Arranged Marriage

Previous Posts in my series on marriage: Cousin marriage, forced marriage in Pakistan, forced marriage in Islam.

I had completely forgotten about completing this series until I saw Yasmine comment on Abez’s blog (no permalinks; look up the June 10 post titled “How I Own 1/7th of Riaz’s heart”).

Although Western socities tend to deride arranged marriages as backward and uncivilized and primitive, there do exist positive aspects. For example, Westerners focus more on the physical aspect of relationships, and are thus obsessed with love, sex, beauty, etc. As a result, people get married based on these factors and then get disenchanted with one another very easily. The divorce rate in Western countries such as the U.S. has skyrocketed. […]In contrast, Eastern cultures that practice arranged marriages place far more emphasis on the practical, such as integrity, diligence, ambition, humility, generosity, etc. People get married based on practical reasons, and work on building affection later. Strong characteristics like the ones described above are very conducive to building love and affection in Eastern marriages. As a result, these marriages are much longer-lasting than many Western marriages (at least, based on what i’ve seen so far). It’s BECAUSE the primary emphasis is NOT on love, sex, and physical beauty that arranged marriages are usually so successful, because the spouses get to know one another on a practical level first, looking beyond trivial issues such as beauty or lack thereof.

And, of course, i know it can go both ways: there ARE many arranged marriages that are just total hell, and there are marriages that started out based only on infatuation and grew stronger as time passed. But I think as long one as looks for the right characteristics in a potential spouse, then, arranged marriage or not, ‘s all good.

I won’t reply to her points directly but a discussion of the similar ideas comes later in this post.

First, we need to consider what an arranged marriage is. It is basically a marriage which is arranged by someone other than the couple themselves, usually their parents. It encompasses a lot of different varieties: the harshest arranged marriages are almost forced upon the bride or groom while the most liberal ones start with just an introduction of the coouple through their parents and the rest is up to the couple.

Traditionally in arranged marriages, the decision is made by the parents of the couple and they have to abide by that decision. It was quite likely that they would see each other for the first time after their wedding. These marriages are still prevalent though in lesser numbers than the past. I know quite a few people who are actually proud that they did not meet with their spouse before marriage and married a total stranger. Another thing that I have heard happen is that the parents are usually so confident of their child agreeing to whoever they arrange their marriage with that they don’t bother asking for their opinion before finalizing the proposal. The guy or girl is then left with little choice but to agree.

Then there is the emotional pressure or even emotional blackmail. Parents beseech their children to agree to a proposal before they die or make use of other emotional pressures. A very mild example is shown in this Washington Post article:

But the Patels didn’t drop the idea [of going to India from the US to look for a groom for their daughter], and Indian daughters hesitate to defy their parents. Many times her mother had prepared vegetarian meals for Vibha while she was away at college, and her father had driven nearly five hours to Blacksburg to deliver them, then turned around and headed home — how could she now dismiss their wishes? Her father’s eldest brother, dying in a nearby hospice with the whole family gathered around, yearned to see her engaged — shouldn’t she give him this final pleasure?

The more liberal arranged marriages nowadays are called “semi-arranged marriage,” or “arranged introduction” by some people. Here, the process starts with the parents but the guy and girl have input as well and the final decision is the couple’s. That’s why some proponents of arranged marriage say that it is no different than your mom setting you up on a date. However, there is a huge difference.

They [the parents] run ads, canvass Web sites, put the word out on the community grapevine: Dad’s aunt knows a nice Bengali family in Atlanta whose nephew is an electrical engineer. Mom’s medical school classmate in Detroit has a cousin with a single daughter working with computers in Bangalore.

After their parents perform due diligence — Hindu marriages are considered a union of two families, not merely two individuals, so bloodlines and reputations matter — the children meet and spend time together and decide whether their relationship has a future. A voluntary process, no different from having your friends fix you up, the fixed-up like to say.

But it is different. Families —- many of whom disapprove of or forbid dating —- don’t want to introduce their kids to someone to hang out with or move in with; they want a wedding, and soon. Vinay’s relatives think that after he’s spent three or four evenings with a woman, he ought to know: She’s his future bride or she’s history.

So the parents have a large amount of input in deciding who gets through the initial vetting. Also, there is pressure to make a decision. One is not allowed to take the time it takes to get to know someone, but has to decide on a deadline.

In Muslim families, one-on-one meeting is generally out. So the couple get together along with their parents or in more liberal families with a chaperone. Try meeting your future wife for the only time before your wedding decision in front of both your parents and then try striking up a conversation with her.

People think that the do-it-yourself marriages (“love marriages”) in the West rely on superficial characteristics like physical beauty. Here’s the ad placed by Vinay’s parents:

Punjabi parents desire beautiful, professional, never married, US raised girl for handsome son, 34, 5’10”/150, fair, slim, athletic, engineer/MBA, consultant in DC area. Enjoys travel, sports, music. Please reply …

When parents go looking for a spouse for their child, they consider beauty, ethnicity, religion, education, social/financial status and even horoscopes. Which of these criteria are superficial? There are times when a guy’s mom would reject girls because of the smallest “defects” in physical appearance. Or because of the girl being a bit older than the guy (even by a few months).

Ethnicity and religion are very important factors that most parents don’t overlook for arranged marriages. I know a number of guys whose families insisted that they had to marry another Pathan (an ethnic group in NWFP, Pakistan and in Afghanistan) even though these guys and their families had otherwise completely assimilated in Lahore or Karachi for hundreds of years. No one in their families spoke Pashto or Dari, the languages that Pathans/Pashtuns speak. Still their families would not think of marrying someone outside their definition of the tribes that comprise the Pathans.

Imagine how many parents in the US are comfortable with their children marrying someone of another race. Now think what would happen if these parents could decide who could or could not marry their kid. The result would definitely be far less miscegenation. And that’s what happens in societies with arranged marriages.

In the end, the discussion of arranged and love marriages comes down to which is better. Obviously, the one that leads to more successful marriages. Proponents of arranged marriage claim that it is more successful, but their definition of success focusses on divorce rates.

It [arranged marriage] works better than Americans’ impulsive love marriages, which so often split apart. “We have less divorce,” Vibha’s mother points out. “That’s what results tell us.”

But are divorce rates really a measure of successful marriage? Do all the couples that don’t get divorced stay happy with each other? The prevalence of divorce in a society depends on a lot of factors including the stigma of divorce.

In fact, the advantages and drawbacks of arranged marriages can’t be so easily appraised. The incidence of divorce among Indian-born Americans is dramatically lower than among Americans generally, but that partly reflects the continuing stigma of divorce. Even as the divorce rate among Indian Americans appears to be increasing, the topic is rarely discussed. […]Divorce reflects poorly on an Indian family, and some proportion of arranged marriages endure not because they are successful or rewarding, but because leaving them would bring such shame.

In addition, the concept of a woman living independently is foreign to most people in South Asian culture. Also, a majority of women don’t work in Pakistan and hence find it difficult to have enough money to support themselves without getting married or after getting divorced.

And many endure because the definition of success differs from Western ideas. Traditional Indians don’t expect a partner to be that improbable combination of soul mate/confidante/red-hot lover/best friend. “The husband-wife bond is one of reliability and dependability and complementary family roles — raising children, caring for elders,” explains Karen Leonard, author of The South Asian Americans and a University of California-Irvine anthropologist. “They may communicate very little in intimate ways, and it’s still a good marriage.”

Hence, they are married as strangers and stay strangers all their lives.

Arranged marriages are the norm in Pakistan and if its proponents are right, then marriages should be very successful there in general. In terms of divorce rates, they are but then how to explain this:

Estimates of the percentage of women who experience domestic violence in Pakistan range from 70 to upwards of 90 percent.

A lot of people nowadays think that arranged marriages are somehow tied to Islam or Muslims. In fact, arranged marriages are common in a lot of societies in Africa and Asia. They are the norm in India and Japan among other countries.

What is the position of Islam on the topic of arranged marriage? As I mentioned in my post about forced marriage in Islam, traditional and conservative scholars require the approval of the bride’s guardian for her marriage (a position I disagree with). In addition, conservatives are wary of any kind of mixing of the sexes socially. Therefore, for women, there is not much of a practical way out of this dilemma. Some modern scholars however disagree and allow a couple to get married without parental involvement. They still disagree with dating, but meeting of the couple for the purpose of making a decision about marriage is allowed. So, the marriage would tend to be like the “semi-arranged marriage.”

A final question to anyone who favors arranged marriage and specially those who don’t want the couple to get to know each other before marriage: What do you think about having sex with a stranger to whom you are married? Or do you think a couple like that should wait until they know each other better?

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. wel erm thnx 4 tht im sure it will hlp me get my A tht im lukin 4 lol nah really i actually need ur views so plz do try 2 ryt mre than 2 wrdz on it thnxx

  2. Im an Indian American Christian (25 yrs old, came to USA in 94 and I’m totally Westernized) and I have been dating a Russian Jewish girl for 3 years (She came to USA when she was 6)

    My parents are having FITS about the relationship. Recently, she asked about our long term goals, cultural, religious clashes, etc. Both of us won’t convert and she wants to get married in a hall rather than a church. I’m willing to compromise but my parents are not. They think that all white girls wills teal my money or leave me when im sick or cheat on me, etc.

    I’m very depressed and so is she. WE both want each other a lot and I hate the notion of liberal arranged marriages. My mom even wants me to register online and look around for potential wives. She doesn’t care if the girl (Indian) is born in USA or abroad – as long as she is Christian and from our state in India (Kerala). She says that its good to keep culture in a marriage.

    My point to her was that when I get married (lets say to an Indian girl), our kids are a) not going to speak native tongue b) never going to India (maybe once ever) and so on. Indian culture will DIE once the 1st generation indians get old. The current 2nd generation Indians (either born here or migrated when they were young) are very Westernized. Even if the 2nd generation Indian marry another Indian, the cultural values won’t be as strong.
    Indian girls brought up in the USA can’t cook Indian food, the kids can’t speak the language fluently, most of them won’t even go to India on their own.

    My point is, my parents are making a big deal I think, but if you think about it, my kids will be just like another American kid.

    1. I have to give you two thumbs up, for the fact that you are a clear thinking human being…:)

  3. To add to my previous posts, yes, arranged marriages are good in teh sense that your cultural, religious values are still there, but you do it at the risk of losing your sanity so speak.

    Arranged people barely have sex (true, sex is not an importante part of their upbringing), rarely go out in public, have dinner outside, etc. These things are “important ” to 1st generation Indian kids brought up in the USA.

    Satisfy parents or satisfy yourself?

    1. Correct! Which one would you choose…? Very well said… Live your own life, or live for your family (parents that is)??? I guess it will all depend on how much FEAR you have in you…:)

  4. maxin, good luck. i hope you have the guts and the courage to do what’s right. For me, i’m gonna go against my folks, but I DEFINITELY DO NOT WANT TO MARRY AN INDIAN MAN. I WANT A SINHALESE BUDDHSIT SRI LANKAN MAN, AND NOTHING BUT THAT. i’m determined to find a good sri lankan guy, for i’m afraid of idnian guys and what they’ve doen to me. I wish it to all idnain girls: go for sinhalese men. they’re great. Sri lankan men are my one and only salvation.

  5. one more thing: i also agree with the others and when they say the indian culture is full of lies and hypocrciy. they do have no heart and only care abiut themselves and their money. i advise anyone: don’t marry into the indian cultue. it’s not worth it.

  6. My experience of aranged marriage is that they suck.
    I am a britsh indian girlin a 4 year relationship with a catholic.My parents would/ could never accept this in their single-minded attempts to find me an indian husband. Not only of the same religion but the same caste as well. Being from a small caste, they are struggling to find me a partner in the western world and so for the past few years have been making trips to India to find me a partner.
    Being fairly westernised but respecting my heritage, I struggle to see how they believe I am able to make a marriage to somebody from a completely different background and culture work.
    My current partner has been great. He has always known that we can pbably never be together forever because he has endured first hand the pressures which come with this culture. I would not want him to have to endure the negativity which he would inevitable get from my family.
    Strange as it may seem, respect for my family makes me not want to go against their wishes but they are making a big mistake as 1. I already have feelings for someone who they would never accept 2. The pressure they are putting on me to marry an indian from the indian subcontinent is affecting my decision 3. They are of the opinion that I can make it work with someone from a completely different culture.
    I have always hoped that over time my parents would ease off the pressure and ask me what exactly it is that I want to do and respect that. The pressure however just gets more and more intense.
    I completely understand the positives of the arranged marriage system. Where the family checks out and filters out the potential partners, the whole family gets behind the marriage to make it work, etc. And I do agree that arranged marriages work for a huge number of people, but the victims of this system are those who choose not to conform to this tradition.
    I do wonder how many of these marriages come about as a consequence of pressure and emotional blackmail, how many of the people in these marriages have been as gutless as I have to stand by their true love in favour of their familys honour and wishes to marry a true stranger, and how many divorces have been averted as a consequence of social pressure.

  7. 5 Years of Blogging

    It has been five years since I started blogging. Over time, my blogging has become more sporadic, but I plan to continue. So today here are some statistics about my weblog.

  8. I am very upset by the arranged marriages. I am in love with a Pakistani man who has been engaged to a girl by force and is expected to marry soon. Unsure if there is a way out of this I feel terrible. I do understand that arranged marriages can be good, but if you do not wish it and are in love with someone else how do you live that life? Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to pick my husband as I always encounter problems with those I do attempt a relationship with, but can you really be happy with a complete stranger?

  9. A very well written and balanced article. However, I can not be as balanced about this issue so I warn in advance that this may offend.

    I see arranged marriages as being part of a greater problem in the culture: that of unbounded filial piety. The word respect is used by parents when teaching children about behaviour towards them and other adults. But this is the wrong word, what is actually required is blind obedience, and this obedience is expected to be eternal. Children remain as children even when they are adults. Independent, personal decisions are only valid with parental consent and the will of the son or daughter is not considered to be relevant. This to me is the very opposite of respect. Respect should be allowing people to make their own decisions, but offering your advice and experience to them, and being there for them if things go wrong even if they did not take your advice. Not bringing “shame on the family” is seen as paramount in making decisions, but is there not no greater shame than denying someone their own freedom? Without the freedom to make choices, we lose that which makes us human.

    A lot of the posters see the arranged marriages as being equivalent to being set up on a date by friends. The big distinction is that friends do not pressure you into doing things you do not want to do and, crucially, there is no expectation to decide being married shortly afterwards or never seeing that person again. The spectre of choice offered by arranged marriages is often to choose between the lesser of two evils rather than a completely free choice. And that is even when people are not being forced physically or emotionally into making a ‘choice’.

    As with most things in life, marriage has both appearance (wedding ceremony, ring on finger, dowry, certificate, etc) and substance (love, honour, respect). The difference between Western and Eastern relationships is, in general, summed up by the ordering and importance of these facets. However, appearance is almost always valued far too highly everywhere in the world in most things. Successful marriages are the ones with great substance, and this substance can only be achieved through experience. Indeed, the substance of marriage can be achieved without actually being married, and ideally that is when the decision to introduce the appearance should be made. But the arranged marriage is focussed on the appearance, and the substance can only be achieved through luck and hard work. As you said, marriage can be seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. People are expected to do it, as a duty, or risk being labelled as a failure in life. So people get married just to tick a box on life’s checklist, not because they actually want to get married. Again appearance triumphs over substance!

    “Grow to love someone”, “Love isn’t important”, “That’s the way we did it”. These phrases are used to excuse an idea that is known to be an abomination and an insult to the human spirit. The root phrase “That’s the way of the world, just accept it” is used to attempt to maintain the status quo, without thought or debate, and enslave people into someone else’s vision of the future. This is more an issue in general about the sins man is capable of indulging in, and the vain search for legitimacy in allowing this indulgence. But no one should just accept something, if we did that we would still be living in trees. Yes, some traditional ideas may be optimal, but be sure that is the case before accepting them.

    I am more an idealist than a pragmatist, but I do understand that in reality issues abound when people want to assert their free will. All the more complicated are the emotional issues. But if there is one thing to make a stand on, its the right to choose with whom and how you want to spend your life. Those who deny you that choice will cause you pain and suffering. We only get one chance at life, and we shouldn’t let other people try to live it for us.

    For those that an arranged marriage has lead to a very successful and happy marriage, then they have had very good luck and may that luck continue. But even one single person being denied free choice and having to endure a life of torment and anguish trapped in a miserable marriage gives enough reason for me to condemn the arranged marriage system as barbaric, twisted and evil.

  10. James- You couldn’t have said it more accurately. I am an Indian woman who completely rejects the concept of arranged marriage and agree with you 100 percent!!!

  11. i am a pakistani boy and wants to mirrage a muslim girl who lives in uk with her parents and her parents wants to call me in uk for mirrage with her doughter and setteled with them

  12. NO offense by I think that some of you pro-arranged/forced marriage supporters only feel that way because you are incapable of attracting a mate of your own…got to have ame and abu do it for you. Grow up already. Are you so ugly or such an idiot that no one wants to marry you unless they are forced? Who would want to marry someone with such low self-esteem anyway?

    And, what is up with the arranged cousingenious marriages? IF your grandparents were first cousins, and your parents were first cousins and then you marry your first cousin..guess what…your spouse is actually closer bloodwise to you than a cousin and is more like your sister/brother. Absolutely Pathetic I am sorry to say. Stop the haram primitive cultural practices.

  13. Hey, doesn’t anybody feel sorry/empathy for that girl devika koppikar and her optometrist friend who’re victims of this arranged marriage system and her family? Did they deserve this in the name of tradition and “less divorce?” Anybody care to comment?

  14. Zack, thanks for a well-written essay and starting a well-reason discussion. I’m the child of an arranged Muslim marriage and would like to offer my insights.

    Arranged marriages can work and they can also fail. Love marriages can work and they can also fail. The point of a generalization is not nitpicking the exceptions, but the higher principle: Should people have choice about who they marry?

    Yes, in my opinion. It’s a bit like democracy vs. dictatorship — arranged marriages smack of “We know what’s best for you”. Sure, the results can be ok sometimes: after all, not every day was awful in the life of a slave. Heck, some could even stay inside the house! But do those good days justify the system?

    When looking at why a potentially system exists, see who stands to benefit from it. Who seems to have more issues with arranged marriage — guys or girls? (It’s pretty obvious from the comments here).

    Older men can marry younger girls against their will. They can have multiple wives. They can force them to be submissive as “that’s the way it’s supposed to be”. They can beat them without fear of divorce — after all, the dictator gets 99% election rate? Who’s going to complain, and what happens to those who do?

    Guys, imagine a system where women could have kids even until their 50s. What would you say if your parents foisted a cranky, unemotional, overweight hag on you? You’d revolt. But think about what girls are expected to suffer.

    I’m sorry to be melodramatic, but I see arranged marriage as the remnant of an archaic, patriarchal system where women are considered property. It encourages people to live life like a business transaction and not experience it. Yes, lowering expectations is one way to be happy — yet I don’t see many people becoming homeless to “really appreciate” what it’s like to have food and shelter. I say this because I think love (not romantic, but deep affection) is as necessary to a happy life as food and shelter.

    I’m thankful for my parent’s marriage because they had me, but there is no love. My dad utterly lacks social skills and can be mentally absuive. In a dating society someone would figure this out quickly, and at least expect. My mom loves her children and that is what makes her happy — and we all know this.

    Let’s put it this way — would you buy a house without looking at it first? (3 BR, 2 bath, nice garden). Well that’s what arranged marriage is like (25, fair, nice job). Sure, it can work out but it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. And 3-4 high-pressure meetings in front of your parents is not a good way to know someone. It’s like looking at a brochure with a real estate agent — who’s interest do they have in mind? Yours — for you to be happy? Or theirs — not to be embarassed by having an unmarried child?

    Think about how long it takes for someone to truly become your friend from all the acquaintances you meet (weeks? months? years?). Why would your spouse magically be different, and you’d know if you like them after the 3rd day?

    Unfortunately societal pressures are so great that arranged marriage continues. But just because the dictator occasionally provides food doesn’t mean it’s an ideal system. Everything has ups and downs, but the downs are much more bearable when they were your decision to make.

  15. sl guy, i totally agree. do most peopel also agree that people should have a choice on whom to marry? i think so.

  16. hi my name is zara and i need some help on my college work as ive read ur veiws and i believe that you lot can help me.. basically could you help me answer my question, which is ’ how is marriage seen in a multicultrual society? and do you think it has changed ova the years?
    please get back to me and it would help me

  17. Most people (70%) get married between the ages of 20 and 30.

    Some people (15%) get married before the age of 20.

    Some people (15%) get married after the age of 30.

  18. Some REAL deep stuff here, wow.

    Anyways, I’m doing a project for my sociology coursework which involves arranged marriages – it also involves a questionnaire and I need as much people to fill it out (which would probably take you atleast 5 minutes to do)

    If you don’t mind helping PLEASE contact me (ASAP)
    my email address is

    Thank you!

  19. hi im doing a debate on are arranged marriages better and im on the negating team…any good points someone can help me with?
    this must be done by monday….any help would be much appreciated
    if you can help me please contact me asap
    my email address is

  20. I am a white college student in Cali. I have an arranged marriage. We have been together for 3 years now, and I cannot say everything is perfect but yes we are falling in love. I believe that God should be the center of a marriage and for my husband and I that is really why we are married. We would not be still together without God cause we do not have very many common bases but that is the amazing thing because we are learning to really love each other. Our relationship is not just for us it is for God and for our families, who love each other so much. Did I menchine he is full Japanese.

    It is hard seeing all of my friends try relationships and then get their heart hurt but then go try again. My heart never really was hurt like that cause I have a guy that has been committed to me in the first place.

  21. I have had many friends who have had arranged marriages and from my observations, they do better than love marriages when it comes to divorce…love marriages are a relatively new way of marrying.

  22. I think dat mix between marry for LOVE n arranged marry is de best choice becoz it’ll lasted foreva so they’ll hav a very wam n happiness family!!!! NO ONE COULD BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. hey im a malu myself..and i had an arranged marriage. and my advise to you is dont get an arranged marriage. i been here since i was 6 so i’m westernized myself too. you dont want a project from india to work on. it is hard as hell!! marry who you want and will make you happy. i feel like i was pressured into this marriage and we’re nothing a like. he dont like the things i do and nothing he wants interests me. maybe i’m being selfish i dont know..but we live to make other people happy (family)..but what about our happiness??

  24. Well, Muslim girls have the right to accept or reject a marriage, and Arranged marriages are like a dating service provided by your parents – if you don’t like the introduced person, move on to the next one!

  25. @mariam
    While a few arranged marriages are like the arranged introductions you talk about, there is a lot of variation and some arranged marriages are even almost forced ones, with a majority falling between these two extremes.

  26. It was a nice article, enjoyed reading it, the thread discussion on it since 2007 was worth reading, fortunately it was civil and some people made some very good points. I am Pakistani guy and there are my opinions ‘only’.

    I think arranged marriage is a nice idea but the reality is very very different. Mostly people agree to these marriages is because they lack confidence, are timid and afraid of doing things on their own – they are highly codependent on their community specially parents. A lot of the times parents use this guise ‘they know better’ to emotionally blackmail their children into these setups, I feel that people enter these marriages to please the parents and are unlikely to question the happiness of their relationships with their spouses for the very same reasons they enter these marriages. Hence you have lower divorce rates, not everything is as it seems. Parents motivations are driven by desire of control over their children, they have this ingrained idea that somehow their children ‘owe’ them something, I do not find this attitude among parents of other races specially the white race. Most people enter arranged marriages out of silent fear and they are usually content or resigned that ‘this is all they will get’ – sad but true in a of cases, amazing what people will do if they are afraid, how do you think North America controls it people – fear? terrorists? imaginative flu? different idea but same mechanism. In addition most people in arranged marriages tend to be lazy : they do not want to work at acquiring someone, why should they? when everything will given to them on a silver platter. Most people in arranged marriages are subtly coerced emotionally into these arrangements : there is relentless pressure to conform, you can say ‘NO’ but you will soon run out of time the with every ‘NO’ the pressure to say ‘YES’ to someone mounts exponentially. At the end of that day when all the dust has settled it is your life and you have to live it, not your parents and not your community, and for heaven sakes people, you only have one life, make the best of it. Please do not marry because arranged marriage is lot more convenient, specially for the guys, they don’t have to do anything, seriously this is true.

    A lot of the times it is argued that ‘love will come later’ : NO it will not, what will come is this : convenience, getting used to someone’s poor habits, financial dependency and codependent attitudes. People in arranged marriages get ‘used’ to each other, they don’t know what love is, they have never known such an emotion and probably never will.

    I went through this arranged marriage selection process and I have never felt so worthless in my entire life, the girls that I met had absolutely no personalities and were ready say yes to anyone who can take them out of places like India or Pakistan. Somehow I got the feeling that they will say yes to be regardless of how they really felt because these girls had no other choice – living in poor third world countries and only chance of not living there is to marry up, if not me someone else will come along. It’s a sad setup and very depressing to say the least. I cannot imagine living with these women, they are doormats basically, and will do whatever you tell them – pretty boring way to live your life, have to say. The arranged meetings are a freakin joke – people are too tense and nervous to talk about anything, you cannot know someone in five minutes, or even five meetings for that matter. Besides dating is lot more fun even if there is heartache involved.

    A lot of comments mention that western ideal of marriage is based on looks, I am sorry my experience at university and work life has taught me otherwise, looks are important but it does not last very long and being an eye-candy only will get you anywhere. (Don’t get me wrong though being an eye-candy WILL open doors for you but you got to back it up with substance). I found a lot of girls in college are driven to find a good-looking mate but as soon as university is out they are looking for the well-to-do man, guys in college should be smart, work on your career and keep dating of secondary importance. If you have money women come to you, you don’t have to chase them (source : personal experience)

    Lastly : A lot of white women here crying over their boyfriends dumping them for arranged marriages : move on man ‘there are plenty of fish in the sea’, that’s life – shi* happens, deal with it. The guys you were with were losers, but I cannot say it was not your fault, if he was dating you in hiding, without telling his parents : RED FLAGS, BIG MOTHER F****** RED FLAGS.

    For Indian / Pakistani guys : It’s your life, not your parents, make a choice.

    1. Hello Glacier

      Are Pakistani women generally allowed to marry to marry foreign muslims? I’m Hispanic(Latin-American) man

  27. @shef
    I’d like to make a clarification. I have never been married, nor have I been a “victim” of arranged marriages. Please refrain from using my name or likeness in that manner.
    That is is inappropriate.

    I simply said that I don’t like the way that it arranged marriages are conducted in modern times through intimidation, fear tactics, etc.

  28. Hello there, I’m Aisha, I’m half Pakistani/Half French. I’ve been married to my cousin for four years, which I was against, but I was forced into it. It went okay at first, but now it’s gotten to the point where things are a bit intolerable. I don’t really know what to do, but reading your post made me want to give my two cents. Thank you.

  29. i m pkstni noy nd also muslim nd loooking for a non muslim jew and chrstn girl for marrge
    I m very open minded. I’ll do anything you want, however u want… 😉
    faisal.foru00 at

  30. @Maxim

    I advise you Maxim do not become unequally yoked. I as well am a Christian, 21 years old, born again and walk a very narrow path to what Jesus Christ has called us to. Marry a woman who knows the salvation of our Lord. If you haven’t committed your life to Jesus I advise you to do this. If you do, you would not marry anyone other than a believer and follower of the true living God. Many blessings to you from our Lord.


  31. well, no offense to you, but i dont think you are one to call someone unattractive because of their beliefs. let me tell you….there are plenty of pretty people who are ugly on the inside. you must be one of them so go to hell……….

  32. so you are telling me that in arranged marriages are not based on physical beauty but on other practicalities? have you ever looked at some of the ads in the India West?? many of them clearly state that they want beautiful,slim, fair girls for their sons. it is not about whether a marriage is arranged or out of love. people have to realize that as time goes on we reach a comfort zone and don’t really try to keep the excitement it is up to the couple to keep the excitement in their marriage. also mind you but just because a couple stays married does not always mean that they are entirely happy with one another. which would you rather be? unhappily married or happily divorced. when it comes to marriage not every case is the same. each couple is entirely different there is no comparison, don’t worry about other people’s relationships look at your own and you decide what you have to do in your life.

  33. @Glacier
    you said everything that was on my mind, especially the part about “being a doormat” you get someone who tries to please too much so boring. I also agreed with your other point that you made about not being able to discuss the important issues in life. for example, if I was set ever set up for an arranged marriage I would have to ask the person about his past he might need to get tested for hiv and but he may take it the wrong way, I need someone in my life who is emotionally strong and very open minded. Don’t get me wrong I have my values as an Indian but I also have very strong opinions about certain issues and I do have a voice to speak, unfortunately the guys may find that intimidating.

  34. @Aisha France

    Hello Aisha France

    1. As a hispanic(latin-american) muslim man, would the average family in Pakistan let me marry their daughter? my intentions are very serious.
    2. how much in average is needed for a middle-class lifestyle in the average pakistani town and village?

  35. Wel;, in my community, arranged marriages are based on rational factors (does the guy have a good job? Is the wife healthy, wants a family, family-oriented, from the right background). So far, those marriages seem pretty cool. One girl married a successful businessman from dubai. The other married a heart surgeon. Several married engineers and accountants. The only problem is for the guys who aren’t that successful…it must be difficult…but since older men are favoured they have time to ‘make it’…its not materialistic…the culture simply operates such that stability and a good family life can be ensured…

  36. White guys are always about sex and love. It’s ridiculous. It’s like they never grow up. They remain children their whole lives. They’re like Mr.Big in sex and the city: selfish, single, and only wanting sex, leaving Carrie, this middle-aged white chick desperate, alone, and childless into her later years. So sad…but she kind’ve does it to herself…it doesn’t matter how wealthy a guy is…if he doesn’t want children or marriage…what’s the point?

  37. “They are the norm in India and Japan among other countries.” wtf?????
    I live in Japan and arranged marriage is not norm in Japan, more than 80% of people marry for love.
    It used to be norm in past (about 60 years ago) but no more.

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