What is Arranged Marriage Really Like?

by Marla Pachter for HowAboutWe

What Is Arranged Marriage Really Like?What Is Arranged Marriage Really Like?In our culture, arranged marriages are discussed with a negative slant - we tend to equate "arranged" with "forced," and look at the practice as some sort of barbaric ritual. Still, regardless of Western culture's distaste, thousands of people around the world enter into arranged marriages each year.

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When one Reddit user asked the question, "Reddit users in arranged marriages, what has it been like?" the responded showed that arranged marriage isn't wrong - it's just different. And just like marriage in our culture, the comments range from couples who have been together for ages and are really in love, to couples for whom it just didn't work out. Here are a few of the best comments:

"My parents' marriage was arranged. My maternal grandfather (major general in the Indian Army) served under my paternal great-grandfather (Chief of Army Staff). So the families had known each other for quite some time, and the decision was made by both sets of grandparents when my mother and father were both very young. Neither of them were told of the arrangement until both were in their 20s. The parents 'introduced' them to each other, and they dated for a year. Well, they ended up marrying and still love each other very much 24 years later. So that's something :)"

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"My parents marriage was arranged. They met the day they got married. They've been married for 25 years. My dad was suppose to marry my mom's sister, according to the leader of our church, but my mom's sister ran off because she didn't want to get married. They're still madly in love. Edit: for those who wanted to know, I grew up in the cult of Warren Jeffs. I left the church when I was 16. I've been on my own since 2009."

"A few years ago my SO and I were nearly forced into a shotgun wedding. See, my family is the kind of conservative/Christian family you love to hate. They're just awful. When it came to light that I was pregnant, the FIRST thing they did after telling me I'm a whore is send a mass email out to everyone saying that "tenoreo90 and boyfriend severely regret their sins and plan to make it right with a wedding in August". Wtf. Wat.

We almost went through with it, we were young and scared (18 and 21, so not HS young, but still). But one night I broke down in tears and told SO that while I cared for him very much I didn't want our baby to be the reason for a wedding. I wanted love to be the reason.

I told my mom the next day, who in turn told my dad who in turned screamed at me, telling me my daughter will hate me for being such a whore. Within months I get a bunch of calls and emails from extended family calling me a slut, eventually I changed my number and kicked them out of my life. Three years later, we couldn't be happier. Our daughter is incredibly happy and healthy, our relationship with each other is just fantastic, and I haven't spoken to anyone in my family, save my brother (who followed in not speaking to them) and omfg life is just…great."

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"Arranged is not the same as forced. Arranged marriages in India may involve the guy seeing a handful of candidates pre-selected by his family. He can either pick one or not. He can also choose to man up and get a girlfriend by himself. The women also can say no to a candidate after meeting him. Arranged marriages today are more like a speed-dating system orchestrated by the parents, in which the outcome may or may not be a wedding."

"My marriage was a traditional, arranged Islamic marriage. I'm 34 years old, and was married 8 years ago to my Amazing wife. She was the sister of a friend. I first went to meet with her father, we spoke about marriage and what I was looking for etc. He told me about his daughter and what she was like etc. Afterwards we had dinner, some tea then everyone left and I was introduced to my wife.

We spent about 30 minutes talking together which was difficult because she didn't speak any English and I didn't speak much Arabic at the time. But everything went very well and then I was asked…'Do you want her?' I said yes, and we were engaged. We met a couple days later for about 30 minutes, then I left the country for work. I didn't see or speak to her for more than a year after that ( was working double shifts to get the Dowry, and wedding money ready.)

I know it sounds strange but in that year I developed a love for my wife I can't explain. I knew so little about her but we just clicked. I spent that year away planning the perfect wedding for her and buying her gifts and things I thought she would like. I returned after a year and did a Casanova. (I wasn't permitted to see her until we signed the marriage contract. ) I sent flowers to her house with a friend, then I sent her a total of a dozen gifts every couple hours. Gold, perfumes, more gold, lots more gold, and some other romantic kinda things. I saved the diamond ring for last….

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We then were able to spend some quality time together for the first time but still under careful watch by the family. (No closed doors etc) This is basically the get to know you phase so sexual contact is not allowed in case things don't work out there is an easy out and she has not been compromised. We spent as much time together as possible and were properly married and consummated the marriage about 2 weeks later.

It's been 8 years now we are still very happily married. It hasn't been easy there have been a LOT of difficulties along the way but somehow we have both grown up a lot. But years later I love her more than I ever have. We have 4 children together and are planing on more. She's an amazing woman and I am more than lucky to have met her."

"My grandparents had an arranged marriage. Interestingly, while both were Indian, my grandmother's family was living in Kenya at the time. Her parents went to search for men in India, and found a man who my grandmother says she loved dearly. They dated for a bit, and she was incredibly excited to marry him. However, for whatever reason, they chose another man, my grandfather, who she still says she doesn't like as much. They've grown together as any married couple will after 50 years of marriage, but she still regrets not marrying the other guy."

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"When I was younger I used to think that arranged marriages were awful. But arranged marriages aren't usually the way they portrayed in movies, where a beautiful girl from a poor family is forced to marry a rich old guy who is a scumbag and already has 3 other wives.

Basically when a guy or girl is in their mid 20s, the family starts scouting suitable young men and women for their child. They look into a lot of things- What kind of family this person comes from, the level of education, the attractiveness, height, weight, the skin color, and the person's character. Both sides usually agree to the wedding. Most people in their late 20s and early 30s realize that their parents wouldn't screw them over. They also just decide to get on with the marriage instead of having to approach random people and make a fool of themselves."

"My parents were introduced to each other back in India - they decided to get married few months later and have their 28th Anniversary coming up next month. They are still very much in love 28 years later. I'd like to believe arranged marriages do work."


Read more comments at Reddit.