I grew up in a country where arranged marriages are still the norm in rural areas and not uncommon in urban parts either. In the bigger cities, some people believe in the idea, some don’t, and some use it as a fall back option. I was one of those who thought of it as a backup. I’m glad I chose to fall back on it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in favor of the kind of marriage where the bride and groom would see each other for the first time on the wedding day. I don’t think that kind of marriage holds any meaning. But I am all for the idea of two families getting in touch with each other, setting up a meeting, talking things out, and allowing the prospective bride and groom some time to talk things out among themselves. This kind of setup allows people to have their family backing them up, by their side, when they make the most crucial decision of their lives. It makes making the decision a little easier. When you know that your family supports you in your choice, the people who care for you, know you, understand you, and have seen more of life than you have. You have all these people to support you if you get cold feet. You have them to help build stronger ties with entire family on your spouse’s side. That makes your new family and your new home feel like your own.
It is a lot easier to spend your life with someone who grew up in a similar environment, with values similar to your own. The fact that both families are involved in the process makes it easier to judge this.
Sometimes people tend to rush into marriage, in their late teens or early twenties, when they are not yet mature enough to fully comprehend what marriage is all about. And sometimes, they focus too hard on their careers and don’t find enough time for dating. In such situations, people need their parents to help them make better decisions, to marry at the right age, to help them meet people who will be suitable partners for them.
Once you know your prospective partner a little bit, and agree on the big, important things in life, the rest is not too difficult. Once we decide that we have found our soul mate, it becomes pretty easy to agree on the significant things in life, and to agree to disagree gracefully on the others. There is no disagreement that cannot be resolved in a mature way, once you put your mind to it.
I have some friends who are happily married via the arranged marriage route. And so am I. I’d back it up any day.