Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An arranged marriage is a marriage where the marital partners are chosen by others based on considerations other than the pre-existing mutual attraction of the partners.
This habit has been very common in noble families, especially in reigning ones, at the scope of combining and perhaps enforcing the respective strengths of the original families (and kingdoms) of the spouses. A relevant part of history has been influenced by these unions.
The arranged marriage is also the marriage concluded with the help of a middleman, once frequent in less cultivated social classes. In some countries it is the man who chooses his wife, often paying some money for her, to her family.
Arranged marriage was common in many countries until the 19th century (and is still the habit in use in some lands), but an increasing number of young people today refuse arranged marriage.
Arranged marriage is still commonly practiced in the Indian Subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka as of 2003), being the most common way marriage is done there. There, it crosses boundaries of religion, culture and caste, for example, it is practiced by Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, and Muslims, alike. To a lesser extent, it is present in tribal and rural areas in parts of the Middle East. It used to be the norm in urban areas as well, but is vanishing quickly from there. It was also common in South Korea, China, and Japan, but is now rapidly diminishing in these countries.
Some cases are reported of Indian high tech engineers working in the Silicon Valley (U.S.A.), that take some time off from work for a wedding trip back to their homeland to marry an Indian girl by an arrangement. It is said that these unions would work out well because these engineers have a heavy working time and consequently have no time left for dating and courtship. Arranged marriage could then be an easy way to marry in a short time. On the other hand, it had to be noted that, normally, courtship is not generally intended as a mere sequence of actions caused by the need of marrying or that automatically could produce a marriage as an effect. This cases, therefore, essentially put in evidence that mentalities about marriage and personal choices (and considerations) about certain important decisions, can be very different across the cultures and among single men.
Economic principle of arranged marriages
Arranged marriages operate on the notion that marriages are primarily an economic union or a means to have children. It sees relationships as defined on the basis of economic dimensions on which social-sexual relationships would be based and defined.
It has also been said that in some cultures where divorce is forbidden or uncommon, arranged marriage would work out nicely because both husband and wife would accept the marriage producing their best efforts to make it a success instead of breaking up at the slightest conflict. Others do object, however, that in an "ordinary" sentimental marriage there would be no reason not to make the same, or even greater efforts, in the aim of a success that could be much more relevant for the couple (in presence of true sentiments of course).
Socio-Politics of arranged marriage
In a large number of arranged marriages, the male is older than the female. This age disparity is usually intentional; some societies consider it proper for an older man to be united with a younger woman. In an arranged marriage the women always seeks a man who is at least equal if not higher to her in socio-economic status. Rarely does an arranged marriage happen where the male is lower to the woman, either in socio-economic status, caste, class or by height.
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