Arranged marriages are the order of the day in most cultures. People have married without love in arranged marriages all throughout recorded history (all the way back to 4000 B.C. when writing was first invented simultaneously by both the Egyptians and the Chinese).

Arranged marriages were the norm worldwide until the 18th century. In modern times, arranged marriage is common in South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia.

Most of us consider arranged marriages to be old and archaic. But, perhaps we should look again. Nothing is wrong with marrying for love. It’s just that arranged marriages are usually more stable and last longer.

I love to ask newly-wed couples how they met and who proposed to whom. Usually the man is the one to propose, but sometimes the woman is in charge! People tell of special dinners, rings hidden in cakes, getting down on one knee, having scavenger hunts and on and on.

Let me tell you one of my favorite proposals. Love doesn’t get any lovelier than this.

“Tell me how you proposed to her,” I asked the forty-six-year-old-ex-con pastor. I knew why he hadn’t married earlier. He spent too many years in prison for a youthful indiscretion. He met Christ in prison, felt called to preach, attended school and subsequently met the woman of his dreams. Here is the story just as he told it to me.

“At 11:00 p.m. after an evening out together,” he replied, “I took her to church. I told her to be obedient and go into the restroom and take off her nylons.”

I was immediately uncomfortable with where this tale was heading. “She was obedient,” he continued. “I turned on the lights and invited her to accompany me to the front. We sat for a moment on the platform steps and then I reached for the basin of water and a towel that I had placed previously under the front pew. As I began to wash her feet, I gazed into her eyes and said, ‘The most humble service Jesus ever did was to wash His disciples’ feet. I want to wash your feet for the rest of your life.’ She was crying as I put down the towel, reached for the ring and asked, ‘Will you marry me?’”

There may be better ways for a man to propose to a woman but I can’t think of any.

However, thinking long range, the real question is whether or not they will still be married 50 years later. Statistics show that they probably will.

Saying that the divorce rate is America is over 50% is misleading. The real number is complex and hard to pin down. For example, age has a lot to say about when people get divorced.

Under 20 years old

27.6 percent

20 to 24 years old

36.6 percent

25 to 29 years old

16.4 percent

30 to 34 years old

8.5 percent

35 to 39 years old

5.1 percent

Sorry, I was unable to get the exact percentage for people over 40. However, I did find that the percentage of people over 50 who are choosing to divorce is skyrocketing.