Flickr Most Americans who get married today believe they are choosing their own partners after falling in love with them. Arranged marriages, which remain common in some parts of the world, are a rarity here. These seemingly different kinds of matrimony may be beginning to converge. Couples who ostensibly marry after spontaneously falling in love increasingly do that with some help from online dating services or after meeting through hookup apps.
And modern arranged marriages — including my own — are becoming more like love marriages. Going strong in India According to some estimates, more than half of the marriages taking place around the world each year are arranged. They are the norm in India, comprising at least 90 percent of all marriages. I believe that most people in communities where arranged marriages predominate still feel that parents and other close relatives are qualified to select marriage partners.
Some young Indians consider their parents as more objective than they are about this big decision and more adept at spotting compatibility. In addition, arranged marriages help couples uphold cultural and religious traditions that have stood the test of time. Perhaps this explains why people in arranged marriages tend to get divorced less frequently. Data comparing divorce rates within countries for arranged and love marriage are hard to come by.
But in the U. To be sure, divorce is often frowned upon in nations and cultures where arranged marriages are common — making that metric a potentially unreliable way to assess marital bliss or the lack thereof. In addition, the U. Young people who tie the knot that way have more power to choose their spouses and can even initiate the process instead of their parents.
In addition, the prevalence of matrimonial websites such as Shaadi which means marriage in Hindi and Jeevansathi life partner in Hindi empower young Indians who reside in India or North America to become more self-reliant.
The internet, higher education levels, and cultural and economic globalization are also making single Indians freer to do their own searching for future spouses than their parents were.
And some traditions that limit choices for single people, such as parents placing newspaper ads to announce eligibility and interest, are becoming less common.
Finally, when Indians reach a marriageable age — usually between 18 and 30 years old for women and between 22 and 40 for men — the ways these aspiring brides and grooms interact are beginning to resemble contemporary dating in the U. Arranged marriage, American-style Arranged marriage is stigmatized in the U.
But, in my opinion, things are changing here for a reason. Online dating and matrimonial sites, such as eHarmony, OkCupid and The Right Stuff are proliferating and becoming more accepted. In addition, the explicit criteria — online profiles, personality tests, questionnaires — that they use to match individuals resemble the implicit criteria parents and friends use to identify prospective spouses for arranged marriages.
EHarmony, for example, pre-screens candidates based on personality tests. OkCupid uses questionnaires to match people. Psychologist John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago recently did a study with several colleagues about internet dating and modern matrimony.
They found that more than one-third of all American couples who got married between and met online. In my view, all parents seeking to arrange a marriage for their sons and daughters do so with the best of intentions. My own parents certainly did, 23 years ago, when I got married. And whether parents or computer algorithms make this connection, the ultimate goal is the same: