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Friday, January 26, 2007

arranged marriage  

posted by Michael Piwonka 7:50 PM
A friend of mine from India was proudly showing me pictures of a beautiful marriage candidate. She was one of several candidates that his parents had chosen for him, and the one that had garnered the most interest from him.

He told me how the arranged marriage process was working for him: his parents would find potential matches for him, and he would talk with each one over the phone, sight unseen. Arranging a phone call with the time differences between here and India can be a complicated matter on its own.

If the conversation goes well, they both email pictures back and forth to make sure no one will be surprised. He had professional photos, along with casual pictures from work, of his attractive 25-old-year prospect. He made a second request for another photo, one that was a full-length picture of her, just to make sure the rest of her figure matched her pretty face. It did. (You can never be too safe.)

I was fascinated by the types of things they discuss: education, values, families, desire for children, interests, religion, jobs, etc. But nothing about love, romance, or physical attraction.

Arranged marriages have a much lower divorce rate than "Western" marriages. Basing such a big decision upon reasoned thought rather than emotions is obviously a smart thing to do. It's not the romantic vision many of us grew with, but there's really no debating the logic.

I used to joke that I always wanted an arranged marriage so that when it failed, I could blame it on someone else. (That excuse doesn't really work for most of today's arranged marriages, as the decision is still ultimately up to the participants.) But as I find myself venturing back into the world of dating, my process is closer to the arranged marriage process than the one I used the first time around.

Sometimes my dates feel more like job interviews than anything else; I'm quietly listing a date's pros and cons in my mind, evaluating her skillset compared to her inflated resume. I can only assume she's doing the same to me.

It's not the stuff of romance novels, but probably the stuff of more stable relationships. After all, I've determined that, in the final analysis, marriages are really nothing more than business arrangements...

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random. arbitrary. completely unnecessary. yet refreshingly therapeutic.




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