In the previous centuries, having an arranged marriage was the norm. When you were deemed ready to transition from a boy to a man, your parents or immediate relatives found a way of getting you a girl to marry.
By doing deep research about all the possible candidates from the worthy families in the village, a girl was chosen. Contact was established with the parents or guardians of this girl and negotiations ensued.
When the elders on both sides reached an agreement, a proper marriage ceremony was in the cards then. Dowry from the boy’s family was collected and before he knew it, he became a husband to a beautiful (or not so beautiful) wife. A few years down the road, the two got children of their own and before long, a full-blown family.
Of course they were ups and downs as it is in the modern world. The wife probably failed to give birth. The man got wife number 1 and 2 and 3 and …. Until he was satisfied with the work done. Sometimes he would go to fight as a loyal soldier to his community only to never return.
But overall, over time, an arranged marriage was sustainable to both the individuals and especially the society. Men had defined roles to play and so did women. Men ensured the family’s safety. They provided food. They ensured the survival of their families. Women on the other hand took care of the home. Prepared food and took care of everyone’s well-being. They gave birth to and took care of children no matter what.
One was never expected to abandon one’s core roles. Doing this had serious consequences.
Whenever there was trouble or misunderstandings between a man and the woman, the elders always intervened. You were never left to sort out everything on your own. You always had the back of your close relatives.
It’s not that most of these things no longer happen today. On the contrary they do. Actually the marriage setup of those centuries is still practiced in certain countries. With the exception of the western countries and their sympathizers, chances are high this marriage system is the most prominent in the rest of the world.
In the west it has been replaced by romanticism. The notion that marriage is a sacred institution that solely depends on the two people involved. The conventional wisdom goes something like this: The ancient societies didn’t have respect for love and feelings of individuals.
And so it felt wise in the modern times, to let love be the guide to this amazing phase of a person’s life. Why marry someone you don’t love? When you could experience heaven on earth with someone you truly love.
And people bought it. At least the west and some other societies.
I want to make it clear at this point that am not rooting for one form or another. It’s obvious every form has its advantages compared to the other.
My concern is with the high divorce rate. Almost 40-50% of marriages in the US end in divorce. A clear sign that to succeed or not to succeed becomes a matter of chance. Either tails or heads.
This statistic is completely alien to the ancient societies, as their divorce rates were almost nonexistent. So, what can we learn from those societies and the ones who still practice arranged marriages today. Advice that you can maybe apply to your own marriage and maybe, just maybe, be able to succeed at marriage.
Normally in an arranged marriage, this happens;
- Both of you are deeply interested in getting to know each other.
For the most part, both of you are strangers. Like with all strangers, each of you does what is the most logical thing to do. Find out everything you can about the other person. Unlike in most romantic partnerships, here you go deeper than knowing about their history and backgrounds.
You dig deep into their psychological makeup. No one wants to live with a mental patient. This helps uncover a lot of weaknesses and strengths underneath their outside appearance.
See, with romance based marriages, people don’t care about knowing a lot of these things as they are guided by their feelings. What’s there to know, they say, since I know the most important thing there is – my love for her.
And even when they try finding out, they are still betrayed by their feelings of love. Love blinds any rational assessment of the other person. And so, whatever bad things are lurking in the background, he never finds out until it’s too late. But this is not the case with an arranged marriage.
Your mind is pure and it’s in position to make rational decisions.
- There is less romanticism Involved.
Romanticism (which started in 18th century Europe) is the idea that all your life decisions should be made in accordance to how you feel. It is assumed that your feelings and instincts are the best guide on what you really want and so it’s foolery to neglect them.
Of course, they’re always benefits to “following your heart.” But not all cases. Especially when the situations involve another human being. You just can’t trust your feelings to tell you about someone who doesn’t even know herself to the fullest.
Romanticism is the major cause of a lot of divorces today for the mere fact that people overrate how they feel in the present. They assume it will be like that forever which is rarely the case. Even when their current relationships stumble, they assume they were with a wrong person. And so they remedy that by meeting someone else. Only to discover that the same thing happens again.
In an arranged marriage on the other hand, there’s less romanticism. The decisions made are more rational and based on facts. I’m not saying the whole thing is perfect but the process is far more realistic than the other way round.
This improves on your chances to survive divorce in future.
- Lower expectations.
You’re meeting someone new for God’s sake. You can’t expect her to treat you like the most important thing in the universe. At least not immediately. This lowers your expectations of her. You will want her to be a good home care taker but if she isn’t, you won’t go screaming to the neighbors.
Let’s just say, everything good comes as a bonus. It’s like you’re going through a street of drug dealers and you wonder why someone isn’t trying to steal your iPhone.
Like James Altucher said, Happiness = Reality / Expectations. The lower your expectations and the more in sync you’re with reality, the happier you’re. And this is the case in an arranged marriage.
- Immediate help from relatives and friends in case of misunderstandings.
Depending on your society and culture, relatives or parents can arrange a marriage for you. The people who arranged your marriage want you to succeed. They will do anything to make it work.
Unlike those based on romanticism where no close friend or relative really knows your wife that much, in an arranged marriage she’s known by most of them. They can help you figure a few things about her in case need dictates.
And when you have problems you can’t solve on your own, guess who intervenes? The same people who helped bring you together. It’s like having a team of supporters rooting for you to win. You’ll win more often than not.
- There’s less heart-break in case of betrayal.
See, when you love someone so much. And she is the center of your world. And you consider her to be your best friend. And you’ve heard all kinds of high points in life because of her. The moment she messes you up, like cheating . Or she decides family is not her thing.
If for whatever reason you two separate, you’ll be so heart-broken. Your world will come crumbling down. You will lose hope in anything good in life.
How about in an arranged marriage? Such scenarios can happen but more rarely. Because it was never love that brought you together, your marriage will survive because of other qualities about you two. And so when it comes to an end, there might be heart-break but not as intense.
I don’t know what kind of marriage you prefer, but one thing is for sure. The survival of a marriage depends so much on the ability of both parties to make rational decisions every now and then. The problem with a romance based marriage is that, rational decisions are rarely the case. Partners assume things will be good between them forever which can’t be true.
An arranged marriage on the other hand doesn’t have that problem. This gives it an upper hand to go through hard times which are inevitable.
What’s your take on marriage? Do you think an arranged marriage can help you survive divorce in future? Tell me in the comments section below.