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Abolition Of Arranged Marriages

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Every person in the world, someway, somehow, wishes to grow old with a person they know would care for them and love for who they are, whatever they may be. At some point in people’s lives, they have to make life changing decisions, and getting married is one of them. Ever since the beginning of time, man, being a social and inter-relational being, has been known to be in need of a companion, an a partner whom they can share their thoughts with. This makes man inevitable to love, and to be loved in return.

In the ancient times, marriages were brought about by capturing a woman, due to their scarcity. Unfortunately for the men, they only had a number of selections. Moreover, arranges marriages were the norm for property, monetary, and/or political alliances. Having these impose a greater advantage to both the male and female’s families. Eventually the population count of the women outnumbered the population count of men and gave way to what we know today as romantic love. It became the primary requirement for marriage. However, some cultural traditions prevailed over this new perspective. China, for example, had the earliest written records of arranged marriages that took place from the Qin (221 BC вЂ" 206 BC) to Qing (1644-19911) dynasties (“Chinese Marriage Custom”, n.d.). This period showcased the importance of getting married more than the importance of truly finding a better half. Chinese marriages in a feudal society were greatly influenced by the parents’ decisions, the class in the society, and birthday match-making which utilized the Chinese zodiacs. India, on the other hand, started the practice of arranged marriages due to the influx of the Caste System which stratifies the rich from the poor. It was not only the easterners who involved themselves in arranged marriages. As a matter of fact, it was during the medieval period in Europe when “the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages” (Powell, n.d.).

Man has developed in many different aspects as time passed by. A social revolution has come вЂ" from a traditional “form” of marriage to a relationship we call love. Love, being a very abstract word can be defined and interpreted in many different ways. Love is experienced by everyone in varying degrees. The love that leads to marriage is a higher form of attachment and intimacy (Dominian, 1993, p.11). Thus, when one accepts marriage, he/she is ready for a lifetime commitment with they person they love, and they know they can be happy with.

Until today, some families practice the tradition of arranged marriages. It has not ended the debate as to whether or not arranged marriages, particularly forced marriages where parents can disown their child if he/she resists the decision of his/her parents, should be imposed on people who are trapped by the bounds of their culture and tradition. Nonetheless, I believe that arranged marriages insult the sanctity and the nature of marriage, and defeats the purpose of freedom of choice of the people involved.

The nature of marriage is about “creating a loving and lasting partnership and family” (Isaac, 2002). A good marriage, according to Jack Dominian, author of “Dynamics of Marriages”, “needs more than beauty and money”. “Attachment brings a couple together, while intimacy, passion, and exclusivity maintain the attachment. Arranged marriages put a lot of pressure on those involved. They have no choice but to be passive of what their parents want them to do. As a matter of fact, many Chinese blooded Filipinos still practice the tradition of arranged marriages, and the tradition of marrying someone who is also of Chinese descent. Many of them follow such tradition in order to keep the wealth in the family, which they believe only the Chinese can handle well by being business oriented. Also, they highly value the preservation of their blood, believing that their bloodline should be kept like royals, according to a Chinese blooded Filipino friend of mine. They fear that customs and beliefs that they have will be broken because of the influence an “outsider” can bring. Above anything else, it’s the status, which makes them seriously consider socio-economic reasons. The same goes for the Indians who also practice arranged marriages. Of course, families of the people from the higher levels of the Caste System, would not allow their children or relatives to tie the knot with someone who belongs to the lower class. It would signify degradation of their clan. If children in forced marriages are not given the choice to marry who they wish to, just how sure are the parents that they can do a better job? Besides, are the parents the ones to live with the partner of their child?

The practice of arranged marriages tends to make or impose further disadvantages for women. Usually, it is the woman who adjusts to the norms and customs of her husband’s family, especially in an oriental family setting. Now how can the woman easily adjust if she hardly knows the person she is going to marry? At least when you’ve built a relationship deep enough with a person over a period of time, and with both parties acknowledging the relationship to be such, both will already be comfortable with each other’s filial practices. If a multi-cultural arranged marriage is tackled, it gives such limited choice for the ones included. Sure, their wife or husband-to-be may be different from what they are accustomed to, but how sure are they that this complete stranger will be suitable to their habits and attitudes? Indians have given in to the influence of technology, to the point of selecting their husbands or wives through the internet! They make use of “Martrimonialal Sites” in order to search for prospective spouses, who mostly are foreigners to take them abroad. Its consequences would be an increased risk and pressure in making a life-long commitment with a person you’ve never personally



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