Arranged marriages and the mating game

Everyone wants some sort of guarantee that they will not end up alone.

by Maggie Habashy

Every day hundreds of people around the world go on blind dates, try online dating or pay to find their perfect mate.

Methods for seeking a soul mate have increased greatly. There is speed dating, singles parties and even mail-order brides.

Although a lot of the new ways of finding someone are just for fun – just another way to pass time and enjoy life – many people really do hope to find the person of their dreams through these new methods.

There is an obsession and desperation with finding that special someone. Everyone wants some sort of guarantee that they will not end up alone.

Web sites such as eHarmony.com and Match.com are flourishing because of this obsession.

The commercials for these sites are actually quite appealing. I mean, the slogan “Fall in love for all the right reasons” and the pictures and quotes from all the happy couples eHarmony has brought together, well, that’s just something everyone longs for.

If it worked for them, then it could work for you too, right?

They essentially promise that by taking their personality tests and filling out forms about who you are, they can find someone for you, too.

Problem solved. All that time you spent wondering who you will end up with and when the right person will come along has come to end.

Now you can pay someone to find them for you.

Well, that is just a great convenience in our busy lives.

These sites are the result of endless bad dates, blind dates, set-ups and everything else of that nature.

It’s OK though. People generally are accepting of all these tactics in finding a mate.

Yet when it comes to cultural differences in methods of finding a mate, those same people signing up with those sites criticize cultural and traditional methods such as arranged marriages.

In most cultures that use arranged methods of marriage, there is legitimate reasoning a culture filled with blind dates might not understand.

Although it would be great if marriage were only about eternal love, this is not the truth.

Spoken from a hopeful romantic, marriage is about more than just love, though I would like to think otherwise. Arranged marriages are set up in such a way to guarantee two people will be able to build a future together.

When the families seek a mate for their children, most of the time they are seeking in the best interest of their child. They see how compatible the families are together in more than just personalities, but with values, class and beliefs.

Of course there are instances in which the marriage is nothing more than a business transaction. However, more often it is more logical and reasonable to a child’s future.

Normally parents want the very best for their children no matter their age. They want to make sure their children’s futures are secure and stable. At least your parents are more reliable than a few tests.

Parents generally know with whom you’d most likely be compatible and are able to sense with whom you would be capable of building a home and family.

In most cultures, marriage is a very important decision. Arranged marriages are thought to be in the best interest of those getting married. It is not meant to infringe on women’s rights or expand male domination as most people might think.

In American culture arranged marriages are frowned upon; this is the same culture suffering from an increasing divorce rate.

Although arranged marriages are not comparable to blind and online dating, in broad terms, they are the same thing.

Generally speaking, in one of the methods you let your friends choose a mate for you, or even a couple of tests, for that matter. The other is based on the logical thoughts of your parents, who in most cases know what it takes to make a relationship work.

I’m not saying everyone should abide by the tradition of arranged marriages; just that it is important to remember each culture has its differences.

So before criticizing others for their cultural traditions, it’s important to see the logicality from their point of view. Something that might be a norm in American culture can be construed as odd in others.

Maggie Habashy welcomes comments at [email protected]