Marriage is a union or an institution in which two individuals are bound together legally, religiously or otherwise. It occurs as a result of several motives such as emotional, physical, legal, religious, financial, etc. Marriage is not always between two individuals of opposite genders and not everyone involved goes into it of their own free will. In ancient history, women barely had rights of their own and were considered properties of their families and properties of their husbands after marriage.
This belief went on for centuries until the 19th and 20th centuries when people in Europe, America and a couple other continents began to make several legal changes to improve the rights of women. For these reasons and many more, marriage has become one the most debated issues in societies today. It is said to be one of the subjects that brings about chaos and confusion in families and societies and that its disadvantages vary on the type of marriage in question.
Arranged marriages are one of the many types of marriages people are most skeptical about. Some people even feel that it causes more havoc in families than any other type of marriage. Arranged marriages are mostly practiced by royal families all around the world and in most cases, it is considered not as a union between a man and a woman as husband and wife but as a partnership or an alliance formed between two families.
Although arranged marriages may not be completely beneficial to the couples in some cases, it tends to have more advantages than disadvantages in the society today because it reduces the rate of divorce in societies, it guarantees a wider range of happiness in families and it is a secure form of marriage (country reports on human rights practices 2008). To begin with, there are fewer cases of divorce in arranged marriages today and this is as a result of a few precautions taken before a marriage is actually arranged.
Firstly, marriages are usually arranged either by the parents of the individuals, a close family member or a matchmaking agency. They (especially the parents) all ensure that the couples that are paired together are compatible in every way (Mayzin 2013). Thorough background checks such as religious, social, financial, cultural and even medical checks are carried out on both individuals. Secondly, divorce is not tolerated in most, if not all, of the societies where arranged marriage is practiced (Zuberi 2013).
To elaborate further, arranged marriages are common in countries like India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and there is very little tolerance for divorce in these countries. Lastly, most arranged couples try to resolve their problems amicably to avoid embarrassment from their parents. As stated earlier, when a marriage is arranged, the union is not only between the couple but also between the two families so when couples in arranged marriages have misunderstandings, they try their best to resolve them as quickly as possible in order to prevent their parents from finding out about it and interfering in their private lives.
Due to this, the couples end up saving their marriages unconsciously by making sure none of their misunderstanding lasts longer than is necessary. In addition, arranged marriages tend to guarantee a wider range of happiness to the couples involved. To start with, although some of them get off to wrong starts and the first few years do not appear to be as blissful as expected, the couples learn to coexist with each other sooner or later.
When they realise that hating and loathing each other is nothing more than a waste of valuable time they should spend to get to learn more about their spouse, they tend to loosen up and, with equal effort from both sides, learn to care for each other. In most cases, the initial feeling of hate eventually turns to love (Lee 2013). Also, the couples in arranged marriages have a lot of similar interests. Most couples in love marriages tend to engage in oral brawls when it comes to family matters and decision making in general because of lack of common interests on certain issues.
Like cases as these are rare in arranged marriages due to the critical scrutiny conducted by the parents and family members of the couples before they are labelled as a perfect match. Finally, most love marriages occur as a result of spontaneous decisions made due to irrational thinking. Take for instance, the movie, “A few best men”. A man and a woman went to an island for a short vacation and while they were there, they met and fell in love instantly. Or so they thought.
They spent their time getting to know each other and after ten days, the duration of the vacation, they felt they knew all there was to know about each other so they decided to get married. They had a great honeymoon and promised to be with each other forever. After a few months, they began to have several arguments due to their many dissimilar preferences and countless clashes of interest. Then reality struck; their blissful marriage was over and they had gotten to the stage where they both felt miserable and couldn’t stand each other.
A couple more months and they were divorced and had gone their separate ways. Moreover, arranged marriages can be considered as safe marriages because of the following reasons. First of all, there are no social inferiorities between the couples in arranged marriages due to the many similarities in their backgrounds. For instance, if an arranged couple attends a social event together, neither of them would feel out of place because they both have similar upbringing and have both had comparable social experiences.
Also, couples have low expectations in arranged marriages because they barely get to know much about their spouses before they get married. They just trust that their families have made the right choices for them so they go along with it and hope for the best to come out of the situation. Due to this, the couples have low expectations of their spouses and sometimes their partners turn out to be amazing; this strengthens the foundation of the marriage. In situations where this is not the case, the little expectations minimizes the level of disappointment.
Finally, there are rarely cases of domestic violence in arranged marriages. Just as stated earlier, before a marriage is arranged, thorough background checks are conducted on the potential partners and if as much as a hint of violence is spotted in the background of either of them, the person is not likely to be chosen as a spouse. Furthermore, opponents argue that arranged marriages could also be considered as forced marriages. In some cases, this argument could be legitimate because some couples are forced into marriage for family and societal benefits.
For example, some parents force their children, especially the female children, to get married to people from wealthy families with high social standards because of some financial difficulties their families might be facing at the moment or plainly because of a craving for family name and social recognition. In other words, this argument could also be irrelevant and inauthentic for the following reasons. Firstly, arranged marriages these days are optional and are only carried out with the children’s consent (Should arranged marriages be outlawed? 2013).
Before a marriage is arranged, the potential couples are brought together, introduced and are given unlimited time to get to know each other. After this phase is completed, the individuals are left to decide whether or not they want to spend the rest of their lives with the person in question. If after this, neither of them is interested in the other, the topic is dropped and a new search for another suitable partner begins. Lastly, forced marriages are obsolete and are against the law (Travis 2000). A law has been enforced that parents forcing marriages on their children is against the law and could be charged with a criminal offence.
With this law enforcement on their necks, parents would not dare to marry their children off against their will. In conclusion, arranged marriages have been said to solve several problems such as incompatibility in couples, difficulty in finding a spouse, inferiority complex, etc. Although arranged marriages may not be completely beneficial to the couples in some cases, it tends to have more advantages than disadvantages in the society today because it reduces the rate of divorce in societies, it brings about peace and harmony in families and it is a secure form of marriage.