Arranged marriages are something that have easily caused quite a lot of controversy over the past couple hundred years. However, most people who make assumptions about forced marriage do not know all of the arranged marriage facts and information in order to make a good judgment. Here are some informative facts about arranged marriages that you may not be aware of.
What is a Traditional Arranged Marriage?
While traditional arranged marriage has declined significantly over the last decade, it is still a fairly common practice in a lot of Middle Eastern, Asian and African countries. Around 90 percent of all marriages that have taken place in these areas over the years have been forced arrangements, and even though that number has decreased, there are still a very large percentage of marriages that are arranged. There are a few things to keep in mind concerning traditional arranged marriages.
- Historically the term “arranged marriage” has been used to differentiate the relationships where the parents or older family members have a significant role in selecting the companion for their children.
- Typically, the purpose for this stems from wanting to remain religiously pure, as oftentimes it is considered wrong to remain unmarried by certain religious standards.
- In history, sometimes arranged marriages were meant for the purpose of maintaining family stature or staying with a particular caste or class system.
- Usually, if the daughter or son refutes the decision, the parents would likely respect them and find someone else.
- Generally, the motivation for this type of marriage is that the parents know best in matters that come to companionship and they want to make sure their children are going to be happy in a successful marriage.
- Oftentimes, the children will not refuse the suitor that their parents choose because they truly respect the opinion of the parent.
- Parents are usually the main deciding force, but other family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles can also play a role.
Is a Forced Marriage Different?
Arranged marriage in and of itself is a little more of a lax view than the strict opinion that most view arranged marriages with. Forced marriages, on the other hand, are a completely different game. In this circumstance, the son or daughter may be actually forced into marriage with someone despite their opinion. In this circumstance, the son or daughter may be actually forced into marriage with someone despite their opinion.
- This circumstance is a lot stricter and typically lines up more with the Western view of what arranged marriages are.
- This view is rarer nowadays, though it does still exist with some families in more extreme parts of the Eastern world.
- In this case, if a child absolutely refuses to be married by force, a lot of consequences may take place:
- The child will endure punishment of some kind.
- The parents may disown their child and kick them out of the home.
- Sometimes the refusal is blatantly ignored and the marriage takes place anyway despite the opposition
- In rare cases, the child could be killed.
There are Many Factors that Are Considered
There are many different factors that can play a role in how a spouse is decided on. It is not simply a flippant or random choice, but rather there is a lot of thought and intent that goes into the deciding process.
- First and foremost the parents want their children to be happy and will try to choose a spouse that they feel will be compatible to their son or daughter.
- The overall reputation of the spouse’s family can play a role.
- The amount of income or wealth that a family has may also play a part due to the fact that the parents may want their child to be taken care of.
- The vocation and prestige of the spouse may also play a role.
- The appearance of a person will also be taken into consideration with a great emphasis on height, weight and coloring.
- The next thing that will be looked at will be the overall values and morals of the individual. Their religious standpoint as well as whether or not they have a traditional or more liberal opinion about things.
- Interestingly enough, horoscope compatibility was also a factor in various areas depending on the religion.
- The last thing that would be considered is a person’s medical record. Parents were concerned about their lineage and did not want their child procreating with someone who had a hereditary medical condition of any kind.
The Age May Vary
One of the greater controversies lies with forced child marriage. In the case of early marriage this could mean any age under eighteen. Historically, children of any age could be married off to their prospective spouses, and the age difference did not matter at all.
This is much rarer nowadays and is mostly considered a danger to children. Although some places still implement child marriage, it is illegal in most instances. Most arranged marriages take place between people in their twenties now.
There are Modern Arranged Marriages
According to IML, there is such a thing as a more modern approach to arranged marriages. There are quite a few differences in this form and the traditional arranged marriages.
- The main difference comes from the fact that the bride and groom have a lot more of a say in who they marry. They are more likely to be able to choose their mate.
- It is sometimes thought of as a type of dating service.
- Oftentimes the family will choose a handful of candidates for their child and they will be given the opportunity to go on an unsupervised date with them in order to decide who to marry.
- Sometimes they opt for a traditional arranged marriage but implement a courtship as well. In this instance they will have the opportunity to get to know each other via calls or emails before deciding if they are right for one another.
- Some of the most relaxed versions of arranged marriage are not really arranged at all. In this case the parents may simply introduce their children and then leave the relationship up to them and their decision.
The Process of Arranged Marriage
There is a specific process that has to take place in the event of an arranged marriage happening.
- The first step is the parent’s making it known to their children that they are seeking a spouse for them. This begins to spread around their community or home area so that other parents of prospective children will be aware of who is on the market, so to speak.
- Step two is when a person is proposed as potential spouse for the child in question.
- The two families will exchange information at this time outlining their bio and information that is important to making the decision.
- Sometimes a picture is also included.
- If the data is approved as a potential spouse, the boy’s family will make a formal proposal to the girl’s family.
- During the third stage, the families will usually meet without the prospective spouses being present.
- During the final stage, the couple may finally meet. In the case of a modern arranged marriage they can get to know each other and decide whether or not they wish to marry.
The Difference in a Traditional Western Marriage and an Arranged Marriage
There are obviously quite a few differences in the standpoint of traditional Westernized marriages as compared to Eastern arranged marriages. They are essentially different in every way. There are many arguments over which one is better, and which one produces a more lasting marriage.
- In traditional marriage, attraction to your spouse is considered one of the main factors in deciding to marry or not, while in arranged marriages the process is a lot more analytical, basing the decision on the bigger picture of success.
- Arranged marriages typically come from the mindset that young people do not have intelligent enough opinions to make the right decision regarding marriage that will work out, and instead get too caught up in hormonal infatuation.
- In a Western world where individual choice is highly praised, the arranged form of marriage is highly frowned upon.
- In general, one of the differentiating factors is the different culture’s views on the idea of love.
- In general, Westerners believe that being in love is the main thing that will determine if a relationship can work or not.
- However, arranged marriage participants tend to feel that love will grow as the relationship does.
- In an Eastern perspective, love is a fleeting feeling of emotion, and relationships should not be based upon those things, but rather what benefit you both will be getting from the relationship.
Everyone’s Opinion Differs
Throughout every area of the world, there is an argument about the topic of forced marriage. There are many forced marriage stories that have come out over the years that include various tales about the benefits and the hindrances of arranged marriage. Overall, the dividing line is practically equal on either side.
In one woman’s story, Tania Malik’s retelling of her arranged marriage, she reflects about her apprehension at first and then her later change of mind. “We’ve had real challenges balanced with great moments of joy. A sure sign of a decision well made is that I would do it all again. I had gone from no way to yes, from liking to loving.”
On the other hand, there are many women and men who have had negative retellings of their experience. One example of this is the story of 14-year-old bride Manjali Bhagwandas who was greatly abused in her arranged marriage. She says, “Before marriage, everyone is really nice, really sweet. After the marriage, the way you really are is what comes out. I couldn’t run away because it would be an insult to the family.”
The fact is, there are so many different outcomes of arranged marriages, both positive and negative, that it makes it difficult to ascertain which method is the best method. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives or are the negatives not worth risking?
There are many different opinions and outlooks about the topic of arranged marriages worldwide. There are both many benefits and many disadvantages of participating in an arranged or forced marriage, and it is up to the reader to do their own research on arranged marriage articles and conduct their own opinions about the topic. It is a subject that will always raise controversy no matter how long it is discussed, but it is important to remain educated about it.