The concept of an arranged marriage may seem outdated and even to some, horrifying, but thanks to our current obsession, Married at First Sight it's a practice that's been propelled into the spotlight.
Surprisingly, stats reveal over half of the marriages that take place around the world are arranged (53.25%). Not only that, but the with a divorce rate of just 6.3% an arranged marriage ranks significantly lower than the average divorce rate, which in the US, for example, is over 50% and is 42% in Australia.
While the Married at First Sight crew have their made-for-TV weddings considered to be more of a commitment ceremony, for over 50% of the population an arranged marriage is a reality.
Here, a 28-year-old man has shared his experience of willingly participating in an arranged marriage, of which his now wife, then 27, was an equally willing participant.
The man, who choose to remain anonymous, shared that his parents introduced the couple in January of 2014 and the wedding took place in December.
"We met each other a few times, discussed our likes/dislikes/interests and after a couple of months conveyed our decision to our parents," he explains.
"She was as free to say no to the situation as I was. Her parents wouldn't have asked her to marry me if she was not interested. That's not how it works (most of the time)."
While the pair did meet before their wedding, in the strictest sense it was indeed an arranged marriage.
"I didn't know her in any way before that and she also meets 'criteria' my parents desired (though did not strictly enforced)."
In this case, that 'criteria' included education and family background.
"We had met each other a lot since January. We're in different cities, but I fly-in almost once a month back home to meet her. We have been intimate, yes. We have hugged, we have kissed, but I'm too scared to go farther than that."
"Nervous? Yes, as hell. I'm a.. ahem.. virgin, and so is she."
"I've had a lot of female friends, but only a couple of girls I was close with. One, in particular, I was very close with, but it never got to a dating level."
"After we met the first time, we talked a lot on the phone; then we conveyed our respective decisions to our parents. We liked each other, shared a lot of interests and decided to get married."
"About half of my friends have been part of an arranged marriage. None of them have been forced into it, that includes males as well as females. And a lot of them, including myself, meet a few people before actually marrying one."
"Sadly though, in very interior and backward villages, there have been (and continues to be) cases of forced marriages. Sometimes as bad as, marrying off a daughter to some powerful (read 'rich') person in the village to pay off a debt, which is disgusting."
It may sound ideal to anyone who has exhausted the dating game, but it's not quite as straightforward as it seems.
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"There is a lot of social etiquette etc. involved in the case, at least in the beginning. You can't just be on a casual date and end with 'wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am kind' of date and end it, so frankly I was a bit nervous."
"In my childhood, a lot of older people exuded this notion that Americans are 'promiscuous' people, who do 'bad things' like sex before marriage etc. etc."
"Over the time, I began to feel and to some extent still feel, that American style of dating gets way too casual and way to 'independent' and that's probably the reason of high divorce rate."
"On the other hand, our kind of marriage is a lot more of a gamble. You meet a person, and you don't know them enough before getting married, and you might end up in sh*thole for life."
"What I have learned from my parent's marriage (they had an arranged-marriage and did not have much time between meeting and marriage) that if people are understanding and willing to compromise the ego, things work out. My parents have been married for 30 years now and they're one of the happiest couples I know, so that way it worked out fine."
"The truth is relationships are work. Even the best ones. And if you break up with your gf/bf everytime you run into a problem, you're just training yourself for divorce."
"Am I frightened? Not really. Nervous? Yes, very much. It's been quite good so far, but years down the lane, you can encounter the problems you may not have thought of, but I'm willing to work through it."
"The way society is changing; I don't think I'd be looking for a partner for my son/daughter. And I'm totally fine with that."
"Do I love her?"
"Short answer: Yes, I do".
"Long answer: In the beginning, it was sort of awkward. When you meet, you know that you will eventually get married, but once we got past that, we really like each other."