Mama Matchmaker: Karen Erickson on the Staying Power of Arranged Marriages

Dating is hard, and who among us hasn't wondered: wouldn't an arranged marriage be easier? Well today Karen Erickson is here to give us the scoop on arranged marriages. Karen's latest contemporary romance, Kidnapping His Bride, tackles such a dilemma when a contemporary couple deals with being engaged since children — and if they're still a good match now. Take it away, Karen!

When you hear the phrase ‘arranged marriage,’ you definitely don’t think of them as modern, right? I know I certainly didn’t. So when the idea came to me that I should write a couple involved in an arranged marriage, I wondered at first if I was pushing the limits. I mean, I know we’re dealing with fiction and all here, but you want the story based somewhat in fact, right?

Imagine my surprise when I did a little research and discovered that there are families out there who still put together arranged marriages between their children. These are usually families steeped in tradition, very religious, who come from a long line of arranged marriages.

There’s something to be said for an arranged marriage. Most families practicing this tradition today ensure that the couple are a good match, compatible in all areas that matter most and the hope is always that they will eventually fall in love after marriage.

A most unusual concept, no? But hey, with so many marriages ending in divorce in the United States, maybe those involved in an arranged marriage are onto something (the divorce rate is fairly low in arranged marriages, or so the research I dug up said).

When writing Kidnapping His Bride, I also looked at my oldest, dearest friend who I’ve known since we were 12. She comes from a very traditional Italian family. Her parents came to California from Sicily soon after they were married. When we were in our twenties, her parents were constantly pushing her to go back to Italy and find herself a husband. Her answer?

No way … she didn’t want to marry an old fashioned macho ass (her words, not mine). Her older brother went to Italy though and found himself a wife. They’re still happily married with two boys of their own.

Wonder if they’ll end up going to Italy in search of a wife …

- Karen Erickson

What do you think, would you ever agree to an arranged marriage? Check out Kidnapping His Bride, available online now, for inspiration! And for more love stories, be sure to visit our Everything Romance page.