Bloggin’ Banat

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Try an Arranged Marriage. You Might End Up Happier. November 19, 2008

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.   first-comes-marriage-cover1

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.

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9 Responses to “Try an Arranged Marriage. You Might End Up Happier.”

  1. norma Says:

    i am sure it works out for some people and they end up happily ever after, but arranged marriages still make absolutely no sense to me – half the fun is finding the one 🙂 (and realizing that they’re the one for you). i would never want to be part of anything that would take that experience away from me.

  2. Nawal Says:

    I feel you Norma. But I think for some people it’s the destination that matters, not how you get there. You know? I mean sure, meeting someone and falling in love is exciting and awesome. And I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing (quite the contrary). But time and again you hear how people fall out of love. For many people taking that road, regardless of the outcome, is probably worth it; whereas for others, stability and long term happiness is more important even if it’s not love at first sight. Like I said in my post, it’s not for everyone. But I definitely think that it can work for a lot of people. The stats seem to support that idea.

  3. Hana Says:

    Nawal, I agree with your post. For some people it may work out just fine and for some it may just be a total disaster. 7% is actually not bad for divorced couples with an arranged marriage. I honestly thought that it would be more. Maybe some singles out there should consider the fact.

    HOWEVER…

    I do agree with Norma, I think an arranged marriage isn’t something that would have been for me and I never pictured myself in that frame. What will happen if this guy is a complete jerk, with no sense of humor, with no clean view of the world, boring, and just a straight up loser ?? When will I find out ? When it’s too late to even turn back ?? Now lets look at it both ways, Why would anyone sit with a guy/girl and get to know him/her and decide on if that’s the right person for them and then think arranged marriages are okay ?? What was the point of sitting with that other person if the thoughts are that of such kind ?? I want to fully understand and know my man before I live with him and not just move in not knowing anything about this person.
    Im glad I got to know my Mun-Mun beforehand and yes !!! NO guy is perfect but atleast we can know what we’re getting ourselves into before and decide if we want to stay in that relationship and build it up to a marriage or we can just simply leave !! I decided to stay and I am completely happy with my outcome.
    My point is, regradless of the situation if it’s not going to work out, it just won’t work out ! : )

    LOL, I hope I made perfect sense because I am honestly falling asleep typing this…Goodnight !

  4. Nawal Says:

    I feel compelled to clarify something. I don’t believe that what we’re talking about here is having a man and woman whose fate is already chosen for them; meaning that they were picked by their families to marry each other and that’s that. (I could be wrong, but that’s not what I gathered from the article) As mentioned in the article and in my post, these women weren’t forced into their marriages.

    Arranged marriages, in this context, I think means meeting a guy a few times, determining if they have the qualities you desire and then choosing to marry them but not going through the typical dating pattern that’s common in Western societies.

    So, let’s keep it real. That’s how a great deal of marriages happen in Arab and Arab-American families and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

    Certainly, I would never condone forced marriages. I think it’s wrong. While it may still be practiced in some parts of the world, I don’t believe it’s the norm anymore.

  5. Hana Says:

    Well then if that is the case then I’m down with it ! Maybe I overlooked that. To me I always looked at an “arranged marriage” as something that’s planned by both families without the say of the bride and groom ! I actually don’t find it to be a bad thing to know a person by someone else’s introduction and meeting a couple of times to see if they’re the ones for eachother….wella how else are people going to meet besides getting to find eachother on their own. But, nice article it can open a lot of eyes ! : )

  6. Safia Says:

    I agree with both sides. Also, Forced marriages are against Islam. If a muslim parent forces their child to marry someone they don’t want to they are going against Islam, it has to be consensual. But I think however you want to find a husband/wife is your business as long as you aren’t forced.

  7. abi Says:

    I just finished reading the book, it was great. I personally am in the process of having an arranged marriage. My parents and everyone around me have had arranged marriages and is a part of our religion. If you look at me, you wouldn’t think I would be a part of that world.

    I’m 23, full Caucasian and rapping up my studies in fine arts. My dad is German and my mom is German descent who grew up in a German Mennonite colony in South America. Ninety percent of my friend’s parents had arranged marriages, and most of them are a combination of different races: Caucasian and Japanese, Chinese and African American, etc. all the combinations you can think of.

    For me, it’s a beautiful thing. Even though for my friends who “find out” about it they still are weirded out. But I tell them it’s like the family is a team where everyone gives input for the sake of that specific person’s happiness.

    I recommend for everyone to read “First Comes Marriage.” It puts things into perspective and gives you practical advice. Whether you are dating and looking for the right guy, already married or even if you are going into an arranged marriage… this book is great for you to specify the things you truly want and need to do in order to have a genuine relationship.


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