The concept of an arranged marriage remains something many people do not understand, especially in the West. However, according to people who have had arranged marriages, a lot of misconceptions surround the practice. For one thing, many relationships people might classify as "arranged" come with far fewer restrictions than one might think. Many couples in arranged marriages describe their relationship as one they entered into out of their own free will, though members of their family initiated it. Even many children of arranged marriages describe their parents' coupling as a blessing and hardly something they resent. And honestly, plenty of weird laws surrounding marriage feel far stranger than the idea of an arranged marriage.
That said, as with any relationship, there are those arranged marriages that do fail, often with grave consequences. But "love marriages" come with the same risks: Time may lessen your feelings, outside circumstances may alter your relationship, or you might simply find out that you are not compatible with the person in the way you once believed. These arranged marriage stories from Reddit cover both the good and bad aspects of this practice, proving that these unions experience many of the same ups and downs as any other relationship.
They Had Arranged Dates For A Month Before Getting Engaged
From Redditor /u/Yserbius:
In Orthodox Judaism, there's no casual dating, no girlfriends or boyfriends. Dates are arranged by family/friends with the explicit purpose of checking each other out to see if they are viable marriage partners without any physical contact. They date for one to three months, then the guy is expected to propose. It varies from family-to-family, but there are some people who are expected to decide after only a date or three. I am not sure if there are still fully arranged marriages since Jewish law explicitly forbids it, but I do know that back in Europe many families would arrange for the bride and groom to meet once on the day of the wedding to get around the restriction. Leaders of communities where this was commonplace forbade this practice in modern times, but it's possible that some still practice it.
Pretty much every religious Jew I know (and myself) have gone through this process, called "shidduchim." 95% of couples I know are very happily married. There are some divorces, but it's really far below the national average (even for people in their first marriage). I even know of a few who did the whole "one date and engaged" thing and they all seem pretty happy with their choices. I dated for about a month (I think we got together around 10 times and talked on the phone maybe another four or five times) and had a three-month engagement. We've been married nearly a decade and wouldn't change a thing about it.
This Mother Went Through Two Arranged Marriages
From Redditor /u/dkasbux:
My mom was in two arranged marriages.
First one, the guy pretty much used her for citizenship and sex. She got pregnant. He went upstate to his sister's place and didn't come back for a while. My mom went after him and asked what he wanted and what was going to become of their marriage. They divorced. She [terminated the pregnancy]. She told me he was abnormally close to his sister. Maybe biased...
The second time my mom really tried to make it work. 20-ish years later and two kids later, my parents had a nasty divorce. My dad was and still is somewhat of an alcoholic. Rehab on several occasions. Cheated. Done drugs occasionally. Possibly sexually abusive, my mother is pretty conservative and didn't want to divulge more. Emotionally and physically abusive and manipulative. My mom and dad really tried to make it work, but some people aren't made to get along. My parents are those people.
It's not for everyone. There are bad endings. My parents are unfortunately that example.
Their Parents' Marriage Made Them Against Arranged Marriages
From Redditor /u/tmpanony:
My parents and at least one of my aunts from my mother's side were in arranged marriages. The aunt was married to my father's cousin. Both are divorced now. My home was a hellhole that I hated coming back to after school.
Note: My grandparents were the ones that arranged the marriage. My mother had very little say in the matter.
My mother was younger than my father, so she was submissive. My father took advantage of it and verbally abused her whenever he felt like it. There wasn't any physical abuse because he knew enough to not cross that line with her. My siblings and I, however, were fair game. I know that I was a brat as a kid, but when you hit your kid for every mistake, there's something wrong with you. I ended up becoming physically abusive towards my siblings. He cheated on my mother frequently and with little regard for any consequences. It happened so often that all my father's and mother's relatives know about it. From my mother being constantly sad to the chaos that happens whenever my father was home, I didn't enjoy my childhood in that house.
My mother finally decided to kick him out after he secretly took all their money (shared bank account) on a trip to Southeast Asia (he called [and] told us after he arrived there). A nasty divorce followed soon after. Now, they both try their best to not talk or be around one another. Unsurprisingly, pretty much the same thing happened with my aunt.
I personally hate the idea of arranged marriages where either the bride or groom has very little participation in the selection process.
They Went From A Serious Relationship Into An Arranged Marriage
From Redditor /u/AK840:
I have been married for five years now. We are very happy and have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I was recovering from a breakup after a serious relationship when my parents sort of forced me into meeting my now-wife.
We met and chatted for a few hours and then spoke maybe a couple of times on the phone before we agreed to get married. At that time, I had a lot of doubts about this working out, but we seem to be very compatible in many ways, more so than in any of the relationships I'd had.
I think arranged marriages can work as long as both partners give it time, and are willing to look past the small things, but then, I guess that's true for any marriage.