Mail Order Marriages: Divorce Rates and Relationship Challenges
Mail-order marriages have always been a topic of intrigue and debate. With the rise of international dating platforms, more individuals are finding love across borders. But how many of these relationships stand the test of time? Legal expert Julie M. Hill sheds light on the challenges, realities, and divorce statistics of mail-order marriages.
The Challenges and Realities of Mail Order Marriages
Mail order marriages, often referred to as “mail order brides,” have been a part of international history for centuries. The concept involves individuals (usually women) from one country being “ordered” for marriage by someone in another country, typically through a broker or matchmaking agency. While the term “mail order wife” might sound outdated, the phenomenon still exists today, albeit in a more modern form through online dating and matchmaking websites.
Here are some challenges and realities associated with mail order marriages:
- Exploitation and abuse. One of the most significant concerns with mail-order marriages is the potential for exploitation. Some women are lured into these arrangements with promises of a better life, only to find themselves in abusive situations.
- Cultural and language barriers. Couples in mail-order marriages often come from different cultural backgrounds, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Language barriers can further exacerbate these issues.
- Legal issues. The legal status of mail-order brides varies from one country to another. In some places, it’s illegal to broker such marriages, while in others, it’s a gray area. There are also concerns about immigration fraud and “green card marriages.”
- Economic disparities. Often, mail-order marriages occur between individuals from economically disparate backgrounds. This can lead to power imbalances in the relationship.
- Genuine love vs. convenience. While some mail-order marriages are based on genuine love and affection, others are more transactional. It’s essential to differentiate between couples who genuinely want to be together and those seeking convenience or economic gain.
- Stigma and stereotyping. Mail-order brides often face societal stigma. They are sometimes viewed as desperate, while the men who seek them out are seen as purchasing a wife.
- Online scams. With the rise of the Internet, online scams related to mail-order brides have become more prevalent. Fake profiles, fraudulent agencies, and financial scams are common pitfalls.
- Adjustment period. Moving to a new country and adapting to a different culture can be challenging. Mail-order brides often have to navigate these changes while also building a relationship with their new spouse.
- Children and family dynamics. If the couple decides to have children, they might face challenges related to differing parenting styles and cultural expectations.
- Dependency. In many cases, the mail-order bride becomes financially and emotionally dependent on her husband, especially if she’s moved to a country where she doesn’t speak the language or have a support system.
Mail Order Bride Divorce Statistics
- According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, marriages that resulted from bride sites have a lower mail order bride divorce rate than the general population of the developed world. Specifically, about 80% of these relationships have lasted over the years.
- The same source reports that mail order bride sites unite between 4,000 to 6,000 couples between U.S. men and foreign brides each year.
- The Tahirih Justice Center, using 2007 immigration statistics, estimated that there are between 11,000 to 16,500 mail order brides in the U.S.
- In terms of country-specific data, in Ukraine, every 15th marriage is international. In Shanghai, China, 1,000 marriages between Chinese women and foreigners are registered annually.
- As for online dating, a survey from 2019 indicated that 49% of internet users in the U.S. viewed dating apps as a reliable place for finding a romantic partner.
These numbers suggest that mail-order marriages are not only prevalent but also tend to be more stable compared to other marriages in the developed world.
How Many Mail-Order Marriages End in Divorce?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that marriages that occurred due to mail order bride agencies are less likely to end in divorce compared to the general population of the developed world. What percentage of mail order brides divorce? Specifically, about 80% of these relationships have lasted over the years. This suggests that the mail order divorce rate for mail-order marriages is lower than the average, with approximately 20% of such marriages ending in divorce.
Tips for Building Stronger Relationships in Mail-Order Marriages
Building a strong foundation in mail-order marriages requires a blend of understanding, effort, and mutual respect. Here are five essential tips to fortify such relationships:
- Open communication. In mail-order marriages, partners often come from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds. It’s crucial to maintain transparent and open lines of communication. By discussing feelings, concerns, and aspirations, couples can bridge any gaps and prevent misunderstandings. Active listening, where both partners genuinely try to understand the other’s perspective, can be a game-changer.
- Embrace cultural differences. Instead of viewing cultural differences as challenges, couples should see them as opportunities to learn and grow. By immersing themselves in each other’s traditions and customs, they can develop a deeper appreciation for their partner’s background. This mutual respect can transform potential points of contention into bonding experiences.
- Set clear expectations. Early in the relationship, it’s beneficial to discuss and align on future goals, roles within the marriage, and other essential topics. By setting clear expectations, both partners can ensure they’re working towards a shared vision, reducing potential conflicts down the line.
- Invest in quality time. Spending quality time together helps in forging a deeper bond. Whether it’s exploring shared hobbies, traveling, or simply enjoying quiet moments, these shared experiences can solidify the relationship. For mail-order marriages, where the initial phase might have been long-distance, this becomes even more vital.
- Prioritize trust and honesty. Trust is the bedrock of any lasting relationship. Given the unique nature of mail-order marriages, building and maintaining trust is paramount. Regular check-ins, being transparent in dealings, and consistently being honest in conversations can nurture this trust, ensuring a stable and fulfilling relationship.
Mail-order marriages, like any other relationship, come with their set of challenges. However, with understanding, effort, and communication, couples can build a strong foundation. For those considering this path, it’s essential to be aware of the realities and be prepared to work through the challenges.
Are mail-order marriages legal?
Yes, they are legal. However, it’s crucial to understand the legalities of the country you’re marrying in. For more insights, check out articles by Julie M. Hill and delve into the mail order bride statistics.
How can I ensure a successful mail order marriage?
Building trust, understanding cultural differences, and seeking counseling when needed can help.
Are there reliable platforms for finding mail-order brides?
Yes, there are many legitimate platforms.