Modern Arranged Marriages

The Process of Arranging a Marriage

A 2005 study in Houston gave a snapshot of Muslim arranged marriages. Twenty six couples were interviewed, and all of them said they had never met their spouse before their parents introduced them. However, in line with modern arranged marriage principles, all the couples were able to meet and interact with their spouses before deciding if they wanted to get married. (3)

Stage One

Arranged marriages begin with parents and relatives making it known that they are seeking suitors for their children. This knowledge is circulated throughout their community, at parties and events, until it becomes common knowledge that a family has a girl or a boy who is ready to marry.

An Indian Wedding Party

Stage Two

After someone specific is proposed as a spouse, the next step is to exchange personal and family profiles. This "biodata" contains information such as family names, dates of birth, occupations, educational qualifications, and information about siblings, relatives, and their spouses. "Biodata" is only circulated when the mother- who is the usual matchmaker- really likes someone.

If the "biodata" is approved, pictures are sometimes exchanged, but not always.

If the potential spouse passes the "biodata" test, the boy's family gives a formal proposal to the girl's family.

Stage Three

Now the boy's family will meet the girl's family- usually without the boy present. It is possible that the girl will not meet the boy until the third meeting.

Stage Four

Now the girl and boy can get to know each other- meet face to face, discuss interests- even life goals. If they find that they're not compatible, they can say no. In that respect, modern arranged marriage can be quite liberal. The person to be married has considerable say as to who they eventually marry.(3)

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© 2007 Alexandra R. Zuffoletti