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  • ADAM: I can't believe this is actually happening.

  • I'm about to have an arranged marriage.

  • [THEME MUSIC PLAYING]

  • NARRATOR: The School of Life is sending some of YouTube's most popular creators

  • on a series of field trips,

  • to explore philosophy's most intriguing ideas.

  • This time...

  • Just got home From Lebanon... ♪

  • NARRATOR: ...Adam Saleh, the 25-year-old New Yorker,

  • best known for his hip-hop flavored music videos and mischievous pranks...

  • -[MAN SCREAMS] -I've never heard him scream like that in my life.

  • NARRATOR: ...is going to ask his family to find a partner

  • they think he should spend the rest of his life with.

  • With around half of marriages ending in divorce,

  • you may as well base your choice of life partner on the flip of a coin.

  • So, when it comes to choosing who to marry,

  • is it time to replace love with logic?

  • -[SIREN WAILING] -New York City, where the girls are looking pretty.

  • -GIRL: Hey! -Hey! [CHUCKLES]

  • ADAM: I'm 25 years old

  • and I know nothing about marriage.

  • In fact, it scares me.

  • But everyone around me wants me to get married.

  • What am I gonna do?

  • [CRICKETS CHIRPING]

  • Here's a 60-second guide

  • from someone who knows way more about it than I do. [SNAPS FINGERS]

  • NARRATOR: A 60-second guide to marriage.

  • We think of marriage as something two people do

  • when they've finally found the right person and fallen in love.

  • But this is based on a very modern delusion.

  • For most of history,

  • the idea that marriage and love had anything to do with each other

  • would have been laughed at.

  • Marriage was a transaction

  • designed to be beneficial for children, land and power.

  • Love was for drama, excitement and sex.

  • But in the 1800s,

  • poems and best-selling books began to promote a radical new idea,

  • rebranding marriage as something that starry-eyed couples

  • should only do for love.

  • Even though, as a foundation for marriage,

  • love hasn't been very successful.

  • It might even prompt us to wonder

  • if expecting marriage to provide sex and love,

  • as well as happiness and material security,

  • is expecting too much.

  • -[NEIGHS] -And to ask

  • if acting on impulse while blinded by love

  • really is the cleverest way

  • of choosing the person we will be with forever.

  • Could it be that the future of marriage

  • might be found by looking by looking at a model

  • which has actually been very successful

  • throughout most of our history?

  • ADAM: I'm from Yemen, so me being 25 and not married

  • is a big deal.

  • I'm stuck with my dad and my mom

  • pressuring me every single day

  • because literally everyone in my family is married,

  • my sisters, my older brother, my younger brother.

  • For me, marriage is about, you know, romantic love,

  • finding the right one that you wanna be with everyday.

  • But for my parents, marriage is about, you know,

  • "Oh, you're a big boy now." You know, "You're married.

  • "That's how it should be."

  • NARRATOR: Adam is part of the dating app generation.

  • In a street, in a lounge,

  • people use apps to even, you know, approach girls, men.

  • NARRATOR: But he's sick of swiping.

  • No more Tinder, no more SingleMuslim.com,

  • no more... Instagram, no more Twitter.

  • NARRATOR: There are 2,500 dating sites in the US alone.

  • With all that choice on offer,

  • can Adam really say goodbye to a life of short-lived fun

  • and focus on finding someone he might be compatible with

  • for the long-term?

  • [POPS]

  • [BUZZER SOUNDS]

  • [POPS]

  • [BUZZER SOUNDS]

  • [POPS]

  • [BUZZER SOUNDS]

  • [POPS]

  • [BUZZER SOUNDS]

  • [POPS]

  • [BUZZER SOUNDS]

  • NARRATOR: Adam's dad and brother have decided that the only way to go

  • is an arranged marriage.

  • IBRAHIM: It's time for you to get married.

  • Our parents, they find a wife for you

  • in an arranged marriage. It's good.

  • You know how people these days,

  • they use those app things, the app.

  • Like, they see something they don't like, they swipe up.

  • It's not respectful for women.

  • People say love at first sight.

  • Sometimes, it doesn't last long.

  • One month, one year, they get over it.

  • But, if you let your parent find a woman for you, it's better.

  • It's like, two people meet, they don't know each other, okay?

  • You build your relationship.

  • That's how love is.

  • What if I see her, and I don't like her?

  • Like, right away, I don't like her.

  • Looks don't matter.

  • The heart that matter.

  • Good, kind, sweet.

  • [SPEAKING]

  • ADAM: How many kids do you want me to get?

  • [SPEAKING]

  • Okay, I like that. [CHUCKLES]

  • You want Dad to see your kids, right?

  • [SPEAKING]

  • My marriage was arranged. You see me happy?

  • -ADAM: I see you happy. I do see you happy. -Okay.

  • I love my wife, my kids, I'm... I'm happy.

  • And I want you to be happy.

  • Um, sometimes, I think maybe you got lucky.

  • -I know, I... -ADAM: The only reason I'm gonna do this

  • is because I've seen it.

  • You know, I've seen Tinder be a big mess,

  • but I've seen your marriages,

  • even my dad and you, you know, be successful.

  • It came out good for me,

  • it came out good for Yusuf.

  • -It's gonna be perfect for you. -All right, I guess I'm taking my phone out,

  • I'm gonna delete all the apps,

  • I'm gonna delete everything I got.

  • Since you're telling me from experience,

  • then I'm ready. I'm ready to, you know, to do this.

  • [HIP-HOP INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Hey

  • Hey

  • NARRATOR: Adam has decided to go ahead with an arranged marriage.

  • His family have asked around, interviewed the candidates,

  • and finally settled on a very special person,

  • who they think would be ideal for him.

  • Today, he's meeting her for the very first time.

  • I'm really nervous.

  • Few months ago, I would have never expected

  • something like this to happen,

  • and now, I'm here. I'm waiting for my date.

  • I just hope it goes well.

  • It's really weird not seeing the person before.

  • -[DOOR CHIMES OPEN] -WOMAN: Hi.

  • [WEDDING MARCH PLAYING]

  • -Hi, I'm Noor. Nice to meet you. -Adam.

  • Nice to meet you. You want a coffee or something?

  • -Black coffee, no sugar, no cream. -No sugar.

  • Oh, that's good, that's good.

  • I was just really nervous.

  • It's my first time meeting you, so I didn't know what to expect.

  • -What's your nationality? -Palestinian.

  • -Oh, Palestinian, that's dope. -Yeah.

  • -That's sick. -What about you?

  • -I'm from Yemen, yeah. -Yemen, okay.

  • -[BOTH SPEAKING ARABIC] -[BOTH CHUCKLING]

  • -[IN ENGLISH] So, do you know Arabic or no? -[IN ENGLISH] Yeah.

  • -You do? -What about you?

  • [BOTH SPEAKING ARABIC]

  • [ADAM SPEAKING ARABIC]

  • [IN ENGLISH] Nice. That's good. I like that. [CHUCKLES]

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?

  • Three older sisters and two brothers.

  • -Nice, big family. -You?

  • Uh, just a younger brother.

  • -Just a younger brother? -Yeah.

  • That's good. Stress-free.

  • It's better for me, I think.

  • I being the only child, it's better. [LAUGHS]

  • I know, yeah. I feel you.

  • 'Cause having a big family is... People, like, love it,

  • -but it's too much. -It's a lot of drama.

  • -Like, when I go back home, oh, my God. -Yeah.

  • Yeah, it's like Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

  • -Even worse. -[BOTH LAUGH]

  • Can't believe our moms, like, knew each other.

  • I know, right? Yeah.

  • I mean, my mom, my dad and my brother were saying how, like, you're the right one.

  • And you're perfect for me.

  • Yeah?

  • You're very... You're not shy.

  • I was worried if you were gonna be shy.

  • Oh, no, I'm definitely not shy, so...

  • -That's good, that's good. -[BOTH CHUCKLE]

  • My friends think this is, like, so weird that we're doing this.

  • Yeah, they'd be, like, "What the hell?"

  • That you don't know each other and you just got married.

  • Like, it's backwards, you know?

  • The good thing about us is, like, we have the family connection...

  • -Yeah. -...so we know we have the compatibility.

  • -Yeah. -And it's not only based off, like, looks...

  • The looks don't matter. The heart that matter.

  • It's not a decision based off emotion, it's based off logic.

  • Yes.

  • Is it weird that I'm thinking about, like, you know, our whole future right now?

  • Us growing old together.

  • Is it weird or... [CHUCKLES]

  • I mean...

  • It's different, but I mean, it's... it's good.

  • -Yeah? [CHUCKLES] -Yeah.

  • After meeting you, I think we could be a good match.

  • ADAM: To be honest, if there wasn't no connection,

  • if there wasn't no, you know, spark,

  • I would have been feeling it.

  • But everything has been going on really, really well.

  • Like, better than what I expected.

  • I'm still kinda nervous.

  • But I'm ready to see what happens next.

  • NARRATOR: Couples in arranged marriages

  • tend to report higher levels of satisfaction

  • than those in relationships founded on desire alone.

  • It seems surprising,

  • but why wouldn't reason provide a more solid basis

  • for a relationship than emotion?

  • After much discussion and preparation

  • and further meetings between Adam and Noor,

  • the ultimate decision has been taken.

  • Both families are happy to go ahead.

  • I don't know how you did this at the age of 18, man.

  • I'm 25 and I'm freaking out.

  • If I did it, you can do it.

  • Just be yourself, be happy, be calm, relax.

  • -All right. -Everything will be okay.

  • [SPEAKING ARABIC]

  • [IN ENGLISH] In the name of Prophet Muhammad,

  • do you give Adam permission to marry your daughter?

  • I give permission.

  • [ALL SPEAKING ARABIC]

  • [INDISTINCT CHATTER]

  • ADAM: [IN ENGLISH] Stop, stop, stop, stop

  • Chill, chill.

  • This is... This is just weird.

  • I need to get out of this situation, man.

  • This is getting way too serious.

  • Guys, I have a confession to make.

  • This is not actually a real arranged marriage.

  • This is something that I did to see what goes on.

  • And the reason for that is because I wanna take a deeper look.

  • When I was at the ice-cream place with my "wife",

  • it was a crazy experience because it all felt so real.

  • This is something serious for me

  • because I do wanna get married soon.

  • I just wanted to experience what my brothers, you know, went through.

  • I am 25, and I will be married soon.

  • I've always been blind to this arranged marriage, you know, stuff.

  • Anytime my mom, my dad will talk about it with me,

  • I would literally ignore it.

  • But now, after this whole journey that I had,

  • I will consider maybe having an arranged marriage.

  • It's more about trust,

  • it's more about long-term, you know?

  • Not just having someone temporary.

  • This is about being with someone forever,

  • and that's an amazing once you're ready.

  • NARRATOR: Modern marriage is based on a huge assumption,

  • that it makes sense to base our actions on our feelings.