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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    Arranged Marriages: 7 Surprising Truths (You Might Change Your Mind)

    As a relationship expert, I've encountered many people with a multitude of preconceptions about arranged marriages. The term "arranged marriage" often evokes images of old-fashioned, forced unions, devoid of love or personal choice. However, it is far from the reality of many modern arranged marriages around the world. Before delving into this rich and complex topic, I'd like to share an enlightening experience from my early professional years.

    During a consultation, a client once confessed her concerns about her parents' decision to arrange her marriage. Despite her initial resistance, she decided to embrace the process, keeping an open mind about the tradition. A few years later, she returned to my office - not with marital issues, but with a newfound appreciation for the process that brought her together with her husband. She was living in a happy and harmonious relationship, contrary to her initial fears. This experience was a real eye-opener for me, and it encouraged me to delve deeper into the subject and challenge the common misconceptions surrounding arranged marriages.

    In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel seven surprising truths about arranged marriages. We'll delve into the history, scrutinize the common misconceptions, discuss how modern arranged marriages work, and even reveal their potential benefits. By the end, you might see arranged marriages in a new light, perhaps even challenge some of your preconceptions. So, let's embark on this journey together.

    Truth #1: Arranged Marriages are Not Forced Marriages

    One of the most common misconceptions about arranged marriages is the conflation of these unions with forced marriages. While it's crucial to acknowledge that forced marriages are a grave reality in some parts of the world, it's equally important to understand that arranged marriages are typically not forced. The fundamental difference between these two lies in the element of choice.

    In an arranged marriage, parents or family elders may suggest potential partners based on their understanding of the individual's preferences, societal status, background, and compatibility. However, the final decision rests with the individuals involved. They have the right to accept or reject the proposed match. This is fundamentally different from a forced marriage, where one or both parties do not consent to the union and are coerced into it against their will.

    Modern arranged marriages can be seen as a familial form of matchmaking, where love is expected to grow over time, rather than being the initial spark for the union. Studies have shown that this is not an inferior way of building a lasting relationship. In fact, it can lead to stronger bonds as couples learn to understand, respect, and love each other gradually, cementing their partnership on a solid foundation of shared experiences and mutual growth.

    While it might seem alien to Western cultures, where love marriages predominate, the concept of arranged marriages is not about forcing two unwilling individuals together. Instead, it's about bringing together two compatible individuals who are open to exploring a life together, with love growing over time. Understanding this distinction can help challenge the stereotypical portrayal of arranged marriages in popular culture and foster a more nuanced understanding of this ancient tradition.

    Truth #2: Arranged Marriages and Love are not Mutually Exclusive

    The belief that arranged marriages are devoid of love is another popular yet misconstrued idea. Many people assume that since the union is orchestrated by family or a matchmaker, love has no room in the equation. However, this cannot be further from the truth. The fact is, love and arranged marriages are not mutually exclusive; they can, and often do, coexist.

    In many cultures, an arranged marriage is perceived as a partnership between two families rather than merely two individuals. The rationale is that by uniting two well-matched families, they are providing a stable foundation for the couple, increasing the chances of a successful marriage. Here, love is not the initial driving force; instead, it's something that grows and deepens over time.

    There is a beautiful saying in some cultures that subscribe to arranged marriages: "In love marriages, love is the beginning. In arranged marriages, love is the ultimate goal." These couples embark on a journey where they learn to understand, appreciate, and eventually love each other. Love in arranged marriages is more like a slow-burning flame that lasts longer and shines brighter over time.

    Modern arranged marriages also accommodate love in different ways. There are instances where individuals fall in love and then involve their families to formalize the union. This is sometimes referred to as a 'love-cum-arranged marriage', a middle ground between love marriage and arranged marriage, embodying the best of both worlds. Thus, it's time we discard the notion that love and arranged marriages are mutually exclusive. They can and often beautifully coexist.

    Truth #3: Arranged Marriages are Adapting to the Digital Age

    Another intriguing truth about arranged marriages is their adaptability. Far from being an unchanging, antiquated tradition, arranged marriages have shown a remarkable ability to adapt and evolve with changing times, most notably in the age of the internet and technology.

    As the world becomes more interconnected, the traditional methods of arranging marriages have transformed. In the past, matchmakers, family members, or community leaders played a significant role in suggesting potential matches. However, the digital revolution has given rise to a plethora of online matrimonial sites and matchmaking apps. These digital platforms offer a vast pool of potential partners from various backgrounds, regions, and professions, allowing individuals greater agency in finding a match that aligns with their preferences.

    Not only do these platforms provide a space to connect with potential partners, but they also provide tools to assess compatibility. Features like chat options, compatibility quizzes, and secure video calls enable prospective couples to communicate, understand each other better, and make an informed decision. This modern twist on an age-old tradition highlights how arranged marriages are not static; they are evolving to meet the needs and expectations of a new generation.

    Furthermore, these platforms are also equipped with advanced security and privacy measures, providing a safe environment for individuals to interact. This adaptation to the digital age does not dilute the essence of arranged marriages; it simply embraces the tools of modern technology to uphold an age-old tradition in a more efficient, secure, and personalized manner.

    Truth #4: Arranged Marriages Have Their Own Set of Challenges

    While there are many misconceptions about arranged marriages, it's important to remember that they are not without their challenges. Like any other form of marriage, arranged marriages require effort, commitment, and patience from both parties involved.

    For starters, getting to know your partner after the wedding can be a daunting task. While this process can lead to a deeper understanding and love, it can also reveal incompatibilities that were not apparent before. Couples in arranged marriages often face the challenge of adjusting to each other's habits, temperaments, and preferences, sometimes leading to friction and misunderstandings in the early stages of their relationship.

    Additionally, the involvement of families in the marriage can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can provide a solid support system, but on the other hand, it can sometimes lead to pressure and interference in the couple's personal matters.

    However, these challenges are not unique to arranged marriages. Every form of marriage has its set of hurdles that need to be overcome. The key is communication, understanding, patience, and the willingness to work through difficulties together. Recognizing these challenges allows couples to tackle them head-on, fostering a stronger and healthier relationship.

    Truth #5: Arranged Marriages Can Foster Stability

    Another often overlooked truth about arranged marriages is their potential to foster stability. Given that these marriages are often based on compatibility in terms of values, backgrounds, and life goals, they tend to result in stable and lasting relationships.

    In arranged marriages, the focus often shifts from the individual to the family. The involvement of families can help provide a strong support system for the couple, ensuring stability in times of conflict or crisis. The union of two families often creates a sense of community and a stronger network of support.

    Moreover, the process of growing to love each other over time can also contribute to stability. Love in arranged marriages tends to develop slowly, and as a result, it often matures into a profound bond that can stand the test of time.

    Research supports this idea as well. Studies have indicated that arranged marriages tend to have lower divorce rates compared to love marriages. This is not to say that love marriages cannot be stable or successful, but rather that the structure of arranged marriages often promotes longevity and stability.

    Thus, despite the challenges they may present, arranged marriages have the potential to create stable and enduring relationships, contributing to the overall well-being and happiness of the individuals involved.

    Truth #6: Arranged Marriages Promote Cultural Preservation

    One fascinating truth about arranged marriages is their role in preserving cultural traditions and heritage. Arranged marriages often have deep roots in cultural and traditional practices, serving as a means of upholding and passing down important cultural values and customs from one generation to the next.

    In many cultures, arranged marriages are seen as a way to maintain social and familial harmony. They ensure that individuals marry within their own community, religion, or caste, which helps preserve cultural identity and traditions. By continuing the practice of arranged marriages, communities are able to safeguard their cultural heritage and maintain a sense of collective identity.

    Furthermore, arranged marriages provide an opportunity for families to pass on cultural values, rituals, and beliefs to the next generation. As couples navigate their married life, they often embrace and celebrate cultural traditions together, creating a sense of belonging and cultural continuity within their family unit.

    While cultural preservation should never be used to justify harmful practices or restrict individual freedoms, arranged marriages can play a positive role in fostering cultural pride, strengthening community bonds, and ensuring the transmission of cultural heritage to future generations.

    Truth #7: Arranged Marriages Offer Lessons in Compromise and Commitment

    Arranged marriages can teach valuable lessons in compromise and commitment. As couples navigate a relationship that was initiated by their families, they often learn the importance of making compromises and prioritizing the well-being of the partnership.

    In an arranged marriage, both individuals come into the union with the understanding that they are entering into a lifelong commitment. This shared commitment serves as a solid foundation for building a strong and enduring relationship. The willingness to work through challenges, make compromises, and prioritize the relationship over individual desires becomes essential.

    Arranged marriages also provide opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. As couples learn to adapt to each other's personalities, preferences, and backgrounds, they develop a greater understanding of themselves and their partner. This process fosters empathy, patience, and the ability to navigate differences effectively.

    Furthermore, the shared commitment in arranged marriages often extends beyond the couple themselves. They become part of a larger network of family and community, which reinforces the importance of maintaining and nurturing the relationship for the collective well-being.

    By embracing the values of compromise, commitment, and selflessness, couples in arranged marriages can build strong and enduring partnerships that stand the test of time.

    Conclusion: Challenging Preconceptions and Embracing the Complexity of Arranged Marriages

    Arranged marriages, often misunderstood and misrepresented, are a complex and multi-faceted institution that goes beyond the common stereotypes. Throughout this article, we have uncovered seven surprising truths about arranged marriages, debunking misconceptions and shedding light on their intricacies.

    From dispelling the notion of forced marriages to highlighting the presence of love and adaptability within these unions, we have explored the depth and nuance of arranged marriages. We have seen how arranged marriages are evolving with the digital age, how they come with their own set of challenges, and how they contribute to stability, cultural preservation, and the development of valuable life skills.

    As a relationship expert, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of arranged marriages. The experience shared at the beginning of this article was just one example of how individuals can find love, happiness, and fulfillment within the framework of an arranged marriage. It served as a catalyst for my exploration of this topic and the desire to challenge prevailing beliefs and misconceptions.

    Arranged marriages, like any other form of marriage, require effort, commitment, and understanding. They offer a unique journey where love can blossom and deep connections can be forged over time. It is important to approach the topic with an open mind, acknowledging the diversity of experiences and cultural contexts in which arranged marriages exist.

    So, whether you find yourself intrigued by the concept of arranged marriages or skeptical of its merits, I encourage you to embrace the complexity and richness of this institution. Challenge preconceptions, seek knowledge, and approach the topic with empathy and understanding. By doing so, we can foster a more inclusive and enlightened perspective on arranged marriages, appreciating the cultural diversity and the potential for love and happiness that exists within them.


    1. Mahmood, S. (2016). Love and Arranged Marriage in India: A Changing Relationship. Routledge.
    2. Basu, S. (2017). Arranged Marriage and Love Marriage: Differences, Advantages and Disadvantages. Notion Press.
    3. Jain, S. (2014). The Arranged Marriage. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

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