Amarriage is a union that binds a man and a woman legally. It is theprocess by which couples makes their relationship permanent, publicand official. Marriage is an agreement the joining of two people in abond that ideally last until death a divorce can stop it. In thisknowledge, there are distinctly two types of marriages. That ismarriage by love in which the bride and the groom select each otherin regards to their feelings to each other. In addition, there is thearranged marriage by which it is organized by a third party mostlythe parents. The older relatives too can have a say in choosing thebride or the groom. As they can also be the third parties in themarriage.
Inthe arranged marriage, the bride and the groom have a little say, assometimes they may not even have ever met. However, the parents ofthe bride and the groom usually have met and seen it better to forthe too to be in a relationship that will last a long time. This usedto be more common in the marriages that involved dowry and brideprice, since sometimes the couples in the arranged marriage may notbe of the same age, or they may not even have met or communicatedbefore (Divakaruni 97).
Themarriage is most of the times a contract between families and not theindividuals. Even before the talks of the marriages begins, theparents are usually busy investigating each other’s background.Mostly they desire to make sure that the other family is in theirsocial status and class. If it is of good reputation and suffers nohereditary diseases. When the parents are satisfied, they choose afriend to reveal their interest to the other family. This go-betweenis helpful in absorbing any form of criticism that may arise in theprocess. The friend relays the feedback to the family. Hence, now thetwo families start to communicate, and a meet is set for thepotential bride and groom. In the meeting it is where the marriage isset, as a feeling of compatibility must be present for it tocontinue. This is because in many cultures where this type ofmarriage exists the role the wife is lesser than that of the husband.Therefore, the form of compatibility is the girl’s willingness tolive by the man’s pattern of living. As she is the stranger in theman’s household she is expected to adopt their ideals, conform andserve their expectation. Lastly is both of them are attracted to eachother or, at least, the man is attracted to the girl then themarriage can take place.
Inthe ancient China, it was possible for a man it has as many wives ascould want. Sometimes the youngest wife would be a teenager, and theman would be a very old. Low-income families used to sell off theirgirls to the wealthy for money. This also enabled the family to getrid of the girl as she was deemed useless. In this, arrangedmarriages were very common. Young spouses would have their partnerspicked for them by their parents. Many times the spouse would havetheir first glance at each other in the wedding. In some cases, themarriages were arranged even before the child was born just if thetwo families agree.
Themarriage in China became custom during the warring period. However,because of the vastness expansiveness and long history of the Chinesemarriage customs and ceremonies, there are different practices indifferent places. These practices, however, seem to adhere to thesame guidelines. In the ancient time, sit was very important tofollow the three letter six etiquettes principles since they werevery important in marriage.
Thethree letters were the Engagement Letter, Gift Letter and MarriageLetter. The engagement letter was a must in since it was a formaldocument for the engagement. The gift letter was the one thatfollowed. It was given to the girl’s family. The letter contained alist of gifts, and their quantities were chosen for the wedding. Onceboth parties accepted the wedding, a wedding letter was prepared andgiven to the bride’s family. This was the letter that confirmed andcelebrated the formal acceptance of the bride to the groom’sfamily.
Inthis society, the bride and groom would marry not by their but theirparent’s desire. Only after the matchmaker’s approval and thefamilies agree that their conditions are similar, and then thewedding procedures can go on. One of the most important considerationwas the wealth and social status. If a boy’s family was well offand of official status, his family would never allow him to marry agirl from a poorer family.
Thesix etiquettes led to the wedding ceremony. As they included theproposal. In this if an unmarried boy’s parents identified a girlas a suitable bride they wold then locate a matchmaker. The proposalswere the profession of the maker. As they would present their clientsrequest to the girls family. If the proposition were successful, thematchmaker would be rewarded with gifts and feats as a show ofgratitude from the two families. Many young unmarried people wereunfamiliar with each other until the day of their wedding (Divakaruni74).
Theother stage was birthday matching. In this if the bride’s parentsdid not agree to the proposal then the matchmaker would ask for thegirl’s birth hour and birth date. The matchmaker would assure theparents that the two were compatible. If the birthdays and birthhours of the potential bride and groom did not conflict according toastrology, then the marriage would move to the next stage. However iftheir dates and times conflicted then it would mean that the marriagewould bring trouble to the couple and family hence, the marriagestopped (Greene 167).
Oncethe birthdates and hours were compatible, the groom’s family wouldprepare the betrothal gifts that were to be presented to the bride’sfamily. This was also the work of the matchmaker, as they wouldpresent this along with the engagement letter. This was also anannunciation to the bride’s family that the marriage process wouldand has continued.
Afterthe presentation of the betrothed gifts then the presentation of thewedding gifts would follow. This was the most impressive etiquette inthe whole wedding procedure. As gifts would be presented to thegirl’s family showing respect and kindness towards the family. Italso symbolized the capability of the grooms’ family to keep thebride in a good life.
Afterthe presentations of all these gifts to the girl’s family, theboy’s family would ask a fortune-teller to give them a dateappropriate for the wedding. The fortune teller would pick a dateaccording to astrology. A date that would be proper and favourable tohold the wedding according to the astrological book (Zama 84).
Onthe selected wedding day, the groom meets the bride at her home withmusicians and troops. They then escort them to the groom’s house.Before this, the bride’s dowry would already have been sent to thegroom`s house. This show of the bride’s social status and wealth isto be displayed at the groom’s home. After the escort to thegroom’s house, the wedding ceremony would begin.
Howevernow in the present age, this tradition is slowly being replaced bythe love marriage. This is because the arranged marriages have provedto be not as good as expected. They result in unhappy marriages. Oneof the reasons is because when a parent is matchmaking for theirchild, they are selecting the best option for their elderly care.Other than considering the love and relationship of the spouses. Momand Dad, who lack heartily, post-retirement benefits, look forwealthy companions for their children so that their finical needs canbe taken care off in the old age. The parents also look forsubmissive brides who will be happy to tend to house chores andpromote household productivity (Greene 64).
Thetraditional no say marriages for their children is decreasing, butparents still have a heavy influence on the marriages of theirchildren. As parents still influence profoundly the matchmakingprocess. The parents meet in marriage markets or parks all over thecountry and swap statistics about their children. This includes theirchildren height, weight, gender, profession, salaries and educationin the hope of trying to find still a suitable partner.
Althoughthe marriages are freely chosen the parents hand is still visible inthe choice of the partner. Also, because of the poor economicsecurity lack of adequate commercial vehicles that enforces futureeconomic security, the children are in a pressure to marry based oneconomics than love.
Themarriage affair in China is very critical as if it does not followthe correct traditional procedures it is regarded as invalid by mostof the Chinese people. Hence, even though the arranged marriage notas pronounced as before parents still takes over a large part of theceremony. One of the reasons being that the in-laws are veryimportant and if they accept the bride it is really helpful to her inthe marriage. Additionally, once the children have agreed to marrythe parents take over the ceremony for it, to follow the correctwedding procedures. As the wedding is supposed to impress both thefamilies, the brides and the grooms plus their friends.
Continuallyit has become relatively hard to find the right spouse in China.Hence, parents usually gather in parks commonly known as marriagemarkets to exchange details of their children. This looks like thenew revolution of arranged marriages as parents hope to give theirchildren a choice in marriage partner but still push them intomarriage. The parents talk about the attributes of their children andalso discuss what their children would like to have as a marriagepartner. Once they have found this. They tend to put a blind datewith the hope that it will spark their children into a relationship.This tradition arose when people would meet in parks to practisedance or music and the when parents talk the matchmaking took overnaturally. In these markets, the parents make a stamp of therelationship before the children even meet. Hence, the termmatchmaking is more accurate than markets. As a market implies thatmoney is exchanged while it is just parents were trying to find asuitable partner for their offspring (Zama 126).
Inaddition, youths that grew up in families that instilled obedienceare more prone to set up in the blind dates. As the parents whoinstilled the obedience in their children are more active in thematchmaking markets and blind dates. The ages of marriages areusually around 21 years for girls and 23 years for boys. Thisenforces an outcast system that makes those who are not married andare in their late twenties be seen as outcast and leftover men orwomen.
Inmarriages like these, the parent believes that they know enough abouttheir children to warrant them a good partner.in doing so, theyselect a partner whom they think can give their children a goodmarriage. However, these types of marriages enforces incompatibility.In this later on, the married couple realises that the marriage hasto work for them not to disappoint their parents. Hence making thesituation, even more, desperate as the happiness of marriage will begone.
Arrangedmarriages replaces love with obligation. The women sometimes areforced to stay in abusive in order to protect their family pride andrespect in the society. The situations forces the two to be underpressure in the relationship. The main reason for the existence ofthese forms of marriages is due to tradition and the protection ofthe family’s legacy.
Thelove marriages offer more independence and freedom to young couplesthan the arranged once. This is because the arranged once pose somuch pressure to the couple. One the major pressures include havingto live up the parental expectations. In this, couples struggle hardto try to give their parents what they want. Sometimes the marriagesare like an extension of the parents order to their children lives.The parents make demands like for the couple to give them an heir.Others are even more specific as they want a male heir. In addition,the parents may force their children to participate in traditionalrituals and contributing the family’s expenses. A very commonconcern in the arranged marriage is the couples are marrying a personthey do not know. The boy and girl many times even have never had arelationship before. Knowing a person before marriage and having arelationship with them allows the couple to have respect andunderstanding of the needs and desires of each other (Zama 126).
Manyof the occurrences of the arranged marriages is due to tradition.This is because the parents of the couples want to conform to theirtradition hence push their children to the arranged marriages. Thisis as so for the family to maintain their social status in thesociety. However, sometimes the price is too much for this status. Asthe couple, many times experiences hardships but cannot show them inorder to maintain their family status while they forget about theirhappiness.
Inconclusion, the arranged marriages although through the parent’seyes are good they are not entirely good for the spouses. As there ismore to a relationship that what parents consider as the financialsecurity. For a happy marriage, the parents should allow theirchildren to make their own decisions and then support them and givethe guidance for the relationship to grow. As the children look tothe parents for guidance and advice on the issues of a relationship.Hence, a parent should focus more on being a role model to the lovingrelationship of their children other than imposing the right bride orgroom.
Best,Man. MarriageEtiquette: How to Arrange a Wedding., 2007. Print.
Divakaruni,Chitra B. ArrangedMarriage: Stories.New York: Anchor Books, 2005. Print.
Greene,Anne. Marriageby Arrangement., 2013. Internet resource.Bottomof FormTop of Form
Neville,Miranda. Confessionsfrom an Arranged Marriage.New York: Avon Books, 2012. Internet resource.
Zama,Farahad, and Tânia Rodrigues. TheMarriage Bureau for Rich People.Rothley, Leicester: Clipper Audio, 2009. Internet resource.