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Arranged marriages or love marriages, which last longer?

Arranged marriage (also called prearranged marriage) is a marriage arranged by someone other than the couple getting wedded. The matchmaker can be the parents, an agent, a religious guide or even a dating site and account is taken of the prospective partners backgrounds, social standing, religion etc. in order to find the most compatible mates from a given population.

In an arranged marriage both parties consent to the assistance of a third party in identifying a spouse. The arranged marriage is not a forced marriage – one against the wishes of one or both individuals concerned; nor is it a love-marriage based on an individual undergoing courtship to find a mate. Sometimes in an arranged marriage the partners are presented with a pool of “possibilities” and from these candidates select their preferred choice.

Whatever we think or feel about arranged marriages the divorce statistics show that in countries where arranged marriages predominate are the countries where the divorce rates are lowest. India has one of the lowest divorce rates of the world, and it also has one of the highest rates of arranged marriages. For a listing of divorce statistics by country you can see http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2007/04/04/divorce-r ates-of-the-world/. On the face of it it would seem that arranged marriages carry a rosy picture of mates staying together.

However, statistics can easily be flawed. Those countries with the lowest rates of divorce also happen to be those countries where divorce tends to still carry a great social stigma; where women do not have the same opportunities to make themselves independent of a husband provider; and where there are least social services opportunities for women who do seek to separate. And those women who are abandoned or who remain in a failed relationship locked in a house do not even feature on divorce statistics.

Only if we look to the nature of those marriage relationships may we start to gain an answer to our question of whether arranged or love marriages last longer. And without doubt the arranged marriage comes up as winner. It is not just because compatibility of the partners is maximized at the start (although this helps iron out many of the common causes for divorce cutting short the duration of a relationship) but it is because of the particular understanding of marriage that the arranged marriage participants have.

In an arranged marriage at the very outset partners understand marriage as a comittment; love is something

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