Arranged marriages: They’re not as unfortunate as you think

The idea of promising to spend one’s entire life with another person is nothing short of daunting, but when the right pair cross paths, the result can be outstanding.

That being said, it is important that both parties are wholly comfortable with each other and completely on board with the marriage. While most marriages are a result of an ongoing relationship between two individuals, there is another type of marriage — the arranged marriage.

An arranged marriage can be as successful or unsuccessful as a love marriage. The major downfall to an arranged marriage is that in some cases, the individuals in question have had no prior meeting and know little, if anything, of each other.

My parents had an arranged marriage, and it has worked out extremely well. While the misconception with arranged marriages is that they will fail, the majority of arranged marriages are successful.

According to a 2012 study by Statistic Brain, the global divorce rate for arranged marriages was 6 percent — a significantly low number. Compared to the 55 percent of marriages in the world that are arranged, this low statistic shows the success rate of arranged marriages.

Contrary to forced marriages, in which the individuals are at risk of being disowned should they disagree with the marriage,  arranged marriages are sought with the hope for a stable relationship over time. In most cases, the couple’s families have known one another for a long while.

For many individuals, arranged marriages can be extremely beneficial.

“I don’t think love marriage and arranged marriage are as different as we make them out to be,” said Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, in Ji Hyun Lee’s “Modern Lessons from Arranged Marriages.”

“The people we end up married to or partnered up with end up being similar to us in race, religion, class background and age, which means that they might not be all that different from the person that your mother would have picked for you.”

The problem with arranged marriages is that families will put two individuals together because the families are friendly with one another, regardless of whether the couple is comfortable with each other. The individuals may not be forced into marriage, but familial pressure sometimes make them feel like it.

Furthermore, as seen in the following case, families in arranged marriages may sometimes hide their children’s flaws in order to keep the marriage intact.

On March 13, a to-be bride in India walked out on her wedding when her fiancé failed to answer a simple math question, according to the New York Times. The woman asked the man, “What is 15+6?” When the man answered “17,” she called off the wedding, claiming that she had been misled of the groom’s education.

The groom’s family pleaded with the woman to return and continue with the marriage, but to no avail. Police had to mediate and ensure that all wedding gifts and jewelry that had been exchanged were returned.

Unfortunately, this case is not altogether unusual. A similar case occurred in February when, according to The Times of India, a groom had an epileptic seizure in the middle of his wedding, causing his bride to call off their wedding and marry a guest instead.

According to Everything Engagement, arranged marriages are more common in parts of the world such as India, Africa and the Middle East. They are not as common in the United States, but awareness of these marriages is beginning to rise.

“I personally don’t know of anyone who has been in or is considering an arranged marriage,” pre-business sophomore Viviane Nguyen said. “I’m not quite familiar with the structure of an arranged marriage, but if I had parents who really wanted…what I wanted in a spouse, then I guess I would trust them if I had no option but to be arranged.”

“But personally, I’d rather get married on my own terms. I’d want control of my future.”

Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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