This is not a post with any authority regarding pre-arranged marriages. I’m far from having much of an understanding of them, but I have some friends who are in pre-arranged marriages and they have broken some of the stereotypes for me. It’s hard for those that have grown up in the United States to understand the concept, but after talking to one of my friends I have a new appreciation of pre-arranged marriages.
She’s been married for a while. Her parents chose her husband. Her father was more progressive than other stories I’ve hard. First, he was insistent that his daughters not marry within the family. She told me many marriages are arranged with cousins because the families already know the choice comes from “a good family”. Second, he allowed her to make the final decision. If after she met her chosen husband she didn’t want to marry him, her father would understand and look again.
She was very prepared for their first meeting. Much more prepared than I’ve ever been when dating. She had a list of questions and information to share with him. It was basically her “deal breaker” list (my words…not hers). The list included “I want to work”, “these are the things I can cook”, “I don’t want to cook all the meals”, etc. He also had a list. The one I remembered the most was that he would one day want to “live someplace else”. Obviously the list was much longer than this and I’m sure she didn’t share all of it with me, but can you image how cool it would be to know some of these things the first time you met someone? Their first meeting was a success…and their marriage has been too.
Since then they have been quite happy…married nearly 20 years…two kids. They both have careers in the technology field. I love that she is so willing to share her lifestyle with me. It helps me understand a lifestyle that I’m unfamiliar with. I’m so happy for her.
Right now, she’s helping her parents pick a suitable husband for her sister.
Note: I realize there may be other stories not as favorable as this one. If there are women and men trapped in pre-arranged marriages that don’t work for them, I’m so sorry. I just wanted to share my friend’s story as a sample of how we can learn new things if we ask questions and openly listen to the answers.
Do you know anyone in a pre-arranged marriage? Have you ever asked them about it?