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Encyclopedia > Arranged marriage
"Marriage à-la-mode" by William Hogarth: a satire on arranged marriages and prediction of ensuing disaster
"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 persons getting married, curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages are common in the Middle East[citation needed], and South Asia[citation needed]. Other groups that practice this custom include the Unification Movement, and royal families. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 791 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2024 × 1535 pixel, file size: 271 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Arranged marriage User:Rl/Images Marriage... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 791 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2024 × 1535 pixel, file size: 271 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Arranged marriage User:Rl/Images Marriage... Marriage à-la-mode, scene two of six. ... William Hogarth (November 10, 1697 – October 26, 1764) was a major English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited as a pioneer in western sequential art. ... Matrimony redirects here. ... Suitor redirects here. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... Map of South Asia (see note on Kashmir). ... нι уα ρєρѕ нσω я уαѕ ∂σ уα ℓкє мσιpage hpe ta do plz lve ya mssgs nuf ιη α вιzzℓє χχχχχχχχχ ...

Note that the term "arranged marriage" is used even if the parents have no direct involvement in selecting the spouse. The match could be selected by a matchmaking agent, matrimonial site, or trusted third party. In many communities, priests or religious leaders as well as relatives or family friends play a major role in matchmaking. Marriage websites or online matrimonial sites are a variation of the normal dating sites, with a focus on those wanting marriage rather than simply dating. ...


Alternate uses of arranged marriage

The pattern of arranged marriage be employed for other reasons beside the formation of a promising new family unit. In such marriages, typically economic or legal reasons take precedence over the goal of selecting a well-matched couple. Though critics are not always specific, criticism of arranged marriage usually targets abuses such as forced marriage and child marriage. Forced marriage is a term used in the Occident to describe traditional arranged marriages in which one or more of the parties (usually the woman) is married without his/her consent or against his/her will. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

  • In a forced marriage, the parents choose their son's or daughter's future spouse with no input from the son or daughter. This form of arranged marriage is rare in the modern Western world, but not quite as rare in some other parts of the world. Occasionally, even if the son or daughter disapproves of the choice, the marriage takes place regardless, overriding their objections. In some societies, in order to ensure cooperation the parents may threaten the child with punishment, or in rare cases, disinheritance and death. Motivating factors for such a marriage tend to be social or economic, i.e., the interests of the family or community goals served by the marriage are seen as paramount, and the preference of the individual is considered insignificant.
  • In a child marriage, children, or even infants, are married. The married children often live apart with their respective families until well after puberty. Child marriages are typically made for economic or political reasons. In rural India and several other countries, the requirement of providing a dowry for daughters is generally acknowledged to be a contributing factor to female infanticide.
  • In a shotgun wedding, the groom is forced to marry the bride due to unplanned pregnancy (or other reasons). It is given this colloquial name from the traditional method of force used; holding a shotgun to the groom's head until he is married. This can also be classified as a forced marriage. Although it is worth noting that the concept came about before the invention of the shotgun. Laws of Old Testament Israel said that if an unmarried couple engages in extramarital sex the female can force the man to marry her or pay a fine.[1] A reason is never given in the text, but it is likely predicated on the text's specification that the woman was a virgin; no longer being a virgin, it would be difficult for her to find a marriage, and so her sexual partner must marry her to provide for her well-being. Alternatively, it could be based on family honor, i.e. it was shameful for her to have had relations without being married, and it would be all the more shameful if she had a child out of wedlock.

Coercion to marry is commonly considered a violation of fundamental human rights in most Western societies, 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."[2] Forced marriage is a term used in the Occident to describe traditional arranged marriages in which one or more of the parties (usually the woman) is married without his/her consent or against his/her will. ... Occident redirects here. ... Look up Punishment in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, and obligations upon the death of an individual. ... For other uses, see Family (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Community (disambiguation). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A dowry (also known as trousseau) is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. ... Female infanticide, the prevalent form of sex-selective infanticide, is the systematic killing of girls at or soon after birth. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into forced marriage. ... For other uses, see Shotgun (disambiguation). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Note: Judaism...

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.[3]


Abuses aside, it is ordinarily a fundamental tenet of arranged marriage that the union is a choice made voluntarily by the two people involved.[citation needed]. The main variation in procedure between arranged marriages is in the nature and duration of the time from meeting to engagement. “Engaged” redirects here. ...

In an introduction only arranged marriage, the parents may only introduce their son or daughter to a potential spouse. The parents may briefly talk to the parents of the prospective 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/South America, and especially in India. The same pattern also appears in Japan. This type of arranged marriage is very common in Iran under the name of khastegary. It should be noted that 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. Especially women, but also men, fear the stigma and emotional trauma of going through a courtship and then being rejected.[citation needed] North American redirects here. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ...

To contrast, a traditional arranged marriage may be finalized in the first meeting. The parents or matchmaker select the pair, there is no possibility of courtship, and only limited conversation between the prospective partners is permitted (while the parents are present); then the prospective partners are expected to decide whether to proceed with the marriage. The parents may exert considerable pressure to encourage the potential bride or bridegroom to agree to the match. The parents may wish the match to proceed because the son or daughter is beginning to engage in courtship (and the parents disapprove of courtship)[4], the parents believe that they know best what kind of partner will make a happy marriage, the parents seek to fulfill the desire for parental control, or for other reasons.

A more moderate and flexible procedure known as a modern arranged marriage is gaining in popularity. Parents choose several possible candidates or employ a Matrimonials Sites. The parents will then arrange a meeting with the family of the prospective mate, confining their role to responsible facilitators and well-wishers. Less pressure to agree to the match is exerted by the parents in comparison to a traditional arranged marriage. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

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, singles' bars, etc., are 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 preferred 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 a spouse 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 they pass 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]. The practice of arranged marriage with such thoughts is absolutely unacceptable. In such cultures, children are brought up with these cultural assumptions and so do not feel stifled. They experience them as natural boundaries. The stratification of society using caste system and its involvement in marriage is often experienced by most of the Indian parents. A love marriage is a union of two parties based upon affection and a mutual attraction between the individuals subconscious minds. ... Suitor redirects here. ...

Parents in some communities fear social and/or religious stigma if their child is not married by a certain age.[citation needed] Several cultures deem the son or daughter less likely to find a suitable partner if they are past a certain age, and consider it folly to try to marry them off at that stage.[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.[5]

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:

  • 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 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.
  • Appearance: There may be a preference that beauty and weight be comparable. In India the bride is expected to be as fair-skinned as possible[citation needed].
  • 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 or disability who are otherwise marriageable may be 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).
  • Height: Typically the groom should be taller than the bride.
  • Age difference: Typically the groom should be older than the bride.
  • 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 mother tongue.

For other uses, see Reputation (disambiguation). ... A vocation is an occupation, either professional or voluntary, that is seen to those who carry it out as offering more than simply financial reward. ... For the business meaning, see Wealth (economics). ... Variation in the physical appearance of humans is believed by anthropologists to be an important factor in the development of personality and social relations in particular physical attractiveness. ... See drugs, medication, and pharmacology for substances that are used to treat patients. ... A horoscope calculated for January 1, 2000 at 12:01:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time in New York City, New York, USA (Longitude: 074W0023 - Latitude: 40N4251). In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, the astrological aspects, and... The culture of India has been shaped by the long history of India, all the while absorbing customs, traditions and ideas from both immigrants and invaders, yet resiliently preserving the ancient Vedic culture derived from the Indus Valley Civilization. ... This article is about the planet. ... For animals adapted to eat primarily plants, sometimes referred to as vegetarian animals, see Herbivore. ... Crows are omnivores. ... Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social classification, that evolved due to the enormous diversity in India (where all three primary races met, not by forced slavery but by immigration). ... First language (native language, mother tongue, or vernacular) is the language a person learns first. ...


Among most Indian 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. China adopted the caste system at least 100 years ago. 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 Worldwide Web, 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). E.g., most Vaishyas (the business/merchant caste) prohibit marriage within the same gotra, because being of the same lineage the spouses would be though of (almost) as brother and sister. 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), but neither does it prohibit the caste system completely (only caste discrimination is prohibited). Caste Associations are still very much legal (sometimes they call themselves by more acceptable names, like samâj, lit., society). Recently, one of such caste associations fined its member (a state legislator) for permitting his son's inter-caste marriage: A Congress MLA from Chhattisgarh had to pay a fine of Rs 24,000 to the community he belongs to following his son’s inter-caste marriage.[6] Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social classification, that evolved due to the enormous diversity in India (where all three primary races met, not by forced slavery but by immigration). ... A gotra is the lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

On the other hand, many Indian families who consider the caste system as 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. But even among them are some families who, if of the upper castes, will not accept marriage with the so-called low castes (like dalits) Dalit is a demeaning term referred to the so-called outcast people of India in a hindu religion. ...


In few arranged marriages, one potential spouse may reside in a wealthy country and the other in a poorer country. For example, the man may be an American of Indian ancestry and the woman may be an Indian living in India who will move to America after the marriage.[citation needed] Alternately, the man or woman may be a citizen of the United States of America and the other person is in Russia or another country and is willing to move to the USA after the marriage. The arrangement may be accomplished by a business created for such a purpose[citation needed].

Positive points
  • The parents of the bride hope that their daughter enjoys a higher standard of living.
  • Couples and their parents may have more similar cultural and social backgrounds rather than that of their host country's culture.
Negative points
  • Couples may be incompatible due to cultural differences. One spouse may retain traditional values while the other spouse has accepted practices of the host country.[7]
  • The time window available for the entire process is narrow. Prospective brides must be lined up for a series of meetings when the man is able to take leave to travel to his home country. The decision must be finalized and the marriage registered before he leaves so that visa formalities for his wife can be commenced immediately. Sometimes two or three visits (over as many years) are required to sort out all the legal details.
  • The two parties cannot directly meet without traveling to the other country. The upfront cost increases the pressure to make a decision yet less is known about the prospective mate because of the great distance separating the two.
  • Limited choice: In some cases, the parents may mandate that the bride must originate from their son's home country.

See also Mail-order bride For other uses, see Mail order bride (disambiguation). ...

Arguments for and against Arranged Marriage

Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ...


Proponents of arranged marriage believe that individuals can be too easily influenced by the effects of love to make a logical choice.[8]

Reduction or elimination of incompatibilities
Marital incompatibility has been found to be the major reason for divorce[citation needed], some Asian writers (especially in India) suggest that arranged marriages might promote a higher probability of success because they tend to match persons with a compatible, but not necessary identical, profile (refer to the factors considered in matchmaking). The parents or matchmaker may draw from the experience of typically at least 20 years of married life to inform their judgment.
Addresses female anxiety
Studies have found that men are more eager for sex than are women. Women are more likely to set limits on such activity.[9] With the assurance of a socially sanctioned marriage, women are less anxious. The new couple may engage in sexual intimacy within, perhaps, 10 days after the first introduction. Men need less patience and face less frustration.
Low expectations
Neither the man nor the woman knows quite what to expect, and there is a lot of understandable trepidation on both sides. However, this often works out well because things turn out to be better than expected.[citation needed] Because after all, most incompatibilities were eliminated by the matchmaker and due diligence confirmed the suitability of the prospective spouse.
Lower divorce rates
Many proponents of arranged marriages point to the 0% to 7% divorce rate for arranged marriages in contrast with a 55% divorce rate for the United States.[10] Although the numbers differ dramatically, this is an under-researched area and there are many possible explanations for the difference. For example, the divorce rate for love marriages in India is much lower than the divorce rate in the United States although the divorce rate for arranged marriages is even lower.[citation needed] Perhaps the traditional culture of India exerts pressure on couples to stay married, even if the partners selected each other by a process of courtship.

Due diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either the performance of an investigation of a business or person, or the performance of an act with a certain standard of care. ...


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

  • Arranged marriage may prove loveless. Some people dislike the prospect of being married to someone they do not already love. Partners in an arranged marriage are usually less likely to divorce for cultural reasons, so if the marriage does not work well, it can be a trap, particularly for the female partner, who is often disempowered (socially and economically).
  • Individuals are the best arbiters of their own lives. Arranged marriage can be a great denial of individual rights of self-governance. This argument is often rebutted with the substantial asymmetry of knowledge about marriage between the person wishing to get married and the third-party. The parents or matchmaker likely have been married for more than 20 years whereas the person wishing to be married has no experience (at least for a first marriage).
  • In developed countries arranged marriages can be seen as a form of (reverse) colonization. Arranged marriages are often used by people who have not integrated into the host nation as a way to marry and maintain what they see as their culture, even though they may be second or third generation descendants of the original immigrants. This leads to racial tension in the host country.
  • In case of countries like India, arranged marriages almost always encourage the continued existence of the caste system in the society, propagating age old social and economic inequalities.

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.
  • Parents and other relatives who have been involved in the marriage arrangements have an emotional investment in the success of the marriage and form a valuable support group to the couple[citation needed]. If there are problems in the marriage, well-meaning elders may intervene to sort things out. Of course, this is a two-edged sword — outside interference can often make things worse between a couple.


  1. ^ Exodus 22:15-16, Deuteronomy 22:28-29. However Talmud Ketubot 39b and Kiddushin 46a rule that as the father can refuse to allow the marriage, all the more so can she (cf. Rambam (Maimonides) Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Naarah Bethulah 22:15); the "shotgun" here is on the groom but not the bride. It should be realized that this case is entirely distinct from that of adultery, in which a man lies with a married woman (the man's marital status is irrelevant, as polygamy was permitted, but a woman was only allowed one husband; thus, her marital status alone was decisive); Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22 rule death for *both* partners (not only the woman) in a case of relations between a man and a married woman; Deuteronomy 22:23-24 is the same case and ruling except the woman is betrothed (which had the same legal status as full marriage except the woman was not yet allowed relations with her husband); Deuteronomy 22:25-27 rules death for a man (but not the woman) who rapes a betrothed woman.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Lena Edlund and Nils-Petter Lagerlöf (Implications of Marriage Institutions for Redistribution and Growth), Online Article, first version 2002, revised version 2004:November 27
  4. ^ Mother India
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ MLA fined for son’s inter-caste marriage - National News – News – MSN India - News
  7. ^ Namesake
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Clark and Hatfield. (1989). Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Offers. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, Vol. 2, No. 1, 39-55.
  10. ^ Divorce Rate In India : divorce rates in india
  • USA Today article

Commonly used image indicating one artists conception of Maimonidess appearance Maimonides (March 30, 1135 or 1138–December 13, 1204) was a Jewish rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. ...

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Arranged marriage
Shim-pua marriage (Taiwanese: sin-pū-á, sim-pū-á) was a Taiwanese tradition of arranged marriage, where a poor family (burdened by too many children) would sell a young daughter to a richer family for labour, and in exchange, the poorer family would be married into the richer family, through the... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A marriage of convenience (plural marriages of convenience) is a marriage contracted for reasons other than the traditional reasons of love or family. ... The Shidduch (Hebrew: שידוך, pl. ... Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a form of marriage practiced in a few traditional cultures, in countries spanning Central Asia, the Caucasus region, parts of Africa, and among the Hmong in southeast Asia. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This page refers to human matchmakers, for modern matchmaking which tends to substitute information technology or game-like rules for the experts finesse see dating system. ... Marriage in South Korea is similar to that of the western counterparts, but has unique features of its own. ... Marriage in Pakistan is seen as the most standard and stable living form for adults. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Arranged marriage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2775 words)
In this rare form of arranged marriage, if the child refuses the choice, he or she may be disowned or punished (in rare cases, killed).
Motivating factors for such a marriage tend to be social or economic, i.e., the interests of the family or community that are served by the marriage are seen as paramount, and the will of the individual is insignificant.
Arranged marriage proponents dismiss this argument on the basis that it is pure scholarly speculation.
  More results at FactBites »



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