Couples in arranged marriages could be happier than those not arranged because it removes the pressure to find the “perfect” partner, a former High Court family judge has claimed.
Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of the Marriage Foundation, said he had come to the “truly startling” conclusion based on the back of findings from a new study.
The research, using data from the Millennium Cohort study which contains details of the lives of more than 15,000 mothers, suggested that British Muslim women are more likely to be happily married than those from other backgrounds.
It found that 45 per cent of mothers who identified themselves as being from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background described themselves as “very happy” in their relationship, compared to just 34 per cent of “white” mothers.
Religious women were the group most likely to be happily married, with 45 per cent of Muslim women and 43 per cent of Christian women describing themselves as “very happy”.
Commenting on the study, Sir Paul said: “It appears at first counter-intuitive that Muslim women have such successful relationships when many are in arranged marriages.
“In fact, Muslims in arranged marriages have many of the ingredients for a really successful long term marriage.
“They enter marriage without artificial and unreal ‘celebrity’ expectations or a belief that they merely have to bump into a perfect partner and from then on no effort will be needed.
“In time the ‘perfect partner’ inevitably disappoints. This group on the other hand have no unreal expectations and from the word go, really work hard and fashion their relationship out of the material they are given.
“Doubtless it is in part a consequence of this that they are over 30 per cent more fulfilled and happy than their western sisters.
“No one is suggesting a return to arranged marriages but we can surely all learn a lot about what makes marriages work in the long run from these findings.”
Sir Paul added: “Shared faith no doubt helps but all couples have it in their power to radically improve their chances of staying together by marrying and keeping on working at it.”