Statistics evidence that arranged marriages last longer with a substantially lower divorce rate opposed to the western idealisation of the love marriage. Though why is this so if one does not always know their future husband or wife to be? The arranged marriage intrigues me and so I thought to look into this a little further. If you missed my article about The Reality Of Arranged Marriages then be sure to read this first here.
Surprisingly most of those in arranged marriages that I know, all seem to be happy. Yet I have read many articles about women in arranged marriages who suffer silently with domestic violence. Although I have never yet personally met any to date. But then again being a taboo topic it’s not something one would share with others. Here are a few theories behind why the arranged marriage lasts longer.
So Why Do Arranged Marriages Last Longer Than Love Marriages?
No Preconceived Notions or Expectations
I read an interesting article on Why Are So Many Indian Arranged Marriages Successful and one theory stood out to me. When entering an arranged marriage there is little to no expectation on the other person given they do not know each other very well. Most arranged marriages have met once or twice before marrying.
Essentially the more you know about someone the higher your expectations are likely to be. Therefore with a love marriage by the time you do marry it can be years and your expectations and preconceived notions of that person will be greater. Simply because you know more about them and you expect them not to change after marriage.
Marriage Is Based On Compatibility
Many arranged marriages are based on several compatibilities such as same social status and caste. Because of having similar compatibilities it makes for a longer lasting relationship opposed to marrying just for love. As you know love can be blind and you can overlook certain traits you normally wouldn't.
Someone Else Does All The Hard Work Finding Your Partner
Parents usually are responsible for finding their sons or daughters a suitable partner in life. So taking away the stress of finding a partner probably is helpful as they simply don't settle for second best. Those who choose their life partner may settle for anyone given they have a fear of being alone or are just tired of searching for the one.
Having someone else do all the hard work means they will keep looking until they find the perfect match. No matter how long or challenging it is. Nothing beats the sheer determination of a parent!
Many Brides Marry Up
Also referred to as hypergamy, is essentially the act of marrying a person of a higher caste/ social standing. This is a dream many Indian parents hope to achieve, particularly for their daughters, in the hopes of providing them a better life. This however does come at a cost to the family who must pay a rather substantial dowry to the prospective groom’s family. Women of higher castes generally don’t marry down as it is frowned upon, therefore men don’t tend to marry up.
Being of a lower social standing generally means that you’re more willing to please your partner. Furthermore it isn’t only about the bride but her family as well, which can place pressure on her to make sure her husband is happy. But not only that most women are grateful to receive such an opportunity for both herself and her family to better their lives. Thus in turn will generally aim to please her husband.
It Is Not Just About The Couple It Is About The Family
I asked my husband the other day why he thinks the arranged marriage is successful and his belief is that it is due to it being about the family's and not just the couple. If there is an argument between the couple usually both family's will sit down together with the couple and talk out the problem. They will continue to do this until both parties come to a resolution.
Because of the family involvement couples compromise and resolve issues faster rather than letting them fester. Also by having a third person’s opinion, it can help couples to better understand one another’s point of view. It’s essentially free counselling that they have no say in attending.
They Are Not Truly Madly Deeply In Love
Given that most arranged marriages are based on compatibility over love than there is the theory that they may not be madly in love. The heart stopping, butterfly's swirling in the tummy, light headed, truly madly deeply in love kind. I don't argue that they don't love each other however it may not be to the same degree.
Which is why love can be blind when you feel that much passion for another person. Traits you otherwise wouldn’t have overlooked are dismissed thanks to blind love. Furthermore tumultuous passion can cause a roller coaster of dilemmas.
Divorce Is Still Highly Stigmatised
Arranged marriages may not necessarily be successful and those who are unhappy may choose to stay in the marriage for the sake of the family's reputation and their own. Those who have arranged marriages have been raised in a culture where divorce is not an acceptable outcome. This is due to many factors including family status; a divorce would tarnish the family's reputation in society. A divorce also reflects poorly on the parents who did the matchmaking.
It is also in general the perception of society, that divorce is taboo. Many women who are divorced are ostracised from their family and even their community because of the stigma of divorce. There are even temples or safe havens for widowed or divorced women to seek shelter as they’re essentially homeless once outcast from society.
Therefore due to the stigmatisation of divorce being so embedded into the culture, even unhappy couples still won’t opt for a divorce. Which could mean that the divorce rate is askew and doesn't give a true reflection.
It’s important to note that whether you’re seeking marriage by way of an arrangement or by following your heart, each comes with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. An arranged marriage concedes that marriage is essentially a business transaction. The ineffable feeling of heart stopping truly madly deeply in love, is missing, or at least in the beginning for some. However it’s typically the tumultuous passionate love that often leads to divorce.
What is your take on why arranged marriages last longer? I’d love to hear your thoughts so be sure to leave your comments below in the comments field.