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Arranged Marriages In Kansas City

Alex Smith

Spring is in full bloom in Kansas City, and that means it's wedding season. For most couples in the US, the story is pretty similar: two people meet and start dating, they get more serious and become a couple, and after a year or a few years, they get engaged.

In many cultures - Asian, African, and traditional European - marriages are typically arranged by parents. As Kansas City has become increasingly diverse, we've become home to many couples in arranged marriages, and some of them are even arranged here.

Ashish and Vandana Yadav, who were both born in India, were married in Kansas City about ten years ago. They were part of a new generation of marriage seekers who used matrimonial websites, but their search also involved time-honored traditions, like the use of matchmakers.

Western psychologists are just beginning to understand arranged marriage, and they've been just a handful of studies on how and why they seem to work so well for many couples. Kansas City marriage counseler Dr. Richard Zeitner believes partners in arranged marriages focus more energy on their partner, rather than themselves.

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KCCurrents podcast.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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