Dating, what if we have it all wrong?

[HT The Ruth Institute]

What if our culture’s assumption that “freely chosen relationships” is not true?

We’ve long held in our culture that arranged marriages are inherently evil for depriving couples of the freedom to choose their (supposedly) life-long mates. However, what if we discovered that instead of love being diminished by the removal of the prospective spouses’ free choice of whom to wed, we discovered that love is actually increased?

Sounds like an oxymoron, huh? But a recent article discussing the failings of how our criteria of freely choosing mates based purely on our chemical highs (which we mistakenly label “love”) has some very interesting tidbits, including:

Imagine a dating world turned on its head, in which people were not given the freedom to opt into or out of a relationship — such as a culture that practices arranged marriages. What researchers have found will be shocking to Westerners weaned on the idea of romantic love.

According to a 1982 study by two Indian researchers, the level of self-reported love in arranged marriages increased over time until they surpassed the level of self-reported love in marriages that were freely chosen. Incredible as it sounds, people with a very limited say in choosing their own spouses eventually became happier with their relationships than people with the freedom to choose anyone they wanted.

This really shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially Christians, since marriage ought to serve as institutional guide-rails for fledgling relationships. Offering clearly defined roles for both spouses along with clear standards of what is and is not acceptable. Meaning infidelity is scorned and unconditional love is praised among other traits.

I only hope I can get these ideas across to my children before they reach the age they decide to start dating…

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One response to “Dating, what if we have it all wrong?

  1. It's a cultural thing.

    It is indeed a fact that arranged marriages are as successful as "normal" marriages in communities where that is the norm. Which indicates the real base of true love: commitment.

    As I did with my wife and my father did with my mother, we entered the marriage relationship with commitment. One way to describe it is that "Divorce" is not in our dictionary.

    It really doesn't matter how one enters in that relationship so much as they enter it with commitment.

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