An arranged marriage is set up not by the couple, but by their families. The parents meet first and then coordinate the initial introduction between their children. In Western arranged marriages the potential bride and groom are offered a few opportunities for conversation before they’re expected to decide whether they want to commit to the marriage. That’s a drastic change from traditional arranged marriages where the bride and groom were entitled to less input, if any at all, and often met at the altar.
Every relationship needs adjustment and compromise to work. But is it possible that we put too much emphasis on butterflies, heart pitter-patter and “zing”? Do those feelings last forever?
If you grow up with the idea that marriage can only work if it’s magical, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. The truth is marriage is challenging, even when the two people in it are compatible. The challenges come from high expectations, lack of communication, commitment issues and lack of trust. There is also the fact that many people get married because they place too much emphasis on sexual compatibility. The problem is that once those lusty hormones settle, they’re left with the realities of marriage—their partner’s annoying family, their partner’s little annoying habits and the challenges life throws their way.
Is an Arranged Marriage Settling?
Should you settle? Should you set aside sexual compatibility and attraction for something comfortable and safe? When it comes to marriage, is there such a thing as good enough? Some people have given up on finding a life partner, so they turn to their families or a matchmaker to find a suitable spouse. It’s called arranged marriage, but it isn’t the arranged marriage of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the bible or some ultra-religious foreign country. It’s happening in America and it’s more commonplace than you think.
Love Marriage vs. Arranged Marriage
According to research by Wright Sate University, the average marriage goes through a couple of declines during the first 10 years, including one at four years and another at seven years (the seven year itch). According to the research, the average love marriage starts off at a high point where both partners make excuses for each other’s shortcoming. But after four years, the excuses are no longer made and each partner begins to see the other as they really are.
In the case of arranged marriage, statistics suggest that peak happiness occurs sometime after the first five years. This could be due to each partner having lower expectations (compared to love marriage) at the beginning of the marriage. In an arranged marriage, there is a clear understanding that both partners will have to work to make the marriage successful. Their minds aren’t clouded by romance or sexual chemistry. These couples are focused on what needs to be done to develop compatibility.
When families are more involved in a relationship, it makes it harder to walk away from a marriage. Some critics may say that arranged marriages focus too much on the family and not on how the couple feels about each other. But in a love marriage, maybe too much emphasis is placed on how the couple feels about each other and not on how their relationship affects their parents, children and other family. Outside influences can influence a struggling couple to work things out and stay together.
Is Arranged Marriage Right for You?
An arranged marriage is not a cure-all for someone who has a difficult time in the dating scene. However, it is a good reminder of what actually makes a marriage successful. Romance and sex don’t keep a marriage thriving over the long haul. It’s the realistic expectations, the hard work and being considerate of each other’s feelings that makes a marriage last. If you continuously choose the wrong types of partners, maybe you should put the task of choosing your mate in the hands of someone else, whether they’re family, friends or a reputable matchmaker. They can spot the red flags you might be blind to.