Proposal for an Effective Matchmaking Program Patterned from Real-life Romances and Scientific Studies
Purpose of the Study
This program is designed to set standards and guidelines for an effective matchmaking program. This proposal will be using a scientific, step-by-step approach in order to find two single individuals; assess their homologies, incompatibilities and differences that would help the programmer and the single individuals themselves, determine their chance of success in relationships. Although this paper aims to do all of these, the absolute certainty of having a 100% rate of success will not be predicted. People, given their own uniqueness, stature, likings and other related backgrounds, can never be absolutely confined in theories that will always, at all times, be applicable for finding a mate. This program is written only to serve as guide.
Review of Literature
Matchmaking of our Present times and Scientific Studies of Matchmaking
It is no secret that the matchmaking industry had flourished tremendously through the years. One only needs to surf the World Wide Web in order to find thousands of internet sites devoted to matchmaking. Institutions all over the world had been built to cater to this lucrative business. One such institution can be found in New York, USA, called The Matchmaking Institute, which had been conducting matchmaking conferences since 2007 in order to formally train and certify future matchmakers. The vision of this group will now be introduced and disseminated in Asia, as a move to open a new school in Singapore will soon be realized ( Lim, 2008).
The advent of this mode of interaction to find a possible mate had also revolutionized conservative groups, such as the Muslim community. In the United Kingdom, single individuals who would normally have an arranged wedding through their parents’ actions, had now embraced dating agencies such as Islamic Faces, as an avenue to find their mates (Holmes, 2003). In relation to this, a more aggressive behavioural pattern for this religious group was the dawn of Muslim women who make the first move in order to find their men through matchmaking sites. Though it is traditionally a taboo for women to be forward with the opposite sex, there had been reported cases where women pursue the men of their choice without regard for the rigid rules of their religion ( Kader, 2008).
But even before the advent of these matchmaking sites, scholars had long theorized the art and science of matchmaking. According to Ahuvia and Adelman in 1992, matchmaking consists of a three stage level process: first, gathering of information from both of the parties concerned to be matched; two, bringing the two parties together in a single event and three, testing the match to be formed between the concerned parties-if they will be compatible or not ( Ahuvia & Adelman, 1992).
The above framework helped launch matchmaking programs such as the one conducted by the Computing Department at Lancaster University. In their study, the authors used the digital library as a matchmaker in order to bring two people together with similar books or subjects of interest. The information that the library obtained from the range of subjects a person is interested in was used to generate possible mates with similar interests. Once a match was done, both sides were then informed through the digital library program, along with some necessary information about the other person. If both of them agreed to meet, then their compatibility can be determined by them personally (Nichols & Twidale, 1997).
In another study, religion played an important role for the attraction of women to men. In a matchmaking study via the computer, John Touhey showed that women tend to be attracted to the men paired to them if they have the same religious attitude. In contrast with this, men, in this same study, experienced their attraction to the women when they have similar sexual attitudes (Touhey, 1970).
Considering matchmaking as a science, a matchmaker needs to be familiar with the present sociological studies regarding the interaction of men and women in a relationship, even men and men and women and women. These studies can help a matchmaker increase the success of matched parties by avoiding possible rejections from both of the parties concerned. As an example, from the work of Uskul et al., the group which less favoured interracial dating was Chinese Canadians over the European Canadians ( Uskul, 2007). For possible bisexual women clients, the matchmaker may match them with other women as studies showed that lesbianism was more effective in terms of working harmoniously together as a couple compared to men-women couples (Roisman, 2008). In this way, higher rate of success can be predicted using Roisman’s study as a reference. In terms of distance between possible matched pairs, studies showed that long-distance relationships had greater stability than geographically-close dating relationships. For the former, when face-to-face contact became less, this stability led to the end of the relationship. Proximity of the once distant couples paradoxically also led to termination (Stafford and Merolla, 2007). This information can be used as a reference of a matchmaker to predict the outcome of two, compatible individuals who may be from different states.
To avoid deception, a matchmaker should control the initial exchange of information between two parties as less attractive individuals tend to lie about who they are when faced with a more attractive date, according to the study of Baylor University and University of Louisville. Deception can ranged from their income, career skills and even intelligence, in order to attract a more desirable date. In this study, men and women alike were both likely to resort to lying when matched with a perceived more attractive match (Rowatt and Cunningham, 1999).
As references for real-life romance, these four individuals were interviewed to help the program collate more information for a successful matchmaking. These individuals are as follows:
Floribel is a 25 year-old instructor at a community college. She is currently in a relationship with another woman named Jum, who is a journalist. They had been together for almost seven years now. When they were younger, they kept their relationship a secret from their families and friends as lesbianism is not accepted in their Asian culture.
Ilyn is a 38 year-old architect who is currently married to another architect/cartoonist named Jerry. They had been married for 8 years now. They do not intend to have any children in the future.
Grace, 55, raised four children with her husband, Mike. Their eldest child is already at his 30th year. She used to be a jazz singer before they got married. Currently, she loves to travel with her husband whenever he is on trip for his company.
Irene is a registered nurse. Her husband, Onin, was not able to finish high school. They now had a two year-old son after being married for three years.
In order to categorize these individuals as a “perfect-matched couple”, the main subject in the couple was interviewed first. And then another interview was set-up for their assessment as a pair. Due to the sensitivity of the questions to be asked, these four individuals were chosen based on the proximity and previous interaction with the author. Other individuals were also interviewed but were rejected based on the relatively lower score that they had given themselves and their partner. These four, chosen couples had the highest rating among those who were interviewed.
The subjects, in their individual interviews, were asked to scale their satisfaction with their partner physically/aesthetically, emotionally, financially and sexually from 0 to 10, with 0 as the lowest score and 10 as the highest. Compatibility with their partner, in terms of their personalities, was also assessed using the same scale. When they indicated a high score for this, they were asked to write down the specific traits they have and what their partners have that made them say that they were compatible. Aside from asking them to quantitatively assess their partner, they were also instructed to write down the top five most endearing characteristics of the other individual. For their couple interview, they were asked together how they met, the background of their relationship before they became a couple, the road that led to their present state as a pair, the major problems they encountered and how they solved this/these problem/s.
The literature used in this proposal mostly came from a reputable journal- The Journal of Personal and Social Relationships. The said journal contained a varied array of articles tackling the issues of dating, marriage and relationships in various race, gender and context, among other social issues. These articles were all accessed using the World Wide Web. Another peer-reviewed journal was also used as a source of articles and this is the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Summary of the Literature
To summarize what I had given above, primarily, the possible avenues to find a suitable mate would be in places that you can reveal yourself and at the same time, discover who other people really are, and these places can be matchmaking internet sites, matchmaking agencies and even remote places such as the library. Compatibilities can be surprisingly found in strange circumstances, such as in long-distance relationships. Also, the physical aspect of an individual plays an essential role for two people to be together since racial differences can lead or impede a relationship, as certain groups of people tend to choose specific race to date. Religion can also play a major role in the attraction of women to men, as similarities in this aspect can lead to a relationship. As opposed to this, men tend to zero in to a woman’s sexual attitude, and similarities with this can dictate the men’s attraction to the women. Lastly, a longer time of interaction is imperative for couples to know one another, as some people tend to deviate from the facts of who and what they are based on who and what they are dating.
Summary of Interviews
The quantitative assessment of the subjects of their relationship can be seen in Table 1.
Numerically, satisfaction obtained from their respective partners had a high rating, with the highest average at 9.5 (Floribel). The lowest average computed was still relatively in the range of a high score as well (Ilyn). For their compatibility rating in terms of their personalities- Floribel indicated a 10, Ilyn also with 10, Grace with 9 and Irene with 8. A closer look at their compatibility traits revealed a high similarity of their personalities with their partner: Floribel and Jum had their equal love in books and writing, Ilyn and Jerry in their passion for the arts and the bohemian lifestyle, Grace and Mike in their enjoyment in travelling and their children and Irene and Onin with their contentment in a simple and quiet life. Based on the background of their relationship as a couple, they indicated that there were moments that caused rifts in their relationship. And similarly in all of them, separation, may it be in the form of divorce or annulment for those who are married, never came up as a possible solution.
Table 1. Aesthetical, emotional, financial and sexual satisfaction ratings of the four subjects with their current partner.
Category Assessed for Satisfaction Experienced with their Partner
The following factors can be seen to mediate the union of two, possibly compatible individuals. These factors are:1) Race/Ethnicity, 2) Distance/Proximity, 3) Unblemished truth about one’s self or Honesty, 4) Religion, 5) aesthetic attractiveness, 6) emotional state, 7) financial stability, 8) sexual inclinations 9) common traits/characteristics and 10) degree of willingness to stay in the relationship. This list were all proven to be effective in keeping couples attracted to one another, as read and seen from the scientific studies and interviewed subjects.
The Proposed Method in Matchmaking
As an alternative to internet matchmaking, this program aims to have a more personal touch. The matchmakers will not rely on the written data that a client can give, but rather, will obtain this information themselves-through spending time with the client-preferably in their working and living conditions. In this way, whatever data that will be presented to a possible match will come from the notes of the matchmakers. This will lessen the chance of giving out biased facts if the information was obtained from the clients themselves. One can argue that this process is laborious and impractical, as voluminous number of people is in need of a matchmaker. But, this program is not after quantity of successful matched, but in quality instead. Matchmaking will be treated here, not as a business endeavour, but as an important mediator between single individuals to possibly find their lifetime partners or husbands or wives.
One day is recommended for the matchmaker to witness firsthand the vital information related to who and what the current subject is. After spending these critical times with the client, the matchmaker then needs to organize his notes. Analysis of the facts can reveal a lot about a client: their personalities, social status, religious affiliations and beliefs, emotional stability and financial prowess. A table is needed in order to tally these characteristics and this table shall reflect these characteristics. The enumerated characteristics in the checklist above, along with the clients’ names, shall be included. The matchmaker will then determine where the client shall fall on each category, example, for religion: Muslim, Christian, Atheist etc; for characteristics: extrovert, introvert, social outcast etc. and others.
With the increase number of people seen by the matchmaker, he can then identify possible matches. It is suggested that an 80% homology is imperative before a matchmaker considers two people as a matched couple. The matchmaker will then inform the clients of a high homology with another client. They will be then be asked to assess the attractiveness of the other person, through watching a video showcasing the animated selves of the clients. If both of them gave a high score for the other person, at around seven to 10 in the same scaling scheme used as above, then a meeting can now be arranged. During this first meeting, the matchmaker will try to control the variables of the date. For example, the matchmaker must set the activity to be done and the venue to be used. The personalities of the clients must be considered here. If for example, both of them are into sports, a major sporting event can be used as an avenue for the meeting. This can facilitate a friendlier atmosphere that can put the clients at ease with other. If possible and if the clients will allow this, the matchmaker can observe the first date. This is important since a study from Gonzaga et al. showed that when couples are attracted to one another, they tend to do four non-verbal displays of love and these are the Duchenne smile, head nods, forward leans and gesticulation (Gonzaga, 2001). The matchmaker can then independently assess the success of this meeting based on these non-verbal cues. Aside from this, the matchmaker also needs to interview the subjects to determine their ratings on the date. Again, an assessment of seven to 10 is needed for another date to take place. It is also important that the satisfaction of the clients must be two-way. If one of the two is not satisfied with the other subject, then another client must be set up with them.
For the second date, the matchmaker is again in-charge of the details. This time, the main objective is to introduce the concept of needing in the matched couple. In a study by Rubin, he showed that for romantic love to be conceived there must be three components: 1) exclusivity, 2) openness to help the other person and 3) the need to depend on one other. The first one shall come later into the relationship. But for # 2 and #3, this can be made possible by putting the couple in a situation that only one of the two is familiar with. This can help establish the desire for that person to help the other, and the latter to need the former. For example, if one is an expert ice skater and the other one is not, the matchmaker can arrange for the two to go ice skating together. In this scenario, one will be the needing and the other one will be the helping. This time, the matchmaker is not recommended to be with the couple on their date. The couple shall be left alone in order for a more intimate interaction to take place.
Once a matched couple rated another high score for this meeting, the matchmaker can then let the couples take the situation to their own hands, in terms of their dating details. But a follow up of the couple’s development shall be monitored by the matchmaker, preferably a monthly update on the current status of their relationship. Once the couple decided to venture into a relationship with each other, they will be taken out of the matchmaker’s table and labelled as unavailable. The matchmaker will then monitor the progress of the two as long as the matchmaker still has existing contact with one of the couple. In this way, the end result can be determined, such as break up, marriage, divorce etc.
Data from all of the matched couples need to be recorded in order to assess the rate of success of this program. If the data will show that there is a low percentage of lasting relationships and a high percentage of break ups, then the program needs to be revised. But if the opposite is true, then it will show that the program actually worked.
As more and more studies are devoted to social psychology and interaction, it is recommended that the matchmaker be aware of the latest studies related to a more effective dating and matchmaking. With this new information, the program can be amended if it needs to be, in order to accommodate more theories on dating and to make the program more aplicable. The main objective for this program is to introduce a scientific approach to the concept of matchmaking. Not only that, it also aims to foster an intimate relationship between the matchmaker and the clients. In this way, the matchmaker will have a more personal desire to find the best possible match for the subjects, and not treat them only as paying clients.
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