Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Which last longer: romantic or arranged marriages?

A Taiwanese couple, Liu Yung-yang, 103, and his wife Yang Wan, 102, were certified by the Guiness Book of Records as the world's longest married couple in 2002. They were married in 1917 and have more than 100 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Amazingly, Mr. Liu worked on the family farm until 1982. Mrs. Liu died in 2003 and they had been married for 86 years by then.

They had an arranged marriage, and according to Taiwanese customs, Yang Wan went to live at his parents house when she was five, to do chores and learn to take care of him. They married in their late teens.

It is said that arranged marriages last longer, I have no idea whether or not that is true. But if it is, I wonder why.

Here is an enlightening explanation of modern arranged marriages and the dowry system in India. Everything has its pros and cons.

Is it that we expect too much from romantic love, which is short-lived? And desperately try to recreate magic moments over and over, which as we all know, can never the same. The evolution of romantic love, which was once a liberating movement, has become its own trap. Yet romance is an intoxicating feeling, and keeping its spirit alive in a marriage is something that many couples can achieve. Accepting the transition of fiery passion into a warm, mellow glow is a prerequisite.

Perhaps the success of arranged marriages (at least in the past) was due to lowered expectations of guaranteed happiness. I'd love to hear from contemporary couples in arranged marriages and find out their views on arranged marriages in today's world.

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