Traditional Arranged Marriages
Most people- at least if they're from a Western country, think of arranged marriage as something the parents have arbitrarily decided on, with no thought as to what the child really wants. It is as if love is too frivolous a thing to base a lifelong commitment on.
In some respects, this view of arranged marriage is true. But even the most traditional arranged marriages are not usually so cut-throat.
The actual definition of an arranged marriage is a marriage that is established before a lengthy relationship.(1) So in a sense, it is the opposite to a love marriage, where marriage would be considered the final step to solidating the relationship.
The extent to which the parents are involved in the process can vary.
In a traditional marriage (not forced), the parents choose their son or daughter's future spouse with only a little input from the soon to be newly-weds. If either the son or daughter refuse the choice, the parents tend to respect their wishes, and will find someone else.The main motivation factor in such marriages is the happiness of the son or daughter, but the standpoint is that "Parents know best." That said, the parents will often exert considerable pressure on their child to marry the person they have chosen, because they do strongly believe that they know best. (1)
A forced marriage is a different matter.
In a forced marriage , the parents do not allow the future newly-weds to have any say in their choice of spouse. This form of arranged marriage is rare, but in some parts of the world, such as the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Asia, it does exist. If he or she refuses to marry their chosen person, they will be punished, or sometimes, even killed. In most cases, their objection is simply ignored, and the marriage takes place anyway. (1)
Factors in an arranged marriage
In Western societies, physical attraction usually plays a large part in who we initially decide to go out with. But arranged marriages- which are in part based on the assumption that young people will just seek pleasure instead of looking at the big picture, are much more analytical.
The major factors that must be taken into account are:
- Reputation- of the family.
- Vocation- the more prestigious, the better.
- Appearance- height and color are the main traits to consider.
- Values- traditional/ liberal.
- Caste/ Religion.
- Horoscope- must be compatible (this was traditionally true).
- Medical- Hereditary disease is becoming an increasingly important factor. (1)