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Monday, November 3, 2008

New model of arranged marriages

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Biggest flaw for arrange marriages, unlike love marriage, is the unavailability of the option to to go back. At the end of courtship/acquaintance period, each person/family has to decide whether they would like to enter into nuptial agreement or not. If yes, then search halts and relationship is settled. If not, then search continues, one at a time, until relationship is settled. At no point, during search process, there is option of going back to previous party, which was once passed over. Even if neither of both parties has committed with other third party, social pressure and structure of the process prevents backtracking.

Now, search for life partner is driven by desire to find best suitable fit for a mate. However, there is no option to evaluate all and make optimal decision. At this point risk of missing out best partner increases since one has to make decision before considering all alternatives. If best match occurs later in the search process, having experience of hindsight, one can conclude the search and settle the deal. Even though this still include risk of missing potential better match, chances of error are less due to prior sampling. However, if best partner is met in early stages of search, chances of making error are high due to no prior sampling of candidate pool and unformed baseline.

Subsequently, I propose a solution which removes this handicap to an extent. Each party will not be required to declare yay or nay soon after meeting but will keep decision undisclosed and move on to next candidate in search process. At any point of time, one party can demand clear answer from another, however, it will have to bear risk of asking too early (and hence high chances of disapproval) or asking too late (and hence high chances of settlement elsewhere). At all time, both parties in process will keep running list of preference order. At some predefined date, after which one party cannot wait any longer for marriage, it can run down the list until it finds an compatible match and agreement from other side. Decision from each party will be function of preference order of other party, cost of future search, and extensiveness of past search.

This will help in cases where marriage is not imminent yet search starts quite early, which constitutes most of the cases. If marriage is urgently desired then both existing and proposed model will converge. However, system of arrange marriage being what is, entrenched in years of social customs and meanings, this system is unlikely to be adopted, even though, it is consistent with current rules of matchmaking process and not insulting to either party.