- Suzan Nia
“Whoever you love, I must love too” my mother said to me. Since I was a child, that is all I’ve known about love. Whoever I love, my mother must love too.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home that let me experience and live freely, even through the traditional foreign boundaries. My parents always tell me to “experience the world” and encourage me to create an atmosphere for myself full of people I love and trust. Now, because I grew up in Canada, my parents learned to adapt to a Canadian parenting style. What is that you ask? This type of parenting is known to be more permissive and less authoritative. Don’t get me wrong, both parenting styles have positive and negative effects, there is never a good way to know which is best. Authoritative parenting is more common in foreign families due to poverty, lack of education, etc. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with being authoritative? Well, third-world countries that experience these issues tend to benefit from their children's futures. They believe the restrictions (lack of socialization, lack of choice, etc.) put onto their children help them receive essentially any kind of transportation of money (i.e. arranged marriages).
As their children grow up, arranged marriages are introduced. Commonly, arranged marriages are presented in minority groups, particularly middle easterns. We (I say we because I am a part of the minority group) tend to take tradition very seriously, and arranged marriage has become so frequent that it has become the most popular way of finding love.
The perception of arranged marriages are not as dreadful as it seems. When I was younger I created this visual in my head where I would have no say in the matter and I’d have to live the rest of my life with someone I did not love. When I asked my parents how their experience was being arranged, they only spoke positively; “Your grandparents loved him and so did I” my mother said to me. This system is based on compatibility rather than lustful feelings. It is consensual, and it will take action as long as both parties (the one who is getting married and their family) give consent. Naturally, the success rate of the marriage is based on the parents compatibility with each other. Such as the family's financial, social and cultural compatibility. For example, social boundaries can be created if they do not share the same social cues (manners, how they speak, how they dress). Boundaries can also occur when there are financial barriers (where one family lacks financially than the other). Cultural compatibility is the most critical due to cultural acceptions. It is believed that sharing a language and culture is more sensible in compatibility.
Arranged marriages have high success rates due to their commitment and tradition. A 2016 study by Statistics Canada suggests that 60% of the world’s marriages are arranged. Other data confirms that there is also less than a 4% chance of these marriages ending in divorce. I believe in these statistics since I’ve never witnessed a divorce in my family. I always thought it was almost forbidden to divorce.
To explain how families can benefit from their children’s marriages, you must understand the circumstances these families face. Arranged marriages are imposed for many reasons: a simpler way of finding love, religious beliefs, and poverty.
Poverty is a concept third-world countries tend to struggle with often. Due to this, families are forced to exploit their children (most likely their daughters) to create a better lifestyle for themselves. Unfortunately, countries such as Afghanistan allow forced marriages, whereas 60%-80% of their marriages are forced. Frequently, daughters (with or without consent) are forced to marry a wealthy man in their country to help her family through poverty. These marriages have no restrictions (age, consent, violence). Poverty is not the sole reason for forced marriages; a social act, when families cannot be responsible for their daughters they send them off to a man to have authority over her, socio-economic factors(alliance), and pregnancies that need to be covered by marriage. Other countries that force marriages are Syria, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan.
Like I said before, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where I am able to speak freely and have a choice of my own, as were many of my peers.
Arranged marriages and forced marriages are different concepts, where forced marriages have no positive aspects. The system of being arranged essentially is not forced upon people, yet is it seen as a choice given to people to find a committed partner.
"First Comes Marriage". Nytimes.Com, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/fashion/07love.html.
"Marriage, Then Love — Why Arranged Marriages Still Work Today". Global News, 2020, https://globalnews.ca/news/4320972/arranged-marriage/#:~:text=Other%202012%20data%20suggests%20the,less%20than%20four%20per%20cent.