Arranged Marriages In The Modern Age


Growing up, I remember hearing about arranged marriages and was horrified by the thought of it. All I could picture was some fifteen-year-old girl betrothed to a sweaty and hairy fifty-year-old. Gross, gross, gross! I was so glad that I was not from a culture or society that enforced that. As a hopeless romantic, I was going to wait for my Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet and I’d marry for love.

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As I stared off into the distance, dreaming of my prince . . . soft harp music faded out the scene . . .

Insert reality.

Two failed marriages and drowning in debt, thoughts of that sweaty old man didn’t seem so bad anymore. Maybe if I had just sucked it up and married some gross old business friend of my father’s I’d be in a shiny house, dripping in bling, and counting down the days until he went on his next business trip. Maybe with the lights off, “it” wouldn’t have been all that bad.

Umm. No.

Gross. Gross, gross, gross!

Shake the visual Veronica. You can do it. Rid your mind of your pot-bellied grampa-hubby dancing by himself at a Samba lesson while we vacation at an all-inclusive resort—wearing his black socks, sandals, and Speedo, as the sun glistens off his sweaty head-to-toe body hair.

Oh gawd! I think I need to wash my mind out with soap.

As usual, my hyperactive imagination has thrown me right off topic.

My point was actually surrounding the TV show Married at First Sight.

I remember seeing a promo for it last year and guffawed at the thought of it; but now, I’m rather fascinated. By accident, actually.

I was watching something yesterday and it happened to follow that show, so, since I do write about online dating and relationships, I felt I should open my mind and watch it. I was completely drawn in. Three hours later, I can honestly say that I wasn’t really opposed to the social experiment any more. I was totally intrigued by the science of it.

While watching, each time I began to think, “Yeah, well what about . . .,” they addressed it. They really thought of everything, I think. I was equally impressed by the statistics of arranged marriages. I think they said it was a 5 or 9% divorce rate versus traditional marriages resulting in divorce upwards around 60%. Yikes!

After my second divorce, I went into my relationship search with a very inflexible set of non-negotiables, so I really appreciated how much they respected the candidates’ non-negotiables. One of the things that really hit home was the religious compatibility aspect of things—they were very rigid in that department. So many people think they can handle being with someone who has opposing religious beliefs; but more often than not, it ends up being the demise of a relationship. I know that it would for me.

Sexual compatibility was also one of the top-level markers towards the potential success of these relationships; and I couldn’t agree more. Although a solid, well-rounded relationship is not solely about the Horizontal Mambo, if your partner has two left feet, you’re going to either start dancing alone or looking for a new dance partner all-together. You get my drift, right?

One thing I loved about the show was that they weeded out the media-whores. It’s rather hypocritical of me to say, as I write my blog to put out on social media, but the “fifteen minutes of fame” thing is what I hate about reality TV. It makes me wonder though—do those final three couples realize that they are no longer the masters of their domain? Society owns them now. Their lives will never be the same; and we’ll probably see them on an episode of Where are They Now?  on the Own Network in twelve years.

Of the couples, I have my favorite, but they all have one thing in common—I am rooting for their success. Praying that this will work for them. I literally found myself smiling at the TV and getting choked up for them.

For a brief moment, I thought, “They should TOTALLY sell this service to regular people . . . even if they are already in a relationship.” I then turned to my beloved and said, “If we went through those tests, do you think they’d find us compatible?”

Before he could reply, I felt my heart sink.

What if they discovered that we weren’t actually suited for each other?

If our test came back, and we had a big red INCOMPATIBLE stamp across it, would our marriage be doomed? Would it be like going to a psychic to find out when and how you were going to die? I think some things are better left unsaid or unknown.

I realized that I really didn’t want to know. What I also realized is that since so many relationships fail because of our unskilled sense of judgement. Maybe these folks have a real chance at success now that they aren’t relying on their knee-jerk patterns of choosing a mate. I pray that the media does not ruin it for them once the cameras are off. I pray that they don’t become just another divorce statistic. I pray they will be part of a positive statistic.

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