In February 2008, the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) became the first international criminal tribunal to recognize "forced marriage" as a separate or distinct crime.
In fact, he [Dr. William Cornell] says, "Being in love is not a good reason to get married. It's about the long haul." Arranged marriage is based on the concept that love is a fleeting emotional response, so it deliberately brings a whole range of factors into the equation.
Forty-five individuals (22 couples and 1 widowed person) living in arranged marriages in India completed questionnaires measuring marital satisfaction and wellness. The data were compared with existing data on individuals in the United States living in marriages of choice. Differences were found in importance of marital characteristics, but no differences in satisfaction were found.
The contractual view of marriage implies that spouses can choose marital obligations to suit their interests. However, to some, the value of marriage consists precisely in the limitations it sets on individual choice in the service of a greater good: thus, Hegel commented that arranged marriage is the most ethical form of marriage because it subordinates personal choice to the institution. The institutional view holds that the purpose of the institution defines its obligations, taking precedence over spouses' desires, either, in the two most prominent forms, in the service of a procreative union, or to protect spousal love.
In purest and most stereotypic form, a traditional Chinese matchmaker arranged a marriage between a girl and a boy in two families of roughly equal social status. The two families might have been unacquainted (or only distantly acquainted) with each other, but they were each likely to benefit by their new association through the happiness of their children and/or through the potentially useful contacts they established as affines. Approximate equality of social status was a rule of thumb and still is, summed up in the phrase "doors matching, households facing" (mén dāng hù duì 门当户对).
I have an issue with arranged marriages. On one level it is great for parents who want to bond with families, for individuals that are desperate for partners and don't come in contact with many people, or for couples who are content with role playing and creating families and want a sense of tradition and conformity in their lives. However, so often we come across people who are married purely by merit of caste, community, religion, family connections, etc., without getting to know the partner, simply because the families insisted on it and have lived to regret it.
A common rationale for arranged marriages is that young people are too immature and impulsive to make a wise choice, and experienced elders are likely to do better. In addition, in the West one chooses a partner to fulfill oneself, while in non-Western collectivist cultures, one's primary responsibility is to the group-to one's parents, kin group, ancestors, and others--all of whom have contributed to make one's current life possible and to whom one is obligated.
A study in Jaipur, India a few decades ago found that people in love marriages were more in love for the first five years, while those in arranged marriages were more in love for the next 30 years. (Of course, since Indian love marriages are viewed as immoral, their difficulties may be due at least as much to social stigma as to poor matches.) People do not expect to love their spouse at first-love is seen as something that develops (when it does) over time and through shared experiences.
His [Harvard academic Dr Robert Epstein] work suggests that feelings of love in love matches begin to fade by as much as a half in 18 months, whereas the love in the arranged marriages tends to grow gradually, surpassing the love in the unarranged marriages at about the five-year mark. Ten years on, the affection felt by those in arranged marriages is typically twice as strong. Dr Epstein believes this is because Westerners leave their love lives to chance, or fate, often confusing love with lust, whereas those in other cultures look for more than just passion.
Arranged marriages are not uncommon in immigrant communities across Europe. They are rituals faithfully carried over into a new, Westernized lifestyle, sometimes generations after immigration. Defenders of the practice argue that the resulting matches are often more successful than self-made marriages. But every year, hundreds of arrangements deteriorate into forced marriages, founded on emotional or physical coercion.