Arranged marriages are unusual in that most people assume it is an antiquated custom that is no longer in practice. However, it has been estimated that at least half of the world’s marriages today are arranged. Although heavily prominent in African, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern countries, this custom is also widely practiced in the US. So, what makes it attractive in today’s modern world?
At face value, an arranged marriage looks like any normal marriage. Two individuals, often a man and a woman, enter into a committed union that is legalized by a binding contract. You will only find the differences when you dig deeper. Rather than meeting on their own, their families arrange the proposed union for them. These days, there are even full-time professional matchmakers who offer this service.
No matter who arranges it, this type of marriage still has proponents. Let’s take a look into the world of modern arranged marriages to see why it’s popular and how it has changed.
A Modern Take on Tradition
Traditionally, arranged marriages occur for different reasons, from inheritance and wealth issues to cultural customs to politics. No matter the reason, it all boils down to treating the union as a business merger between the two families.
Surprisingly, these reasons are still used today. The only difference is that the individuals involved in modern arranged marriages have the choice to say no. Often, families would arrange these unions because they wanted their children to marry someone who had the same beliefs and values. But today there is more tolerance and voice given to the bride and groom as to who they marry.
Aside from their freedom to decide, modern arranged marriages are more dependent on technology. In the past, these unions took place through real-world connections. However, these connections have been weakened or lost as families migrate to other countries. With websites and apps, immigrant families are able to find a community of people who share the same customs, beliefs, and values.
The Surprising Outcome
Many may assume that arranged marriages won’t last or, if it does, the people involved would be miserable. Although true for some, most arranged marriages do last. This can be attributed to several factors.
For example, their families’ involvement can serve as a reason to make the marriage work. Couples are likely more inclined to work through their issues because it is easier for everyone involved. Over time, this can lead to the development of mutual admiration for each other which can evolve into love.
Another reason modern arranged marriages work is the fact that both parties made the final decision to get married. Although their families arranged the meeting and the proposal, the decision to follow through rested on their shoulders. They made the conscious choice to enter into a union with someone who was chosen for them. In this way, modern arranged marriages are similar to “free choice” or “love-based” marriages.
This blending of an old custom with a modern mindset is just one of the ways traditions survive in the modern world.