Saturday, July 4, 2009

On Arranged Marriages . . .

An Indian once compared love with a bowl of soup and marriage with the hot plate of a stove and said: "You Westerners put a hot bowl on a cold plate and it grows cold slowly. We put a cold bowl on a hot stove and it warms up slowly."


I liked this quote. It catches the spirit of why arranged marriages can actually work, and often work well. In most Western marriages, couples attempt to experience most of the best parts of marriage before they get married. Sex, cohabitation, domestic sharing, even children. Yet they are not fully committed. Try before you buy. Experiencing and embracing all of these things without the safety and security of a firm marriage commitment is not just anti-Christian, but creates huge emotional/attachment issues. It is no wonder that so many Western marriages end in disillusionment and divorce. Yet their strength is that there is freedom and consent, and often some form of love.

The strength of arranged marriages is their foundation of commitment. Arranged marriages definitely have severe drawbacks (especially when you don't have the enthusiastic consent of both parties). They usually do not start on a foundation of love (or even "like"), which seems to be a foundational necessity. Arranged marriages focus too strongly on the commitment aspect and are weak on love, something that is just as necessary for a marriage to grow and flourish. Although cultural norms do not encourage those in arranged marriages to divorce, many of these relationships are cold and lifeless.

Commitment and love must both be present and in high amounts in order for marriage to survive and thrive. Although it is best and most fulfilling to have these at the start of a serious relationship there is still much hope for those who didn't have one or both of these. And that is why I do what I do . . .

3 comments:

TammyIsBlessed said...

There's a pretty big benefit to parents getting to pick their children's spouses - for the parents that is! :)

Elayne said...

I'm glad I didn't have to choose my children's spouses for them! I'm happy with their choices!!
I just can't imagine marriage without love! There is no other feeling like that amazing feeling of sparks associated with the excitement of knowing you've met your life's soul mate. I don't think that feeling need ever grow cold. That's why it is so good and important to keep celebrating those beginnings throughout the marriage. I think it's important to celebrate each anniversary and together remember how the relationship started and be reminded that nothing has changed.
I'm glad you have a heart for couples needing direction and guidance for their relationships Mark!

Dayna said...

great post, mark! i especially love the concluding paragraph.

blessings, dayna