Love Marriages vs. Arranged Marriages
There are two main marriage systems – arranged and love marriages – with arranged marriages being the longest existing, especially those that were orchestrated for financial and social gains. These types of marriages are often equated with opposing societies, like the individualistic/Western and traditional/collectivist/Eastern. Individualistic/Western societies are mainly associated with European countries and the United States, although it also significantly exists and influences other parts of the world, and its understanding is represented in several core ideals and values, which include individualism, happiness, rights, capitalism, science and technology. Traditional/collectivist/Eastern culture, largely associated with human interdependence and focused on the goals of a community rather than the individual, is linked to Asian countries. In individualistic societies of the West, the mate selection process is a self-choice system based on the factor of love, where the decision is solely made by the man and woman involved. In this system, young men and women are expected to date, court, fall in love, and then decide whether to get married, with or without parental consent. It is an act of “self-expression and personal gratification in which the individuals in question are in control” and “both romantic love and companionship are perceived as critical components of marriage” (Zaidi & Shuraydi 495). Many traditional societies, like those in India, are built on the joint or interdependent family system where mate selection is characterized by a marriage arranged through the families of the individuals. “Here, the principles of familial and interdependent social relationships are dominant, especially for females, as they are generally restricted to the boundaries of the home and are prohibited to move independently in the society” (Zaidi & Shuraydi 496). Although fundamentally different in procedures and emphasis on certain marital characteristics, such as love, spirituality, and cultural identity, arranged and love marriages do not differ in overall satisfaction, even when an arranged marriage is conducted in Western culture. Despite the positive outcome of the opposing marriage styles there is still a bias against arranged marriages towards love marriages from a majority of youth, especially women, who come from traditional societies. The different methods in which mates are selected in these two cultures affects the emphasis put on different characteristics of a potential partner. Western culture in the United States emphasizes the importance of self-fulfillment and the pursuit of happiness, which includes the search for ones ideal partner in order to fulfill the dreams of building one’s own family. This idea largely emphasizes the value of love and that the best relationships are based on love. Thus the only way to achieve this goal is to get to know individuals until a potential marriage partner, that shares mutual interests, attraction, and love, is found. Jane Myers’ study in "Marriage Satisfaction And Wellness In India And The United States: A Preliminary Comparison Of Arranged Marriages And Marriages Of Choice" examines which marital characteristics are most important to individuals in the study and found that “individuals in the United States, where marriages of choice are most predominant, place a high priority on love as a precursor to marriage. In India, where marriage partners are chosen by families rather than the individual themselves, love is a less important precursor to marital happiness” (186). Traditional society in India dictates that the elders of the family should choose an individual’s potential spouse in accordance with family values. When a parent or guardian starts the search for potential partners they look for someone that shares social and cultural commonalities because they believe that is what’s best for the family and ultimately for their son or...
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