Online Dating: The New Arranged Marriage?

arranged marriage

When my mother was in her late teens, her Bronx neighborhood was a close-knit community and they wanted to keep it that way. There was a dating custom called “My Cousin, My Friend.”

It’s pretty self-explanatory: I could introduce my best friend to my cousin, and her cousin could introduce his friend to me. It was a convenient way to keep community ties and help family and friends find a good match.

Of course the world of dating has changed so drastically that the practice has gone in the way of the drive-in movie and the sock hop.

In my nostalgic moments, I mourn its loss. But then a thing occurred to me: online dating has developed in so many ways, is it possible to bring it full circle and make it more of an arranged practice?

A tight community has formed through CatholicMatch message boards, polls, and obviously the blog. People could—and do—get to know each other in much the same way my parents did back in the ’50s.

The women in the Pink Room were often making suggestions about which men seemed well-suited to their friends in the forum. Just like our friends introduce us to someone they think is a good fit.

I had a similar experience through the blog. A very nice young man made an incredibly insightful comment on my post. I contacted him to thank him, and we had a short discussion about my article.

I then thought of a very nice young lady that could possibly be well-suited to him. Since I’d come to know her through the message boards, I already had a good idea of what she was looking for as well.

Their correspondence lasted for quite some time, if I recall, but didn’t end up leading to anything. Still, the effort was well worth it and made all involved feel blessed from the kindness and generosity that is often demonstrated among CatholicMatch members. 

I think that as Catholics, in the name of charity and community, we already have a tendency toward connecting people.

Perhaps you noticed someone in the forum, or someone’s comment on a poll or blog post that made you think of another member with whom they might be compatible.

Or maybe you want to put the word out that you’ve accurately described what type of person you’re looking for and would welcome suggestions of potential matches.

It stands to reason that we might not look at the profile of someone the same gender as us, but it’s another way of finding out about one of your online “friends” that you think would be a great catch.

Introducing friends—even online friends—is a great gesture, regardless of the outcome.

If you do get introduced to another member, and it works out, maybe we’ll read about your modern arranged marriage in the member stories!


  1. “The women in the Pink Room were often making suggestions about which men seemed well-suited to their friends in the forum.”

    I assume this sentence is referring to the practice of women on Catholic Match suggesting which men on Catholic Match seem to be well-suited to particular women on Catholic Match.

    This is not a practice which is allowed in the Men’s Forum.

    Please see that it comes to an end in the Women’s Forum as well.

    • The pinkie room is not allowed to talk about specific people. I think what the writer means is that they would meet in the pinkie room and message each other-suggesting so-and-so. I don’t think this is off limits.

  2. Thank you for clarifying this Marita. I misinterpreted that sentence.

    I re-read the thread in the Men’s Forum and as far as I can tell using private messages to discuss another CM member is allowable.

    • The gender-specific rooms are both a blessing and a curse. In the 3+ years I’ve been on-and-off this site I’ve seen many potential relations receive a boost from well-meaning fellow CM’ers both openly as well as privately. However, like anywhere else, there are people who exist who just cannot tolerate any expression of happiness greater than their own, and just as many, if not more potentially good relationships have been hindered and even destroyed due to interference from others. There’s really nothing about the people on this site that is significantly different from the rest of the world save for the fact that this site is targeted (but not exclusive) toward those of us of the Catholic faith. There’s both good and bad everywhere and in everyone. It’d be foolish to believe that an Internet social/dating site, regardless of its Catholic membership, would be any different. Sometimes, it’s just a little more difficult and takes a little longer to recognize than in a real world setting.

      In Christ,


  3. Very good article.

    A number of years ago, my Mom and I were talking, after I was relaying to her about a couple other failed relationships (just dating, not marriage) I had recently experienced. Her comments, “You know, there’s a lot to be said for arranged marriages”! :)

  4. this article just opened my mind that match-making site is not just for myself personally, but can help for my friends or other too. Wow.

  5. Love & Companionship offered…

  6. I have heard that looking for a match is better online than bars. I guess so…especially if you are shy, homebody, don’t drink and don’t like noisy place. You’re on a safe place….

  7. Joseph H. July 17, 2013

    A number of years ago, my Mom and I were talking, after I was relaying to her about a couple other failed relationships (just dating, not marriage) I had recently experienced. Thanks for sharing. Dating Advice for Women

  8. My aunt has tried setting me up a number of times, it never worked out, but I always felt far more comfortable meeting someone who already had the approval of a family member. Even though it never worked out with any of her previous picks, I’d still be totally open to meeting anyone my family or close friends picked for coffee.

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