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They may not always have the same intensity of the feelings that modern Americans label "love" (which are undoubtedly too often confused with lust or infatuation), but they run deeper and last longer.

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They did have input into the decision-making process, and did meet their future spouses a few times before making any commitments, but the process was directed by their parents.

The majority of these friends were from parts of India where that kind of thing is common, and I had a ton of questions for them about how it all worked.

That modern-day matchmaker, the Internet—both through its traditional channels and the explosion of online dating sites—is where a third of recently-married American couples first started sparking.

Dating sites, start trumpeting the news: it turns out those cyber-fueled marriages are a bit happier and more durable than those begun via less electronic means.

It led to a lot of fun and interesting discussions, and what I learned would eventually shatter my notions of what the institution of marriage was all about.

The typical secular American viewpoint is that marriage is about "love," and love is a feeling.First of all, they saw a marriage as being about so much more than the bride and groom alone: Yes, the spouses hoped that they would be happy in their unions, but they also saw their marriages as the coming together of two entire families.The possibility of children was not seen as a tangential, completely optional lifestyle choice that the couple might make if they thought that kids would make them happy; rather, marriage was seen as being intrinsically ordered toward new life, with a hope that each family and all that it stood for would continue into in another generation.When they told me that their marriage had been arranged by their parents, I was stunned.I had spoken to them many times before, and always noticed how much they seemed to enjoy one another's company.I remember the first time I found out that one of my friends had an arranged marriage.

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