Thursday, January 22, 2009

"I now pronounce you MAN and STRANGER..."

Changing the subject from politics .......I have often wondered about this:

Do you think ARRANGED MARRIAGES can work?

Ever heard anybody debate it?!! Have any personal stories to share on the topic?

I think most of us have very little experience with this, but I sure do know that my grandmother and grandfather didn't know each other well before they married! And, you can be REAL sure they didn't know each other in the Biblical way! Actually, if it weren't for my Dad having been born, I'd have said they STILL hadn't............ never mind. But, they had a love for each other that was very sweet. They had respect for each other. They respected each others' families and wouldn't ever do anything to dishonor each other or their families or their children.

I see so many couples living together for four or five years, then divorcing fairly soon after marriage. The statistics show that couples who lived with each other have less success in marriage than couples who hadn't. What do you think?

Any thoughts? I'm curious! I wonder if the men's and women's comments will differ much!!



Sue said...

There's always the possibility that an arranged marriage could work. Look at all the failed 'normal' marrriages.

Anonymous said...

It will work in other countries but not here in the USA...
Thank God

shoprat said...

They can work and often do, provided the matchmaker genuinely knows both potential partners, their needs and wants, and what each can bring, and truly has the happiness of both partners at heart. Those that are simply business arrangements or a guy my age with lots of money lusting for an 11 year old girl whose Dad is under financial strain is another matter.

Ducky's here said...

We underestimate how recent a development "marrying for love" is.

Arranged marriages have been the majority through history.

Z said...

Sue, there sure ARE a lot of failed 'normal' marriages, true.

ThruMyEyes, I'm sure not advocating for it! I think the philosophy BEHIND it could help our marriages, though....when people looked into the family, how someone was raised, choices they made, only marrying people with fine backgrounds; and I don't mean 'wealthy=fine', not at ALL, I mean of good character.
Our immediate gratification culture here, generally makes it difficult because we sometimes marry people just because they look great or have the big bucks...then find out they're not very good people.
Arranged marriages, I believe, were based largely on the person's background...and I think that counts. Not to take ROMANCE out of anything, which I think arranged marriage obviously does, but romance, sometimes, lasts as long as a honeymoon, you know?

shoprat, yes...genuinely knowing both partners and their characters sure helps.
I'm suggesting maybe 'normal' dating might want to go back to that!!

Ducky....only until maybe 2 generations ago in some families even here in America; but families who were recent immigrants here.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Different people, different times, different expectations, different societal norms. More sacrifice-oriented, less narcissistic.


Anonymous said...

I've lived in countries where arranged marriages were the norm, and they seemed to work out ok. But there's no real way to know if both people are happy when that isn't one of the parameters used to define a successful marriage.

Z said...

Hermit. Perfect..SHOULD it be happiness that is the number one goal of a marriage with children?

BZ hit on it perfectly...I think your two comments correspond.

I.H.S. said...

You know Z, I have an older brother that I will be officiating at his wedding this summer, and he has been living with his fiancee for a few years now. I would hope that once they have married that they will stay together, but I tend to think that the reasoning behind them divorcing is that when they were just living together there was no REAL sence of committment because either one could have just left at anytime, and when marriage comes into play then that's a whole new ballgame because it's a TRUE committment and it takes WORK.

"Shacking" as the older saints call it is merely playing house without the responsibilities.

My daughter is 17 and I would love to arrange a marriage for later down the road, SERIOUSLY.


christian soldier said...

Isn't it interesting that there are match-making sites out there -now -and they are doing a bang up business---
Z-what we have done in the last 40 years is obviously not working-what are the numbers---50% divorce rate nation-wide even among Christians....HMMM

Elmers Brother said...

my marriage was arranged....

by the Lord

Ducky's here said...

Well, I. H. S. there is something to be said for the wisdom of age over the folly of youth.

There are certainly a lot of marriages that would have benefited from mature input.

I.H.S. said...

Ducky, I somewhat agree with you, but also remember what is said in the scriptures,"...Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom." "Great men are not [always] wise: neither do the aged understand judgment."

The reason I say that is I know personly young people that have the wisdom and maturity of those three to four times their age.


Anonymous said...

My very own grandparents had an arranged marriage.

When my grandfather turned 18, my great-grandmother said, "Son, it's time you got married."

There was no arguing the point. My grandmother was literally a mail-order bride. Great-grandmother guided my grandpa through a series of black and white "portrait" photographs, and chose the girl who became my grandmother. She was 19.

They sent across the ocean for her, and she arrived a month or two later. They married as virtual strangers and produced eight children the last of whom was my mother.

From all accounts they did well. There was no nonsense in their relationship, but from what I've heard they were reasonably content. People had a very string sense of DUTY back then.

They stayed married, never strayed and raised their children under circumstances WE probably would consider "poverty."

THEY did not. They lived together decently and productively for 44 years. My grandmother died at 63 of a cerebral hemorrhage --- six years before I was born. Grandpa lived to be 90 and was never ill a day in his life till the very end. He smoked a pipe all his life, and consumed a good deal of wine too, but never to excess.

People were not allowed to be pouty and self-centered in those days, and did not demand so much from life as we do today --- they wouldn't have dared.

The "entitlement mentality" had yet to be born. Respect for elders was expected and demanded. So was respect for Authority. And, of course, whether they particularly wanted to or not, EVERYONE went to church.

The church was the center and substance of my grandmother's social life --- her only outlet really from being a full-time wife, mother, housekeeper and resident gourmet cook.

My family took their educational opportunities very seriously back then. They knew being properly educated was their only chance to get ahead. Grandma refused to let any of her children eat dinner till after they'd done their homework.

Dinner, by the way was usually fabulous. Today, we'd call it Gourmet Cooking. Back then, Grandma simply cooked items the butcher did not dare to feature and might have thrown away in many instances. Such things as heart, liver, kidney, brain, intestines, "sweetbreads," and stuffed breast of veal made for wonderful eating --- if you knew what to do with them. Grandma did.

I have been privileged to enjoy many of these family recipes, and, believe me, they are SUPERB. I know of no restaurant who could begin to duplicate the quality of this cuisine.

Americans who either have no European background or have long lost touch with it have no idea what a treat late-nineteenth-century poverty could be in New York City.

My grandparents did all this on no-more-than TWENTY-DOLLARS a WEEK. Even at that they were able to save enough, eventually, to buy property and build their own house on a large double lot in "the country" (now the suburbs).

So, yes, INDEED, arranged marriages can work splendidly, but probably not in today's reckless, wasteful, whiny, demanding, resent-filled, hedonistic, undisciplined society.

~ FreeThinke

PS: oh by the way, they were opera fans and had gramophone recordings of Caruso, Melba, Galli-Curci, Martinelli and other operatic greats of the day. Many of them also went to the Met and were happy with STANDING ROOM, because it was all they could afford.

Somehow, in this atmosphere of "poverty" those with any interest and a shred of talent took either voice or piano lessons. One of my aunts played well by the time she was eleven, so family musicales became a regular feature.

If it all sounds like scenes from Little Women, it really was, albeit Italian-style. ;-)

If they were poor, they never knew it. God bless them all, and as THEY would have been the first to say, "God bless AMERICA.

FYI: They HATED Roosevelt --- saw right through him, and KNEW what he was doing would lead to disaster.

Respect "Folk Wisdom," please. Apparently, there's a LOT in it. - FT

Anonymous said...

It is believed that the practice of exogamy creates a more heterozygous and therefore healthier gene pool than endogamy. But I doubt many people take this into account when marrying, either in the selection of their own mate, or in an arranged marriage. I believe the general tendency is for people to marry people "like" themselves.

Plato, 'Statesman"

STRANGER: Where this divine bond exists there is no difficulty in imagining, or when you have imagined, in creating the other bonds, which are human only.

YOUNG SOCRATES: How is that, and what bonds do you mean?

STRANGER: Rights of intermarriage, and ties which are formed between States by giving and taking children in marriage, or between individuals by private betrothals and espousals. For most persons form marriage connexions without due regard to what is best for the procreation of children.

YOUNG SOCRATES: In what way?

STRANGER: They seek after wealth and power, which in matrimony are objects not worthy even of a serious censure.

YOUNG SOCRATES: There is no need to consider them at all.

STRANGER: More reason is there to consider the practice of those who make family their chief aim, and to indicate their error.


STRANGER: They act on no true principle at all; they seek their ease and receive with open arms those who are like themselves, and hate those who are unlike them, being too much influenced by feelings of dislike.


STRANGER: The quiet orderly class seek for natures like their own, and as far as they can they marry and give in marriage exclusively in this class, and the courageous do the same; they seek natures like their own, whereas they should both do precisely the opposite.

YOUNG SOCRATES: How and why is that?

STRANGER: Because courage, when untempered by the gentler nature during many generations, may at first bloom and strengthen, but at last bursts forth into downright madness.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Like enough.

STRANGER: And then, again, the soul which is over-full of modesty and has no element of courage in many successive generations, is apt to grow too indolent, and at last to become utterly paralyzed and useless.

YOUNG SOCRATES: That, again, is quite likely.

STRANGER: It was of these bonds I said that there would be no difficulty in creating them, if only both classes originally held the same opinion about the honourable and good;—indeed, in this single work, the whole process of royal weaving is comprised—never to allow temperate natures to be separated from the brave, but to weave them together, like the warp and the woof, by common sentiments and honours and reputation, and by the giving of pledges to one another; and out of them forming one smooth and even web, to entrust to them the offices of State.

Anonymous said...

Do I think arranged marriages can work?

Not in 21st century America, not anymore. Who needs a wife/husband when the government will protect you, give you food and shelter, educate/train you for a new job, and provide health/nursing care (Medicare/Medicaid) when you grow old and can no longer take care of yourself?

highboy said...

There is no formula for marriage. Divorce rates are so high typically because practically no one understand exactly what a marriage is. People have preset conditions or lines that can be crossed that will severe their "love" or attachment to another human being. Marriage requires true unconditional love, which is a choice, not an uncontrollable emotion that gravitates us toward one person against our will.

Gayle said...

I have never known anyone whose marriage was arranged, Z, not even my own grandparents. All I know is what I've read and that some have worked out, some have not. I fine pairing young girls with old men for monetary gain or for any other reason to be an abomination though. I'm sure you and most others here do too.

I celebrated my 50th wedding anniversary last December. I can't imagine being happy with one man for that long in an arranged marriage but I know it has happened.

Ducky's right in saying arranged marriages have been the majority throughout history, but so have a lot of other things that have been wrong. I don't believe two people should take a marriage vow unless they actually know and love one another, but that's just me. :)

Ducky's here said...

If any of you have a Netflix account, I'd recommend "Arranged".

Basically the story of two women, one Jewish and one Muslim, who teach together and desire the arranged marriage over the protests of co-workers and friends.

Very appealing little film done in contemporary Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing and Reappearing Post

I'm so sorry! I hope Z will remove my second posting of the same material. I don't know what happened, but I would SWEAR it was not there when I returned a few moments ago.

Neither was Farmer John's large offering.

My eyes --- always dubious, as our gracious hostess knows --- must have played a trick on me.

~ FT

Tony C said...

I wish my first marriage had been arranged...arranged to have never happened!

Ouch! Ba rump pum (only a drummer would write that).

Anonymous said...

Arranged marriage would probably kill me.

Living together prior to marriage scares me as a woman. I'm thinking...if he's not willing to marry, why be with him? I consider myself HIGHLY VALUABLE, and anyone who doesn't needs to move on.

Law and Order Teacher said...

We read quite a few primary sources in class and a lot of them are about everyday people. As some have said happiness was not something that was written about too extensively.

I believe people had a very strong sense of duty that precluded other less important feelings. Probably that strong Puritan work ethic thing.

Arranged marriages is certainly an interesting topic. My great grandparents were an arranged marriage, both from Germany, she from Koblenz, he from Saxony. She emmigrated in 1885, he in 1887 and they were married in 1888. My grandfather was born in 1889.

Interesting times.

I.H.S. said...

Pinky, you said,"I'm thinking...if he's not willing to marry, why be with him? I consider myself HIGHLY VALUABLE, and anyone who doesn't needs to move on."

BRAVO! Now, if evry woman said and meant it I believe you would find that the majority of guys don't want to get married.

I mean really why buy the cow when you're getting all the milk you want for free.


Z said...

Wonderful input, everyone..thanks.
Ducky, thanks for the movie recommendation..sounds really good.

FT...reading your comment is like being back in better times..words like respect, etc.....makes me feel odd; like we can't get something SO GOOD back. I love that your grandparents loved opera together!!

TONYC...REALLY good one! GO, girl. That's the way it should be.

My own VERY dear friend got married recently after having lived some months with his lover; he finally said "I can't DO this...I just have to get married, it feels wrong" They're married!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, IHS. I was going to use that quote. It was hammered into my head growing up. Women under-value themselves. So do men.

Anonymous said...

Not to be contrary, but I know of two situations where couples lived together for a long time --- one for eleven years the other for seven before they finally decided to make it official.

Very sadly in the first case the eleven-year union ended abruptly less than six months AFTER they tied the knot.

I knew the man involved very well, and he, himself could never explain why going through a marriage ceremony spoiled what had, apparently, been a wonderful relationship.

The second couple --- the two who first lived together for seven years without benefit of clergy --- got married, had a daughter, who turned out to be a brilliant over-achiever and are still very much together. They've been a pair for nigh onto fifty years now.

"Who can explain it? Who can tell you why?" Fools give you reasons;wise men never try."

"One man's meat is another man's poison."

"Truth is stranger than fiction."

Very stimulating topic!

~ FreeThinke

Sue said...

In the last few years my thoughts about marriage have changed - I'm talking about the kind of 'choosing your own partner' - not arranged.

With so many people living together before, premarital sex, then the amount of cheating on both sides during, plus the expense and hoopla associated with marriage, I think now days marriage isn't quite the sacrament it used to be - only for a special few.

Sue said...

the expense and hoopla associated with weddings

Z said...

But, Sue, do we give up and have the BILLIONS of dollars of problems from single motherhood (chosen) and just have people live with others, propagate, have nobody responsible for whatever children come from that shack up, etc.?

People just don't HAVE the discipline and sacrifice they used to have. Do we give in?


Sue said...

z - my remarks were not meant to suggest giving up on marriage. But I do mean what I say. What is sacred about marriage when premarital sex is predominant, living together before marriage, cheating. These are things that to me make marriage less sacred. I'm repeating myself, but this is what bothers me. I know that people will continue to have extravagant and costly weddings, but to celebrate what. They've already done everything before.

When these things exist, I find it hard to criticize people who choose not to marry.

But I'm not saying that marriage should not take place. I just don't see it the way I used to.

Sue said...

z - I just noticed that you used the term 'shack up' about people that don't get married. Isn't living together before marriage a 'shack
up?' And how do you negate that by a marriage ceremony?

Z said...

Hi, Sue.
Most people use 'shacking up' as I did, I together before marriage. I don't understand your statement 'don't get married', you mean NEVER? Making the difference "shaking up" ONLY IF you soon marry?
I think shacking up is just plain living together instead of getting married, no matter if there are marriage plans, etc...anyway, that's the way I take it.

I know what you mean. It sure takes the beauty out of a wedding when there's a big white production with a white wedding dress, etc., and the couple's been living together for 3 years. "who cares about this NOW? Big white wedding for what?"

You mean it's hard to criticize people who live together instead of ever marrying, or you mean it's hard to criticize people who never marry? I don't criticize either...but I do wish we could get back to the good old days and people honored marriage more and ..

well...I don't know what to say. We have a different society these days and I don't feel we're benefiting from it. I'm reading GUILTY by Ann Coulter. Love or hate her, she's SO right about single mothers, for example. Such damage is being done to the children..there is so much championing single motherhood as if it's a badge of honor these days. Even Mr. Bush made speeches with "And, in the audience is Sally Jones, a SINGLE MOTHER from Indiana who......."

WHO CARES? It's so predominant and so unholy and so bad for society...SO terrible for children.
There are even BOOKS on how it's easier to raise your child without a man! There are SO many books championing single motherhood I didn't even know about!

OBVIOUSLY, there are single moms from divorce or they've been widowed, but I'm talking about "I just feel like having a baby.." single moms. Day care, kids exposed to tons of 'dates', abandonment feelings because a father never was in their life.

I'm sounding like a relic from the nineteenth century, I guess. I just don't see where this behavior is healthy for Western societies...not at all.

Sue said...

z - I'm not suggesting that people not marry. I'm only saying that I do not consider marriage to be a sacrament if the couple lives together before, has premarital sex, cheats during, etc and the wedding ceremony is a sham if these things are done.

Marriage is still better than not, but it's just not sacred for those who choose to break the rules.

The high divorce rate - even among Christians - speaks for itself.

Z said...

Thanks, Sue. I see and I agree. Marriage really is a sham when those things are done ... you're right.

The high rate of divorce is a symptom of something so deeply wrong and sad and irreparable in the West...

I believe divorce is necessary sometimes, don't get me wrong, but young people entering into marriages, having 2 kids, then leaving because "she's not happy every day" (something someone in my own family divorced her husband for~!), or "I just have to be FREE", a sign of the times.
No sacrifice, little discipline, marriage because of physical attraction and not giving much thought to other attributes (or faults).


I.H.S. said his own daughter is not averse to an arranged marriage; this is the kind of child who wants to build a relationship built on mutual respect, shared faith, shared respect for family, shared values, etc. How many times have we heard from arranged marriages "the love developed and grew because the spouse was so kind, so giving...."...I have.

cube said...

Mr. Cube's grandparents on his Armenian half had an arranged marriage and it lasted a very long time.

Of course, people were more stoic back then and didn't spend their lives navelgazing and complaining about the slightest little inconvenience.

CJ said...

Since Ducky mentioned the movie "Arranged" and I happened to have it already in my Netflix queue, and it was also available for "Instant Play" over the computer, I watched it last night.

It's a pleasant little low-budget propaganda film that denies there's anything in Islam itself to explain terrorism and overall is selling a low-key "Can't We All Get Along" message, but it held my interest for most of it.

We are taught about Orthodox Jewish customs and Muslim customs as a Jewish girl and a Muslim girl who both teach at a Brooklyn elementary school become friends. They are both being set up for marriage by their families, the Muslim girl by her father, the Jewish girl by her mother who has a matchmaker arrange dates for her. The dates run the gamut of unattractive Jewish male personalities, which are supposed to be funny but after half a dozen of them I was detecting something on the verge of anti-semitism, though I'm sure I must be wrong. Meanwhile, the Muslim girl is introduced to one man who is too old for her.

They both protest to their families about the first bad choices and eventually Mr. Right is found through the proper and customary channels. The Muslim girl's dream man shows up on the very next attempt, but in the case of the Jewish girl her Muslim friend has to intervene to get her together with the man she's attracted to.

The last scene shows them chatting together on a park bench with baby carriages beside them, presumably happily married to their respective arranged partners. Arranged for them but not completely arranged.

For myself I suppose I'd have to say nobody could have done a worse job of arranging my relationships than I did.

Z said...

CUBE! Mr. Cube is half Armenian? I didn't know that!! WHAT A LUCKY WIFE YOU ARE (Smile!) You know I am, right?

CJ...Ah, the Muslim girl finally has to help the Jewish girl.......typical. Your recap is excellent and telling. Tell us, were the Muslim groom candidates as unattractive as you say the Jewish prospects were? I'd really like to know.

I think your last paragraph sums it up for lots of people. Well said.

CJ said...

There was only one undesirable Muslim candidate and he was too old and, yes, very undesirable, but there was only one of him as opposed to half a dozen of the Jewish candidates of quite a variety of personalities.

Mr. Muslim Right came along on the very next try and he's this gorgeous young guy. Mr. Jewish Right who was only found after a lot of family friction, the girl's almost leaving home, and the intervention of her Muslim friend. wasn't so handsome but "has a kind face" as his bride says.

Anyway she loves him, and the message is that you can love your arranged spouse -- as long as you get to choose him.

Pat Jenkins said...

z how would you of felt being arranged? (of course i am assuming you haven't been)

Z said...

Pat...I'm really not sure...excellent question.

If someone was a fine man, well raised, kind, ...well, there'd be a LIST!, then maybe... Dignified, respectful, a family that was well known and admirable in the community? Those things are important to me.
Would I prefer sexy and tall and handsome? Ya, probably! (Smile)


heh heh (just put that in for Mr. Z....I'M KIDDDDIINGGGG!!! HAHAHA!)

Seriously....these are different times...but I do put LOTS of store on family and respectability and dignity and class....If they'd presented me with a man like that..back then.........sign me up.

cube said...

Mr. Cube is Armenian on his mother's side :-)

Z said...

Cube, you might have been saved QUITE a name!!! :-)
Thanks for coming and letting me Tell him PAREV!

Sue said...

z - Speaking of high divorce rate, I've had the idea for some time now that a major reason for divorce currently is
that women are more independent than they used to be and a large percent work. They have nothing to hold them back from leaving an unhappy marriage.

My mother was not independent of my dad, although after her kids were raised she did work. I know that things were not always perfect in their marriage, but when my dad died last April, they were going on 70 years - of sticking together and loving and caring for each other. So many people will never know that.

Z said...

Sue, your story about your folks really touched me.

No, most people will never know that, will they..that feeling of honoring your vows, doing right by your children and your spouse, the sweetness of having lived a life together. SEVENTY years...that is QUITE incredible. Thanks for sharing that...

cube said...

I will tell him Parev but he's going to have to ask his mom what it means. I'll let you know the response.

And, although not Armenian, I wasn't spared in the world of long, unpronounceable names when it came to my maiden name. It's not easy not being named Smith or Jones ;-)