Is Arranged Marriage for You? Now You Can Find Out!

wedding photo of a couple

Just received a call from the company that produces Top Chef and Project Runway. They are developing a new series for the Lifetime Network and are looking for singles, 25- 45,who want a lifelong partnership. The hook of the show is that the partnership would be an arranged marriage and that your spouse would be chosen by your friends and/or family.

As odd as this might sound, I actually think there’s something to this. I just gave a blurb for a book called “First Comes Marriage” by Reva Seth that really captured the wisdom of the collective over the individual. The thing that stuck out with me most from the book is that arranged marriages don’t have the same lofty expectations as our Hollywood fantasy partnerships, which is why they’re more likely to endure and grow. Instead of starting out white-hot, they blossom over time – a much better recipe for success.

Anyway, if you are interested in finding out more, they’d love to talk to you. The producers have made clear that this is not a dating or an elimination series, and that everyone will be treated with respect. The goal of the show is to help the participants find love and happiness in a committed relationship and to document the process. It ¹s not for everyone, but if this sounds intriguing to you, check out: or email Melanie Levine at [email protected]

Your thoughts on arranged marriage?

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  1. 21
    Wendy Harris

      okay I am a psyc major and I am currently taking a class on intimate interpersonal relationships and it is documented that in the long run arranged marriages are happier and last much longer than love relationships…Mostly because both men and women in a love relationship have unreal expectations of love derivated by our culture and family views on love…No one can keep up the kind of love that our culture pushes. Most people who marry for love divorce after about four years. If there is a true friendship conponent then the relationship has a better chance, but it is still not as good as an arranged marriage. I for one have been married before and I married for high passionate love and it did not work out I am thinking about writing in to be on this show.

  2. 22

    I have researched arranged marriage off and on for years. I have lived in two cultures where a form of arranged marriage is practiced and in one i noticed that people were still getting divorced mainly because the spouses were not in love and frankly got married because everyone else encourage them to be by a certain age. That said I still like the idea of arrange marriage and will probably apply to the show.  

  3. 23

    My parents are from India and had put my ad behind my back on an Indian marriage site.   I wasn’t happy, as most of the men they chose were men that I wasn’t attracted to and had nothing in common with.   My parents weren’t going to force me to marry them, but they were pressuring me to get to know these men.    My gut feeling was that these men aren’t right for me.  

    I have thought about arranged marriage when I was in my early 20’s.   There can be benefits, but there are cons.   Just like any other marriage, it can work out or not work out.   Getting married to someone that you love is no guarantee that you will be happy.      There’s a misconception that arranged marriages are forced, when the reality is is that the parents will ask if you like the person or not.  

    I dated someone I loved for a year only to find out that we would be miserable together married.   If I had married him, I still would have been as screwed as marrying someone that my parents chose!   

  4. 24

    I wanted to add that one positive of the arranged marriage scene is that you at least know that both parties want marriage.   In the Western dating scene, women express frustration at where things are going or how to tell if a man will marry them eventually.   

  5. 25

    @Anonymous, the desire for marriage is very much culture driven.   I have several Indian born friends who are in love marriages, and what I observed during their courtships is that the attitude about where it was headed was very different than what I viewed in similarly aged friends (20 somethings, even those under 25).  

    So it’s clearly just anecdotal but none of them were dating to date around, or felt they needed to meet lots of people.   If they met someone and clicked, the talks turned serious VERY quickly, parents/families were pulled into the situation to assume their traditional roles, and so these couples were engaged and married withing 6-8 months.    The ones who dated more than one person did not stick around if marriage was clearly off the table.

    Clearly if you let your parents make the introductions in this context there is a higher probability that the person is serious about getting married (b/c honestly, it’s not as if you are part of a hook-up culture where either party has a high probability of expecting physical intimacy from the people that you meet), but there is also a HIGHER probability that the person that you are meeting is marriage minded based on the culture of origin.

    So I wonder if there are stats that show it, but I’d bet that you have a higher percentage of marriage, shorter courtships, and much less dating around on than on   A person is less likely to be a player if being a player is something they were raised to believe was wrong, or a waste of time, and not something that proves your status.  

    Not all Americans are unaware of how it works or think that Indians or other people are being forced to marry people they don’t like.   

    Of course, the biggest con that I see is that if people get into it and they aren’t compatible, they are loathe to divorce. So I might get it wrong, but I’m grateful to be in a culture where I won’t be castigated by friends and families if I think I need to get out.   

  6. 26

    I should mention, I’m pretty sure even the 6-8 month window was a long time b/c I’ve seen things move much faster for arranged marriages, providing there were no immigration/visa issues that had to be overcome.

    Most recent couple I know got married in 8 months but that seemed long and was precipitated by some logistical challenges.   I’ve seen others pulled together in 3 months or less.   

    I am always struck by how few single, over 30 Indian (as in Indian born) women I have met (and I say that as someone who has always worked with a lot of Indian immigrants and lived in areas with high Indian populations).   A few that I’ve met in the U.S. definitely slipped into American dating culture and enjoy it and don’t seem interested in marriage.   But it still seems like a rare situation.     

  7. 27
    Saint Stephen

    In many cultures being in love before marriage is a pure luxury. Majority of the world works like this! China, India Islamic countries & many parts of Africa practice arranged marriages where love develops AFTER marriage. The real ups and downs of real life soon brings ‘love-marriages’ down to earth with a bang/divorce.

    Being ‘in love’ is simply a state of mind. And given such, i believe love can be built and nurtured. Women might think they only gonna be happy marrying an ivy-league, 6 feet, good looking and financially successful guy. but all he’s enticing features wont matter one bit to you anymore when he starts treating you like crap. Arranged marriages fare better b/c it employs the help of our parents and folks who have been there and done that. First they know what is obtainable, and secondly which qualities “matters” more as regards to a good long term prospect.

  8. 28

    I believe that arranged should be considered. If you daughter or son already has an fiancee then they can focus on school work and a career. Many places around the world find it odd not to have an arranged marriage. I personally want an arranged marriage, since I am 17 and have no time already for friends and relationships I have thought on have my mom pick for me and just say go for it.

  9. 29

    I think people mistake the term “arranged marriage” for “forced marriage.” I just read Reva Seth’s book that Evan mentioned, and I love the idea that someone (parents, friend, aunt) would take my list of “marriage musts” and interview 15-20 GOOD candidates and introduce the best ones to me! I am free to say no. I love the truths presented, that we have been conditioned to expect our spouse to be our “soul mate,” to love all the same hobbies, to make us happy, to be our best friend, to “complete” us. No one human being can possibly be all of that! That’s why we have other family and friends. I realize it is not for everyone, but it sure sounds smarter to base a marriage on your most important values rather than how “hot” someone looked at the first moment you saw him/her. I am semi-interested in auditioning for that TV show, crazy or not! Thanks for this discussion!

  10. 30

    I think the concept of arranged marriages in America would be a sound idea.   Though it limits the freedom of choice, let’s face it:   I haven’t exactly made the best choices in women.   And the more successful and older a person becomes, the harder it is to find a mate.

    I also support arranged marriages, because of an incidence in which a co-worker (friend) hooked me up with a family member of his.   Initially we did not get along, but soon we just clicked.   We were both eager to make it work and were looking forward to being together.   I had even proposed (which I was terrified to do at the time), but it didn’t work out.   Still, out of all my relationships, this was one of the highlights of my dating career!

    So yeah, I would be very much interested in this concept!


  11. 31
    Sharliss Rankine

    I think it is interesting and worth consideration. I believe I am open minded enough to try an abbreviated version. Blind dating is one such version. While family and friends can and in most instances choose with your best interest at heart, can and does anyone truly know what makes you tick outside of yourself? Relationships by extension marriage are one plus one equals one. True love grows but its essential components are passion, intimacy and commitment. So while others may be able to screen for your future partner base on preconceived values and traits only you the individual can determine who truly will be your mate. You know yourself best, the inner you as most times what we project to others really is just a mask or better yet who we are expected to be not really who we want to be or is. With all that said i believe choosing a spouse should be balanced between both your ideals and that of your family and friends. That’s the only place that success lies. No matter how perfect a plan, reality is, life lived is base on the choices we make in every instance. So marry aand stay together for the long haul or marry and divorce   boils down to the choices we make everyday. When cup full it boil over, so whether arranged or love marriage divorce is inevitable if both party doubt work together to make the marriage succeed.

  12. 32

    As a christian I believe Isaac and Rebekah’s story is one of a kind. Abraham sending Eleazer to find a wife for his son in his kindred. Amazing love story. But the greatest lesson is faith in God. In my experience I have been promised marriage yet all my ex boyfriends married other women. And here I am unmarried and single. I believe that the marriage phase is sacred, therefore God should be consulted as well as wise parents and friends. If I had the opportunity I would allow my family and trusted friends to find my husband. The only downside would be being followed by cameras everywhere even though the idea is to show people that arranged marriages can still work, the sad part is the couple might not really be themselves on tv than they would without cameras. However, I fully support family and friends helping in such a decision. It is a pity I live in South Africa.

  13. 33

    I believe I could be open to a hybrid version of arranged marriage. However giving others, be they well meaning family or friends, the final say in who I spend the rest of my tomorrows with, just doesn’t sit well with me. The only third party that should be involved in such a major decision is God.

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