COVID has changed many things about society, including how people relate to each other. In an interesting article from the AP, a trend has emerged now where some young girls in Africa, due to COVID influenced economic conditions, are being married off early.
Many countries had made progress against such traditional and transactional marriages of girls in recent decades, but COVID-19’s economic havoc has caused significant backsliding: The United Nations estimates that hardships resulting from COVID-19 will drive 13 million more girls to marry before the age of 18.
Though most such marriages take place in secret, Save the Children estimates that this year alone, nearly half a million more girls under 18 are at risk of being married off worldwide, most in Africa and Asia, but also in the Middle East. One aid organization said staffers in a remote corner of Sierra Leone overheard a relative offering up a girl as young as 8 for marriage earlier this year. When chastised, the grandmother later denied doing so.
In most cases, needy parents receive a dowry for their daughter — a bit of land or livestock that can provide income, or cash and a promise to take over financial responsibility for the young bride. The girl, in turn, takes on the household chores of her husband’s family and often farm work too. (source)
An interesting observation in Africa, but the question is, will this come to the West, and not because of “Islam” or “foreigners”, but economics and religious needs?
Right now, one only needs to type in “men’s rights,” “MGTOW,” or other related terms, but the fact is that there are a lot of men’s channels now that promote living a perpetual bachelor lifestyle, and while some is simply because of hedonism, the logic is simple- men do not legally have the same rights as women, women are significantly favored to the direct detriment of men, so why play in a system where you will only get hurt? While the anti-marriage messages are not good, they are not without reason, or recognizing that there is a trend of serious male abuse by women that cause it to happen. Forget about “feminism”, it is rather that many men have been not merely cheated, but are legally disenfranchised when they get married.
So what happens to the women? Singlehood, but eventually, fertility runs out. This is not so for me, who can sire children even unto their death.
This is also not to say there are not bad men, but that right now, there is a serious imbalance that needs to be addressed. Namely, women want “good men”, and men want “good women” because the current dating paradigm is failing badly and yet, the cycle of life must continue. The question is, how will one do it?
It is something to watch for, but given these conitions, and the fact that the economy is worse now because of COVID, that the concept of the arranged marriage may return, at least in some capacity. This would not be for probably about a decade, maybe even longer, but the seeds are there and may germinate, and would probably first show among ‘conservative’ Christian type groups, because Christians are affected by the same issues as the rest, but have the added pressure of being an increasing minority amid a society that does not like them.
Currently, among many Catholic circles, there is an unspoken concept that many of them really exist as dating circles- places for people to get to know each other in order that they can get married. This also exists among conservative Protestants as well.
With poverty on the rise, a desire to find ‘like minded’ people (especially among religiously minded persons), and it becoming far more difficult for many reasons to have easy conversation between men and women, given current patterns, one may be witnessing an eventual, long-term shift that while not getting rid of the ‘dating’ concept as it is currently known, will see along side it rise the trend of some kind of ‘arranged’ union.
The AP speaks of arranged marriages as a bad thing, and while there are certainly abuses, not all- arguably not most -of them are bad. On a personal note, I can speak to at least two Millennial couples- both ‘conservative’ Catholics -with small children who have directly talked about something of this for their children potentially in the future because of religious reasons, and increasingly (from what I have experienced), financial ones too.
Now this is still a ways away, and will likely face a lot of opposition on a generational basis. However, as the ‘cultural divide’ becomes more severe, as social changes become more evident with the passing of the Boomers, there is the potential for a lot to change, With the the world tending toward a real or idealized vision of ‘the past’ an the current breakdowns in the old order taking place, many things are going to have to change, and it may be that things such as arranged marriages, something considered ‘old’, just might once again become ‘new’ and in places where people may not think it would happen.