I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed that an arranged marriage is not an uncommon plot point. But... has anyone else noticed that they always seem to work out?
I'm trying to think of a book where an arranged marriage made the characters unhappy (after they met each other). I can think of some where the main characters parents were... apathetic, but not unhappy.
In real life, an arranged marriage isn't quite so lucky. Here's an interesting article I found on the subject:
"Arranged marriages have been a topic of interest for centuries. Authors across the ages have explored this theme at length, and it still surfaces in literary works today. What's the appeal? Is it the fascination with the lack of lust and desire we cultivate in North American society? We strive on the element of danger, of the forbidden, while an arranged marriage is usually a safe way to ensure a family's approval of a union.
"But how are suitable spouses chosen? In Japan, for instance, "when a woman reaches the marriageable age of 25, she and her parents compile a packet of information about her, including a photograph of her in a kimono and descriptions of her family background, education, hobbies, accomplishments and interests. Her parents then inquire among their friends and acquaintances to see if anyone knows a man who would be a suitable husband for her" (the Asia Society's Video Letter from Japan: My Family, 1988). Usually, the most important aspect of choosing a suitable spouse is the bond between the two families, rather than the relationship between the couple being married. Property or land with the aim of securing social status sometimes seals marriage agreements."
Which is why we see it so many times with royalty. Yeah? That's perfectly understandable. But, do arranged marriages work?
"Opinions tend to differ. Statistics place the divorce rate for arranged marriages much lower than those in the United States, where marriages out of love are the rule. However, research also shows that the pressure a married couple encounters from both society as a whole, and from the respective families, suggests that divorce is often not an option."
So, divorce rates are lower, but is it because they're happy? Or because divorce is not an option?
What do you think? Do you think arranged marriages are really sucessful and that books are just reflecting this? Or do you think they over inflate the likelyhood of happiness?
On another level, do you think too many books use this? Do you like this plot point?