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The Arranged Marriage

Throughout history, a marriage between two people was a carefully orchestrated match for socio-economic and political purposes. Kingdoms could be united, thus preventing war. Family lands expanded, and personal prosperity could be ensured with the right union. Contemporary women recoil at the idea of arranged marriage, but it is hardly an antiquated institution. Even today, marriages continue to be arranged by family, religious leaders, and other matchmakers with or without the consent of the involved potential mates.

More than a money matter
While financial security often can be a primary factor to be considered, not all matches are motivated by money and social or political status. Parents want to ensure an enduring union, and so they do their best to harmonize the children’s personalities, habits, religious beliefs, and family backgrounds with possible mates. An arranged marriage can be a ritual requirement for many religions, as an act of faith, obedience, and karmic reckoning. In these cases, it is common that the future couple is allowed to meet only once briefly before they make their vows at the altar.

What’s love got to do with it?
To those who arrange marriages, the notion of love is viewed as an impetuous, fleeting distraction of youth. Lasting devotion is the goal. Passion is simply lust, and sincere affection deepens with time. If that sounds like a pipe dream, I can attest that love can and does grow where it once never was. I personally know of arranged marriages that have resulted in loving couples and happy families. Today. In America.

Divorce is not an option (most of the time)
Divorce rates among arranged marriages typically are lower than non-arranged marriages (In Australia, only four percent of arranged marriages end in divorce compared to 40 percent of non-arranged marriages) but these statistics could be misleading because an institution that does not offer free will to enter the marriage may not allow a couple the choice to leave either. Divorce in arranged marriage is discouraged strongly, but it may be granted in cases of abuse or even extreme unhappiness.

Human rights violation or free matchmaking?
Whether you view arranged marriage as a violation of human rights or a cultural practice, you might want to reflect upon how successful we have been making our own love matches (have you seen the divorce rates lately?) Some women make bad choices again and again because of subconscious impulses rooted in their weaknesses. There might be sound reason to resort to outside matchmaking resources. What if we allowed people who know us best to have input? Would this be any different from using websites like Match.com or Eharmony to sift through personality profiles for your matches? Visit me in the Marriage forum and let me know what you think.

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