Although foreign to most of the western world, arranged marriage statistics show that this type of union is often more successful than those we typically see. Common in India, Africa and in some parts of the Middle East, arranged marriages are decided by family members rather than by two people organically.
While forty to fifty percent of couples in the United States and Canada find themselves part of divorce rates, arranged marriage statistics show us an average divorce rate of 4 percent. Keep in mind that this figure is hotly debated because many point out that cultures partaking in these types of relationships do not support divorce.
The argument is that, if you’ll allow someone to arrange your marriage for you, you will also follow the norm and denounce divorce. Similarly divorce is decidedly more difficult in these countries compared to those in the west.
While the arranged marriage statistics may be encouraging, stories in the news regarding these types of unions are usually not wrapped up with a fairytale ending. We hear a lot about young women being killed by their families for not accepting a pre-determined partner. Of course, statistics related to this are not available.
On the other hand, we are also hearing about people in the western world choosing the pre-arranged marriage route out of respect for tradition. While they are free to choose their own partner, they’ve decided against it.
I found an article written by Aditya Mahajan (now removed from the Khaleej Times) that provided a very unique look at an Indian man’s point of view regarding arranged marriages. It is interesting to note that India, a country where most unions are pre-arranged, has the lowest divorce statistics in the entire world at only 1.1 percent. Surely this tells us something.
Advantages of Arranged Marriages
Just why these arranged marriages are so successful (aside from the denunciation of divorce that I mentioned earlier) can be a mystery to most. Since these relationships are chosen by family members, it seems that they are built on a set of moral values and beliefs.
A similar belief system is paramount to a successful relationship. Sure, you do see examples of people with different beliefs making it work, but it’s far easier when you have that building block established in the first place.
Secondly, a certain level of equality is achieved in these unions. I am not talking about gender equality because that is a different subject entirely. This has nothing to do with women’s rights or the like which is a novel unto itself.
What I’m talking about is equality when it comes to education, finances and world view. Since families do the matching, they tend to go for partners who are of equal stature. If you have a highly educated daughter, you aren’t going to match her with someone who didn’t finish highschool. This starts the relationship on equal footing and things can build from there.
Lastly, it alleviates a lot of pressure. When two people come together out of their own free will there is a lot of second-guessing and worrying. Does he love me? Am I saying the wrong thing? Will he propose? If you know you’ve already got your husband or wife in the bag (so to speak) it frees you to be who you truly are. There aren’t any games because you don’t need them! There are no arranged marriage statistics on this idea in particular, but it does make sense.
I suggest a great book on this subject called: “First Comes Marriage: Modern Relationship Advice from the Wisdom of Arranged Marriages.” In this book, Reva Seth examines over 300 arranged marriages and why they work. It provides excellent insight and advice. Pick it up from Amazon if you’d like to be better informed on the topic and also if you’d like some advice for your own relationships.
Disadvantages of Arranged Marriages
Obviously, the biggest disadvantage is not being able to choose the person you’ll be spending the rest of your life with. The freedom to choose – whether it be your partner, your career or your place in this world – is one of the greatest gifts we can be given. Choosing your husband or wife is a very personal decision and it impacts you forever. Life is difficult, but so much more manageable and enjoyable when you’re sharing it with the right person.
Let’s not forget about love. I’m not saying that arranged marriages aren’t full of love. In fact, I have met people in who say they have grown to love and appreciate their partner as much as, if not more than, someone they would have chosen themselves. I just think falling in-love is one of the most magical parts of being alive. The thrill of courtship and the feeling of your heart skipping a beat can never be replaced.
Another big disadvantage is that your in-laws will most likely play a pretty huge role in your life. If they helped choose your husband or wife, you’d better believe they’ll have a say in how you raise your children, where you live and most other aspects of your life. For some this is fine. For others, it’s a nightmare! Statistics show that meddling in-laws are a huge issue of contention in many marriages!
For more insight into the disadvantages of arranged marriages, I highly recommend Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s book, “Arranged Marriage.” It spent five weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list and garnered critical acclaim for profiling various women in stages of their arranged marriages. Her writing is stunning and, if you’re at all interested in arranged marriages, it’s definitely a do-not-miss read.
While the arranged marriage statistics are promising, there is no wrong or right way to love. I believe that arranged marriages can work and that they can make some people very happy. I also, however, believe that love cannot be manufactured or created using a set of rules or ideals. I like the idea of choice. If you choose to have your marriage arranged, all the more power to you! The point is, you should be able to choose.