When the word marriage comes to mind people automatically also think of the word love but in may parts all over the world the tradition of arranged marriages take place and are considered a normal part of life that upholds cultural values that have been practiced for centuries. The official definition of the term is the process in which marital partners are chosen by parents, elders of the home, family friends, community leaders, and or religious leaders to steer young people through the process of finding the right person to marry. While many people believe that love is a key element for marriage the statistics and the fact that it is becoming more common in today’s modern society it shows that people with the same religion, culture, upbringing, traditions and upbringing have the most satisfying, loving, and enduring relationships. I myself come from a culture where arranged marriage is practiced everyone in my family except for five people had an arranged marriage and their marriages are much more successful then the five that had a love marriage. In this article I explore the most current literature and will layout the misconceptions of arranged marriage, its modernization, its love and success rates. The overall objective is to have a better understanding of arranged marriage.
The instant a person hears arranged they automatically hear forced however that is one of the biggest misconceptions about the subject. While back in the day and even in some parts of the world today some arranged marriages are forced many or not. According to Penn (2011) the media plays a significant role in how arranged marriage are perceived because they are constantly showing the negative side of it. I happen to agree because when you see arranged marriage in the media you are always seeing things like child marriages, young women with old men, and the word forced on every headline about the subject. I like to link this concept to Gladstone’s beliefs on cognitive dissonance Gladstone states that it’s the individuals ability to believe something with his whole heart and even when presented facts they are more convinced of their beliefs.” Gladstone, B., Neufeld, J., Jones, R., & Ferris-Jones, S. (2012). The Influencing Machine. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. In this case it seems to hand in hand with Penn because in today’s society when you talk about arranged marriage people tend to be so shocked because to them it seems wrong no matter how much you tell them the positive aspects they respond with I could never do that, or I would never marry a stranger without even knowing that with the changing of time and generation the concept of the whole marrying a stranger has changed. While in some of the more rural parts of Asia, India, and the Middle East some arranged marriages are still forced others with the come to term with the changing times and give them a choice. Emran et al. (2014) states that yes, your parents choose people with or without their children input but children do have the freedom to either accept or deny their prospective husband. Which is a big step towards the term of a modern arranged marriage.
The concept of a modern day arranged marriage is becoming more and more common in today’s society because its changed a lot over time while they still envelops the culture, the traditions, customs and values the parents and elders of the family are becoming more lenient and adapting of the western culture that that we are living in by letting the couple that they want to get married enter into to a courtship or date and if it works out great and if it doesn’t that’s okay too. In fact, Pande (2016) calls the process a mode of matchmaking from the first generation to the younger generation. Anyone familiar with the basic concepts would agree with Pande because it’s basically like getting acquainted with someone or getting setup with a person by a friend which is common the only difference is that your family plays the role of the friend. Furthermore Zaidi & Shuryadi (2002) mention that the idea for a modern arranged marriage stem from the fact that the parents and elders in the family are modifying their strict older traditions in order to compromise with western views by giving children more of a say in the process. Zaidi & Shuryadi go on to explain that a major factor for this change is based on the higher education levels that’s families have in the west because the higher the education the more the culture is being modified and adapted to fit into the cultural context of the west. By doing this the biggest change comes in the mate selection process and being able to actually date the person that your family has chosen for you. Hense & Schorch (2013) say that when it comes to mate selection the whole family is typically involved and it usually starts with finding compatible prospective men and women that have the intent to marry. Then comes the categories that are involved in the process families usually try to find people that have the same ethnicity, background, religion, education, culture and same family values. When they have found someone that’s falls into these categories they set up for the families to meet. Nevertheless, according to Pande (2016) once these families meet the boy and the girl have a chance to court without any type of supervision and see if they are attracted to each other, compatible with each other and then make the decision to get married. Being Afghan and seeing as well as going through some of the steps of arranged marriage first hand I agree with Pande, Hense & Schorch, and Zaidi & Shuryadi because the process is exactly as they described it for instance if my family approached me and asked me to meet this guy and his family he fell into the categories described earlier so we meet, went out a couple times and came to the conclusion that we were not as compatible as our families thought and that was okay because we both had the choice to either accept or reject knowing that there would be no consequences we as would our families would go on with our lives and still be civil with another in social setting knowing that they tired and it didn’t work out where as back in the day fights and arguments would break out over rejecting a proposal and that is the thing that is making arranged marriages more modern is that fact that families are getting more educated and actually letting their children get involved in the process by giving them the freedom to make the choice of saying yes and no. Also, they are adapting and acknowledging the fact that we are living in the west and we need to change some our customs to fall into place with the culture that majority of the younger generations have been born into.
In general, arranged marriages are more successful in accordance with Epstein et al. (2013) states that commitment is the key to success and love in these marriages because you have two people trying to commitment, and sacrificing the small the things and that is the most powerful component plus it creates love. While love is one of the first things to be considered in traditional marriages it comes secondary in arranged marriage Bowman & Dollahite (2013) emphasize that marital satisfaction, love and success is linked to the example of parents and family its also in choosing the right spouse and lastly in religious and family expectations and by fulfilling these the love emerges and stays strong throughout the course of the marriage. In addition, Netting (2006) mentions that in an arranged marriage you learn to love the person and that love grows over the course from the courtship to the marriage and I happen to agree because according to Buch (2015) the global divorce rate for arranged marriage was 6 percent a remarkably low number compared to 55 percent of love marriages this statistic shows that arranged marriages are successful and that they do work. I personally feel that these marriages are successful because you get into this relationship that is based on mutual respect, trust, commitment, faith and sacrifice and when you see your partner bringing all those things into the relationship like Netting(2016) says the love emerges and grows and then you in tune fall in love and your husband or wife and watching them making adjustments in their lives for you brings about a whole new feeling of admiration and appreciation and that makes a marriage works because of the faith, family, and values that make you compatible so you are willing to put in the hard work that marriage requires.
I learned a lot from reading through these articles and from the point of view as a person who lives in a culture where arranged marriages are practiced I’m glad that they are becoming more common and more modern because sometimes when we are in love you tend to over look some the major flaws or concerns that raise red flags and while your family tries to tell you we tend to ignore them while with arranged you know your parents are never going to choose wrong and that’s the beauty in it also I like the fact that families including mine are okay with modifying some the tradition we follow to adapt to western culture because being born and raised here you tend to have a different mindset than your parent or some over older relatives so if they can modify their traditions we can modify our perspectives towards arranged marriage making it nice to be able to meet in the middle and to be able to make decisions on such an important aspect of one’s life .
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