What are arranged marriages and how common are they?

What are arranged marriages and how common are they?

Arranged marriages involves choosing of the groom and the bride by people other than the couples themselves .The choosing is mostly done by the family members particularly the parents. Historically, the practice of arranged marriages has been prominent in many cultures. In as much as the practice has been declining in many parts of the world, other regions such as South Asia ,India ,Pakistan ,Japan ,China and Israel are still practicing it .The practice was very common before the 18th century and reduced substantially between the 19th and 20th . In this type of marriage, the groom and the bride usually have a right to consent if not it will consider a forced marriage (Bhandary &Asha ,203). Forced marriages are condemned in most parts of the world since they do not have the full consent of both parties. Other than the Arranged marriages, there is also the self –selected marriages and autonomous types of marriages.

Arranged marriages were very common among the migrant families up to the 20th century in the United States .Out of the 50% of all the arranged marriages in the US only 5%-7% end in divorce. However, in the modern America it is very rare to hear of arranged marriages because people have a lot of freedom. Once an individual is 18, he can freely make his own decisions .Therefore if one can legally make their own decisions they can also freely choose their spouses .Modern literature try to illustrate that arranged marriage is out of the American norm (Reddi & Madhari, 207). However, the few cases that exist the prospects are from mutual families. Moreover, the potential groom and the bride are offered a few opportunities for conversation before they decide to get engaged.

Types of arranged marriages

Arranged marriages fall into several categories .These are;

Arranged exogamous marriage –In this type of arranged marriage a third party selects the groom and the bride from a particular economic, social and cultural background.

Arranged exogamous marriage – The third party selects the groom and the irrespective of their social, economic and cultural background.

Consanguineous marriage – In this type of marriage the couples to be are selected based on their blood relationship .They could either have common grandparents or share a near ancestor .It is form of arranged endogamous marriage. An example of consanguineous marriage is the first cousin marriage which is the most common .This type of marriage exceeds 60-80% of arranged marriages in parts of North Africa and central Asia (Bhandary & Asha, 201).

Causes of arranged marriages

The practice of arranged marriages in many cultures have been encouraged by several factors such as poverty, child marriages, late marriages, religion, politics among others


Most traditional communities believed that with increasing number of adults in the family, the burden of that family increases .In most of these cultures women were prohibited from getting employment and when they were allowed, it was difficult for them to get gainful employments. .For these reason daughters were considered the greatest burden and arranging their marriage was considered a necessity in reducing the burden (Khurshid &Ayesha, 18).In the recent years, there has been a rapid drop in arranged marriages due to the rising economies .The rise in economy has seen the single daughters benefit their parents financially from the work they do .This has led to reluctance on the side of the parents to marry off their daughters.

Child Marriages

Marrying off a child does not provide her with an opportunity to make an informed decision about marriage .In most rural areas such as Latin America ,parents may consider marrying off their children due to poverty and lack of options (Koski et.al ,63)) .The parent arrange the marriages with the aim of securing their children financial security and to reinforce social ties .They belief marrying off their daughter reduces the burden on their side and also improve their social status by marrying off their daughter to a good family .Nations with high rates of child marriages ,the marriages are usually arranged by the parents (Khurshid &Ayesha ,12) .Some of these nations are Yemen ,Pakistan and Guinea only to mention a few.

Late marriages

Most cultures belief that late marriages particularly past the age of 30 reduces the number of women for autonomous marriage .For this reason arranged marriages become the only productive option. In the modern Japan women who reach the age of 29 without getting married accounts for about 40% .This is due to the economic prosperity (Bhandary &Asha, 206). The traditional custom of arranged marriage is seen to be re-emerging to assist late marriages .The couples are allowed to meet at moist three times before they decide whether or not they want to be engaged.


Arranged marriages usually occur in city states and kingdoms as a means of establishing political alliances was very common in human history .A king marrying off his son to a neighboring state’s daughter indicated the former’s state superiority (Bhandary &Asha, 198).


In as much as arranged marriages are more of a cultural practice other than a religious practice, some religions such as Islam ,Hinduism and Judaism routinely conduct it .The Hindus believe that marriage is a sacred obligatory duty .The marriages are arranged by the parents of the both the groom and the bride .Among the Muslims ,the consent of both parties is require before the father of a virgin approves of the marriage (Khurshid & Ayesha ,14) .The Chinese follow a strict Buddhist religion that advocates for arranged marriages. However, they do not have specific rules regarding marriage .They believe that marriage is for convenience and not obligation. The marriages have recommendation and approval of the father who selects the spouse for the benefit of his daughter (Khurshid &Ayesha, 13) .In as much as Judaism has been evolving over the years, the orthodox fundamentalists still believe in arranged marriages. They consider marriage as a form of business transaction .The bride’s father believes he is losing a precious commodity and must be compensated for it .The marriage consists of the betrothal and wedding ceremonies.

In as much as arranged marriage was and is still being practiced in parts of the world, it is still being debated among many scholars .The debate it on the basis of whether the, marriages are being used to abuse the immigration system, to violate the rights of women, whether or not they yield stable marriages and the probability of success of such kind of marriages.

To sum up, we can say that the practice of arranged marriages is a thing of the past and is no longer practiced by most nations. The few nations that are still practicing it have reasons behind it that can be attributed to their cultural as well as religious beliefs. However some scholars condemn the practice saying it is against human rights. In America, the practice is totally a thing of the past due to the lots of freedom that people have.


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