To Western sensibilities, the idea of an arranged marriage is pure anathema. The idea of such an important decision, perhaps the most important decision of one’s life , being made by others is unthinkable. But , is it really ? The results of an Indian study would seem to show otherwise.

Usha Gupta and Pushpa Singh of the University of Rajasthan interviewed 50 couples, half of whom had arranged marriages while the other half had married for love. The couples had been married for varying lengths of time ; some had been married for a year or less, others had been together for as long as twenty years.The couples were interviewed separately and asked to respond to questions on the Rubin Love Scale , developed by psychologist Zick Rubin forty years ago.

According to Rubin , romantic love is made up of three elements:

Attachment: The need to be cared for and be with the other person.
Caring: Valuing the other persons happiness and needs as much as your own.
Intimacy: Sharing private thoughts, feelings, and desires with the other person.
Rubin’s research was not confined only to married people and it differentiated between “liking ” and ” loving”. One of his techniques was to pose to subjects 13 questions that he felt were a reliable measure of love.

In the University of Rajasthan study, subjects were asked to respond to statements such as “ I like it when ( My husband / wife) confides in me.” or ” I would do almost anything for my ” husband/wife”. The results of the study were very interesting.

The couples who had married for love, and who had been married for less than one year, had an average score of 70 points out of a possible 91. However, love couples who had been married for 10 years or longer only had an average score of 40, a steep decline indeed. The corresponding numbers for those who were in an arranged marriage were 58 points ( for those married less than a year) and 68 points ( for those who had been married for a decade or more). In short , the results would seem to confirm the popular saying that ” A love marriage is like a pot of hot water on a cold stove ; an arranged marriage is like a pot of cold water on a hot stove.”