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    Traditional Marriages

    By Kristen Houghton     

    At a multi-cultural event in New York City, a pretty, young Indian woman was seated next to me. She and her new husband had recently returned from their honeymoon. During the dinner, her husband excused himself and, as he left the table, stooped down and planted a loving kiss on his wife’s shoulder. Everyone smiled at this newlywed affection.

    Later in the evening an aunt of the recent bride told me that her niece’s marriage had been arranged. The arrangement had been based on similarities in their traditional and cultural backgrounds, religion, schooling, family, and financial equity. I couldn’t help but ask about love.

    “Love will come. They are so well-matched that the affection will automatically follow,” she smiled.

    There are many cultures where arranged marriages are not only accepted, but deemed a perfectly normal part of life. Parental judgment is first; love is a secondary consideration. In order words, just being in love doesn’t necessarily make the most successful of partnerships.

    You can see a shred of truth in this thought. If we think about the people with whom we believed we were madly in love, we see, in retrospect, that the person we thought we couldn’t live without is the same person we are glad we didn’t marry. It’s a strong possibility that our parents weren’t fond of him or her in the first place!

    Many cultures adhere to the practice of arranged marriages as part of their belief system. Parents look out for their children by trying to make the best possible match they can, even down to the exact details of housing, money, and continued post graduate education. The duties of husband and wife are stipulated legally and spiritually. The partners are committed to making the marriage work.

    The system has always been a prominent and accepted part of European, Eastern, and even American societies. It was designed so that a person married another of equal worth and social position.

    Though most of us still feel that love should be the main, sometimes only, reason for getting married, the theory of “common ground” compatibility is not such a bad idea. All cultures have their own definition of what will create a happy, successful marriage. Even if we don’t totally embrace all practices from other types of marriages, we can still learn from the positive aspects.

    Whatever helps to make a marriage good is good for the marriage.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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