Marital quality in arranged and couple‐initiated marriages: The role of perceived influence over partner selection

Sharon M. Flicker, Flavia Sancier‐Barbosa, Farhana Afroz, Sumaiya N. Saif, Faeqa Mohsin
Published Online:
14 Nov 2019
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Previous comparisons of relationship quality between individuals in couple‐initiated and arranged marriage have yielded inconsistent findings. One factor which may help to explain this inconsistency is variability in the way in which arranged and couple‐initiated marriages are practiced. To test this, we recruited 116 Bangladeshi women engaged to be married or within the first 3 years of couple‐initiated and arranged marriages. We tested to see which of three models (type of marriage only, perceived influence over partner selection only, and a model that included both relationship type and influence over partner selection) best accounted for variance in self‐reported intimacy, passion, commitment as well as positive and negative relationship quality. Results suggest that influence over partner selection is a better predictor of these outcomes than marriage type, with marriage type offering little if any information beyond that provided by perceived influence. Regardless of marriage type, women with greater influence over their partner selection reported higher levels of intimacy, passion, commitment and positive marital quality. Negative marital quality was unrelated. Future research may benefit from reconceptualising the arranged/couple‐initiated marriage dichotomy as a continuum.

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