Not having the power to choose whom you will marry seems like a great infringement upon oneís personal right to happiness. But arranged marriages are an integral part of cultural and religious practices around the world and even in the US today. This isnít always a bad thing. There are benefits to an arranged marriage.
Advantages of the Arranged Marriage
1. No personal responsibility. You donít have to worry if youíve made a wrong decision. This works for someone who is always second guessing or lamenting the romantic choices she makes. The choice is made for you. Your job is to make it work.
2. A sure thing. People who are socially inept can find themselves single for life. If left to his own devices, a terribly shy or unusual person might never have marital opportunities due to his or her own flaws or quirks.
3. Parental consent is assured. After all, parents agreed to the match, and in some cases, they were directly involved in the selection process. When many marriages suffer from family or in-law problems, having parental approval is no small matter.
4. Strengthens your faith. Following through with an arranged marriage for religious reasons is an act of faith and obedience. It is a spiritual commitment similar to taking a nunís vow.
5. Personality, lifestyle and religious differences will be minimal. Your matchmakers smoothed out all those kinks during the screening process. It might be a great match on a personal as well as practical level, and the chances of your finding lasting satisfaction with this person can be high.
6. Social, religious, and family pressure for both sides to live up to marital expectations. Everyone who had a say in your arrangement will have a vested interest in your marital success. This means that you wonít be the only one to voice disapproval if he doesnít find suitable employment or if he has a wandering eye.
7. Social, religious, political, and financial assets of an advantageous match. Typically, the matches are made to benefit both families. For example, one family might gain from the economic value of the other, while the other could improve its public image by marriage into a family of honorable reputation. Spiritually, it is believed that one can sever his past life karma or improve upon it with the correct match.
Disadvantages of the Arranged Marriage
The potential pitfalls of an arranged marriage seem obvious but here they are:
1. No physical chemistry/attraction. There is strong scientific evidence that males and females experience biochemical affinity or lack of. Arranged marriage partners may not be bio-chemically compatible despite that other factors may align.
2. Love may not grow. For all their similarities, partners might not like each other, and intimacy may never develop between the two.
3. Mate might have hidden flaws like an abusive personality. Although this could be said for spouses in non-arranged marriages as well, the unseen that reveals itself in arranged marriages can be more sinister because the balance of marital power often is unequal, and because divorce is denounced, there is no easy escape.
4. Divorce comes with severe penalties. The spiritual, religious, social or political fall-out from leaving an arranged marriage affects more than the individual partners but their family networks, too. In some societies, there can be shunning or black-listing. Harassment and persecution are not uncommon. According to some religious beliefs, abandoning an arranged marriage can have negative karmic effects that span the lifetime to come.
5. No free will. Most arranged marriages allow for the future couple to meet in order to offer consent. If an individual absolutely refuses, usually his or her parents or representatives take this desire into account and will pass on the match. However, there are cases when the individual has no choice in the matter at all. And that can be tragic.
Considering the pros and cons of an arranged marriage, would you agree to one? I often tease my daughter about arranging her marriage, much to her horror, but I only jest. Although she admits Iíve been right about her former relationships, she still wants to have a say in choosing to whom she will tie the knot. Silly girl. I could save her a lot of time, trouble, and heartache. And she wouldnít have to spend hours on those lengthy profile questions on dating sites, either.