Overview on Arranged Marriages

An arranged marriage describes a situation in which the parents of two people, of typically similar cultural background, are predetermined to be married by their parents or a third party. Arranged marriages are a part of a number of different cultures, both old and new. They present a very logical approach to the institute of marriage and are influenced by both cultural and economic factors. While some societies consider the idea of parents strategically selecting the life partner of their children, other cultures have continued this tradition even today. Typically recognized in eastern cultures, arranged marriages provide a number of benefits to both parties, although statistics have also shown an elevated risk of abuse and violence in situations of arranged marriages.

Arranged Marriages: Learn about the basic concepts behind arranged marriages.

Background Information About Arranged Marriages: PBS presents information about arranged marriages with additional resources.

Forced Marriage Report: An in depth report on arranged marriage, including cultural resources and how a marriage might be arranged.

Arranged Marriages in Countries and Cultures

The tradition of arranged marriage is most commonly found in eastern-based cultures, including Indian, Japanese, and Chinese cultures. However, it was at one time equally popular in western culture. In the Elizabethan era, it was not uncommon for parents in high society to arrange marriages among their children to ensure that they maintained the economic status and bloodlines that they greatly valued. Parents of the bride would commonly offer their daughter to the son of a family of equal economic status. These practices are still carried out today and often viewed as a business transaction, in which the bride is sometimes unaware of what has already been planned for her.

Arranged Marriages In Indian Culture: Detailed information about the tradition of arranged marriages in the Indian and Muslim cultures.

Caste, Dowry, & Arranged Marriages in Tamil Society: Old traditions are alive and well in modern Tamil society. Learn how traditional concepts have maintained their presence in the modern world.

Marriage in the Arab World: A detailed report about the concept of marriage and how it is perceived in the Arab culture.


The factors of arranging a marriage are sometimes very complex. They are typically financially and socially motivated and can act as a treaty between families. Stability and the welfare of the bride also play a significant role in the process of arranged marriages. To a father, making sure that his daughter children are properly taken care of financially is a primary responsibility. By stepping in to arrange a marriage for his daughters, a father can be assured that the husband will be able to provide financially for his daughter as an adult. Culture also has a profound impact on the practice of arranged marriages. Eastern cultures have carried the tradition of arranged marriage into the new millennium; and in many cases the children involved are on board with the idea, others feel that it is their responsibility to comply with arranged marriage for their family. Age, religion, economics, and family ties are all factors in determining a successful match, it is approached very logically without much attention given to the idea of love; it is a marriage that is strategic, love may come after. Along with a bride would also be a dowry, sometimes consisting of money or property, a dowry was meant as the brides contribution to the marriage, since it was traditionally unheard of for a women to contribute financially to an income, the dowry acted as a supplemental source to the new family.

Factors of Arranged Marriages: Many factors contribute to arranged marriages, including demographic and cultural ties.

Definition of Marriage: An overview of the institute of marriage, including information on arranged marriage and the factors that contribute to it.

The Role of Dowry: A resource for better understanding the role a dowry play in an arranged marriage.

Statistics of Arranged Marriages

It is estimated that between sixty and eighty percent of marriages in Afghanistan are arranged or forced in some way. Arranged marriages are culturally acceptable in the Afghan culture, and women are seldom given the choice to decline an arranged marriage. Statistics have also shown that arranged marriages have a significantly lower rate of divorce. In fact, the divorce rate is only 3%, compared to the American average of 53%. This may be because of the more traditional view involved, many couples simply do not believe in divorce.

Infidelity statistics- general statistics about infidelity, including the rate of infidelity in cases of arranged marriages.

Traditional values in the UK: An article discussion the reemergence of traditional values in Asian cultures within the United Kingdom, including statistics regarding the success rate of arranged marriages.

The History Behind Arranged Marriages

An ageless tradition, arranged marriages have long since been a part of eastern society. With roots in Indian and Oriental cultures, arranged marriages were made to maintain the status quo and continue to serve that function. Less popular now in western cultures, arranged marriages were common, especially within royalty. In more recent years, arranged marriage was used in the English monarchy with the union of the late Princess Diana and Price Charles.

Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings: Arranged marriages were very common in the Elizabethan era. Learn more about the early presence of arranged marriage in western culture.

Women in China - Past and Present: A guide to the role of women and arranged marriages in the past and present day China.

Marriage and Divorce in Japan: A history of marriages, both arranged and organic, and the divorce rate in Japan between 1600 and 2000.

Pros and Cons of Arranged Marriages

While many arranged marriages are successful, there are still some that face difficult challenges. Statistics have shown that arranged marriages exhibit a higher rate of domestic violence, and in some cases sexual abuse. Infidelity, as in many other marriages today, is more common than not. However, because of their deep cultural ties and adherence to family responsibilities, men and women put in dangerous situations seldom report any abuse for fear of being cast out of their family or even more sever consequences. Arranged marriages ensure that the new family is financially taken care of, and they often have strong ties to family and their cultural community. Some couples do fall in love after they are married and are thankful not to have had to search for love like many of us do.

Forced and Early Marriages: The Advocates for Human Rights warns against the dangers of arranged marriages and the increased risk of domestic violence.

The Gate to Marriage: A description of the benefits of arranged marriages, as well as the downfalls it might present.

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