What is your view on arranged marriage in America?

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
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norcal
First off, I am Asian American, but born here so the idea of arranged marriage seems to be a custom done in other countries. Personally, I would never warm up to it since I am a believer more in fate, falling in love, etc.

However, it's how my parents met, and how a reluctant Chinese American friend of mine (highly educated and also born here) met his wife through a "dating" club. In the case of my parents, they have remained married 50 years and in the case of my friend, he ended up in an incompatible relationship.

But in recent years, I have seen this ancient custom take hold among Americans like me who were born and raised here, regardless of race or national origin. Where I live there was this case where a man got in trouble with the law promising his daughter for marriage at a future date to his friend's son for exchange of money, food, and alcohol. Then several other cases popped up. The local community where I live overwhelmingly supported the practice and the man was exonerated. It was his free practice of "religion" in America which allows for freedom of religion.

I don't think this would have been the case 10 or 15 years ago.

While on a visit to a very high end private university in Northern California (I won't mention the name) I came across an ad that was an arranged marriage service. People actually can sign up their kids to be, just in case. Now if this were Japan (my ancestry) many years ago, I totally understand and am not judgmental towards a practice most of the world sees as perfectly normal. But in the United States? Does it fit our society?

Times are definitely changing and it could be due to a larger portion of Asians like me in the US, and immigrants from other countries used to arranged marriage, and the dating services at Elite universities appear to cater to the overwhelmingly overrepresented Asian populations at such schools.

Thoughts?
 

IgnatiusTheKing

macrumors 68040
Nov 17, 2007
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I think arranged marriages for us regular joes are silly at best and disadvantageous to society at worst. It doesn't make any sense for two people to be "forced" to marry one another when there is no political reason behind it.

That being said, however, if the two people being paired are okay with it and have no real objection, then I don't see it as an issue.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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I don't really see it catching on, Americans are more independent than other countries and tend to (most of the time) regard their personal freedoms as something special.
 

63dot

macrumors 603
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Jun 12, 2006
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I don't really see it catching on, Americans are more independent than other countries and tend to (most of the time) regard their personal freedoms as something special.
Maybe not where you live. It's in the news a lot in the San Francisco bay area, but that region is very diverse ethnically. Other cities with a diverse population are New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, but I wouldn't see arranged marriage take hold in more homogeneous regions. While I take on the values of the "independent" American, there is a growing influence of Americans developing values from their country of origin with the country (USA) they adopted. This is neither good nor bad, but more of a trend of where society is headed during the changes it faces.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
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A coworker of mine from India (who lives here in the US) is getting married next year to someone in India who I don't think he has ever met in person, through an arranged marriage. I don't see how something like that could possibly work out, but I guess it has been working for all these years to some degree of success. It's not like Americans with their 50% divorce rate have any room to talk about successful marriages.
 

Rt&Dzine

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2008
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I had a 20-something-year-old friend from India who thought that arranged marriages were superior to finding your mate in a willy-nilly fashion. At first I thought it was a horrible idea, but after listening to the positives I decided that it had some merit. As long as both parties are in agreement.
 

Shivetya

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2008
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If both parties agree then have at it.

Well provided it is legal for the two people in question to marry in the state they want to get married in.
 

63dot

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Jun 12, 2006
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I agree it's OK if both parties (the people getting married) agree to it. But what is this concept of signing up your kid? Are we becoming more open to ideas from other countries where this is a common practice?

For instance, let's say I go to Stanford, and due to that and other factors such as lifelong contacts I become rich. Let's say it's almost guaranteed that most Stanford alums have an "in" for their kids when they grow up. This is what they call a legacy admittance and was the most common form of entry into a top school in the old days. The current six regional accrediting agencies don't allow any school to let more than a third of students be legacies since blind admittance is more in vogue now.

But beyond that, what if there are dating services that ask you to sign up your kids who are possible legacies? What if you don't have a kid yet but there is pressure to sign up kids in exchange for a major discount for their dating and arranging services in the future? What if there is strong evidence that arranged marriages among people with similar values, and educational attainment, have a much higher probability of staying married?

I have a rich friend (white btw) who signed up with a dating service that would find a good match. It's a very elite service and he paid a ridiculous amount of money to join. The idea, he suggests, is to keep gold diggers out. After a while, he saw this service as a fraud and couldn't let go of the idea that it's more "normal" to meet your own mate on your terms through fate, not some organization that wants to charge tens of thousands of dollars.
 

sushi

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I had a 20-something-year-old friend from India who thought that arranged marriages were superior to finding your mate in a willy-nilly fashion. At first I thought it was a horrible idea, but after listening to the positives I decided that it had some merit. As long as both parties are in agreement.
I completely understand where you are coming from.

When I first came to Japan, I could not fathom an arranged marriage. After living here for quite some time and seeing some very successful arranged marriages, I can now see the pros more clearly. Granted they don't do it much any more, although they do have a viable match maker system that works for some.

I think that an arranged marriage has some definite advantages for some. For others, finding their own mate is probably a better way of going about it.

Regardless, I believe that the words of "Until death do us part" need to be taken seriously. You get out of marriage what you put in. And the more that you put in the better it is.
 

Rt&Dzine

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2008
736
5
I agree it's OK if both parties (the people getting married) agree to it. But what is this concept of signing up your kid? Are we becoming more open to ideas from other countries where this is a common practice?

For instance, let's say I go to Stanford, and due to that and other factors such as lifelong contacts I become rich. Let's say it's almost guaranteed that most Stanford alums have an "in" for their kids when they grow up. This is what they call a legacy admittance and was the most common form of entry into a top school in the old days. The current six regional accrediting agencies don't allow any school to let more than a third of students be legacies since blind admittance is more in vogue now.

But beyond that, what if there are dating services that ask you to sign up your kids who are possible legacies? What if you don't have a kid yet but there is pressure to sign up kids in exchange for a major discount for their dating and arranging services in the future? What if there is strong evidence that arranged marriages among people with similar values, and educational attainment, have a much higher probability of staying married?

I have a rich friend (white btw) who signed up with a dating service that would find a good match. It's a very elite service and he paid a ridiculous amount of money to join. The idea, he suggests, is to keep gold diggers out. After a while, he saw this service as a fraud and couldn't let go of the idea that it's more "normal" to meet your own mate on your terms through fate, not some organization that wants to charge tens of thousands of dollars.
In other countries, did people usually use a 'service' to find a match for their child? Or is this a new thing? Paying a middleman.

It's interesting how these matchmaker services have become so popular recently. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them, but they have become big business.
 

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
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In other countries, did people usually use a 'service' to find a match for their child? Or is this a new thing? Paying a middleman.

It's interesting how these matchmaker services have become so popular recently. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them, but they have become big business.
Definitely big business in California and especially the diverse region of the SF bay area. I wonder where Zombie Acorn is from that he does not see this trend? I assume that there are areas in the US that are not diverse which don't understand other cultures. Heck, like I said I am Asian and very liberal to boot, but the idea of arranged marriages does not sit well with me. Interracial marriage, or gay marriage, are OK in my book. But something bugs me about being promised to somebody else who you have not met in person. And it's not all just Asians and Hispanics where I have seen this. I have seen this in some WASP circles too. This may not be an issue of race, but maybe a trend due to the ever increasing practical culture we live in. Concepts such as car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, portfolio diversification, and sites like Chemistry.com and eHarmony.com, have institutionalized having better odds to succeed in society. I can see a day where one can live and plan their entire life with social networking sites. Less human interaction, more computers.

Yes, I liked how arranged marriage worked for my parents, but it was such a disaster for my friend who got pushed into it by his old world parents. I can't tell you how badly this went.
 

Rt&Dzine

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2008
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5
Definitely big business in California and especially the diverse region of the SF bay area. I wonder where Zombie Acorn is from that he does not see this trend? I assume that there are areas in the US that are not diverse which don't understand other cultures. Heck, like I said I am Asian and very liberal to boot, but the idea of arranged marriages does not sit well with me. Y
I should clarify . . . I meant matchmaker services such as the dating services have become big business. I haven't seen any arranged marriage services advertised.
 

nbs2

macrumors 68030
Mar 31, 2004
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A geographical oddity
A major shift in the arranged marriage process seems to be a more modern vetting process. Historically, it was the fathers or parents that would conduct the full arrangement - the idea wa to secure a spouse life partner that would be able to provide the best life for your child. Partners do not always get along, but they work together to obtain the best letationshipfor the venture - in this case the new family.

These days, there is a shift towards getting the children more involved. The children will sit and talk and get to know each other while the parents meet. This interview serves as an additional component towards a successful venture.

At least, that was the shift I saw while I was visiting family back in India.

On topic, I don't really care for it. I don't think I would have met my wife in an arranged situation (although, if a mutual friend tries to set up up, is that an arranged date?). But, it has its place and can be right for a lot of people who have strong relationships with their parents. Much of the success rests on how well your parents know you (and your mate's partents know their child).
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Definitely big business in California and especially the diverse region of the SF bay area. I wonder where Zombie Acorn is from that he does not see this trend? I assume that there are areas in the US that are not diverse which don't understand other cultures. Heck, like I said I am Asian and very liberal to boot, but the idea of arranged marriages does not sit well with me. Interracial marriage, or gay marriage, are OK in my book. But something bugs me about being promised to somebody else who you have not met in person. And it's not all just Asians and Hispanics where I have seen this. I have seen this in some WASP circles too. This may not be an issue of race, but maybe a trend due to the ever increasing practical culture we live in. Concepts such as car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, portfolio diversification, and sites like Chemistry.com and eHarmony.com, have institutionalized having better odds to succeed in society. I can see a day where one can live and plan their entire life with social networking sites. Less human interaction, more computers.

Yes, I liked how arranged marriage worked for my parents, but it was such a disaster for my friend who got pushed into it by his old world parents. I can't tell you how badly this went.
I am in the middle of the US, so diversity isn't nearly as great as on the coasts. I have never even heard of an arranged marriage being performed in this area, all of the people I know from native asia all picked their own boyfriends/girlfriends too. I can't imagine being in an arranged marriage.
 

63dot

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
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I should clarify . . . I meant matchmaker services such as the dating services have become big business. I haven't seen any arranged marriage services advertised.
The two concepts have blurred. I have never had 20 grand, or more, to join such a service, but among my friends who had the cash and the experiences of those services, you can definitely close a deal with a future marriage partner without meeting them. Most deals work with the marriage partners writing and emailing to each other and trusting the agency, before they meet. Often the meeting is just a formality and both partners have made up their minds for the marriage.

Like one poster said, who are we (Americans with our 50 percent divorce rate) to judge?
 

63dot

macrumors 603
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Jun 12, 2006
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I am in the middle of the US, so diversity isn't nearly as great as on the coasts. I have never even heard of an arranged marriage being performed in this area, all of the people I know from native asia all picked their own boyfriends/girlfriends too. I can't imagine being in an arranged marriage.
Neither could I.

I am just trying to understand the growing trend. It could be cyclical. Remember mail order brides in the Sears catalog? Are we headed there again? Again, I am not trying to judge other people, but the idea of arranged marriage seems weird to me. But the idea of a mail order bride in a Sears catalog just stuns me. This was actually a successful part of Sears at one time.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Neither could I.

I am just trying to understand the growing trend. It could be cyclical. Remember mail order brides in the Sears catalog? Are we headed there again? Again, I am not trying to judge other people, but the idea of arranged marriage seems weird to me. But the idea of a mail order bride in a Sears catalog just stuns me. This was actually a successful part of Sears at one time. Could it be again?
With services like eHarmony it wouldn't really surprise me, the system seems to think that it is going to match you with someone right (like someone else pointed out this is basically what parents do in the process), one more step in that direction and it will be a marriage service.

I didn't realize sears had mail order brides, I can't say I ever remember seeing a sears catalog, then again I was born in 84 so it may have been on the way out by then.
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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If both parties agree then have at it.

Well provided it is legal for the two people in question to marry in the state they want to get married in.
Agreed, some people do actually prefer arranged marriages. I know of people who have specifically chosen to have an arranged marriage (even though their other brothers/sisters had got married to someone they found themselves.).
 

Shivetya

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2008
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You cannot force freedom on people :rolleyes:
You cannot define freedom for other is all areas of their lives.

I prefer the libertarian view, if no one is harmed, physically, mentally, spiritually, or financially, why is there a problem?