"Why Would Such a Person Dream About Heaven?" Family, Faith, and Happiness in Arranged Marriages in India


marital satisfaction, spouses, Hinduism, India, family, religion


This study explores the why and how of high rates of marital satisfaction among arranged marriage spouses of Hindu faith in Jaipur, India. The construct family and religious involvement is proposed to describe what constituents of the arranged marriages of participants influence high rates of marital satisfaction. This construct is observed and discussed within three main phases of marriage: (a) time leading up to marriage; (b) early and formative years of marriage; and (c) marital longevity and satisfaction. The findings broaden the conceptual understanding of the experience of arranged marriage. It appears that choices made throughout a marriage have more to do with marital happiness than merely choice in mate selection. Implications for future research on arranged marriage are discussed along with conceptual and practical implications for professional counselors and religious leaders in the West.

Original Publication Citation

Bowman, J., & Dollahite, D. C. (2013). “Why would such a person dream about heaven?”: Family, faith, and happiness in arranged marriage in India. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 43, 207-225.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Comparative Family Studies




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor