validity of arranged marriages

What’s the Church’s, at least the RC, stand on arranged marriages? There are still cultures today where this is practiced and perfectly acceptable. I know this is a huge no-no in Western culture, but what of those cultures that accept it?

I heard a wonderful Homily regarding arranged marriage from a RC priest in Hong Kong about 11 years ago. He wasn’t really advocating arranged marriage but sharing a beautiful story about love, so he gave it in a context of a person he knew who’s marriage was arranged by the family yet remained married for a long time, for the rest of their life.

Anyway, thats besides the point, so what’s the stand then concerning free will on marriage and arranged marriages?

Well, first of all, there’s a difference between marriage and Sacramental marriage. The Church considers a Catholic marriage to be valid, among other reasons, if both parties give informed consent. If you are being forced to marry someone, on pain of abandonment, because your family arranged it, that’s not consent. And actually, that’s grounds for annullment. You have to mean your vows when you take them. If you don’t mean them because you’re coerced into saying the words, that’s not consent…

If both parties agree to the marriage, without coersion, then it’s a valid marriage, even if it’s arranged.

[quote="Rence, post:2, topic:229923"]
If both parties agree to the marriage, without coersion, then it's a valid marriage, even if it's arranged.

[/quote]

I was thinking of this. I know that in societies where arranged marriages are accepted and part of the culture, both parties accept their parent's decisions on who their spouses will be.

Also ironically, arranged marriages from places like India is far more successul in terms of divorce rates compared to American marriages.

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:3, topic:229923"]
I was thinking of this. I know that in societies where arranged marriages are accepted and part of the culture, both parties accept their parent's decisions on who their spouses will be.

Also ironically, arranged marriages from places like India is far more successul in terms of divorce rates compared to American marriages.

[/quote]

From what I understand, it's the stigma of shame that keeps the divorce rate down. Where would they go if they got divorced if their family disowned them?

[quote="Rence, post:4, topic:229923"]
From what I understand, it's the stigma of shame that keeps the divorce rate down. Where would they go if they got divorced if their family disowned them?

[/quote]

I think thats a very Western way of thinking, although I will not deny it does happen. In my original post, I was talking about the priest in his homily talking about a friend who had his marriage arranged and they lived together for the rest of their lives in love.

Those who openly accept this make their marriages work no matter what. Something that many don't do today.

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:1, topic:229923"]
Anyway, thats besides the point, so what's the stand then concerning free will on marriage and arranged marriages?

[/quote]

Catholic marriages do not require "love" to be valid.

And, for what it's worth, despite being raised on Disney-esque promises of "happily ever after," I truly believe that any two people can "fall in love" if they both choose to act lovingly to each other. I don't understand the general distrust/disdain for arranged marriages.

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:6, topic:229923"]
And, for what it's worth, despite being raised on Disney-esque promises of "happily ever after," I truly believe that any two people can "fall in love" if they both choose to act lovingly to each other. I don't understand the general distrust/disdain for arranged marriages.

[/quote]

I can think of a couple of reasons.

1.) It's only common sense to say that you can't just 'act lovingly' in a marital way towards a complete stranger. (This goes especially for one your parents decided to bind you for the rest of your life without your consent.)

2.) Arranged marriages have the potential of being a tool for political and corporate alliances. Monarchies did that in medieval times did they not? :rolleyes:

"Arranged" doesn't necessarily mean "coerced." Nor does it imply lack of consent. Consent of the parties is necessary for a valid marriage. But throughout history there have been many ways of bringing couples together.

Deciding to love your partner brings with it feelings of love. Whereas initial feelings if not backed by true and firm consent of the will, will fade.

I haven't seen any particular stats on longevity of marriages compared to how they got their start. Our current system seems to be working at only about a 50% level.

[quote="JimG, post:8, topic:229923"]
"Arranged" doesn't necessarily mean "coerced." Nor does it imply lack of consent. Consent of the parties is necessary for a valid marriage. But throughout history there have been many ways of bringing couples together.

Deciding to love your partner brings with it feelings of love. Whereas initial feelings if not backed by true and firm consent of the will, will fade.

I haven't seen any particular stats on longevity of marriages compared to how they got their start. Our current system seems to be working at only about a 50% level.

[/quote]

I read that in the past, I will research on it. Because here in Canada we have a significant East Indian population (Indians from India, not natives whom we call First Nations or you call Native Americans) where arranged marriages is still common in some circles. Many of course have that Western view and feel that any arranged marriage is forced. Then someone came up with the statistics that arranged marriages do tend to last longer compared to North American marriages.

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:6, topic:229923"]
Catholic marriages do not require "love" to be valid.

And, for what it's worth, despite being raised on Disney-esque promises of "happily ever after," I truly believe that any two people can "fall in love" if they both choose to act lovingly to each other. I don't understand the general distrust/disdain for arranged marriages.

[/quote]

Well, love is something you work on, something you freely give. I agree that love and marriage has been romanticized so much in the West by literature and art (such as movies and paintings) that the current concept of love by most people are superficial at best. They fail to see that love is a constant decision to freely give everything of one's self to the other. Key word is constant. A lot of people think love is some sort of mystical force that compells you towards somewhen when you fall in love, and when you fall out of love there is nothing you can do anymore but to end the relationship. Thats just plain wrong.

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:1, topic:229923"]
What's the Church's, at least the RC, stand on arranged marriages? There are still cultures today where this is practiced and perfectly acceptable. I know this is a huge no-no in Western culture, but what of those cultures that accept it?

[/quote]

My cousins who lived in villages, and more then half of the marriages in Hungary until the middle of 20th Century was arranged. For this half the divorce rate was less than 5% The Church requires the acceptance of the decision, not the source of the decision.

The arranged marriages are based on balanced equality and economical advantages. Something which last until death for the majority.

The chemistry comes and goes. Basically only those marriages are lasting to death where the equality and economical advantages are established either before or during the marriage.

Marriages based only on the chemistry last until new chemistry is coming. This is the reason why about half of the marriages end with divorce

The majority of marriages throughout history were arranged . The ability to consent is not hindered automatically. Spouses are still expected to treat each other with love.

[quote="laszlo, post:11, topic:229923"]
The chemistry comes and goes. Basically only those marriages are lasting to death where the equality and economical advantages are established either before or during the marriage.

Marriages based only on the chemistry last until new chemistry is coming. This is the reason why about half of the marriages end with divorce

[/quote]

Looks to me that either way, the basis is pretty materialist. Both seem cheap reasons to marry (or stay married) if you ask me.

[quote="Seatuck, post:12, topic:229923"]
The majority of marriages throughout history were arranged . The ability to consent is not hindered automatically. Spouses are still expected to treat each other with love.

[/quote]

Expecting someone to love and marry a complete stranger is still coercion.

[quote="Lost_Wanderer, post:14, topic:229923"]
Expecting someone to love and marry a complete stranger is still coercion.

[/quote]

Kabayan, here is the story of the priest who gave the homily that centered on a story about arranged marriages.

He had a long time friend who died. At the funeral he got to talk with the wife. Decided to engage in some chit-chat, the priest began to ask the wife some details about their marriage, like how did they meet. So the question was, "when did you meet your husband?" The wife replied, "at the honeymoon." They never really met at the weeding because the wife was veiled and all, so the first actual meeting was at the honeymoon. And the priest was astonished, they were married for like 50 years, have a number of kids, loved each other 'til the end. So he asked the wife if it was a hard thing to be forced to marry someone she didn't choose (the priest was white, so he's Western). The wife responded that when she came into this world, she didn't have a choice who her parents were and who her siblings were. Yet there they were given to her by God. And she loved them without question. So when she got married, here is here husband given by God, and they loved each other unconditionaly.

So where is the coersion there?

[quote="Lost_Wanderer, post:13, topic:229923"]
Looks to me that either way, the basis is pretty materialist. Both seem cheap reasons to marry (or stay married) if you ask me.

[/quote]

You must distinguish between the reason of

  • to marry (that is the procreation) and
  • whom to marry

The first goal requires the most stable reasons to keep the marriage until death. My thesis is that the economical (if you want materialistic) reasons are more stable than the chemistry.

By its essence the marriage is materialistic, earthly. There are no marriages in the heaven.

Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven.

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:15, topic:229923"]
Kabayan, here is the story of the priest who gave the homily that centered on a story about arranged marriages.

He had a long time friend who died. At the funeral he got to talk with the wife. Decided to engage in some chit-chat, the priest began to ask the wife some details about their marriage, like how did they meet. So the question was, "when did you meet your husband?" The wife replied, "at the honeymoon." They never really met at the weeding because the wife was veiled and all, so the first actual meeting was at the honeymoon. And the priest was astonished, they were married for like 50 years, have a number of kids, loved each other 'til the end. So he asked the wife if it was a hard thing to be forced to marry someone she didn't choose (the priest was white, so he's Western). The wife responded that when she came into this world, she didn't have a choice who her parents were and who her siblings were. Yet there they were given to her by God. And she loved them without question. So when she got married, here is here husband given by God, and they loved each other unconditionaly.

So where is the coersion there?

[/quote]

That is a great story. I'm sure it is not the only one out there.

[quote="JimG, post:17, topic:229923"]
That is a great story. I'm sure it is not the only one out there.

[/quote]

The priest told it 100x better than I did for sure. I'm just working off memory here from a Homily I heard 11 years ago. It was indeed humbling to hear a story of people who accepted with open arms what has been given to them without question. I think today we have been empowered by choice too much that we start to believe everything is within our control.

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:15, topic:229923"]
The wife responded that when she came into this world, she didn't have a choice who her parents were and who her siblings were. Yet there they were given to her by God. And she loved them without question. So when she got married, here is here husband given by God, and they loved each other unconditionaly.

So where is the coersion there?

[/quote]

Well if you really think about with hard logic, you can't choose your family. The circumstances just make it impossible. Scientifically, it's beyond anyone's control. You can't really say the same about marriage. You can choose no matter what parents or society should say.

I understand that the priest may be trying to send a message regarding putting up with what life throws at you but I don't think arranged marriages were the right example. :\

[quote="laszlo, post:16, topic:229923"]
The first goal requires the most stable reasons to keep the marriage until death. My thesis is that the economical (if you want materialistic) reasons are more stable than the chemistry.

By its essence the marriage is materialistic, earthly. There are no marriages in the heaven.

[/quote]

Then it shouldn't be a sacrament. Are you aware that by reducing the whole affair of procreation to the level of materialistic, you can justify everything from ABC to abortion?

P.S.

You might want to look at the loaded question that was directed at Christ before giving me His answer that was the verse that you quoted.

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