Although our assignment for the semester is over, the social science research on marriage and divorce will continue, with or without me. If I had more time to expand upon this project, I would choose to delve into a subset of my topic that I stumbled upon in my final source. As shown in my Infographic, my original guiding question for this research was “Why is divorce so common?” I found many interesting sources regarding the factors that increase and decrease your chances of divorce. But when I was concluding my research about how we can improve divorce rates for the future, I came across a fascinating article about arranged marriages. While they are not claiming that all arranged marriages are great and we should all have one, I think the authors make excellent points about the differences in mindsets between them and typical Americans.
First, the authors speak about the problems with American relationships. I included these quotes in my Infographic that I especially fancied:
“In this part of the world, she says, even in committed relationships, we’re constantly asking ourselves: Could I do better? Would someone else make me happier?”
“We’re sold on the idea that our Soulmate or “The One”…will come into our lives and “fix” things for us–whether its job dissatisfaction, a lack of purpose, whatever.”
I completely agree with their assessment that we’re caught up in the fantasy version of romance that Hollywood shows. When you hold your significant other to unrealistic standards, they will inevitably fail you. And then you wrongly assume they failed only because they’re not the right one for you after all.
Then, the authors moved on to their study, where they selected women who claimed to be satisfied in their arranged marriages. In the interviews, they found that these women tended to focus on the positives when describing their partner. They refrained from complaining about the negatives, something American culture has a tendency to do. Interestingly enough, they also found that “the women in arranged marriages had more reasonable expectations of what their husbands could and could not do for them.” In other words, they were not disillusioned with the same fantasy of romance. All in all, this made me very curious about the idea of arranged marriage, which led to my projected guiding question, “What can we learn from arranged marriages?” Sure, they might measure marital satisfaction or happiness on a different scale than Americans. But who’s to say that our idea of happiness is better than theirs?
I think this research is extremely important for the future of marriage. It’s imperative that we find ways to improve chances of success, and I believe that one of these ways can be through studying arranged marriages. Although the physical practice doesn’t need to be replicated in America, we can learn a lot from their attitudes and ideas. From the women being interviewed, they clearly see the importance of commitment, that marriage should last forever, and that a significant other should not serve as a pedestal with which to throw your burdens on to be fixed.