Sun Myung Moon is famous for his arranged marriages between followers who often come from opposite sides of the world, didn't speak the same language, and met only hours before their wedding which took place "en masse" with thousands of other couples. Actually, it's no wonder he's a controversial figure!
So what is the deal here? Are these real marriages that develop into happy families? What happens to these couples after their great wedding day? And why do they agree to it at all?
Well, as outlined above, one of the core teachings of Sun Myung Moon is the establishment of ideal families of true love centered on God. His followers believe that God has prepared ideal partners, their "soul mates," for each of them, and that Sun Myung Moon had the ability to recognize these partners. Therefore, many asked him to "match" them. Since the followers number in the hundreds of thousands, and are spread throughout the world, many were not surprised to find that their ideal spouse came from another country, nor were they surprised to be married in one mass ceremony with all the other couples matched at that time. The ceremony itself is actually considered a "blessing" on the marriage, although if the correct forms are completed it can also be a legal wedding. Thus, these blessing ceremonies have not been limited to couples arranged in this way but also to already married couples who wish to rededicate their marriage and renew their vows.
Why have so many accepted these arranged marriages? Well, looking at the divorce rate among those who choose their own spouses gives a good enough reason. In this time of so many failed marriages people are quite unsure about finding their own spouse, many turning to online dating websites in hopes of finding their perfect match. In my youth it was bars and dance floors where we met our potential mates! Maybe prayer and faith that God can work through a religious figure is not such a bad idea after all!
And what about the children of these arranged marriages? Well, there are quite a lot of children by now. Many have also had their marriages arranged in similar fashion. But more commonly in recent times the parents have been doing the arranging, seeking children of other families and suggesting matches to their children. And these couples also attend large ceremonies of many couples of their peers to receive blessings on their marriages.
So, yes, a bit unorthodox maybe! But the trend is toward something that actually makes good sense. Parents working together, praying and asking God to guide them to find the best partners for their children. In an ideal world, who would be best prepared to find a good spouse - I reckon God first and our parents second!