Arranged Marriages In Modern America

I was watching Our America with Lisa Ling on the OWN Network today from our DVR.   Have you seen this show?

oprah, lisa ling, our america, OWN

Photo credit oprah.com

From the swinger lifestyle to young girls entering convents, from arranged marriages to child pageants, the new season of Our America with Lisa Ling takes viewers along for an in-depth look at some of the most controversial and thought-provoking issues in the United States today.

In each episode, Ling immerses herself into the lives of the people she meets and challenges viewers to understand different perspectives and sometimes even question what they themselves have always believed to be true in Our America.

Tune in to the all-new episodes of Our America with Lisa Ling Tuesdays at 10/9c!

The show this past Sunday was on arranged marriages.  Lisa Ling followed 3 couples and one single girl as they dealt with arranged marriages.

It was actually super interesting and got me thinking…..does anyone I know believe in an arranged marriage?  Do you think it could work out?  Do you know anyone who has an arranged marriage?

I mean, it obviously work out.  There are less divorces in arranged marriages then in typical marriages for love.  Of course, you could also claim that most of those who are in arranged marriages also do not support divorce.  Does a common religious belief make a marriage stronger?

This must be a hot topic lately because just recently I also saw a documentary about the mass marriage ceremony by the Unification Church.  Tens of thousands of people were married by the church leader Rev. Sun Myung.  Worldwide, more than 36o million people have accepted the blessing by the Reverend and Dr. Moon’s (his wife) blessing on their marriage.  And after the marriage ceremony, the couples are expected to wait another 40 days until they can be intimate so they can pray for a pure start to marriage.

I am actually fascinated with this subject.  While I was able to choose my life mate based on love and attraction, 100 years ago I might have also been in an arranged marriage.  Or at least had little to say in who I was going to spend the rest of my life with.   I admittedly am not religious…maybe I just don’t get it?  Do you have to be religious to accept this as the norm?

Let me know what you think.

Until next time…..

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6 thoughts on “Arranged Marriages In Modern America

  1. I don’t know if it’s so much religious as cultural. I think a lot of it has to do with the ideas and values you grow up with. If everyone you know has an arranged marriage, and your parents expect you to have an arranged marriage, you’re probably more likely to have one and see it as normal. I don’t know anyone personally in an arranged marriage, but regularly read a blogger who is. She’s very, very happy with her parent’s choice for her husband. They have a son and it sounds like their relationship is truly loving. She explained (as I recall – I’ll add her link at the end) that the basic idea is that your parents know better than you who an ideal match will be. So you trust your parents to make that decision for you. It seems to me also that, at least in cases like hers, an arranged marriage is NOT a forced marriage. I think she could have told her parents no and they would have found someone else they thought suitable until she agreed.

    CLEARLY, just from reading any handful of human rights stories, this is not always the case. There are the tragic stories of 10 year old girls being married off to 50 year old men who already have 3 wives. The stories of young women being married off to abusive families.

    But I don’t know that those things are unique to the nature of an arranged marriage. I think that has more to do with failure on the parents part to choose a proper spouse for their child, whatever the reason for that.

    And it’s not like abuse is unique to arranged marriages. Marriages “for love” are just as susceptible I think.

    I think too often we associate “arranged marriage” with “forced marriage” and that makes it harder to comprehend.

    • Ah Cousin. You always make me think. 🙂 You are right….I think a modern person thinks of an arranged marriage as a forced marriage. Some of the women on the shows I watched went to their parents for help or to a matchmaker. I guess it is so far removed from my world that I just can’t imagine it. But that might be why I am so fascinated. Same could be said for my fascination with history.

      Going to check out that blog.

  2. It ought to be up to the couple involved. If they buy into it, going along with “What Father Wants” could work. Much, in such a case, would depend on the intuition level of the patriarch.

  3. I think it’s also important to note that the lower divorce rate in arranged marriages also has a cultural aspect in that divorce is “frowned” upon and could lead to a woman being ostracized for leaving a spouse that abuses, mistreats or cheats on her. Cultures that actively promote and encourage arranged marriages have very strong ties to traditional behaviours at which the family is centre. To divorce (even if it’s just that you are no longer happy with your spouse for whatever reason) is not seen as a choice – it’s “unthinkable” b/c you would be letting down your family and your familial obligation.

    It’s also good to understand the distinction between arranged and forced marriage although in some cultures, that line is pretty blurry. If you live in rural Pakistan or India, it is common for parents to draw up marriage contracts when their children are young so the children know who they are to marry when they grow up. If they don’t, they risk upsetting their parents or causing dishonor…so what to do? Not necessarily forced but when faced with such a weighty decision, it’s difficult to choose to go against what your parents have arranged.

    I know couples that have had arranged marriages and love marriages. I know of successes and problems for both – but the arranged ones very rarely end in divorce despite having similar issues as the love marriage couples who do eventually divorce (for example, adultery and abuse).

    My personality would never have accepted an arranged marriage despite the pressure from my father to do so. I am so very grateful that I was born in Canada where I have the choice and the ability to reject traditions inherent to my culture with which I do not agree.

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