Arranged marriage statistics vary depending on who you ask or the sources you reference. Arranged marriages are just one of many marriage patterns found among African wedding traditions. I know this is going to sound a bit controversial but contrary to popular belief, arranged marriages do have some pros in the midst of the cons.
For many Westerners, the idea of an arranged marriage is just so totally “foreign”, that the pros and cons of the situation are never even considered. Most have been taught that the path to marriage involves long periods of dating and attempting to “fall in love” with another person before committing to marriage. Arranged marriages however, are somewhat common in many parts of the world, and surprisingly, it is also very successful.
Now don’t get me wrong, while an arranged marriage certainly won’t work for everyone… just like “love matches” don’t, there are some very real advantages you may have never considered. So before you completely discard the idea as being old-fashioned, consider a few things you may have never thought about.
People who live in countries where arranged marriages are very common understand the pitfalls of this type of matchmaking, but they also recognize the benefits that such partnerships can provide. One of the biggest reasons that arranged marriages are often successful is that these partnerships are created between people who have similar ethnic, religious, social, and cultural backgrounds. You may be surprised to find out that arranged marriages are still common in Western countries where the children of immigrants hope to meet someone with a similar upbringing that will allow them to continue in their cherished cultural traditions.
There are also ethnic and religious communities where the introduction of outsiders is frowned upon, such as Orthodox Jewish communities and areas heavily populated by Greek immigrants, where arranged marriage is seen as a way to ensure that the culture or faith is continued. The same theory holds among African couples who enter into arranged marriages.
Another fact that many people may find surprising is that according to arranged marriage statistics, these unions have a far lower divorce rate than marriages between people based solely on romantic love. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, including the compatibility of cultural and religious traditions which I have already mentioned. Members of cultures where these types of marriages are common are often very close-knit, and the couples receive a very high level of support that is often not present in traditional marriages. In addition, arranged marriages normally occur between individuals who have a similar social and financial status; as any couple who has been married for more than a week can attest to, this can lead to much fewer arguments than less similarly paired couples.
If you ask enough couples who are engaged in arranged marriages you will find that they also feel that the love between themselves (wife and husband) grows over time and becomes stronger after facing the challenges that married couples face. The experiences that other couples may have had during a dating and courtship period is experienced by them together as a married couple. Not having an “out” means they have to work through it together and they end up growing as a married couple from such experiences.
Now to be sure, there are some negatives when it comes to arranged marriages as well. Because of the potential for human error (in the matchmakers), some individuals find themselves married to a highly unsuitable partner. For various reasons – cultural, religious, and otherwise – it can often be more difficult to leave an arranged marriage due to the cultural and familial expectations that are often present.
There are also cultures that use arranged marriage as a way of oppressing women, pressuring them to enter into marriage at a young age before they are able to develop independently… and this is totally not cool. Though not part of any verifiable arranged marriage statistics, one of the main aspects of arranged marriages that a lot of people point out as a con is that most individuals would like to experience the highs and lows of romantic love.
While arranged marriage statistics show that this institution has both pros and cons, the suitability of an individual for arranged marriage depends on many factors. Although arranged marriage may never become common among Westerners, the success of these unions should be considered by those who are accepting of it and hoping to find someone to spend their own forever with.