A Modern Twist

Contacts.  That is what a match-maker had in the past that parents do not have. When parents begin their pre-selection process, they do not know all the people they ought to know. In the past, they relied heavily on the match-maker. In today’s world, marriage should begin with the children’s own world of social contacts, the contacts of the parents, and the internet.

The internet brings together people you or your parents do not know.  Using a website to look for potentials is good.  But the website is only a tool.  The self-representation on the profiles is a start, and you don’t really know if it is a correct representation. In addition, there may be things you ought to know but do not.  They may be deliberately hidden from you, or it may be something small that is not covered in the profile questionnaire, but important to you nonetheless.

Parents and children ought to work together in looking for prospective life-partners. It deepens the relationship between the parents and the children.  The parents become personally invested to see their children succeed in their marriage.  In addition, the parents ought to contact the prospect’s parents and get their input.  This produces two invested families!

In our day, we think of the love that trumps parental objections.  There may be a place for that, but marriages are much better placed for success when both families stand with the couple! Can you imagine the network and support you get in a marriage where your parents and your in-laws are friends and work behind the scene to bless you?

Social stratification has become a taboo subject in finding life-partners.  The reality is that such social groupings, if not stratification, make a difference in a marriage. Parents who are in the Christian faith will recognize that the absolute highest priority they will place in pre-selecting a life-partner for their children is the faith of the prospect.  Most Christians today rightly accept the premise that it is critically important for them to find a Christian spouse. To this I add my affirmation – and observation. Finding a Christian spouse is a social grouping.

“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3). Can you imagine husband and wife each playing their own religious music and trying to drown the other person out? Or within the Christian faith, can you imagine a woman praying in tongues by her bed and your husband standing behind her trying to cast out the demon he thinks she has?

On the non-faith aspects of selection, there may be a romantic love that trumps all.  But it is extremely stressful for a couple if the wife has to move from a mansion to a rented room. Rented rooms make great love nests for the couple perfectly comfortable in one.  But when financial necessity drives one party into a highly uncomfortable situation, the romance that drives the marriage will soon run dry. Parental pre-selection tends to avoid this other great stress factors in a marriage.

There are surely other factors, but I like to suggest to you that when we get help from our parents in pre-selecting our spouses, we are getting a good thing.  Realistically, not all parents know what to do, or would choose to bless their children in this way.  Where can you find help if your parents are not an option? (Btw, your likely best man / bridesmaid are NOT the best people to help you.  They are more likely to keep the good find!) 

An alternative is your spiritual mentor. You need a mentor who knows you well, someone with whom you can be honest about your preferences, and someone who can straighten you out if you are not thinking straight. Most of all, you want someone who loves you and will spare no effort in setting you up for a wonderful Christian marriage.

An arranged marriage is not marriage to a stranger, but getting help in the pre-selection process.

Arranged marriages are good for singles of most ages, but it becomes less helpful the more mature we become.  Next, we will look at the situation when you, as a man does not need someone to help you pre-select, and someone has already caught your eye. What do you do? Or if you are a woman and you like to see if someone you know will take the friendship to the next level. What can you do about it?

Peter Eng

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