In North America, we often value the idea of a perfect partner, a soulmate, and true love. We choose our spouse based on shared interests, attraction, personality and passion. We need to feel that spark. Once you have chosen your husband or wife, you have faith that it will all work out, simply because you love each other.
Arranged marriages most prevalent in South Asian and African cultures, are based on lasting factors of compatibility, such as family values and religion. Other factors may come under consideration, including vocation, family reputation, and caste.
It might not surprise you to hear that arranged marriages have a drastically smaller divorce rate than chosen marriages, as divorce is not widely accepted in many of these cultures. However, individuals in arranged marriages actually report higher levels of satisfaction throughout their relationship. They are not only more likely to stay together, but to be happy and satisfied with their marriage.
Despite what Hollywood tells us, the key to a successful marriage is not passion or attraction (although these can be enticing!), but rather, answering real questions about child-rearing, values, role expectations, finances, and religion, You and your partner must have the same goals in mind for your life together to avoid heartbreaking surprises.
It is important for individuals from Western cultures to have a future focused conversation and reconcile the issues they feel strongly about before marriage to ensure lasting happiness and satisfaction. This conversation is often not a romantic one and this is why most don’t bother having it, but these conversations may be the most important one you have.