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Q: Arranged marriages ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Arranged marriages
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 15 Mar 2003 16:47 PST
Expires: 14 Apr 2003 17:47 PDT
Question ID: 176729
What is the success rate of arranged marriages in countries that still
have them? How does that compare to other marriages? How was that in
the past? By success I mean rate of divorce and overall satisfaction
in the marrige.
Subject: Re: Arranged marriages
Answered By: tehuti-ga on 15 Mar 2003 19:44 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello qpet,

One factor that you have to take into consideration immediately when
looking at this topic is that societies in which arranged marriages
continue to be acceptable could also have very different views on the
acceptability of divorce. Also, there might be less freedom for people
involved in such arrangements to express satisfaction or
dissatisfaction. Women, in particular, may be tied by fear of the
consequences if they express dissatisfaction. I think also it depends
very much on the educational and cultural level of the families and on
the society in which they live.  An arranged marriage that works more
on a “blind date” system, with the young people having the final say
on acceptability is significantly different from the case of a forced
marriage against somebody’s (usually the woman’s) will, as will an
arrangement organised for two consenting adults versus and arrangement
in which one or both partners is still a child.

The information I have managed to find, which seems to show that the
answer is not the same in different societies, perhaps as a result of
such factors.  Disappointingly, I did not manage to find very many
examples of hard statistics.  There are many messages on bulletin from
people looking for such statistics for projects etc, but generally no
answers.  However, I hope that the information I have found will be of
use to you.  Please request further clarification if you would like me
to investigate further into any specific aspects.

“Based on a unique data set on the event history of marriage and
divorce collected in the In-Depth Fertility Surveys conducted in
Shanghai, Shaanxi, and Hebei in 1985 and a multivariate hazards model,
this paper investigates the association between divorce risk and
socio-demographic factors in China. Controlling for several other
socio-demographic factors, we demonstrate that the risk of divorce for
women who married before age 18 is twice as high as that of those
married after age 20; the risk of divorce of arranged marriages is
about 2.6 times as high as that of not-arranged ones.”
Association of Divorce with Socio-Demographic Covariates in China,
1955-1985 Event History Analysis Based on Data Collected in Shanghai,
Hebei, and Shaanxi  by Yi Zeng, T. Paul Schultz, Deming D. Wang, Danan
Gu   Published in Demographic Research, Vol 7: 404-431, 2002
Full text available by clicking on pdf link at

“China's liberal divorce laws have given women a chance to break free
from unhappy marriages or marriages that were arranged by their
families. But today, it is often the man who is taking advantage of
such laws to leave the marriage, once he finds himself in a
comfortable financial situation, for a young lover tucked away
somewhere…. The divorce rate in China, at 1.94 per 1,000 marriages in
1997, is low compared to those in Western nations, according to The
Economist. But the rate is increasing steadily…  [However, there are
important factors which make it less likely for women to initiate a
divorce]…  Most divorced mothers in their late thirties are stripped
of the custody of their children. If the family home is a benefit of
the father's job, then the child's mother will find herself homeless.
Unlike Western society, Chinese fathers are usually given custody of
the children because they have more favorable economic conditions in
which to raise children and are aided by their new young wife. Custody
is also given to the father in light of Chinese values - the
importance of children carrying on the father's family name.
China's Divorce Problem by Elaine Y. Wan

“In Japan, there are two types of marriage: the so-called love
marriage and the arranged marriage. The love marriage is the type we
are familiar with in the West, where the couple meet independently
without the assistance of a go-between or matchmaker. Although the
arranged marriage was predominant in the past, the majority of
Japanese marriages today are love marriages. Estimates vary, placing
the proportion of arranged marriages at anywhere from 25 to 50
percent…. modern system of arranged marriage is somewhat similar to
blind dating… meetings often take place in the restaurant of a posh
hotel. The go-between is present, usually along with representatives
from both families. If the young couple feel inclined, they will begin
dating, with marriage as a possible -- but not inevitable – result…
meetings often take place in the restaurant of a posh hotel. The
go-between is present, usually along with representatives from both
families. If the young couple feel inclined, they will begin dating,
with marriage as a possible -- but not inevitable – result”
From the Asia Society's Video Letter from Japan: My Family, 1988, p.

“… chatted cheerfully about her 40-year marriage to a man whom, she
mused, she never particularly liked.  "There was never any love
between me and my husband."she said blithely, recalling how he used to
beat her... " her husband had never told her that he liked her, never
complimented her on a meal, never told her "thank you," never held her
hand, never given her a present, never shown her affection in any way.
He never calls her by her name, but summons her with the equivalent of
a grunt or a "Hey, you."  "Even with animals, the males cooperate to
bring the females some food," Mrs. Uemura said sadly, noting the
contrast to her own marriage. "When I see that, it brings tears to my
eyes. In short, the Uemuras have a marriage that is as durable as it
is unhappy, one couple's tribute to the Japanese sanctity of family…
"I think love marriages are more fragile than arranged marriages,"
said Tomika Kusukawa, 49, who married her high-school sweetheart and
now runs a car repair shop with him. "In love marriages, when
something happens or if the couple falls out of love, they split up." 
If there is a secret to the strength of the Japanese family it
consists of three ingredients: low expectations, patience, and shame. 
The advantage of marriages based on low expectations is that they have
built in shock absorbers. If the couple discover that they have
nothing in common, that they do not even like each other, then that is
not so much a reason for divorce as it is par for the course…. One
survey asked married men and their wives in 37 countries how they felt
about politics, sex, religion, ethics and social issues. Japanese
couples ranked dead last in compatibility of views, by a huge margin.
Indeed, another survey found that if they were doing it over again,
only about one-third of Japanese would marry the same person.
Incompatibility might not matter so much, however, because Japanese
husbands and wives spend very little time talking to each other.  "I
kind of feel there's nothing new to say to her," said Masayuki Ogita,
an egg farmer, explaining his reticence…. "If you divorce, you lose
face in society," said Tatsumi Kinoshita, a tea farmer. "People say,
'His wife escaped.' So folks remain married because they hate to be
gossiped about."  Shame is a powerful social sanction in Japan, and it
is not just a matter of gossip. Traditionally, many companies were
reluctant to promote employees who had divorced or who had major
problems at home…. Even in Japan, there are about 24 divorces for
every 100 marriages, but that compares with 32 in France, and 42 in
England, and 55 in the United States.”   Who Needs Love!  In Japan,
Many Couples Don't by Nicholas D. Kristof

“The Moonies claim that the divorce rate among their arranged
marriages is 10%. This compares favourably with America and most
European nations but at what price? Critics say that Moonie couples
are placed under enormous pressure to stay together and that the
central role played by the Reverend Moon in their lives is essentially
Unification Church : Happily Ever After? 
BBC News, November 29, 1997

“It may not be the western way, but in many parts of the world,
arranged marriages are the norm. Mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles
are matchmakers for a man and woman who, for the most part without
question, accept their "findings." And yet by all indications divorce
is practically nil in these marriages…. Katherin Codekas / Divorce
Attorney: "No, I haven't seen a lot of arranged marriages."
In the past four years divorce attorney Katherin Codekas consulted
with a half dozen arranged marriage couples. None divorced, even
though she heard similar complaints….  "The common factors that people
are unhappy are infidelity financial mismanagement and growing apart."
“Caroline Curtis / Marriage Counselor: "They have a really profound
sense of commitment and that is another issue that we need to add to
our marriages that we will stay together to work through our
problems."  Carolyn Curtis teaches psychology at American River
College and counsels married couples. Never has an arranged married
couple walked through her doors. She believes arranged marriages work
because family religion and culture all contribute…. "The research on
relationships is those couples that like each other last longer than
those couples that love each other."
Examining the success of arranged marriages by George Franco KOVR 13

“Statistics released in Britain seem to argue that arranged marriages
are more stable than love marriages because the divorce rate is low.
This is not because divorce in Sikhism is forbidden although the rahit
(code of practice) does not look too kindly upon it, but because if
someone wishes to divorce their other half it feels as though they are
letting their whole family down and will bring embarrassment to them.
This is probably your typical Indian over-reaction where you wonder
what other people will think of you.”
(Sikh-Youth website)

“We point out that in the west where love marriages are the norm the
divorce  rate is 50%.  We don't point out that 40 years ago even in
the west when the economic situation was as bad as it exists in India
the divorce rate was very low.  We take pride in the "official" Indian
divorce rate of only 8%
We attribute this to the fact that in India 90% of the marriages
(including mine) are arranged marriages and that is why  it is so low.
We even say that it is better arrangement than love
marriages.  Recently I was in India.  I found the real truth behind
this false statistic  1. The number of never married women (not by
choice) is fairly high.  2. In many unhappy marriages they just stay
in the house without living as husband and wife.  3. A number of the
girls are simply sent to their parents' homes. Yet they are officially
not divorced… 4.In small towns and villages (where the vast majoriy of
the people live) the marriages are unofficially dissolved without
calling it  a divorce.
From the mailing list

“A teenage bride has had her arranged marriage annulled in a rare
legal move after a judge ruled she had been "deceived and frightened"
into marrying.  Aneeka Sohrab, from Glasgow, was a 16-year-old
schoolgirl when she was forced to marry Raja Khan, a 19-year-old
student who had arrived in the UK from Pakistan three months before
the wedding…  Lord McEwan said it had been clear from a video of the
wedding ceremony shown to the court that Miss Sohrab was distressed at
the proceedings. "In spite of her glorious robes she looked a very
unhappy girl,"”
Court annuls arranged marriage by Kirsty Scott, Wednesday April 24,
2002, The Guardian,11812,689475,00.html

“Arranged marriages are still by far the dominant and accepted custom
in India. Over 90 percent of marriages in India are still arranged.
The divorce rate in India is only 2 percent, compared with a 25 to 50
percent divorce rate for first marriages in America.” A Knotty Tie:
Arranged Marriages in Indian Culture By ATLEEN KAUR, Harvard
University '97

“The use of fire as a weapon, which seems so exotic, is simply
expedient: kerosene, a ubiquitous cooking fuel here, is a cheap, handy
weapon, much like a gun or a baseball bat in an American home.
Geetha, who like many south Indians has only one name, is a survivor
on a ward where most die, but it would be hard to call her lucky.  As
she related her story, she held her head immobile, barely moved her
lips and turned only her dark eyes on a visitor to avoid stretching
the raw, burned skin on her neck. Her wizened mother caressed her long
brown hair, which spread out on a pillow like a mermaid's under water.
Geetha explained that she had been the pampered baby in a family of 10
children who had rarely been expected to cook or clean. Marriage was a
rude shock.
Like most brides in India, Geetha moved in with her husband's family
after an arranged marriage. That was in 1999. Within months, Geetha
said, her husband and mother-in-law began beating her with whatever
they could grab — a kitchen ladle, a broomstick, a stalk of sugar cane
— because they believed that she was shirking her housekeeping
duties…. She sifted stones from the rice, fetched the water, washed
the clothes and fed her husband's nephew. But she said she had not yet
spread a dung mixture smoothly on the front step by the time he got
home. "I had done everything except this," she said. "But he was angry
with me. He said I was lazy. He said if he could get another wife, she
would do everything."  That afternoon, as she walked toward the
kitchen, she said, she felt something splash on her back. Then she
burst into flames. When she turned around, she saw her mother- in-law
holding a kerosene can and her husband with a matchbox.”… Pratima and
Gurumurthy, the doctor who heads the Victoria Hospital burn ward,
believe that most of the burn cases they see are actually attempted
murders or suicides, but that the women, fearful and dependent on
their in-laws, keep the secret…. Yet even now, struggling to recover
from burns on 57 percent of her body, quivering in pain beneath a
shaggy brown wool blanket, she expresses no rage against her husband.
"What is the point?" she asked.”  Kerosene, Weapon of Choice for
Attacks on Wives in India by CELIA W. DUGGER, New York Times, December
26, 2000 

“Domestic abuse is common in India, but varies widely by region. In a
study conducted in five districts of Uttar Pradesh, 18-45% of husbands
reported physically abusing their wives. Of those who acknowledged
being physically abusive, more than four in 10 reported an episode of
violence during the prior year and more than six in 10 admitted
repeated abuse… Men in Nainital were least likely to say they had had
nonconsensual sex with their wives (18%), while those in Bandha were
most likely to do so (40%). Men were much less likely to say they had
physically forced their wives to have sex (4-9% across the districts)…
Most of the men who said that they had physically abused their wives
reported multiple episodes (63-91% across districts), and large
proportions said that they had physically abused their wives within
the past year (47-74%). Smaller percentages (5-13%) reported abusive
behavior while their wives were pregnant. Men were more likely to
report shouting or yelling at their wives (33-94%) and slapping or
pushing their wives (47-77%) than punching or kicking them (8-32%) or
using a weapon or object against their wives (5-10%).  The men were
most likely to say that their wives had responded to the last episode
of abuse by crying (49-90% across districts) or by shouting and
yelling back (7-42%). Smaller proportions of men said that their wives
had run away from home (4-10%) or had physically retaliated (0-6%). No
more than 3% reported that their wives had sought medical treatment
after being abused.”
In India, Poverty and Lack of Education Are Associated With Men's
Physical and Sexual Abuse of Their Wives, published in   Family
Planning Perspectives Volume 26, No. 1, March 2000

“There are no statistics on the success rate of arranged marriages,
but some experts say they are often sabotaged when husbands demand
total control, especially when the couple lives in North America. In a
recent book, The Seven of Us Survived, Toronto social worker Aruna
Papp chronicles the failure of several arranged marriages. " Asian
couples often think that violence is just part of marriage," she says.
"And women are socialized to believe that marriage is their fate, and
that they cannot leave." Papp added that, in her experience, it is
very unusual for a traditional Indian family to do what the Gakhals
did-support Rajwar's decision to leave her violent husband.  That
generosity may have cost them their lives…. Many Sikhs, however,
reject the notion that the killings were caused by an arranged
marriage or cultural frictions. "That idea concerns us," said Gian
Sandhu, a resident of Williams Lake, B.C., and past president of the
Canadian branch of the World Sikh Organization. "This was an appalling
tragedy-why is it being painted as having a cultural nature?" Both
partners were born and raised in Canada, he pointed out, and were
therefore comfortable in both cultures. "Arranged marriages are not
the same as they w ere 50 years ago," he added. "It's more like
assisted marriage, and there is consent by the bride and groom."”
The search for answers: trying to explain the massacre in Vernon.

Search strategies: 1. “Arranged marriages”  divorce rate  statistics 
2. “arranged marriages” unhappy  3. “arranged marriages” violence
wives  4. India violence wives
qpet-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Arranged marriages
From: pafalafa-ga on 16 Mar 2003 08:01 PST
The Washington Post Sunday Magazine ran a cover story just a little
while ago about arranged marriages among Indian families that have
emigrated to the U.S. I don't remember if it had many statistics, but
it might be of interest just the same.  I found this summary on the archives search:

Marriage at First Sight

They date, go to U2 concerts, hit bars with pals. But for the sake of
tradition and family, even some highly Americanized Indian immigrants
agree to wed strangers

Paula Span 
February 23, 2003; Page W16 
Section: Magazine 
Word Count: 7918 

On the evening before her engagement, Vibha Jasani found herself on
the rooftop terrace of her uncle's house in India, feeling a breeze
begin as the sun lowered, gazing out at the city of Rajkot and the
mountains beyond, trying to be calm, and failing. She was about to
cry, and not with joy. When her father asked what was wrong, she just
shrugged; she could hardly manage a reply. But he knew anyway.
Marrying a pleasant young man she'd just met was not the romance

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