The D.I.Y. Arranged Marriage

It’s in movies and songs, and we’ve all probably experienced the heartbreak of separating from someone we thought we were in love with. We try again, hoping the feelings will last long enough for the relationship to be permanent: Happily Ever After. We love the freedom to do it ourselves, and we chafe at the idea of someone else setting us up with a date that we haven’t already approved. But we suffer from lack of counsel, unwillingness to sacrifice, and impatience for our wants to be met first.

On the other hand, we don’t always know what we want, or what we need, and our inability to trust is probably what’s killing our DIY relationships anyway. So what’s the alternative? An arranged marriage?

Well, maybe. Let’s consider the pros and cons.

Arranged marriages involve parents and usually other members of the betrothed’s community, and that’s a lot of wisdom to help young people avoid mistakes or deceptions. It’s also a lot of public accountability for bride and groom. You may fool her, or him, but you are unlikely to fool all of their family and friends. Someone will see you for who you are when you are not at your best, and your character will come out. It’s also harder to fall into traps and temptations with all those friends in your business and watching your back. Yes, we all want to get physical in the dark at some point, but we all know waiting works better, and community help is far more strength than we can summon on our own.

With an arranged marriage, the betrothed gives up some freedom of choice in exchange for counsel and experience beyond his reckoning, but that doesn’t mean he or she has no say in the final decision. Since most couples in this country would be the ones inviting their people to arrange the marriage, various degrees of freedom are possible. Consider, too,  what you can end up with on your own, trying to do-it-yourself: very likely the common pattern of liking, getting intimate without a plan, going too far, and either breaking up, or getting together officially before breaking up or divorcing later.

Nobody gets to build a spouse from scratch; we all choose from what has already been built, and if we were buying a house or car, we would get advice from others, invite them to evaluate, and make sure the object to be purchased got a thorough going-over. Why do we think a marriage partner, far more important than a car or house, should be dealt with differently? Why put our trust in emotion and the dreams that grow from it? We know emotions don’t last…but consequences of our decisions can last longer than our own lives. Get Godly, wise counsel to help with all the major decisions of your life, especially your marriage. The thoughtful opinions of others will help us realize the power of commitment, and God’s purposes for us and our spouse. Learning from them can save us from being short-sighted, self-centered, blind, and victimized.

In the multitude of counselors is wisdom.


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