, they probably aren’t presenting a very good role model. There’s no reason to think they’d make a better choice for you. In cultures where arranged marriage is common, however, it’s very likely that your parents had an arranged marriage and it seems to work for them.
Dating websites such as eHarmony require participants to supply a lot of personal information and then make digital matches. In a sense, if it works out, it’s an arranged marriage.
U.S. couples expect to fall in love before marriage. In the traditional arranged marriage, people are often told that love will follow. Is it better to marry with lower expectations and then work on building a relationship? Perhaps…
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