So, The New York Times (of all publications) is almost swaying us to think arranged marriage isn't that bad.
Sure, at first blush arranged marriage seems arcane. Prehistoric. Completely illogical and an almost cruel and unusual punishment. Afterall, we Westerners are apprehensive to even spend a faux-romantic evening with someone our family chooses for us—let alone a lifetime. Marriage Has It’s Charm, Partly Because Divorce Is So Lousy
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Granted, we won't be trying it out anytime soon, but it had us thinking: do we, really, need to marry our soulmate? Or does marriage almost work better when treated as a business arrangement of companionship and procreation?
Modern Love had a rather charming essay yesterday ("An Arranged Marriage, Then And Now") where the narrator discusses his situation in the same cool, detached Western way in which we discuss all of our bodily exchanges. He (Farahad Zama) is a "well-brought-up boy" of Indian descent who went the traditional route and agreed to marry his neighbor's daughter after only spending 45 minutes with her.I Hope My Daughter Marries...
When she was presented to him, he describes her as "cute" (cute enough, we presume) and "nodded in approval." It all sounds horribly romantic. Almost in the same vain as us Westerners nod in approval to whomever we're seated next to at our neighborhood bar once it reaches witching hour.
So they married, have two sons, and the arrangement has (dare we say) worked splendidly. Do they disagree? Sure. Do they have their differences? Absolutely. But if given a second shot at it, would the narrator have done anything differently? No.
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"The slow discovery of another person and the unraveling of layers of mystery are part of the fun of arranged marriage," he says. “You are not the person I married,” the Western woman (or man) cries when the scales suddenly drop from their eyes. They then either adjust or divorce. We, on the other hand, cannot say the same because we were strangers at our nuptials and so did not know whom we were getting into bed with (literally). I think that in arranged marriages one starts with lower expectations and realizes the need for compromise that is essential in a successful bond, and that is probably its biggest benefit.
This made us think our complicated Western dating habits are no different than an overstuffed Starbucks menu. Rather than work our way through and find fault with every frappuccino and macchiato on the board, perhaps a large black coffee (with a little room for milk) might be the easiest and best choice.