The Reality of Arranged Marriages

The Reality of Arranged Marriages

The Reality of Arranged MarriagesBy Lacey SavageArranged marriages have been a topic of interest for centuries. Authors across the ages have explored this theme at length, and it still surfaces in literary works today. Whats the appeal? Is it the fascination with the lack of lust and desire we cultivate in North American society? We strive on the element of danger, of the forbidden, while an arranged marriage is usually a safe way to ensure a familys approval of a union.

And yet, many of todays romance novels deal with marriages of convenience. Weve all read them: the heroine marries the hero because she needs him, whether for financial reasons, or because her children need a father -- there are as many reasons to marry as there are novels dealing with this subject. Yet although the marriage isnt initially based on love, theres always that sensual tension simmering beneath the surface, and as readers, we know its inevitable that the two are going to fall deeply and irrevocably in love.But what about real life, where things dont always work out so well? Arranged marriages are commonplace in a number of countries, such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan and India.

Theyre more common than youd think even in North America, where cultural diversity is cherished and encouraged.Young people in countries where arranged marriages are commonplace are told from an early age that their spouse will be chosen for them. To deny an arranged marriage is seen as a sign of disrespect toward the family. But how are suitable spouses chosen? In Japan, for instance, "when a woman reaches the marriageable age of 25, she and her parents compile a packet of information about her, including a photograph of her in a kimono and descriptions of her family background, education, hobbies, accomplishments and interests.

Her parents then inquire among their friends and acquaintances to see if anyone knows a man who would be a suitable husband for her" (the Asia Societys Video Letter from Japan: My Family, 1988). Usually, the most important aspect of choosing a suitable spouse is the bond between the two families, rather than the relationship between the couple being married. Property or land with the aim of securing social status sometimes seals marriage agreements.Do arranged marriages work?

Opinions tend to differ. Statistics place the divorce rate for arranged marriages much lower than those in the United States, where marriages out of love are the rule. However, research also shows that the pressure a married couple encounters from both society as a whole, and from the respective families, suggests that divorce is often not an option.Can love grow out of an arranged marriage? Absolutely, and in the same way that love can grow in romance novels from a marriage of convenience.

But theres more to love than finding a suitable match. Love can grow for many reasons, from lust at first sight to friendship that develops over a long period of time. Its impossible to predict whether a union will be successful. The only two people who can make it work are the bride and groom, the hero and heroine of their own story.Lacey Savage is the author of a number of sensual romance short stories, novels and novellas.

Her articles and works of fiction often focus on womens issues and relationships. Find out more about Lacey at http://www.laceysavage.com

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