Thursday, March 02, 2006

Arranged Marriage

I have heard these words bandied about a few times lately, verbalized in the air, and written on the screen,
what do you folks think about the possibility of arranged marriages today?

29 comments:

elizabeth said...

Good question. I think it could be challenging for us in North America. It would make a lot of us who are single face things like fear of commitment….. I would not do it unless my community and spiritual father strongly advised it; even then I don’t know if I would… hmmmmmmmm

Other’s thoughts?

Mira-cle said...

I'm all for it. God arranges our marriages. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and has our best interests in mind when he picks our spouse.

Hee hee.

Stacy said...

Hmmmm... not sure. I'd like to say I'm all for it but... I don't know. Maybe I'm way more western than I want to admit.

Stacy said...

clarification... I'm glad to be "western"/American! I'm referring here to the negative aspects that impact faith... y'all know what I'm talking about, right?

elizabeth said...

yep, i think we know! :)

Peter T Chattaway said...

You could say that Deanna and I were semi-arranged -- my sister Monica works with her at the library, and she told me I should meet Deanna, and she told Deanna she should meet me, and she gave me Deanna's phone number, and then I called Deanna out of the blue and said, "My sister gave me your number," and Deanna said, "Yeah, she wants to set us up!" It was very refreshing to actually be that up-front about things, right from the get-go, and to know from the beginning of our courtship that we were hanging out and getting to know each other with an eye towards marriage -- instead of dating just because it's nice to have someone to kiss or spend the holidays with, and then wondering after a year or three if you should consider getting married.

Of course, if Deanna or I had ever come to the conviction that we should not get married, then there was nothing stopping us from breaking up. So in that sense, our marriage was not "arranged" in the sense that people usually use that term. But I am totally in favour of courting and marrying people with whom your family sets you up.

Like I've said elsewhere, one of the reasons I really liked Tim Burton's Corpse Bride is that the film affirms the biblical principle that you should love the one you are married to -- however you came to be married to that person -- rather than that you should always follow your fickle feelings. That's a rare message in this day and age, but it needs to be heard.

myn said...

i think i might be okay with it as long as there was a panel of people picking my husband. i wouldn't want just one person to decide, but i would want lots of people who know me in different arenas to weigh in on the eligible suitors! at this point i can use all the help i can get...so if you meet some nice (tall) man along the way and think of me, please let me know! but i do have to say that the dowry/bride price that goes along with arranged marriages is so not cool.

Gabe said...

It's very romantic.

Simply Victoria said...

I am all for it. in fact, many of us parents at st.hermans are already in the planning stages. stay tuned...

MatJenny said...

Way too open a question. Some work, some are hell on earth -- obviously. Can you narrow the question down?

Interestingly, Mat Tab and I have noticed that fun as it is, joking with kids about setting them up with other Ortho kids can stress them out. We have always talked about Finnian and Ella getting married, but we stopped lately because F started worrying about it -- wondering if he has to, if he can provide for her (they are 4!), wondering if he can change his mind, can they still be friends, etc. It kind of broke my heart and made me realize that little kids take this stuff seriously even if we don't (entirely). Ella's devotion continues unchecked, but I think it's time to put the brakes on. . .

The Pleasant Peasant said...

i agree with muryn - highly recommended and semi-organized is alright, just no forced marriages.

Stacy said...

Good clarification...

Arranged marriage--perhaps... with a panel decision.

Forced marriage--no.

Then again... I'm getting old so lots of "alternatives" are sounding appealing because modern traditions are panning out so well for me. Maybe I'm just romanticizing the idea as a form of hope.

Perhaps on second thought (or third... or thirty-third, whatever) I'm not all that gung-ho about it after all. Maybe giving up is more appealing after all. Who knows.

Maybe I shouldn't answer this question when I'm relationally raw and in the middle of "black month." Maybe I just don't know anything and shouldn't answer this question. Period. Yeah... I'm sticking with the last one. Yeah.

Whew. I'm tired. How about you?

:P

rowena said...

I think arranged marriages are easier in a way because you don't have to go through the dating phase. Assuming the two are of the same faith, from the start you're down to 'how many kids do you want?' instead of the trivial things that can be dealt with as they come up. I'm all for arranged marriage and was thinking about that today, as a matter of fact. I am one of those crazy females that just wants to be married:)

RW said...

I think that we can strongly encourage our children to consider possibilities...

I agree with Mat Jenny though. We have to take care to understand their individual personalities and not put upon their hearts more than they are ready to receive.

OOPs - did Jenny say that? Well that is what I understood her to mean.

I think the community at large should watch and be attentive to those that are growing up within it.

pasivirta said...

My thoughts are confuddled. I think that it can be a good thing either in reality or to contemplate.
I like the idea, because it takes away from the difficulty of having to release expectations when seeing women a certain way, but in the same breath I think we should see women the right way regardless of where we are in life. sometimes I think being a monk would make it easy to see women as sisters and not as would-be wives...but would that be escaping the need to learn to see everyone with the right eyes?

I think it can happen now, and it is a process...but a necessary one.

other than that, it sounds good to me. but it would have to be a modified thing. I wouldn't be able to just marry someone unless it was a panel decision of hand picked people I knew and trusted really well...who I knew knew me well enough.

perhaps our next question should be about monasticism...

Mira-cle said...

Marriage is a mystery and I love it...and the way that it comes about is what I am learning about right now and in complete awe of. I liked what you said, Peter, relating to Corpse Bride, and how one should love the person they are married to no matter how the marriage came about...I think any marriage will have conflicts and problems, whether or not it is "arranged" formally. Which is to be expected, because marriage is a way to work out our Salvation, whether it is through our mystical marriage to Christ, or through the relationship between a man and woman married to each other as icons of the Kingdom. I also don't think that, in the case of marriage between a man and woman, one can be certain that the person they are marrying is "the right one"- there is a sure amount of faith and intuition required when choosing a spouse, because we can never know someone well enough before marriage to say what they will be like in a marriage.

I'm not all for the kind of arranged marriages where a child is sold off to a suitor that has many wives, or that kind of tragedy. I'm all for people surrendering themselves to the will of God, and taking part in God's plan for their salvation- and if a person is supposed to get married, God reveals the marriage He has arranged to that person, perhaps through the match-making of their friends, family, or priest. I feel like I've been looking for Matthew all of my life, but have known him all of my life also, and not in some flaky romantic way, but in a very real way- and it feels like there is no possible way for me to have simply chosen this person- it feels like it was arranged before we were even born.

Like I said before, any marriage is arranged by He who knows us and our needs best- God. While we get to choose who we marry- because even formally arranged marriages have the possibility of one partner completely backing out- in the end, we choose to follow God's will. And God works through the Church and our family and community to facilitate this arrangement. In this context, we inevitably participate in a sort of arranged marriage. Marriage is not just between individuals, but between two families and two groups of friends. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think arranged marriages of the sort that family and friends pick who you marry are bad- in fact I think that this is what happens in a lot of successful marriages anyway- whether it is recognized as an "arranged marriage" or not.

elizabeth said...

Sorry for the cross posting comment:

first, this is not directed at any one person...

Here is the one thing I think we need to be REALLY careful of as we discuss things via blog land like arranged marriage, singleness etc. a lot of us, myself included, are single. And I think most of us desire to be married. This what we need to remember: urgency and desperation are never good places to see or act from. I worry when I see [myself included] getting to the point where we would say things like, ‘we will try anything’ etc. does this make sense? Remember that we must trust God for His will, His time and in His wisdom. We must seek to have Christ always before our eyes, to wait on Him, until all we desire is Himself and bearing our cross… (which I think in part means bearing ourselves)…

We must take care…

MatDonna said...

I have a somewhat tangential comment here on what you might actually call "negative-arranged marriage".

When we got engaged, our Anglican rector had a unique but effective approach: he tried to talk you out of it. With one or two couples under his pastoral care, he actually succeeded! His idea was, if you could be talked out of it, obviously you were not meant for each other!

I think the same can be said of monasticism-- the literature abounds with tales of would-be monks who were left waiting on the doorstep of a monastery for days or weeks. The ones who eventually went away obviously did not have the vocation.

Interestingly, Fr. Lawrence has an article in the Messenger coming up, which treats this intersection of the subjects of monasticism and marriage. It is called "The Essence of Monasticism" and takes for its text....yes, the one you've all been waiting for, The Song of Solomon....

elizabeth said...

thanks for the heads up on the article matdonna! will have to look for a copy when it comes out [since i am not at an oca church]... does it come out soon?

hunchback scholar said...

The older I get, the more arranged marriages make sense to me. Granted, my parents are pretty jiggy with it, so it's pretty easy to trust their judgment. On the other hand, we're not exactly in the same relation to the church right now, so that raises a lot of new questions . . .
But at the very least if my parents, or one of our priests, or some other venerable member of the community with at least 92.5 years of applicable experience made a recommendation I would consider it pretty seriously . . .
I think the crucial point is making your relationships a part of the community. This certainly relates to the moment of choice, but also to all moments before and after. No matter how "perfect" the match is, you could still find a way to screw it up without wiser people to warn you when you're being an idiot . . .

Magdalen said...

It's an easy idea to romanticize about, but how easy would it be to put into practice, here in NA? Hmm. Having had quite a few prospective husbands shoved my way over the last few months, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I trust my parents and my communities' judgements though.
re: viewing the opposite sex as brothers/sisters and not as prospects. Well, is it impossible to see them as both?
Let's face it. THe Orthodox dating pool is extremely small, and all those who are in it are acutely aware of that fact, and always on the lookout. Having watched the scene for many years growing up, and having been in the pool myself a few years now, I can atest to that. In my experience though, that doesn't necessarily stop one from seeing their fellows as sisters and brothers in Christ as well.
hm. much to consider...

pasivirta said...

Firstly, I like Stacy's picture.

Secondly, I love the thought of arranged marriages...but the subtle ones that don't apply pressure. The sneaky ones, in which people "set you up" feelings-wise prior to situationally. However, asking a girl about every eligible guy she sees is purely inhumane.

biss said...

Ummm...that was me, Biss, who made that last comment. HA ha ha ha.

I am thinking of setting Qjesse up with Sarah Harmer. Thoughts?

thomasw said...

i am all for what my wife said above. i think my kids can do whatever they please when they turn 19 or they can submit to the will of God as revealed through their community and parents. if they choose the latter, i'd hope that there is some direction given about spousal prospects and the honour due to fathers and mothers in engagements. in the end though, my daughter understands that if she wishes to get my blessing on her marriage, I must approve of the match. My son knows he will have to seek that blessing from the father of his desired. Encouraged martial situations are the ideal.

hunchback scholar said...

Oh baby.

hunchback scholar said...

Sarah Harmer, if you're reading this, I would just like to not that Biss is a very wise individual with profound insight into human relations. Just something to think about.

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MatJenny said...

Thomas, did you mean to say that 'encouraged /martial/ situations are the ideal'? So, our kids should only marry into the military, or what?

(tee hee)

Reminds me of a cbc presenter who was reading a letter that mentioned a 'causal relationship' and she said 'casual relationship'. I imagined the letter writer having fits. As they say, a poet can survive anything but a misprint.

thomasw said...

rofl :)