An arranged marriage is a marriage arranged by someone other than the couple getting wedded, curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world, including Europe. Today, arranged marriage is still practiced in South Asia, and the Middle East to some extent. The match could be selected by parents, a matchmaking agent, matrimonial site, or a trusted third party. In many communities, priests or religious leaders as well as relatives or family friends play a major role in matchmaking.
Okay, so this is probably something alien to most people, and seemingly barbaric to a large majority. However, being Indian, I have had the chance to look at this whole procedure from close quarters. It is a custom and a practice that has practically been embedded into the very mindset of most Indians. I still haven't made a complete judgement about the whole thing, not that I need to yet. But that hasn't stopped me from pondering about it in general. The pros and cons, the various aspects of the entire thing; so as to figure out whether it is something I would ever consider doing. Before that, I'd like to take the opportunity to enlighten people who aren't aware of the factors involved in an arranged marriage.
▪ Reputation of the family
▪ Vocation: For a groom, the profession of doctor, accountant, lawyer, engineer, or scientist are traditionally valued as excellent spouse material. More recently, any profession commanding relatively high income is also given preference. Vocation is less important for a bride but it is not uncommon for two people of the same vocation to be matched.
▪ Wealth: Families holding substantial assets may prefer to marry to another wealthy family.
▪ Religion: The religious and spiritual beliefs can play a large role in finding a suitable spouse.
▪ Pre-existing medical conditions: Two persons with a physical deformity or disability who are otherwise marriageable may be matched.
▪ Horoscope: Numerology and the positions of stars at birth is often used in Indian culture to predict the success of a particular match.
▪ Dietary preference: Vegetarian or omnivore (often automatically determined by the caste among Hindus)
▪ Height: Typically the groom should be taller than the bride.
▪ Age difference: Typically the groom should be older than the bride.
▪ Language: Language also is deemed to be an important criteria. The groom and the bride should have the same mother tongue.
In cultures where dating is not prevalent, arranged marriages perform a similar function—bringing together people who might otherwise not have met. In such cultures, arranged marriage is viewed as the norm. Young adults tend to view arranged marriage as an option they can fall back on if they are unable or unwilling to spend the time and effort necessary to find spouses on their own. In such cases, the parents become welcome partners in a hunt for marital bliss. Further, in several cultures, the last duty of a parent to his or her son or daughter is to see that he or she passes through the marital rites, and that too before a certain respectable age.
Now for the pros and cons, as I see them. I am going to try and be as unbiased as possible, and present both sides equally.Pros:
The success rate of such unions is extremely high, as compared to even love marriages. Proponents of arranged marriage believe that individuals are too easily influenced by the effects of love to make a logical choice about a decision that may determine the entire course of their lives. Defenders often cite the high divorce rates of love-marriages to establish the relative stability of arranged marriages. If potential partners in a marriage enjoy full freedom to veto persons they do not want to marry, and merely rely on their parents and elder relatives to act as trusted, level-headed introducers and advisers who have their best interests at heart, then arranged marriages become little more than a family dating service with some pre-marriage counseling. Parents can be trusted to make a match that is in the best interests of their children as they have much practical experience to draw from and will not be misguided by emotions and hormones. By matching the social and economic backgrounds prior to the marriage itself, the chances of the union to be a success are much higher as the mindset of both the partners would be similar. The fact that my parents' marriage was arranged, and they have been happily married for nearly 20 years reinforces that it does work, maybe even more so than love-marriages. People grow to love each other, even if they were strangers before; time has its ways of fixing things.Cons:
Arranged marriage is as good or as bad as the people arranging it. A forced mismatch, based on the values important to the arranger may not be as important to the parties involved. There is no love involved, well at least until after the marriage, which basically denies the entire experience of falling in love which in itself is too beautiful to miss. So I guess that's the only negative I can think of, and an extremely significant one at that. The absence of any uncertainty, the rush you get from love, the sudden and inexplicable kind; that is going to be absent.
Would you ever consider an arranged marriage? Why or why not?