An arranged marriage is one in which the parents or family choose the spouse of their child or relative.
What is Arranged Marriage?
In many cultures throughout the world, marriage is not just about romance. It is the coming together of two families and, because people getting married are often young and inexperienced, some cultures believe that the choice of a child’s spouse is best made by his or her parents. Parents might choose a spouse who they believe will raise their child’s standard of living, who will get along well with the family, who matches their child’s interests, or who meets a variety of other criteria.
Sometimes these marriages are arranged when prospective spouses are children. They might be married as children but only expected to live as husband and wife when they reach maturity. Or the parents may simply create an agreement for the arranged marriage and plan on having the couple married when they become adults.
Criticism of Arranged Marriages
Arranged marriage has been criticized heavily in the west for its interference in personal autonomy and the undermining of a person’s ability to choose to marry for love. Many members of cultures that practice arranged marriage have often been critical of the tradition. Arranged marriage can be especially problematic for women, who might be forced to marry abusive or unkind men simply because the men meet certain cultural or financial standards.
However, many people living in cultures that have arranged marriage argue that arranged marriage enables happy marriages, emphasizing that the important choice of a spouse should not be left up to the individual person alone. It should be noted that there is a distinction between arranged marriage and forced marriage; oftentimes children have some degree of say in who their parents choose for them, and some cultures that have arranged marriages do not force children to marry the spouses picked by their parents. In other cases, however, the decision is final and there have been some well-publicized cases of women involved in arranged marriages escaping to marry someone for love instead.
Last updated: 01-7-2013