Marriage takes a lot of hard work, and people in arranged marriages know that from the very beginning of their relationship.
Many of my friends have been watching the new matchmaking shows on Netflix that highlight dating in cultures most Americans don’t encounter in their everyday lives. The show Indian Matchmaking has captured a large audience because of the fascination with a completely different way of finding a potential spouse. While the program doesn’t exactly show how arranged marriages function in Indian culture, there are some similarities that seem very different for most people in the US.
In India, where my friend Daniel lives, over 90% of marriages are arranged by family members.
Arranged marriages are more prevalent worldwide than many people realize. In India, where my friend Daniel lives, over 90% of marriages are arranged by family members. Even in the United States, 86% of the Indian population still opts for arranged marriages within their community. Globally, 55% of all marriages are arranged, and as our nation becomes more ethnically and culturally diverse, we are likely to encounter more individuals in arranged marriages.
However, it is important to acknowledge that when discussing arranged marriages, there is a distinction between arranged marriages and forced marriages. Forced marriages are unequivocally wrong from an American point of view, where individual consent is a fundamental principle. In the case of my friend Daniel, his parents, who are strong Christians, sought out other Christian parents with daughters who shared their son’s lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ. They engaged in thorough discussions to understand each other’s values, including Daniel’s desire to share his faith fearlessly.
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Finding the right woman for Daniel was not an easy task. There was an engagement at one point, but it was called off because the woman was not comfortable with her potential husband’s unwavering devotion to his faith. In most arranged Christian marriages in India, either party has the right to refuse their parents’ choices at any time.
Finally, Daniel’s parents met another couple whose daughter shared their faith and Daniel’s passion for spreading the message of Jesus. After several meetings, both sets of parents introduced Daniel and the woman to each other. They arranged a meeting at a local park, where the couple sat on a bench while their parents observed from a distance. This courtship phase allowed the prospective couple to get to know each other better. After several months of meeting, Daniel and the woman decided they were ready to marry.
Their joyous wedding ceremony took place in a local church, witnessed by many guests. Today, ten years later, Daniel and his wife have two children, and together they conduct a ministry to spread the gospel in India. Although their marriage, like any other, has had its share of challenges, they have grown in love and are deeply committed to making their marriage work for the long term.
Notably, arranged marriages boast a divorce rate of 6.3%, significantly lower than the overall divorce rate in America, which hovers around 42%.
While arranged marriages are not part of my personal experience, I have come to appreciate certain aspects of them. Notably, arranged marriages boast a divorce rate of 6.3%, significantly lower than the overall divorce rate in America, which hovers around 42%. This stark contrast emphasizes the value of commitment and perseverance demonstrated by couples who choose to grow together, despite the inevitable ups and downs of married life. Most of our readers would never consider an arranged marriage for themselves or their family members, but there are several valuable lessons we can learn from arranged marriages that will help us in our own relationships.
In many arranged marriages, couples enter into their union with limited knowledge of each other. Yet, over time, love has the opportunity to grow as they invest in understanding one another. In the US, there is a tendency to place immediate emphasis on passion and chemistry. However, by embracing patience and understanding, individuals in arranged marriages believe they can learn to nurture love and develop a deeper connection over time.
Commitment and Perseverance
Arranged marriages require unwavering commitment and perseverance. These couples understand that a successful marriage requires dedication and hard work. They are willing to weather the storms and overcome challenges rather than giving up at the first sign of trouble. By learning from arranged marriages, couples can create a long-lasting bond that will overcome many obstacles.
Building a Strong Foundation
Arranged marriages emphasize the importance of building strong foundations before love can fully blossom. Couples are encouraged to prioritize their shared values, compatibility, and mutual respect. While these considerations may seem pragmatic, they are essential for establishing a lasting partnership. In contrast, Western cultures often place more emphasis on intense romantic feelings as the foundation of a relationship. However, these initial sparks can fade, leaving couples struggling to maintain a meaningful connection. Working hard at building a solid foundation leads to a lasting relationship.
Weathering the Storms
In every relationship, there will be bad days, misunderstandings, and challenges that test the strength of the bond. Arranged marriages can teach us that it is possible to weather these storms and come out stronger on the other side. Couples in arranged marriages often rely on communication, compromise, and a shared sense of commitment to overcome obstacles. By applying these principles to our marriages, we can learn to navigate the inevitable rough patches and work together to find solutions rather than simply giving up when things get hard.
Arranged marriages encourage couples to grow together over time. Love is seen as a journey rather than an immediate destination. Couples learn to adapt, compromise, and evolve alongside one another. This approach recognizes that individuals change over time and that their relationships must adapt to accommodate these transformations. By embracing this perspective, we avoid stagnation and create an environment of continuous growth and development.
I don’t expect most of the people I know to turn their choice of a spouse over to their families, but we can all learn from a method of matchmaking that is quite successful. In fact, it is a wonderful blessing to have your family fully engaged in loving and supporting your spouse. Marriage takes a lot of hard work, and people in arranged marriages know that from the very beginning of their relationship. If all of us can apply that ethic to our marriages, perhaps we might also see the numbers of successful marriages grow as a result.