In this study, I studied the topic of arranged marriages. Some of the areas that I covered were the history of arranged marriages, the future of them, what is in involved in the process as well as how people feel about them in today’s society. I followed 3 methods of research. The first was reading through books and journals as well as searching on the Internet for other people’s theories and background information on this topic. The second method was conducting a survey that led me to see how normal people in today’s society felt towards arranged marriages. And the last method was interviewing a couple who had married back 25 years ago in the form of an arranged marriage and we discussed how they felt about it and whether or not they would impose that upon their children.
In today’s society, arranged marriages amongst South Asians is not as common as it once was. In this literature, we will explore the different aspects or arranged marriages mainly in the South Asian culture but also in other cultures as well. This review also makes reference to the other cultures that participate in this custom, as well as how society has portrayed it then and now.
As far as India is concerned, arranged marriages have been taking place since the beginning of time. It was very simple. The man needed a wife, the young woman a husband. Interested friends and relatives created opportunities for them to meet (MacMillan, 1988). Back even before the 1800’s, it was highly unlikely that the women be aloud to meet or even speak to who had been chosen for her. When one’s parents felt that it was time for their child to be married, they would spread the word around their village. Suitable matches would be found. By suitable, one means of the same cast, wealth and social standing. This is extremely important because the arranged marriage tends to be a union of two families of strong moral and cultural values it provides checks and balances against areas that may splinter it, such as infidelity (Mathur, 2001)
In every village, there is at least one female whose profession is to do the introducing and her whole career is finding mates for single males and females. When she has found someone meeting the requirements of each parent, she will introduce the parents and they will get to know each other and within a few days, after doing full blown background checks, will make their final decision. Keep in mind that the children, who are to be married, have no say in this and will respect their parent’s whishes and do as the parents see fit.
However, this process has changed in our modern day, more westernized society. The children now have a bit more leniency. They almost always are aloud to meet the person that has been selected for them at least once. And some parents even allow them to have a say in whether or not they will marry them. Also, some parents may even give the children enough leniencies to date them for a while and make their final decision without their parents even have nothing but their own opinion attached to it.
The South Asian culture isn’t the only culture that has adopted the custom of arranged marriages. Another famous culture that partakes in this custom is the Japanese. The modern system of arranged marriages is somewhat similar to blind dating in the United States. When a young woman reaches a marriageable age (now about 25 for a Japanese woman), she and her parents compile a packet of information about her, including a photograph of her in kimono and descriptions of her family background, education, hobbies, accomplishments, and interests. Her parents then inquire among their friends and acquaintances to see if anyone knows a man who would be a suitable husband for her. The person who does becomes the go-between, showing the packet to the potential bridegroom and, if both parties are interested, arranged a meeting between them (Video Letter from Japan: My Family, 1988).
Society Then And Now
As mentioned before, arranged marriages were and still are a big part of the Asian culture. The people who were brought up in that society try to impress it upon their children to keep the custom/tradition going. However, many people who are ready to be married are forced into these situations against their own will. Mainly the children that will disagree with these customs are ones that have been more influenced by the more westernized countries. However, children in India seem to have adapted to these customs and many do not argue with their parents, but happily accept who has been chosen for them. They feel that their parents know best, “that is why I must have my parents choose a boy for me. My marriage is too important to be arranged by such an inexperienced person as myself.”
Although many people remain skeptical to these customs, it has an extremely high success rate. There are many couple’s that didn’t meet until the day of the wedding and have had a very loving and fulfilling marriage for ever 25 years. Many of the religions that are associated with cultures believe that God brings these 2 people together therefore the marriage can not and will not fail.
Baker, M., Dryden, J. (1989,1993). Families In Canadian Society. Toronto Montreal New York Auckland Bogota Caracus Lisbon London Madrid Mexico Milan New Delhi Paris San Juan Singapore Sydney Tokyo. McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
Macmillan, M. (1988). Woman of the Raj. German Democrattic Republic. Thames and Hudson.
Mathur, I. (2001). First comes marriage, Then Comess Love. The Trinidad Guardian. Video Letter from Japan: My Family, 1988, p. 36-37.