Arranged marriage facts to dispel your doubts
Arranged marriage facts and statistics are in short supply. In fact, myths about arranged marriages are more popular!
One popular myth in western countries is that all arranged marriages are forced marriages.
People jump to conclusions based on the constant vilification campaign of arranged marriage as an evil practice that needs to be stomped out!
Stereotyped matrimony profiles, dowry deaths, and domestic violence all contribute to this negative opinion about arranged marriages.
That’s not all.
Whenever there is a debate about love marriage vs arranged marriage, we tend to base our arguments on personal experiences or anecdotal evidence.
Also, authoritative sources that highlight facts about arranged marriages in India are not easily found.
Research reports are also subject to further scrutiny and come with a lot of caveats and assumptions.
However, they are definitely a more rational approach to unearthing arranged marriage facts and in finding out if an arranged marriage is something you might even want to consider.
We have unearthed 6 scientific arranged marriage facts that you should read before you write it off!
1. In love marriages, romantic love decreases with time
You read it right.
In 1982, psychologists Usha Gupta and Pushpa Singh of the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur ran a study comparing marriages of choice in the United States to arranged marriages in India.
They found opposite trends: love marriages experienced a lot of initial passion and little compassion thereafter while arranged marriages experienced no initial passion but increasing compassion as the years went on.
Moreover, 10 years after marriage, couples that chose arranged marriage were nearly twice as compassionate as couples that chose love marriage – a result reinforced in a paper by Robert Epstein and Mansi Thakar highlighted in the January/February 2011 edition of Scientific American.
2. Do young and educated Indians prefer love marriages over arranged marriages?
In October 2013, Manjistha Banerji, Steven Martin, and Sonalde Desai from the University of Maryland conducted a study to find answers to (arguably) the most popular assumption among Indians.
The assumption is that young and educated Indians seem to run away from the concept of arranged marriages.
But is this true?
Here is a summary of the results from the study.
A key reason for “parent supervised arranged marriages with participation” emerging as the most common form of marriage arrangement is that it is best suited for a cultural context that does not have a dating culture of the kind existing in the West. Such a “dating culture” requires that it be socially acceptable for the young to “romantically link up with each other without any kind of adult supervision in a setting that is not defined directly as leading to marriage” and to “try out” different potential mates before deciding on a marriage partner.
In other words, arranged marriages continue to remain popular even among educated Indians.
3. Do educated women prefer love marriage?
Findings from the same study cited in the earlier point, show that education makes a huge difference in the extent or autonomy or freedom that women have when it comes to choosing who they will marry.
The greatest difference between college educated women and their less educated counterparts, was not in the extent to which daughters arranged their own marriages or even shared the marriage search jointly with their parents. Instead, we found that parents in India are still doing the major share of arranging marriages (including many families where the daughters have college degrees), but that daughters’ autonomy is being expressed in their increased power of participation in a parent arranged marriage set up.
In other words, young, educated Indians tend to have veto power on the choice of the partner selected by parents.
4. Monkeys in Brazil believe in arranged marriages!
Karen Strier, professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and her research team observed and collected genetic data from a group of 67 wild monkeys living in a protected reserve in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest: infants, mothers and possible sires.
They found that six out of the 13 adult males they studied spent more time in close proximity to their mothers than would be expected by chance. These same six monkeys, on average, sired the greatest number of offspring!
Strier also found that there was no inbreeding among sons and their close female relatives, a process that might also be mediated by mothers. “Mating may be less random than we think, perhaps because of the influence of the mothers,” she says. Does this not sound like arranged marriages?
5. Religious leaders and researchers agree on arranged marriages
You don’t always need a research report to bring out cold, hard, arranged marriage facts.
According to Brian J. Willoughby, an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University,
“Whether it be financial support for weddings, schooling or housing, or emotional support for either partner, parents provide valuable resources for couples as they navigate the marital transition.”
If you ask your parents or religious leaders about the advantages of arranged marriages, the most common responses you are bound to hear will be that parents can make sure your hormones don’t make you lose sight of ground realities that will later come and bite you.
Hence, all the unromantic requirements pertaining to the prospective match’s education background, career, family, physical traits etc actually works in your advantage!
Don’t believe them?
Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavior Research and Technology, says parents “screen for deal breakers.”
Your arranged marriage probably won’t be much different from your “free-range” marriage.
Stanford University’s Michael J. Rosenfeld says, “The people we end up married to or partnered up with end up being similar to us in race, religion and class background and age, which means that they might not be all that different from the person that your mother would have picked for you.”
6. How love conquered (arranged) marriage
All is not lost for love marriages!
An economic model put together by Gabriela Rubio from the University of California, Merced, in her 2014 paper titled How Love Conquered Marriage: Theory and Evidence on the Disappearance of Arranged Marriages came to a conclusion that love marriages are financially profitable and this has contributed to the steady decline of arranged marriages in the western world.
The researcher constructed a model of marital choices that assumes that arranged marriage serves as a form of informal insurance for parents and children, whereas other forms of marriage do not.
In this model, children accepting the arranged marriage will have access to insurance but might give up higher family income by constraining their geographic and social mobility.
Children in love marriages are not geographically/socially constrained, so they can look for the partner with more wealth. The model predicts that arranged marriages will disappear when the net benefits of the insurance arrangement decrease relative to the returns outside of the social network!
In simple language, love marriage is possibly are more “profitable” from a financial sense when compared to arranged marriages and this might explain its decline worldwide.
In summary, it’s not all that easy to discount either arranged marriage or love marriage.
Arranged Marriage Myths – Busted!
Myth: Arranged marriages happen only in India
Arranged marriages happen not just in India.
Where are arranged marriage most common?
Arranged marriages are popular in South Asian countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. They also happen in the middle eastern countries, Japan and China. Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and elsewhere in the world also practice arranged marriages.
Myth: Only Hindus practice arranged marriages
While Hindus in India practice arranged marriages, arranged marriages happen in other religions as well.
In addition to Islam, certain orthodox Christian, and Jewish communities practice arranged marriages.
Myth: Arranged marriages are illegal
Arranged marriages are legal as long as the bride and the groom are of marriageable age as determined by local laws and they have given their consent to get married.
Not all arranged marriages are forced marriages.
Myth: Couples don’t see each other before arranged marriage
This is partially true.
In contemporary India, couples going through an arranged marriage interact with one another in a group setting as well as privately before they get engaged.
However, in certain economically weaker sections of the society, the bride and the groom may not see other or interact briefly before the wedding.