Do Arranged Marriages Work?

Uma Shankari By Uma Shankari, 12th Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

Arranged marriages are no 'one size, fits all'. The parents who arrange their son/daughter meeting, make use of matrimonial sites to search for alliances fitting certain criteria. When the children okay the proposal, the parents make most of the wedding arrangements.

How are Marriages Arranged Today?

Arranged marriage sounds anachronistic in today’s world, or does it? Arranged marriage is practiced predominantly in India, Africa, the Middle East and parts of East Asia.

The search for a partner in an arranged marriage in India is conducted by parents, family members or matchmaking professionals who wade through possible matches and weed out impossible ones.

The modalities for arranging the marriages vary widely. At one end of the spectrum we have marriages where parents force their decision, sometimes through tactical emotional pressure, without bothering to ask their children's opinion. At the other end, we have the liberal ones where the family is used merely as a networking resource for dating.

Potential couples meet a few times, exchange their opinions, preferences, expectations, and determine whether they are suited for each other.

In recent years, a number of marital websites have sprouted across the internet like,,,, and

Like everything else in this world, arranged marriage has evolved with time and metamorphosed into something that even today’s urban youth is able to identify with. I would focus on the proof-of-concept of arranged marriages and its dynamics in the present day India where the new breed of MBA-educated women are no longer prepared to be docile wives, yet they give the green signal to their parents to look for a potential partner.

In most progressive families the parents decide who gets through the initial vetting, but the final decision is the couple's. Today's parents are more liberal and more in tune with their children's thought processes. Unlike in the past, the parents of the boys do not make greedy material demands from the girl's family which, they know, will ultimately alienate the son and lead to their estrangement. Many parents are cool - "I'm happy if you are happy" - and knowing their children's likes and dislike, they do their bit of screening; and the time-strapped children are happy to be relieved of the tedium.

One is not allowed to take the time it takes to get to know someone, but has to decide on a deadline. The couple gets married based on practical reasons, and work on building affection later. They look beyond trivial issues and get to know one another at first on a practical level alone – like education, career, and attitude – and try not to be too judgmental.

Does the Arranged Marriage Work?

So now, why or how does that work?

May be it is culture, tradition or whatever; once you're married, the society puts pressure to keep it working. One doesn't jump out the first available exit point at the sign of a firework. Everybody, including the family and friends, works at dousing the fire.

In the movie Fiddler on the Roof,based on the life in the early twentieth century in the Russian village of Anatevka, Tevye, the milkman, asks his wife Golde if she loved him. And she replies

Do I love you?

For twenty-five years I've washed your clothes

Cooked your meals, cleaned your house

Given you children, milked the cow

After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

But Tevye insists; and Golde says, "I suppose I do" and together they sing

It doesn't change a thing

But even so

After twenty-five years

It's nice to know

So they didn't call it love; but nevertheless love followed years of committed companionship as automatically as a shadow.

Dr Howard J. Markman, from the University of Denver, and co-author of Fighting For Your Marriage believes that the western culture puts a premium on the capriciousness of love.

Markman says that most marriages fail because we enter relationships with poor communication skills and unrealistic expectations. There's a science to staying in love; at the heart of love is intimacy and friendship, not passion and drama. Too many people believe in the myth that passion provides us with the fuel to get through life together.

Robert Epstein, who is editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and a research professor at the California School of Professional Psychology, declares that love is anything but blind. He believes that instead of simply waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right to come into our lives, we can "make a conscious, serious and sustained effort" to trust, communicate, resolve mutual conflicts, and love somebody with whom we share some attraction and a basic compatibility.

That's the essence of arranged marriage.

Read Also
Will marriage Become Extinct in the Future?


Marriage, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Relationships Dating

Meet the author

author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
12th Aug 2012 (#)

Whether or not the work deppends entirely on what a person eans by "works."

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author avatar Uma Shankari
13th Aug 2012 (#)

I agree with you David. Yes, people may stay together because they lack the courage to get out, and be unhappy. When I say it 'works', I meant the couple were happy. To be politically correct, let me say, "Arranged marriage can work and keep the people happy". Like marriage by any other means, it need not. Why I wrote the article, Westerners not used to the idea, may dismiss the idea off and doubt whether it can work at all.

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author avatar A K Rao
15th Aug 2012 (#)

It was a nice reading! In my opinion may t be an arranged or love marrige there has to be a mutualunderstandung , faith and dedication which is the key to success! As I have mentioned in one of my article that the partners should understand each other and they should be given a space of freedom also to have some time solely for themselves! Thanks !

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Aug 2012 (#)

you have made a great study Uma..well done. Patriachal patterns that have come down for centuries are still used but perhaps they are a bit dated now. People have different ideas and ways about marriage nowadays...not always for the best for sure...but!!!!

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author avatar vpaulose
20th Aug 2012 (#)

They work and do not work. Thank you dear sister Uma

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author avatar Teila
13th Sep 2012 (#)

They can work but thankfully the majority of use get to chose when, where and who we marry. Excellent topic.

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author avatar Ptrikha
18th Mar 2013 (#)

Every marriage has their ups and downs and husband and wife together have to work it, and love and understanding always comes into play.

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