Report: Arranged Marriage Not Worse Than Regular Marriage

Photo: Corbis

If you put aside the honor killings and the domestic violence and the United Nations–condemned restriction of autonomy, arranged marriages (not forced marriages) can be kind of nice, the New York Times reports. Like, what’s so bad about your parents actually liking your significant other anyway? You could really cash in on their approval.

As Brian J. Willoughby, an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, told the Times, “Whether it be financial support for weddings, schooling or housing, or emotional support for either partner, parents provide valuable resources for couples as they navigate the marital transition.” An Orthodox rabbi said parents can do the matchmaking “homework” after your infatuation makes you “lose objectivity,” and the professional matchmaker to the self-described Korean Parents United for Unmarried Children noted that parents are willing to make the explicit demands that might seem unromantic (“the woman must be beautiful, have an Ivy League education, come from a good family whose members are also educated, and have professional goals similar to their son”).

Even researchers without financial or religious motivations for preserving arranged marriages kind of agreed. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavior Research and Technology, says parents “screen for deal breakers.” More disturbing, your arranged marriage probably won’t be much different from your “free-range” marriage. Stanford’s Michael J. Rosenfeld said:

“The people we end up married to or partnered up with end up being similar to us in race, religion and class background and age, which means that they might not be all that different from the person that your mother would have picked for you.”

And, hey, as long as all marriages are fairly predictable and likely to end in divorce, why not spare yourself, as Willhoughby put it, “the anxiety of ‘is this the right person?’” We hear you can lose years to online dating that way.

Arranged Marriage: Not So Bad?