Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Should you "follow your heart" or your "head" when it comes to dating/relationships?

Your head, according to this Psychology Today article:

One famous study conducted in Jaipur, India, compared couples there who married for love—"the Chosen"— to those who wed for family—"the Arranged." As you’d expect, Chosen couples reported being significantly more in love at the start of the marriage than the Arranged. But by the five-year mark, the figures had reversed—with the Arranged couples reporting being in love at the same levels as newlywed Chosen couples had, and the Chosen couples now declined to the newlywed levels of the Arranged couples.

And at the 10-year mark? The effect had doubled. Arranged marriages just kept getting better.

Does that mean that love’s not important in arranged marriage cultures? Hardly. It just means that here, we expect love before marriage; and there, afterward. Here, we expect love to conquer all; there, they expect similarity to pave the way for love.

And, factually speaking, they’re usually right. . . .

I’m not suggesting that you let your family arrange your marriage. If you’re not from such a culture, it could be intensely weird, and daunting for your parents. But I am suggesting we would be wise to emulate arranged-marriage cultures by valuing our heads as much as our hearts—starting with logic and ending with love. To that end:

• Define your standards, making sure they’re realistic and vital;

• Only date those who seem to meet them—ditching those who lack your required qualities, no matter how appealing they might otherwise seem; and

• Let yourself fall for someone from the small group that fits.

In other words, arrange your own marriage. You can do it with the help of the Internet, of course—and recent research suggests that online dating may be associated with longer, happier marriages than those that are launched in person.