(This blog is a follow up to one that I posted on Monday, in which I talked about the practicality of arranged marriages. Not that I necessarily agree with arranged marriages, but I see the merit in why they did this in the past.)
I think that arranged marriages would be a useful practice in an ideal world. But, we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where parents and children don’t see eye-to-eye. The environment we live in is drastically changing, and so this generation will desire different things than what their parents see as important. This is why arranged marriages wouldn’t work in our culture:
1. Parents would have to understand their children well enough not to put them with someone that would not be “compatible.” Without a proper understanding of their children, this becomes an evil and unethical practice of parents bartering them off for personal gain. There is no value to human life.
2. The child would have to undergo two choices: a.) To fully trust in their parents guidance. (which most young adults would not), and, b.) Have the type of Christian character that understand that there is no getting out of marriage (unless there are things like infidelity, emotional/physical/spiritual abuse), that they welcome the transformation that is undergone in the spiritual journey.
3. Many Americans have a belief of “No, one gets to tell me what to do”, which I understand, because as we have become aware of abusive authority, or have taken that role for ourselves, we tend to dismiss power. And, I can appreciate this because they’re establishing a system where the misuse of power holds consequences. But, having a “you do what you want, and I do what I want” mentality doesn’t make for healthy spirituality. We need covenants. We need relationships. We need leaders. We need accountability. We need people to journey with. This is to prevent us from falling into isolation and continuing our own self-centered worldview. Being a Christian holds a sacred belief in confessing your sins with one another, praying for one another, looking out for the other’s best interest. A person who is spiritually mature can do this with an awareness of what others need, and, without abusing them. But, submitting to a leader like this, a community like this, means that we have to give up our individual, ego-centric worldview. And, that’s really hard when we live in a culture that is taught to, “look out for #1”. I think this mentality shows why our divorce rate is so high in America.
I do not want to dismiss the notion of romantic love within marriage. I think this is something the lovers of Song of Solomon knew so well. They were infatuated with each other’s presence. But, I also don’t want to over-romanticize marriage. Every married person I know tells me that there is so much nitty gritty work in marriage. That love is often a choice that they have to make every day. Or, as Steve Carrell put it in Crazy, Stupid, Love, “I hated this person, even while I loved them.”
I don’t see arranged marriage as something feasible, but I do see it, under ethical guidelines, as very practical, and can teach people notions of love other than romanticized and individual love (which I wouldn’t dismiss either).