Table of Contents
Arranged marriages refer to a cultural practice where the bride and groom are selected by individuals other than themselves (Raina et al., 2018). In most cases of arranged marriages, the bride and groom meet for the first time at the wedding ceremony. The practice of arranged marriages has widely been criticized for being retrogressive and oppressive for the couple. The bride and groom have little say in the selection process (Raina et al., 2018). Nevertheless, proponents of arranged marriages argue that arranged marriages are usually more successful than love marriages. They present that the divorce rate in arranged marriages is significantly lower than in love marriages, where the bride and groom choose each other for marriage (Bromfield et al., 2016). In the U.S., the divorce rate for love marriage fluctuates between 40% and 50%, while the divorce rate for arranged marriages is only 4% (Myers et al., 2015). In countries like India, where 90% of marriages are arranged, the divorce rate is only 1% (Myers et al., 2015). Given the low divorce rate in arranged marriages compared to love marriages, it is logical that their advantages outweigh their disadvantages.
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One of the main advantages of arranged marriages is that they provide equal stature, cultural identity, financial stability, and similar opinions between the two families (Myers et al., 2015). This reduces the risk of dispute between the two families significantly and establishes a better inter-family relationship. In arranged marriages, the responsibility of the marriage is shared between the two families and not only the couple (Myers et al., 2015). The participation of the two families in the marriage creates a support system for the couple, thereby strengthening the marriage. A support system is imperative for strengthening marriages because it helps resolve any disputes/challenges that might arise.
The participation of the two families in arranging the marriage also makes it easy for the in-laws to adjust to changes that arise from the marriage (Raina et al., 2018). By participating in the marriage arrangement, the in-laws become stakeholders in it and thus actively engage in activities aimed at making the marriage successful. Studies evaluating arranged marriages have revealed that under arranged marriages, family members are more willing to share economic burdens and help in any way that is required. Thus, making it easier for the couple to overcome most of the challenges they might face (Raina et al., 2018). The support offered by family members also extends to taking care of the children who result from the couple’s union. The children receive more care and love from all family members, which helps their psychological development.
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One of the main disadvantages of arranged marriages is that love is not a factor at the start of the marriage (Myers et al., 2015). The bride and groom are usually strangers to one another, increasing the risk of incompatibility between the partners. The difference in personalities between the partners can lead to the spouses not trusting one another and frequent arguments (Myers et al., 2015). The frequent arguments that arise as the partners attempt to adjust to each other can lead to problems between the extended family members.
The next major disadvantage of arranged marriages is the fact that the partners have little room for personal choices (Madathil et al., 2018). The lack of opportunity to make decisions about their partners and the marriage can lead to the partners being unhappy with the choices made for them. Being unhappy, coupled with the feeling of having no control over one’s own life, can lead to emotional distress for the partners. Emotional distress is usually associated with high rates of anxiety and stress for partners in an arranged marriage (Madathil et al., 2018).
Studies have also demonstrated that arranged marriages are closely associated with an increased probability of gender inequality (Madathil et al., 2018). In societies where arranged marriages are heavily practiced, women tend to be regarded as the lesser partner in the marriage. Societies tend to follow the traditional view of a model family structure where men are expected to be dominant over their wives. The challenge of gender inequality is also closely associated with an increased risk of emotional distress for the women in the marriage.
From an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of arranged marriages, it is evident that a majority of the advantages are socially based. It implies that the benefits focus heavily on the families of the couple getting married and society. The analysis also reveals that a majority of the disadvantages are individually based. This proves that the disadvantages focus primarily on the bride and groom who are engaged in the marriage. To determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, one should evaluate whether the benefits accrued to society outweigh the benefits accrued to individuals. In this respect, it is logical for one to present that the advantages of arranged marriages significantly outweigh their disadvantages.
- Bromfield, N. F., Ashour, S., & Rider, K. (2016). Divorce from arranged marriages: An exploration of lived experiences. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 57(4), 280-297.
- Madathil, J., & Benshoff, J. M. (2018). Importance of marital characteristics and marital satisfaction: A comparison of Asian Indians in arranged marriages and Americans in marriages of choice. The Family Journal, 16(3), 222-230.
- Myers, J. E., Madathil, J., & Tingle, L. R. (2015). Marriage satisfaction and wellness in India and the United States: A preliminary comparison of arranged marriages and marriages of choice. Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(2), 183-190.
- Raina, P., & Maity, T. (2018). An empirical study on marital satisfaction between arranged and self marriage couples in Bangalore. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 6(1), 101-108.