Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arranged or Romantic…How Do You Get a Good Marriage?

Posted by Michele Olson
A recent global post from New Delhi, India in the Huffington Post got me thinking. See if it gets you thinking too.

The article talks about the fact that there is a fairly recent phenomenon of divorce in India. The days of “bride burning” to extort dowries and a bride being chosen and living with her husband’s family are dwindling. Now the young lovers in the country are looking to romance and romantic feelings as a basis for choosing a life-long mate. Who doesn’t applaud the freedom to choose and the right to get out of what could sometimes be an abusive, dangerous situation? That’s all good news. The days of the dowry can’t end soon enough.

What is not so good news is what seems to be the people’s ability to throw the baby out with the bath water. Now people are looking to romance and personal fulfillment as the benchmark for choosing their mate. Oops. That has not worked the best for us in the U.S. It would be better if India would learn some lessons that we have had to learn the hard way. The article says that the “state is failing helplessly as it tries to balance tradition with modernity when it comes to the legal and law enforcement responses to marital discord.”

If only they could start a new tradition….pre-marital inventories and education for those seriously dating and engaged. Jumping from arranged marriages to marriages built on romance is equally dangerous. The conversation in the country is surrounding the idea that they don’t want divorce to be a stigma. That’s the wrong conversation to be having.

India, famous for Bollywood and the dancing, singing extravaganza movies often about star-crossed lovers is definitely a distorted image to portray about non-arranged marriages.

Here in America we are also stuck in the idea of marrying for romance and portrayed by Hollywood. Hopefully here in America, we can start to hear more loudly the voices calling out for pre-marital inventories and education for a couple anticipating marriage. Social science research tells us that you can slash the probabilities of divorce down to 10% when you add in the use of such programs. We’ve seen India imitate us in the movies from Hollywood to Bollywood. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get them to imitate healthy relationship education as they go through marriage changes in their country? Wouldn’t it be great if we could get our own country to be a shining example to the world?

Read the full article on India here.

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