Thursday, March 17, 2011
First Comes Marriage, Then Love?
An arranged marriage is the union of a man and a woman which is brought about by someone other than the bride and groom. Historically, it was the primary way in which future spouses were introduced, and arranged marriages still are a fairly common practice in certain parts of the world today. I’ve learned all about the history of arranged marriage; how they have evolved over time, and the advantages and disadvantages to marrying someone you hardly know. In modern America, it is a given that “first comes love, then comes marriage”, but this has not always been the case throughout history. The idea that marriage is based entirely on love is a fairly new concept, and even in western society, there are men and women who meet their spouses through either a matchmaker or an interested family member. An important fact to note is that an arranged marriage is not the same as a forced marriage, nor is it necessarily an involuntary union foisted upon unwilling participants by their families.
Different periods of time and different cultures have very different histories when it comes to women. In the Middle East, in theory, arranged marriages were preferred over love
r marriages, which is the predominate system. Throughout history, and even today in the Middle East, families arranged marriages for couples because they believed that their daughter or son is not fit to decide because he or she would not know best. The people involved did not and do not have much to say about the decision. Most couples did not marry because they were in love but because economic situations. Some marriages were by proxy, some involved a dowry (bride's family giving money or presents to the groom or his family), some required a bride price (the groom or his family giving money or a present to the bride's family), few had any sort of courtship or dating, but most had traditions. One of the traditions known throughout history and in the Middle East is the engagement ring and the shape of the ring symbolizes eternity or a union that is to last forever. The notion of marriage as a sacrament and not just a contract can be traced St. Paul who compared the relationship of a husband and wife to that of Christ and his church. Many people hold the view that regardless of how people enter into matrimony, marriage is a bond between two people that involves responsibility and legalities, as well as commitment and challenge. That concept of marriage hasn't changed through the ages.
In the Middle East, the whole concept of arranged marriage was seen as normal and two people can learn to love one another, rather than fall in love first. A lot of people could see something wrong with this tradition but because the Middle East was very strict when it comes to their sons or daughter, so as a result, Middle Eastern culture claims that the elders of the family have the final say over the marriage for they have seen the world and know that a successful marriage is not just a uniting of two people, but of two families.
Personally, in my opinion this is just oppressing not just the female but also male because they are not being allowed to choose someone to spend the rest of their life with. Knowing someone choose them for you and not knowing if you will end up loving them is a scary matter. I could never image doing that to my children because I want them to learn to make their own decisions and mistakes at the same time. Even when it comes to my parents they know to never put pressure on me to get married to someone I hardly know or if it’s arranged. They do not believe that marriage should be that way because it is important to remember in the long run that it is not their marriage but mine.