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Until relatively recent times, arranged matchmakings with the singular purpose of marrying daughters off to the wealthiest suitor available were the norm for much of our world. In countries and cultures where parents were the final say in whom would marry who, many single women may be saddened as they realized that there were some potential for the marriages to become a loveless bond.

Perhaps the most exciting notion of the western world, and the most easily embraced for many non-westerners, is the idea that marrying for love is preferable to marrying for the family's approval. Initially, families from Arab countries, where arranged matrimonies were a fact of life, were not easily swayed to trust a Western habit that allows young women the right to have a say in whom will help her build a family and a life. Worried that their offspring's choices would not coincide with the family, well-meaning Arab parents chose to continue to become the match maker for the daughters, in this--the most important relationship decision of their lives. The idea is a simple one--they have brought this much loved girl into humanity and it is their responsibility to maintain provision to sustain her once they are gone.

What changes the hearts and minds of modern Muslim families in regards to what is best for their treasured daughters is a more liberal introspection that helps them to see that what each woman brings to a marriage is so great that she should have the ultimate responsibility and pleasure of choosing her own spouse. Along with this contemporary understanding that women must be liberated to ensure that their lives and loves are successful ones is the revolutionary concept that allows single women to include dating in the courtship practices. Dating for comparison and better browsing, modern, educated Arab females find themselves sometimes with more would-be matches than time.

Ironically, as more educated, eligible bachelorettes are also sometimes busier professionals who participate in local government, sustain careers and juggle busy social lives; countless Islamic women have come to realize that their own mothers and fathers are sometimes the best consultants to help them meet the ideal mates. After all, these parents are no strangers to the daughter's needs, desires, capabilities and goals. Having already aided her to find the means and modes to acquire the educations she deserve, such parents are not likely to abandon the daughter's match making criteria for choosing a husband, should they be asked to lend a hand. Rather, enlightened and supportive, these thrilled matchmakers can be trusted to ask questions of the probable groom, to insist that only those prospective partners that will treat their child with honor, respect, and love will be considered, and to allow their child to consider the matchups carefully and to make the final decision.

In a world with tremendous potential for heart ache, it is reassuring to know that the moms and dads are willing and motivated to assist their coming of age children obtain happiness at any rational expense. With that in mind, scores of parents--including those from more traditionally Muslim families--have discovered that there are modern conveniences and technological strides to assist them narrow the list of available men that may be appropriate suitors for their daughters. Struck first by savvy advertising campaigns and then by the tantalizing success rates of internet personals sites like eHarmony.com, parents ready to help their offspring step into the future and down the aisle are making use of the many social matchmaking services to help these young women see the broader picture of ideal dating possibilities.

Such a forward step seems a good one. eHarmony's founder, Neil Clark Warren, touts a mind boggling success rate in commercials that air around the globe. eHarmony's approach to simplifying the matchmaking process for single men and women that know what they want in a relationship but not where to find it, is logical, scientific and conscientious. Explaining that it is "much better to love someone who is a lot like you" and who shares your common interests/ goals, eHarmony sets out to bring sensuality, romance, and--ultimately--love into relationships that have great promise to turn to marital bliss.

This success is mirrored by various other relationship websites that have made the web a one stop market for romantic possibility. Today, liberated Muslim women, as well as women from diverse cultures worldwide, who are too busy and/or too smart to subject themselves to singles bars and chance encounters are willing to go for gold at other sites, too, such as PerfectMatch.com, Chemistry.com, and Yahoo Personals. And the market just keeps expanding to fit their needs as well, with various websites offering Arabs the opportunity to meet other Muslim singles for possible marital union. Matchmaking sites like Muslima.com, the Muslim Matrimonials Network and ArabLounge.com put Arabs into contact that could have romantic results.

With a world of romantic possibilities for capable Arab women to explore, there is no doubt that changes will continue to come. Educated, liberated, and still committed to the spirituality that binds them comfortably to a way of thinking and living that requires careful consideration and steadfastness, it is no wonder that such women exercise judicious methods to find both stability and affection. And it is a credit to the parents that love, comfort, and respects are their fondest hopes for their children's future marital happiness.


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