A seemingly endless debate goes on between which is better: a love-based or arranged marriage. I’m not here to discuss which is better, though, as that’s a much more difficult question to answer and is most often based on perspective and personality. My opinion is that there are advantages and disadvantages to both, but I will discuss the advantages to arranged marriage in this article.
Commitment During the Early Years of Marriage
People often say that the first year of marriage is the most difficult. That learning how to live with someone full-time can be a tiresome and tedious task, especially when it’s the first time you have done so. Now, all of those traits you didn’t know they did in the privacy of their own home, come to light. The way they leave their dirty socks under the bed or the messy way they organize their belongings. The half-eaten food they leave out on the counter. The first year, after the sweet honeymoon period, is often riddled with arguments.
Arranged marriages come with them a sense of obligation. A sense of needing to compromise and accept the other person because of the commitment involved. It’s a commitment that is more like a contract than something born out of passion, and for that reason, is often more stable when times are rough. Because the two partners do not often feel that divorce is a good option at this stage, they disregard it entirely and work to fix the situation.
Family is Involved
Arranged marriages are typically practised in many Asian countries, such as India. Indian culture often has the married couple living with the groom’s family, his parents and whichever unmarried/or married male siblings he has. Households can become fairly large, and so in a marriage, the family is typically involved.
Prospective matches are most often sought by the parents or the elder family members, and then proposed to the woman or man. If he or she approves of one of the matches, they start a brief “get to know each other” period, where they are able to meet and talk to see if both find each other compatible. If this is successful, they are engaged.
In many families, this engagement is more of a “dating” period, where it can still be broken if the man and woman do not end up getting along. In other families, it is more of a fixed engagement that in most cases ends up in marriage.
Since the bride or groom is first narrowed down by the respective families, it ensures more compatibility not only between the bride and her in-laws (or the groom and his in-laws), but between the two sides’ families themselves. Families also help bind the couple together, providing a source of support, advice and conflict resolution during tough times and disagreements.
Many Asian countries are very family oriented, so having the family involved in something as important as marriage between a couple can be very essential.
Eliminates the Trial-and-Error of Dating
Many people enjoy dating. They enjoy meeting new potential partners, talking with new people. For others, however, dating can be stressful and confusing and the idea of not finding that “potential partner” can be difficult.
Arranged marriage requires that you know yourself, know the kind of person that you may like and be able to live with. It requires partners to think beyond just passion and physical attraction, and into factors like compatibility and career. They must be able to think about your future and plan for the long-term.
Once one has this list, however, it takes a lot of the confusion and trial-and-error out of the equation. While love marriage can often promise you a passionate, fulfilling married relationship, arranged marriage can often provide a good basic foundation of respect, affection, and mutual understanding to build upon.
For most people, arranged marriages require the man or woman to try out several prospective matches in the span of a year or two before deciding on one. Often less, and sometimes more. Knowing and planning out what you want can often take a lot of the confusion out of it, especially when you know what you will be able to compromise with. Understanding that arranged marriage is largely based on acceptance is important.
This article was certainly not meant to push you towards an arranged marriage. While there are advantages, there are also disadvantages to pursuing this route. I had mentioned that lack of (initial) passion was one of them. However, the hope was to dispel a lot of the misunderstanding that arranged marriages aren’t beneficial. To many, they can be more advantageous than pursuing a love-based marriage. It depends entirely on what kind of a person you are, what you want, and what your situation and culture requires of you.