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Pros and Cons of Arranged Marriages

Published by Nanni on Sunday, July 01, 2012

Photo credit by mtsofan

Those of us who live in countries where falling in love is the path to marriage may be surprised at some of the pros and cons of arranged marriages. Though they are not for everyone, arranged marriages do have some advantages that you may not be aware of. At the same time, they have some very real disadvantages too.

In countries or cultures where matchmaking is the norm, people are very aware of the pros and cons of arranged marriages. One of the strongest reasons for arranged marriages is finding a partner who is compatible ethnically, religiously, socially and culturally; in fact, this reason is the primary reason arranged marriages occur in some immigrant communities in Western countries. In ethnic or religious communities where assimilation is frowned upon, such as Greek expatriates or Orthodox Jews, arranged marriages are looked upon as a way to perpetuate the faith or culture.

At the same time, when discussing the positives in the pros and cons of arranged marriages, some of the following may surprise you: arranged marriages tend to have a much lower divorce rate than marriages based on romantic love. There are several reasons for this, including the aforementioned cultural compatibility. For one thing, cultures that practice arranged marriages are often very close-knit, and tend to provide individuals and families within their system with more support than the average couple receives in the Western world. For another thing, when marriages are arranged, great effort is made to pair up couples with similar social standing and financial status, so these couples may have fewer reasons to argue than romantically paired couples. Finally, many couples who had arranged marriages say that love grows over time and stems from meeting the challenges that any married couple faces together.

On the other hand, arranged marriages do include negatives as well. It's possible to end up with an entirely unsuitable partner, and if that happens, it may very well be more difficult to get out of an arranged marriage due to cultural or religious pressure. The movie "A Price Above Rubies," which deals with arranged marriage in an Orthodox Jewish community, poignantly illustrates some of these difficulties.

Some cultures use arranged marriages as a means to suppress women, marrying them off at a young age before they are old enough to develop independently. In fact, some cultures, such as the polygamist sects in the Western United States, actually have turned arranged marriages into an institutionalized form of child abuse. This possibility has to be considered when discussing the pros and cons of arranged marriages.

Finally, the most commonly considered negative in discussing the pros and cons of arranged marriages is just what you would expect: most modern people prefer to experience both the joys and potential heartaches of romantic love. For this reason, it does seem like arranged marriages will never again be widely practiced in the common western culture.

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