Sunday, January 4, 2015

Should Mormons Have Arranged Marriages?


I have made a lot of Indian (from India, not Native Americans ya racist jerks) friends in my new Post-Provo life. One Indian guy mentioned to me that his family wants to arrange his marriage to an Indian girl(which sucks cuz apparently he only likes white girls (which in turn sucks cuz he's a super nerdy scrawny Indian guy that has been shot down by every white girl he has ever approached)). I of course was fascinated by the whole thing and asked him a ton of questions.

Apparently these days a lot of Indians practice a more liberal form of arranged marriage than we probably think of. The parents/families have a ton of input and do a lot of the work, but both the boy and girl have veto power. Basically the two families do the dating. They do the finding, they make sure each party has the proper credentials (apparently they look at the guys' resumes haha), values, personality they are looking for. And once the family finds another suitable family, then the single people are brought together. So its not a forced marriage, its just a lot of the work is done for you.

Now my question is, if that is really how it is, is that so bad?

Doing so more research, I found a study that concluded "choice 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, arranged marriage couples were nearly twice as compassionate than choice marriage couples ten years post marriage"

Look! A blurry chart!


Well I don't know about you, but I think that makes a pretty convincing argument for arranging things (although this study was done by Indians, so you know, bias).

Another conclusion of the study was that regardless of marriage type, people that were married were on average WAY more happy than single people (well that's a slap to the face). The final conclusion of the study was that Mormon bloggers of the male variety between the ages of 20 and 30 are the least happy of all (OK, they are just trying to hurt my feelings now!).

For the record I am as happy as Lark!

Here, have a lark.
Honestly, larks are not as happy looking as I imagined. Maybe its all in the inside?

Ok, so I made up that last conclusion. The fact remains that arranged marriages supposedly are more happy in the long run than "Love marriages". It is said that arranged marriages look for reasons to make it work while Love marriages look for reasons for it not to work. In arranged marriages, you always have your parents to blame instead of your spouse. A built-in scapegoat for all your martial problems, a common enemy to hate.

Besides, while I often feel (especially at BYU) that some people struggle with the paradox of choice with dating. Too many options can lead people not being able to choose at all and therefore end up being unhappy. Too many dating options may be a bad thing, too much pressure to find "The One" (Yeah man, that girl was awesome, but there might be an even awesomer girl out there! You know Bro?). Maybe people need fewer, more curated options.

It actually is a little surprising that Mormons don't utilize arranged marriages. Many religious tight-knit communities that value marriage and families do practice it to some extent (Hindus, Muslims, orthodox Jews). I think it could be especially beneficial for the mid-single adults, those that have less dating options and have maybe gotten sick of dating.

There are however a few obstacles that would have to be overcome:

Expectations - Many people, even in the most dire of dating circumstances, still expect to find a perfect person that will have a whirlwind romance with them filled with passion (Good luck with that!). I get the feeling people getting an arranged marriage have different expectations.

Faith in parents - Most people would cringe at the idea of their parents setting them up on just a blind date. My Indian friend generally believed that his parents knew him best and knew best what kind of girl would make him the most happy. I asked my mom what she would look for in girls if she had to choose my wife and she literally said (despite me pressing her to be more selective) her only criteria would be the girl had to be a faithful member and had to want a family. So basically any active Mormon girl.

Parents putting in the work - It sounds like my Indian friend's parents put a ton of time and effort in vetting candidates and setting things up, I don't know if everyone's parents are up to the task.

Speed of the relationship - Mormons are known for acting fast, but this is on a whole different level. Usually the boy and girl only have a few meeting to decide if they will veto it and then its the wedding.

Still, I wonder how many single Mormons would be open to the whole arranged marriage thing. I'm definitely not there yet, although my dad did recently inform me that he has already worked out an arranged marriage between myself and his best friend's daughter. Like allegedly they talk about it all the time. I know the girl, and while I don't want to marry her, it really wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Downie said...

i would be totally down.