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What Should You Plan Before Rushing Into Marriage
[Image: covenant-marriage.jpg]

A Facebook post by a Muslim woman has been shared thousands of times and is being credited with opening people's eyes to the advantages of arranged marriages.
Nazreen Fazal, originally for South India and now living in Riyadh, bombarded her prospective husband Ameen with emails before their marriage – the couple exchanged around 80 over the course of a week. She told the BBC: "We weren't flirting or indulging in small talk. These were serious back and forth discussions about our priorities in life, where we see ourselves in a few years, our expectations of a partner etc."
Among her questions were, "What do you think about women working?" "What do you think 'abuse' means?" and "When do you want to have children (if at all)?"
She said: "The divorce rate is quite high in cultures where people meet their own spouses. I think part of the reason is not being aware of each others' priorities and deal breakers." She recommends putting the same care and thought into relationships as into investing in a business.
And who's to say she's wrong? Fifty-five per cent of marriages around the world are arranged and only six per cent end in divorce. In the US in 2014, 53 per cent of marriages ended in divorce; in Belgium it was a staggering 70 per cent.
Critics of arranged marriages, on the other hand, are quick to point out that figures don't tell the whole story. People – women especially – might very well like to be free of their arranged marriage but divorce laws are too strict. And many marriages are arranged for women who have no choice in the matter, either because of their age or economic dependency; such marriages are classed as "forced" rather than arranged, and in Afghanistan 80 per cent fall into that category.
But still, isn't Fazal on to something? The divorce rate among Christians is high enough, though lower for practising Christians than the general population. Would a more serious approach to identifying potential pressure points before marriage help? And what might these pressure points be? Here are some ideas.
1. What do you think about money and careers?

Do you both want careers or is one of you content to be a home maker? Which one will it be?
2. Do you want to own your own home or are you happy renting?

Owning is an investment; renting offers freedom of movement but less security. Your choice says something important about you.
3. What matters most to you about a job – how much it pays or how satisfying it is?

If one of you wants to change the world through working for a charity and the other wants to maximise income, you might clash.

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