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Arranged Marriages
By Danya Akbar
Los Angeles, CA


“I’m going to have an arranged marriage.” This phrase seems to be considered a death sentence among Americans and most people faint of despair and anguish before one can even explain oneself to them.
Contrary to popular belief, arranged marriages are NOT forced marriages, in which the parents choose the spouse of their child without his or her consent. Rather, arranged marriages allow the children to choose their spouse from a variety of people who are compatible to them in terms of background, religion, status, career, interests, and values, which allow two people to have common ground on the basis of which they may get better acquainted, and possibly get married.
Okay, so you’re a liberal, open-minded person, and you are keeping your eyes open for the perfect mate. Be prepared to look hard! The last census put the world population at 6.5 billion people. That’s right, BILLION! And, how many countries are in the world, again? One hundred-and-ninety-four. You can calculate the probability of you finding your soul mate on your own.
Now, why do so many people log onto dating websites and chat rooms to find people to marry? Why would any of us have to do this when we have our own embedded into the hardware of our parents and relatives? Herein lies the convenience of the arranged marriage; there are numbers of suitors one can choose from, and none of the expectations and complications of dating are attached to it!
In the modern era, arranged marriages put the preference of the child first and foremost. If a suitor is not found at first, the child will not be forced to marry until he or she wishes (in most cases.) You can choose a compatible person (who has already been deemed compatible by your parents) and get to know him or her over the home or via email. After corresponding and really getting to know each other, you can seal the deal by getting engaged.
Of course, nobody wants to get married to a complete stranger, so the correspondence will be a lengthy period. This period may be termed as dating, but only “desi dating,” in which the couple does not go out alone or unsupervised, and in which nothing inappropriate or improper should occur. This leads to a long-lasting relationship and a healthy marriage, in which the two people know each other well before getting married.
There are many reasons why arranged marriages are beneficial. First, the two people have a lot in common because of the careful selection process through which suitors are put through, thus allowing the families and the child to be content. Because of this high degree of compatibility, the divorce rate in arranged marriages is very low. Also, arranged marriages often occur between families who already know each other, and this allows the families to interact with each other smoothly after the marriage. If the families had not known each other before their children met, the meeting of the families would allow them to interact and understand each other, during the corresponding period, which would also minimize in-law problems in the future.
Arranged marriages are therefore not forced, are not only for the benefit of the parents or other things, but are essentially for the two people who are being joined in matrimony. If things do not work out, one must do what is best for him or her to be happy in life.
The arrangement of marriages by parents and relatives is a tool to help people find the person who will be most suitable as a spouse, from every aspect and view.

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