An arranged marriage is when a marriage partner is decided many years before the actual marriage, but often the pair have met several times before and most girls are allowed to ‘pick’ their partner. In this sense, arranged marriages are a lot more liberal than forced marriage, and we are going to be focusing on these today. According to statistics, the average percentage of arranged marriages in the UK is around 5%, which is actually a large number if you think about it, but why?
Many people actually think arranged marriages are more successful than regular marriages- as everything is carefully planned out before hand, the relationship is supposed to be ‘more stable’. Divorce rates within arranged marriages are also many times lower than regular marriages. One particular news article suggests this is the case because of the many factors that the parents have considered, for example, life goals, common interests, etc. Because the relationship is not fully fuelled by love and passion, arranged marriage relationships are often more stable, and often better long-term.
Many parents (not necessarily in the UK) feel that arranged marriages are ‘safer’, as the parents know the partner better, and this helps to be able to choose the most compatible partner for their child. Observing these many benefits, personally I think that this practice should be allowed to continue in the 21st century. The evidence is clear that arranged marriages do not actually all result to domestic violence, no chemistry or love between the husband and wife, etc. but actually, can be a safer and more logical choice to marriage than regular marriages.
Although this path is not definitely for everyone, I think arranged marriages will definitely work for others, and actually result in lower divorce rates, etc. But what exactly are the disadvantages and advantages of arranged marriages? As mentioned before, the advantages of arranged marriages include a more stable relationship (leading to lower divorce rates), the risk of incompatible relationships are completely reduced, and the parents on either side both know each spouse better, which has many benefits.
Although there are many advantages, there are also a few disadvantages, actually including incompatibility! Because the marriage is not necessarily a love marriage, it is easy to lack the love that might keep a marriage going! Also, many partners within an arranged marriage may actually be more tempted to cheat on their spouses, as there is no love or chemistry within the marriage! An arranged marriage may also mean more interference from the family of the partner, which could cause discomfort and reluctance.
Also, because the general public do not have a very good opinion about arranged marriages, this could cause harm and low-self confidence of the person, as they could be looked down upon, and demoralised, through no fault of their own. Now we have all the advantages and disadvantages of arranged marriages, it is time to find out the actual opinions and thoughts of someone who is in an arranged marriage. For this purpose, we have interviewed someone who is actually in an arranged marriage, Aishwarya Dutta, 45, and who had an arranged marriage in the UK.
US: So you have had an arranged marriage? AD: yes, I have in fact been married, by an arranged marriage. US: were you quite against the idea at first? AD: well, I was actually not too enthusiastic about the idea at first, but gradually, I realised that arranged marriages were just more logical and simple- you know the person that you are going to stay with for the rest of your life, you know their parents, and I thought it would be a lot more comfortable for me than if I had a normal marriage? US: what do you think about your relationship?
AD: I think our relationship is pretty sturdy, it is certainly not all about love and passion, but that does not mean we are in a loveless relationship! I feel very comfortable with my husband, and I certainly have known him now, for a very long time. I think an arranged marriage certainly has many long-term benefits, such as a more stable relationship, and a relationship that is a lot more secure. Now that we know the feelings of someone who is actually in an arranged marriage, it is time for someone who is anticipating an arranged marriage to be interviewed.
We are going to interview Heera Ahuja, 21 and shortly married in 3 months. US: hello Heera, so what age did you find out you were going to have an arranged marriage? HA: so I find out I was going to have an arrange marriage at 18, as I was leaving high school. US: what were your initial thoughts when you found out you were going to have an arranged marriage? HA: Honestly, when I first found out I was going to have an arranged marriage, I was not exactly very excited.
I felt a little shocked, and I felt disappointed, almost, because I had always imagined marrying the love of my life, instead of someone who I already know, and don’t exactly have feelings for. US: have your thoughts changed in any way since then? HA: yes, they have definitely changed. I no longer feel unhappy about this marriage, I think there will be some definite long-term benefits, although I don’t feel the most excited for my marriage, I have no idea what it will be like yet, so I will just have to wait and see!
Arranged marriages in the UK seem a lot more liberal and relaxed, but we will have a look at the arranged marriages around the world, and how they differ. Firstly in India, most people follow the arranged marriage system, because they believe it protects the family, social status, etc. Although child marriages used to be common, they are now abolished by law. Also, up until the 1950s, arranged marriages were the norm in most Asian countries, however, during the recent 40 years, they have rapidly decreased and love-marriages have increased.
There are many arranged marriages within Jewish religions, Islamic religions, etc. and most involve meeting the partner beforehand, meetings with potential partners, etc. These marriages are often actually successful, and have many happy endings. Overall, I think arranged marriages are not necessary a bad thing. Personally, I prefer the idea of love-marriage just because it seems more traditional and right for me, but I do think there are many advantages to arranged marriages that were mentioned before. I am not against arranged marriages, but not necessarily in favour of it.