I came across an interesting article today about a new book by Reva Seth called First Comes Marriage regarding the success of arranged marriages. The author interviewed 300 women in the US, UK and Canada who are in arranged marriages. And guess what? Most of them are happy.
This is a topic that interests me because I am a bit old school when it comes to dating and marriage and I never thought arranged marriages were necessarily a bad thing. However, I think a lot of people in the West, including some 2nd and 3rd generation Arab-Americans and those from Eastern cultures (you know who you are), tend to look down on arranged marriages and view them as “backwards” nowadays. But get this-the women interviewed were all educated and career-oriented; not backwards thinking women at all.
An important point made in the article is that “arranged marriages are not forced marriages.” So don’t think that these women who choose this path to marriage are dragged kicking and screaming to the alter. That’s a huge misconception people tend to make here in the US and in the West in general. And these types of marriages have a significantly lower divorce rate (7 percent) than typical Western marriages (40-45 percent). Doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Now, I don’t think this type of marriage is for everyone. But I do think we shouldn’t automatically look down on it either. As the book suggests, people tend to hook up in bars and clubs lusting after someone. But that fire tends to fizzle out over time. These people usually aren’t marriage material anyway. The key to a successful marriage is compatibility. And having a ‘marriage musts’ list of qualities that you desire is key. As one of the women interviewed said: “The difference [between arranged and Western marriages] is that a love marriage is like a boiling pot that cools down over time, while an arranged marriage is like a cold pot that gradually comes to a boil.” Sexy, huh?
As with anything in life, nothing’s perfect. Marriage is definitely one of those things. We may never find our Prince Charming and have that Cinderella fairytale ending (although I can never get myself to relinquish that idea). But we can end up being married and happy and maybe, just maybe, we can get there through an arranged marriage. All I’m saying is that regardless of who you are or where you come, don’t exclude the idea behind arranged marriages. You may save yourself the stress and pain of a divorce a few years down the road.