Arranged Marriages: A Custom Waiting for Some Students

by Bezawit Abebe

Most of us expect that we will choose our marriage partner because that is what is common in western cultures. However some students reading this and many others in the world will have arranged marriages. They will marry someone their parents have chosen for them rather than someone they have chosen themselves.

Arranged marriages have been practiced for thousands of years. In an arranged marriage the parents of the boy and girl talk and make an agreement together that their children will marry. Arranged marriages differ in cultures. "In some cultures arranged marriages have an economic value. It's common for the boy's family to pay money to the girl's family for permission for the marriage to occur," said Mr. Bellino the ESOL resource teacher who has lived in countries where people arrange marriages. "In some cultures it is also a way for parents to make sure that a daughter marries in the same social class," said Mr. Bellino.

Normally arranged marriages occur in a family where the parents' marriage was arranged. Knowing how arranged marriage works, some parents don't want their children to go through what they went through. For Junior Safiya Khalid whose parents' marriage was arranged, it is not something they are planning for her. "They would not even think about it. They know how difficult it is," Safiya said.

On the other hand there are cases where parents want to arrange marriages for their children. "My parents want to choose my husband," said a junior from India. Her parents expect her to marry someone they think will be good for her.

Some children accept arranged marriage but others oppose it. For the junior from India it is important to fulfill her parents' wishes. She supports her parents' idea because, as she says, "Parents know what is good."

But Yasmeenah Rasheed, a Palestinian girl, is very much against arranged marriages. "Marriage is something that you choose to do and not what your parents choose for you. How are you going to support an arranged marriage when you don't know the guy and the guy doesn't know you? It absolutely does not work," she said.

The fact is that arranged marriage has been going on for a very long time and it will probably continue. Since it is an important part of some cultures, it will go on being practiced.

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