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"Marriage à-la-mode" by William Hogarth: a satire on arranged marriages and prediction of ensuing disaster

Arranged marriage (also called prearranged marriage) is a marriage arranged by someone other than the couple getting wedded, curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world, including Europe. Today, arranged marriage is still practiced in South Asia,[1] and the Middle East to some extent.[2] Other groups that practice this custom include the Unification Church. It should not be confused with the phenomenon of forced marriage. Arranged marriages are usually seen in Indian and African cultures, and are usually decided by the parents or an older family member. The match could be selected by parents, a matchmaking agent, matrimonial site, or a trusted first party. In many communities, priests or religious leaders as well as relatives or family friends play a major role in matchmaking.

Contents

Variations

The main variation in procedure between arranged marriages is in the nature and duration of the time from meeting to engagement.

In an "introduction only" arranged marriage, the parents may only introduce their son or daughter to a potential spouse. From that point on, it is up to the children to manage the relationship and make a choice. There is no set time period. This is still common in the rural parts of North America,[citation needed] South America and especially in India and Pakistan. The same pattern also appears in Japan. This type of arranged marriage is very common in Iran under the name of khastegary. This open-ended process takes considerably more courage on the part of the parents, as well as the prospective spouses, in comparison to a fixed time-limit arranged marriage. Women and men fear the stigma and emotional trauma of going through a courtship and then being rejected.[citation needed]


In some cases, a prospective partner may be selected by the son or daughter instead of by the parents or by a matchmaker. In such cases, the parents will either disapprove of the match and forbid the marriage or, just as likely, approve the match and agree to proceed with the marriage. Such cases are distinct from a love marriage because courtship is curtailed or absent and the parents retain the prerogative to forbid the match.

A culture of arranged marriage

In cultures where dating is not prevalent, arranged marriages perform a similar function—bringing together people who might otherwise not have met. In such cultures, arranged marriage is viewed as the norm and accepted by young adults. Even where courtship practices are becoming fashionable, young adults tend to view arranged marriage as an option they can fall back on if they are unable or unwilling to spend the time and effort necessary to find spouses on their own.[citation needed] In such cases, the parents become welcome partners in a hunt for marital bliss. Further, in several cultures, the last duty of a parent to his or her son or daughter is to see that he or she passes through the marital rites.

In some cultures, arranged marriage is a tradition handed down through many generations. Parents who take their son or daughter's marriage into their own hands have themselves been married by the same process. Many parents, and children likewise, feel pressure from the community to conform, and in certain cultures a love marriage or even courtship is considered a failure on the part of the parents to maintain control over their child.[citation needed]

In these societies, including China, the intragenerational relationship of the family is much more valued than the marital relationship. The whole purpose of the marriage is to have a family.[3]

Factors considered in matchmaking

Although matchmaking primarily on an economic or legal basis is harshly criticized, such considerations are often factors of secondary importance and significantly influence the rank order of a potential spouse.

Some of these factors in some order of priority may be taken into account for the purpose of matchmaking:

  • Reputation of the family
  • Vocation: For a groom, the profession of doctor, accountant, lawyer, engineer, or scientist are traditionally valued as excellent spouse material. More recently, any profession commanding relatively high income is also given preference. Vocation is less important for a bride[citation needed] but it is not uncommon for two people of the same vocation to be matched. Some preferred vocations for a bride include the profession of teacher, doctor, or lawyer.
  • Wealth: Families holding substantial assets may prefer to marry to another wealthy family.
  • Religion: The religious and spiritual beliefs can play a large role in finding a suitable spouse.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions: Two persons with a physical deformity, disease or disability who are otherwise perfectly matched.
  • Horoscope: Numerology and the positions of stars at birth is often used in Indian culture to predict the success of a particular match. This is sometimes expressed as a percentage, for example, a 70% match. Horoscope becomes a determining factor is one of the partners is Mângalik (lit., negatively influenced by Mars).
  • Psychological compatibility (this factor became especially popular in the post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine, see e.g. Socionics)
  • Diet: Vegetarianism or omnivore (often automatically determined by the caste among Hindus)
  • Height: Typically the groom should be taller than the bride.[citation needed]
  • Age: Typically the groom should be older than the bride.[citation needed]
  • Other factors: City of residence, education level, etc.
  • Language: Language also is deemed to be an important criteria. The groom and the bride should have the same First language.

Clan links

Among most Indian and Nepalese Hindus, the hereditary system of caste (Hindi: jâti) is an extremely important factor in arranged marriage. Arranged marriages, and parents, almost always require that the married persons should be of the same caste. Sometimes inter-caste marriage is one of the principal reasons of familial rejection or anger with the marriage. The proof can be seen by the numerous Indian marriage websites on the internet, most of which are by caste. Even within the caste, there is obligation, followed strictly by many communities, to marry (their son/daughter) outside the gotra (sub-caste or clan). It must however be noted that modern India, being a secular democracy, does not prohibit inter-caste or intra-gotra marriage (by the Hindu Marriage Act). Arranged marriages are less common in the Hindu diaspora outside South Asia, although they have undergone a revival in the United Kingdom among Indian immigrants.[4]

Many Indian families who consider the caste system an artificial excuse for social inequity have the opposite preference. They prefer to marry persons of differing caste and tend to avoid matches within the same caste. It is believed that intercaste marriages weaken the caste system and thus reduce social inequality caused by the caste stratification. Such families are also often open to marriages across national borders.

Similar clan-based arranged marriages have been reported in Mexican communities and Amerindians, particularly among the Triqui, including immigrants in the United States[1][2][3] Likewise, Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint (FLDS) groups, not to be confused with the LDS Church (Mormons), in the United States also practice arranged marriages by FLDS religious affiliation[4]

Arranged marriages are fairly common in the Muslim world, particularly Pakistan (the second most populous Muslim country), where rituals like Pait Likkhi involve marriage based on clan affiliations.[5]

Arguments for and against Arranged Marriage

For

Proponents of arranged marriage believe that individuals can be too easily influenced by the effects of love to make a logical choice.[5]

Modernity
Modern arranged marriages, in contrast to classical ones, are not based on proscriptions but on pragmatic considerations. Often, parents can contribute to the offspring's life by utilizing the benefits of experience to choose the right mate for him/her. The common misconception is that the concept of arranged marriages imply traditional male-female duties. Modern western societies have also started practising arranged marriages in a cosmopolitan setting [6][7]
Stability
Arranged marriages are often said to be more stable than love marriages, since matchmaking is done on several dimensions of compatibility, instead of on a whim. Defenders often cite the high divorce rates of love-marriages (50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce[citation needed]) to establish the relative stability of arranged marriages[6]
Other arguments
Proponents of arranged marriage often feel that individuals can be too easily influenced by the effects of love to make a logical choice[5]. In these societies, including China, the intragenerational relationship of the family is much more valued than the marital relationship. The whole purpose of the marriage is to have a family[7]. But even if they do not love each other at first, a greater understanding between the two would develop, aided by their often similar socioeconomic, religious, political, and cultural backgrounds[8]. Proponents may also feel that marriages simply based on romance are doomed to failure due to the partners having unreasonable expectations of each other and with the relationship having little room for improvement[8].
Furthermore, proponents believe that parents can be trusted to make a match that is in the best interests of their children. They hold that parents have much practical experience to draw from and not be misguided by emotions and hormones[8]. Opponents will note that there are times when the choosers select a match that serves their interests or the family's interests and not necessarily to the couple’s pleasure and find this naturally, unacceptable[8]. However, the community and even the children may see this as an acceptable risk with potential benefits.
If potential partners in a marriage enjoy full freedom to veto persons they do not want to marry, and merely rely on their parents and elder relatives to act as trusted, level-headed introducers and advisers who have their best interests at heart, then arranged marriages become little more than a family dating service with some pre-marriage counselling.

Against

Amongst the arguments against arranged marriage, the most prominent are:

  • Arranged marriage is as good or as bad as the people arranging it. A forced mismatch, based on the values important to the arranger may not be as important to the parties involved.[citation needed]
  • Coercion to marry is commonly considered a violation of fundamental human rights in most Western societies. In the United Kingdom, legislation was passed in 2007 to effectively outlaw the practice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is primarily because of its usurpation of a choice that, in most Western thought, belongs solely to the individuals involved; people can "find themselves stuck in marriages with persons decidedly not of their own choosing... whom they may find personally repulsive."[8]
  • A further condemnation of the practice of arranging marriage for economic reasons comes from Edlund and Lagerlöf (2004) who argued that a love marriage is more effective for the promotion of accumulation of wealth and societal growth.[9]

Issues common to both arranged and love marriage

  • Although cultures have built several safeguards against fraud (such as the family's reputation being at stake), there are instances where a key fact is left out during the process of the marriage, only to be learned afterwards. An example might be if one of the spouses has a medical condition that is not disclosed before marriage. Although the marriage may not have occurred had that condition been disclosed prior to marriage, it is very difficult to leave afterwards and there may be no legal recourse.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ Divorce soars in India's middle class, Telegraph, October 1, 2005
  2. ^ Why cousin marriage matters in Iraq, csmonitor.com, December 26, 2006
  3. ^ Reaves, Jo. NEWS: Marriage in China Not So Different than in the West. Asian Pages. St. Paul: May 31, 1994.Vol.4, Iss. 18; pg. 4 http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-2247430.html
  4. ^ Blunkett 'attacking Asian culture' with criticism of arranged marriages, The Independent, February 8, 2002
  5. ^ a b Fox, Greer Litton. Love Match and Arranged Marriage in a Modernizing Nation: Mate Selection in Ankara Turkey. Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 37, No. 1 1975-02 pp. 180-193
  6. ^ What Arranged Marriage Can Teach Us
  7. ^ Reaves, Jo. NEWS: Marriage in China Not So Different than in the West. Asian Pages. St. Paul: May 31, 1994.Vol.4, Iss. 18; pg. 4
  8. ^ a b c d e Xu Xiaohe; Martin King Whyte. Love Matches and Arranged Marriages: A Chinese Replication. Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 52, No. 3. (Aug., 1990), pp. 709-722.
  9. ^ Lena Edlund and Nils-Petter Lagerlöf (Implications of Marriage Institutions for Redistribution and Growth), Online Article, first version 2002, revised version 2004:November 27

External links


" by William Hogarth: a satire on arranged marriages and prediction of ensuing disaster]]

Arranged marriage (also called pre-arranged marriage) is a marriage arranged by someone other than the couple getting wedded, curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world, including Europe. Today, arranged marriage is still practiced in South Asia,[1] and the Middle East and East Asia to some extent.[2] Other groups that practice this custom include the Unification Church. It should not be confused with the practice of forced marriage. Arranged marriages are usually seen in Indian, traditional European and African cultures, especially among royalty, and are usually decided by the parents or an older family member. The match could be selected by parents, a matchmaking agent, matrimonial site, or a trusted third party. In many communities, priests or religious leaders as well as relatives or family friends play a major role in matchmaking.

Contents

Variations

Arranged marriages vary in both nature and duration of time from meeting to engagement.

In an "introduction only" arranged marriage, the parents may only introduce their son or daughter to a potential spouse. From that point on, it is up to the children to manage the relationship and make a choice. There is no set time period. This is still common in the rural parts of North America,[citation needed] South America and especially in India and Pakistan. The same pattern also appears in Japan. This type of arranged marriage is very common in Iran under the name of khastegary. This open-ended process takes considerably more courage on the part of the parents, as well as the prospective spouses, in comparison to a fixed time-limit arranged marriage. Men and women fear the stigma and emotional trauma of going through a courtship and then being rejected.[citation needed]

In some cases, a prospective partner may be selected by the son or daughter instead of by the parents or by a matchmaker. In such cases, the parents will either disapprove of the match and forbid the marriage or approve the match and agree to proceed with the marriage. Such cases are distinct from a love marriage because courtship is curtailed or absent and the parents retain the prerogative to forbid the match.

A culture of arranged marriage

In cultures where dating is not prevalent, arranged marriages perform a similar function—bringing together people who might otherwise not have met. In such cultures, arranged marriage is viewed as the norm and accepted by young adults. Even where courtship practices are becoming fashionable, young adults tend to view arranged marriage as an option they can fall back on if they are unable or unwilling to spend the time and effort necessary to find spouses on their own. In such cases, the parents become welcome partners in a hunt for marital bliss. Further, in several cultures, the last duty of a parent to his or her son or daughter is to see that he or she passes through the marital rites.

In some cultures, arranged marriage is a tradition handed down through many generations. Parents who take their son or daughter's marriage into their own hands have themselves been married by the same process. Many parents, and children likewise, feel pressure from the community to conform, and in certain cultures a love marriage or even courtship is considered a failure on the part of the parents to maintain control over their child.

In these societies, including China, the intragenerational relationship of the family is much more valued than the marital relationship. The whole purpose of the marriage is to have a family. The stability and endurance of the family in the long run are more important than the sexual pleasures involved in marital relationships.[3]

Factors considered in matchmaking

Although matchmaking primarily on an economic or legal basis is harshly criticized, such considerations are often factors of secondary importance and significantly influence the rank order of a potential spouse.

Some of these factors in some order of priority may be taken into account for the purpose of matchmaking:

  • Reputation of the family
  • Vocation: For a groom, the profession of doctor, accountant, lawyer or engineer are traditionally valued as excellent spouse material. More recently, any profession commanding relatively high income is also given preference. Vocation is less important for a bride[citation needed] but it is not uncommon for two people of the same vocation to be matched. Some preferred vocations for a bride include the profession of teacher, doctor, or lawyer.
  • Wealth: Families holding substantial assets may prefer to marry to another wealthy family.
  • Religion: The religious and spiritual beliefs can play a large role in finding a suitable spouse.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Horoscope: Numerology and the positions of stars at birth is often used in Indian culture to predict the success of a particular match. This is sometimes expressed as a percentage, for example, a 70% match. Horoscope becomes a determining factor if one of the partners is Mângalik (lit., negatively influenced by Mars).
  • Psychological compatibility (this factor became especially popular in the post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine, see e.g. Socionics)
  • Diet: Vegetarianism or omnivore
  • Height: Typically the groom should be taller than the bride.[citation needed]
  • Age: Typically the groom should be older than the bride.[citation needed]
  • Other factors: City of residence, education level, etc.
  • Language: Language also is deemed to be an important criteria. The groom and the bride should have the same First language.

Clan links

Among most Indian and Nepalese Hindus, the hereditary system of caste (Hindi: jâti) is an extremely important factor in arranged marriage. Arranged marriages, and parents, almost always require that the married persons should be of the same caste. Sometimes inter-caste marriage is one of the principal reasons of familial rejection or anger with the marriage. The proof can be seen by the numerous Indian marriage websites on the internet, most of which are by caste. Even within the caste, there is obligation, followed strictly by many communities, to marry (their son/daughter) outside the gotra (sub-caste or clan). It must however be noted that modern India, being a secular democracy, does not prohibit inter-caste or intra-gotra marriage (by the Hindu Marriage Act). Arranged marriages are less common in the Hindu diaspora outside South Asia, although they have undergone a revival in the United Kingdom among Indian immigrants.[4]

Many Indian families who consider the caste system an artificial excuse for social inequity have the opposite preference. They prefer to marry persons of differing caste and tend to avoid matches within the same caste. It is believed that intercaste marriages weaken the caste system and thus reduce social inequality caused by the caste stratification. Such families are also often open to marriages across national borders.

Similar clan-based arranged marriages have been reported in Mexican communities and Amerindians, particularly among the Triqui, including immigrants in the United States. [3] [4] [5] Likewise, Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint (FLDS) groups, not to be confused with the LDS Church (Mormons), in the United States also practice arranged marriages by FLDS religious affiliation [6]

Arranged marriages are fairly common in the Muslim world, particularly Pakistan (the second most populous Muslim country), where rituals like Pait Likkhi involve marriage based on clan affiliations. [7]

Arguments for and against Arranged Marriage

For

There are several arguments in favor of arranged marriage. Some of the most popular are;

  • Most modern arranged marriages hinge on consent of the bride and groom-to-be. A common misconception in Western culture is that the bride and groom are forced into marriage with people they have never met or despise. In some cultures arranged marriages have become more arranged meetings, a kind of dating service.
  • Modern arranged marriages, in contrast to classical ones, are not based on proscriptions but on pragmatic considerations. Often, parents can contribute to the offspring's life by utilizing the benefits of experience to choose the right mate for him/her. The common misconception is that the concept of arranged marriages imply traditional male-female duties. Modern western societies have also started practising arranged marriages in a cosmopolitan setting. [5] [6]
  • Courtship stress may be a factor contributing to shortening of lives in American males[7].
  • Statistics place the divorce rate for arranged marriages much lower than those in the United States, where marriages out of love are the rule. [8]
  • Other arguments
Proponents of arranged marriage often feel that individuals can be too easily influenced by the effects of emotional infatuation to make a logical choice.[9] In these societies, including China, the intragenerational relationship of the family is much more valued than the marital relationship. The whole purpose of the marriage is to have a family.[10] But even if they do not love each other at first, a greater understanding between the two would develop, aided by their often similar socioeconomic, religious, political, and cultural backgrounds.[11] Proponents may also feel that marriages simply based on romance are doomed to failure due to the partners having unreasonable expectations of each other and with the relationship having little room for improvement.[11]
Furthermore, proponents believe that parents can be trusted to make a match that is in the best interests of their children. They hold that parents have much practical experience to draw from and not be misguided by emotions and hormones.[11] Opponents will note that there are times when the choosers select a match that serves their interests or the family's interests and not necessarily to the couple’s pleasure and find this naturally, unacceptable.[11] However, the community and even the children may see this as an acceptable risk with potential benefits.

Against

Amongst the arguments against arranged marriage, the most prominent are:

  • Arranged marriage is as good or as bad as the people arranging it. A forced mismatch, based on the values important to the arranger may not be as important to the parties involved.[citation needed]
  • A further condemnation of the practice of arranging marriage for economic reasons comes from Edlund and Lagerlöf (2004) who argued that a love marriage is more effective for the promotion of accumulation of wealth and societal growth.[12]

Issues common to both arranged and love marriage

  • Although cultures have built several safeguards against fraud (such as the family's reputation being at stake), there are instances where a key fact is left out during the process of the marriage, only to be learned afterwards. An example might be if one of the spouses has a medical condition that is not disclosed before marriage. Although the marriage may not have occurred had that condition been disclosed prior to marriage, it is very difficult to leave afterwards and there may be no legal recourse.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ Divorce soars in India's middle class, Telegraph, October 1, 2005
  2. ^ Why cousin marriage matters in Iraq, csmonitor.com, December 26, 2006
  3. ^ Reaves, Jo. NEWS: Marriage in China Not So Different than in the West. Asian Pages. St. Paul: May 31, 1994.Vol.4, Iss. 18; pg. 4 http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-2247430.html
  4. ^ Blunkett 'attacking Asian culture' with criticism of arranged marriages, The Independent, February 8, 2002
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1655931/Michigan.All.Things.Considered/U.of.M.Study.Competing.For.Women.Unhealthy.For.Men]
  8. ^ What Arranged Marriage Can Teach Us
  9. ^ Fox, Greer Litton. Love Match and Arranged Marriage in a Modernizing Nation: Mate Selection in Ankara Turkey. Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 37, No. 1 1975-02 pp. 180–193
  10. ^ Reaves, Jo. NEWS: Marriage in China Not So Different than in the West. Asian Pages. St. Paul: May 31, 1994.Vol.4, Iss. 18; pg. 4
  11. ^ a b c d Xu Xiaohe; Martin King Whyte. Love Matches and Arranged Marriages: A Chinese Replication. Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 52, No. 3. (Aug., 1990), pp. 709–722.
  12. ^ Lena Edlund and Nils-Petter Lagerlöf (Implications of Marriage Institutions for Redistribution and Growth), Online Article, first version 2002, revised version 2004:November 27

External links








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