Why Do Arranged Marriages Happen?

Arranged marriages, though typically is a notion where parents or guardian select a suitable partner, has modernized over time. Under the modernized concept, parents give their children full liberty to choose their partners and get to know them for months before they decide to marry. It has become a much more practical way for many families and their children to choose a suitable partner based on their financial standing, social status, living conditions, hobbies, educational and economic situation. 

Getting married to someone means you know the person and have decided to become their lifelong partner because you love each other.

If not, organically, people try to find their happily ever after on various dating sites. 

How does arranged marriage fit in in the age of swiping left and right, falling in love, and deciding to marry?

What used to be called a dated concept is still thriving in various cultures and has become a better and more modernized version of choosing a spouse in a practical way.

How are arranged marriages still working, and why is the younger generation still choosing this form of meeting an ideal spouse? Let’s take a look. 

The concept of arranged marriage

An arrange married Indian couple are happily chatting with each other

When you think about getting married in an arranged way, the word dated or conservative comes to mind.

And while it was true in the past, this concept has molded itself into something the younger generation finds much better than the concept of online dating.

It’s true that in the past, this form of marital union was a way for upper-class society to maintain its status.

Marrying their daughters into the same class was a way to keep this class’s prestige in the community. 

But soon spread to other classes, and parents found this a much more aggregable way.

It then turned into parents taking charge of their children’s lives and maintaining their pride by selecting a suitable partner for their children without letting them know or involving them.

This can’t be said to be an arranged but more of forced marriage.

The concept of finding a spouse is more eastern rooted than western and has its fair share of disadvantages.

The means of finding grooms and brides take a turn to the dark side when things such as dowry, dehumanization, and discrimination based on color, caste, weight, and height are involved. 

Many families deduce their daughters to a piece of paper where their complexion, weight, and height is the only thing that becomes the deciding factor. 

Parents don’t ask their children or even involve them in the process. The marriages get fixed sometimes without even meeting their future spouse. 

While this is mostly true for poor families, where the concept of dowry (taking money from the bride’s family) is widespread, the upper class has changed the idea in its entirety. 

Where most people don’t have the basic right to choose their partner, only a few families have changed the concept of arranged marriage, mostly educated families.

They have made it into something good for the family and their children.

Aspects of modernized arranged marriage

A young girl who is arranged to be married with a guy, is meeting with him to get to know each other

With changing times, this concept has turned into something more of a practical way to select a spouse. Not just love but choosing a spouse entails looking over various aspects. An arranged marriage almost fulfills all these requirements!

There’re pros and cons to everything. But with online dating becoming so popular, people are choosing to not date at all, let alone be in a stable relationship, and then get married.

The frustration from online dating sites is now getting to the younger generation. Even though they have thousands of people to choose from in the palm of their hand, the chances to find a potential partner is a struggle. 

With the dating lingo becoming so popular because of how frequently it’s been done, like ghosting, people have started to divert back to their roots and stick with the conventional option. 

Enters the modernized version of arranged marriages. It’s a way for families to find a like-minded family for their children.

Sometimes it’s better than getting married out of love, where you later find it impossible to manage it with your in-laws.

Basically, as a dating platform, your parents, extended family, or a family friend are looking for suitable options for you.

It’s your personal choice to select which person you would want to go out with.

With parents becoming aware of the brutal nature of dating, even they find this option much more suitable.

It’s much more practical as your parents dig into each aspect of the prospective partner, be their financial stability, character, living conditions, educational and occupational background. 

I believe you can slowly get to know each other and go out on dates and see if you click with each other. You can fall in love when you find the right kind of person for you even though it’s arranged.

In such scenarios, it’s also crucial that you know yourself as a person, including:

  • What’s tolerable for you 
  • Your coping mechanism
  • Your love language
  • Your priorities 
  • Your triggers

So, during the courtship period, the ultimate choice is yours to make if you’re compatible with the person or not. 

If yes, you can get married, and if no, parents move on to another suitable prospect.

It’s also essential to accept rejections or reject someone; everyone has their own preferences. This way, you’re not getting into something which can result in a divorce

It depends on the kind of family you belong to and whether your parents are liberal enough with this concept.

It’s favorable for children who are close to their parents. The parents can get a sense of understanding about the kind of partner their children are looking for. 

Difference between arranged and love marriages

Many things can be said about these two different methods of finding a spouse. Both have their own merits and demerits. Even though one might think love marriages would last much longer than arranged, that’s not the case. 

While the divorce rate hovers around 40 or 50 percent in the U.S., the divorce rate for arranged marriages is 4 percent.

In India, where some estimate that 90 percent of marriages are arranged, the divorce rate is only 1 percent.

With love marriages, sometimes when you have been a couple for a long time, the only answer moving forward seems to be to get married.

Many couples don’t realize that dating and married life are two completely different things.

Even after years of dating, you might not be suitable for each other or only realize this when you get married.

After seeing a family member go through a similar thing, my faith about a love marriage lasting more than an arranged was dissolved.

Whereas the other family member who met their partner through their parents have been happily married for two years now. 

The longevity and quality of marriage depend on the couple’s ability to connect with and understand each other.

It really doesn’t matter if it’s arranged or loved but how well you’re able to adjust and to which length before your breaking point. 

Popular cultures for arranged marriages

A young Indian boy and girl, who were arranged to be married, are doing their Indian wedding rituals

Compared to western countries finding a suitable partner for your families has been a more popular concept in eastern countries.

And it has stayed common in countries such as India, Japan, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even South Korea.

Though, most people are now choosing to stay away from the whole package of dating, marriage, and having children due to the rising cost of living and low pay. 

But choosing a partner for their children was also quite prevalent in the Elizabethan era, where marriages were frequently arranged so that both the parties would benefit from it.

It was a way to bring prestige and wealth to the family. 

The whole thing now depends on the family and the kind of social background, which changes the concept of marriage. 


Why can an arranged marriage be bad?

The stigma of arranged marriages being bad is more because of the act of forcing the man and woman to marry each other without their approval rather than the concept itself.

The modern concept revolves around letting the man and woman choose their own partner in a more practical way based on various factors important to them.

Though some still practice it in a way that can entrap people in a marriage, forcing them to be unhappy because they weren’t given a choice.

Then it’s mostly a forced marriage rather than arranged, and an arranged marriage doesn’t mean it’s forced marriage. 

Is arranged marriage better than love marriage?

People who have dated for years and then get married might not like the married life and get a divorce within a year. And couples who met through their parents can have a happily married life.

There’s no right or wrong way to get married, and neither one can prove to be better than the other.

It really depends on how well you can understand each other and if you can make it work in a marriage.  

To summarise

The definition of marriage that is arranged is a marriage planned by the families or guardians of the couple concerned.

The idea was conservative but changed a lot over the years and turned into something the younger generation is reverting to now.

The modern-day arranged marriage allows people to decide their partner based on financial stability, character, living conditions, and checking their compatibility in the courtship period.

At the end of the day, the barriers between love and arranged have dropped.

What’s crucial now is if both the man and woman can find ways to adjust and understand each other before jumping into something serious as marriage. 

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Hi! I’m Saumya, writer and editor at Marriage & Bliss. “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow—this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” —Elizabeth Gilbert. Every marriage faces pitfalls, be they internal or external, and with my words, I hope to help couples find possible solutions and mend their broken relationships. After all, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
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