Challenges Faced by Couples in Arranged Marriages

Challenges Faced by Couples in Arranged Marriages

Arranged marriages are still commonly practised in many parts of the world, especially in South Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. An arranged marriage is one where the marital partners are selected by parents, community elders, or matchmakers based on various factors like family background, financial status, horoscopes, etc, rather than the partners choosing each other out of love.

While the practice has its benefits in terms of aligning families, continuing traditions, and parental involvement, it also comes with its own unique challenges that the couple must overcome for the marriage to work.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health in India, the divorce rate for love marriages is 1.1% while that for arranged marriages is 1.6%, indicating that arranged couples face slightly more difficulties in adjusting to matrimony.

In this blog post, we will share challenges faced by couples in arranged marriages and also tips for overcoming these challenges in arranged marriages:

Challenges Faced by Couples in Arranged Marriages

1. Lack of Familiarity Leading to Difficulty in Adjustment

The most common challenge is the lack of familiarity between the arranged partners, which makes adjustment difficult.

According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Family Issues, of 349 respondents in arranged marriages in India, 79% reported high marital adjustment difficulties in the first year. These include getting accustomed to each other’s personalities and lifestyles.

2. Different Expectations Regarding Gender Roles

Couples are likely to have different expectations regarding finances, household duties, careers etc which lead to conflicts. For example, a 2021 study revealed that 66% of Indian women in cities expected their partners to share housework, whereas 80% of men disagreed, indicating opposing gender role ideologies.

3. Parental Interference Causing Discord

Parents arranging the marriage often continue being overly involved after marriage too, sometimes even coercing couples to have kids or let them live with them. A 2020 study found that external family pressure was the third most commonly reported reason for marital discord by Indian arranged couples.

4. Limited Pre-Marital Contact Causing Financial Issues

Couples and their families have very few interactions before marriage to understand each other’s financial backgrounds. This leads to issues later – a survey showed finances were the second most common reason for separation among arranged couples in Qatar, according to 37% of respondents.

5. Different Communication Styles Resulting in Misunderstandings

Partners being raised in different cultural backgrounds are habituated to communicate differently, right from love languages to addressing sensitive topics like sex which confuses them. 70% of respondents in a 2016 study reported communication issues as a key challenge.

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Overcoming Challenges Faced by Arranged Marriage Couples

1. Dedicate Time to Know Each Other Intimately

Couples should consciously spend quality time understanding each other’s interests, opinions, goals, and pet peeves through regular open conversations, dates, and getaways. Identifying compatibility early on makes later adjustments smooth.

2. Attend Premarital Counseling Programs

Going for premarital counselling helps identify potential conflicts so solutions can be brainstormed before marriage. Research shows couples match expectations better regarding children, gender roles, etc, after attending counseling programs.

3. Discuss Finances, Budgeting, and Expenses Beforehand

Couples should thoroughly discuss their financial situations, budgets, spending habits, etc prior to the wedding. Setting financial expectations helps avoid future conflicts. Certain communities have traditional ceremonies for this purpose too.

4. Communicate Respectfully About Sensitive Topics

Partners should talk about tricky subjects like physical intimacy, family planning, religious differences etc, early on while being respectful of each other’s boundaries. This builds trust and understanding. Counsellors can mediate if required.

5. Set Healthy Boundaries with Parents/In-Laws

Though family involvement gives social support, couples should set relationship boundaries with parents/in-laws right after marriage & constructively resolve interference through open communication to nurture their own bond first.

The Challenges are Surmountable While starting marriages with strangers pose difficulties, most arranged couples do go on to develop healthy relationships.

Compromise, effort, and openness to adjustment helps in overcoming common obstacles faced by couples in cultivating marital harmony. Family and societal support can build rapport even within arranged setups.