“In Normal Life, We Would Have Never Gotten Together”. Narratives of Arranged Marriages of Three Generations in the Unification Church
Arranged marriages, together with mass weddings, are not the only remarkable practices of the Unification Church. Arranged marriages can also be viewed as the central point of the Unification Church members’ life histories. These biographies are continuously being created, shared, and retold within the group. Currently, three main generations meet in the Unification Church: the first generation, the second generation, and the neophytes. Members of each generation form their life-stories in a slightly different way. However, as I argue in this article, all of these biographies follow a four-stage structure when speaking about the “matching process”, which leads to the creation of a couple. All three of the generations also incorporate several “more powerful actors” in their narratives, who assist with accepting the chosen life partner and help keep the life trajectory going in the expected and accepted direction. Moreover, humor is always present to relieve any drama in the story. For the analysis, interviews from the Czech, the Slovak, and the American communities of the Unification Church were used, together with the author’s field notes and with Unification Church publications.
biographies; arranged marriage; matching story; narrative structure; Unification Church