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Introduction Summary of Issue

Marriage is an important part of any culture. All cultures around the world have some sort
of marriage practice, which can include no marriages as well as traditional marriages. There are
many ways in which a person can be married to another person, or persons. Some ways are more
traditional such as arranged or love marriages, and others are a bit different than what most
Westerners are used to, like polygamy. Just as there are different types of marriages, there are
different reasons for why people get married. In the United States, most people get married
because two people love each other and want to live the rest of their lives together and make a
family. However, in other countries and cultures people may marry because their parents have
decided that the time is right and they have found a partner for them. Today, many young adults
who get married this way have more freedom in the process than before. And still others never
marry, whether because of a personal choice or because in their culture, marriage is nonexistent.
There are many people all over the world who never marry in their lives.
Viewpoint 1 Love Marriages in the United States and other Western countries
The first type of marriage that will be discussed in this paper will be what most
Americans consider traditional marriage marriage between a man and woman because of their
love for one another. In other cultures this type of marriage is called a love marriage because
these marriages are not arranged (Epstein, Pandit, & Thakar, 2013). There have been many
changes to this traditional marriage practice throughout history. Some people would marry for
money and status so that they would be safe from poverty and starvation. As these types of
marriages became more and more unpopular as time went on, people found that marrying for
love made them much happier, even if they were poor. Now the definition of marriage, within the

United States and other western countries, is expanding and changing. A recent law has passed
that require all states in America must allow and recognize same-sex marriages (Wyatt-Nichol &
Naylor, 2015) . There is a low percentage of people who are homosexual, bisexual, and
transsexual compared to those who are heterosexual in the United States, but the discussion of
the rights of homo-, bi-, and trans- sexual people have been a main topic in both the news and
day-to-day conversation (Wyatt-Nichol & Naylor, 2015). In this section though, the focus will be
on heterosexual, love marriages.
Theres a good chance that you come from a family that consists of a father, mother and
possibly siblings; this is what most Americans call a traditional marriage. Maybe your parents
are high-school sweethearts, were classmates in college, or maybe they met at a coffee shop on a
rainy day and fell in love at first sight. Whatever the case may be, they most likely married
because of their love for one another. Now there are exceptions to this, but for the most part
people fall in love, get married, and have kids (not necessarily in that order). Natural-born and
immigrant citizens of the United States have grown up with this idea in mind for their entire
lives. Weddings can be extravagant or simple, religious or not. They range from a beautiful
evening ceremony on a beach to a small ceremony in a town hall to a drunken wedding in Vegas
featuring Elvis as the officient. Whatever it may be, American weddings always have a few
things to make the marriage official. First is the document that legalizes the union. Without one a
couple isnt viewed as a legally-married couple in the eyes of the law (Marriage Laws Bureau,
2015). Second, an element that is not required but most people choose to include, is the
exchanging of rings that symbolize the promises made by the couple to one another. Lastly, there
must be witnesses. Usually the witnesses are close family and friends of the couple, but
sometimes even a stranger may be used as a witness (Marriage Laws Bureau, 2015). The

traditional marriage practice of Americans is viewed as the best marriage type in the eyes of
Americans, as well as English, French, and many other people. In other cultures, such as the
main culture in India, arranged marriage is considered the best practice.
Viewpoint 2 Arranged Marriages in India
Arranged marriages have a long history. They are usually viewed as the most traditional
type of marriage across the world. Parents, other family members such as grandparents or aunts,
or matchmakers look for a partner for the young adult who will be married (Epstein, Pandit, &
Thakar, 2013). Arranged marriages usually last a lifetime. Cultures where arranged marriages are
practiced usually do not have a lot of divorces unless circumstances make divorce a necessity.
Although divorce is legal in India, the country has one of the lowest divorce rates (Epstein,
Pandit, & Thakar, 2013). The couple who will be getting married have much more freedom than
before; they are able to voice their opinions and wants in characteristics that they would like a
partner to have. Parents take time to find a good match for their child because they want the
couple to get along together and live in harmony. Parents may meet with the parents of possible
matches before choosing the best option for their son or daughter (Bowman & Dollahite, 2013).
After a match is made, the wedding date is set and preparations begin for the wedding
ceremony. In some cases the people who are to marry one another may not meet their partner
until their actual wedding, while others may have known each other for some time. Many
westerners find this practice hard to swallow, but people who have grown up in this culture find
love marriages to be nerve-racking and dont trust their own judgment to find a good match for
themselves. They trust their parents judgment and knowledge of what would make a good
partner for them (Bowman & Dollahite, 2013); after all, their parents have had many years of

practice in a marriage and have learned a lot through that time (Epstein, Pandit, & Thakar, 2013).
Many people may think that love cannot be found in an arranged marriage, but as the couple gets
to know one another and grow together to make a family, love can, and usually does, grow along
with the relationship (Epstein, Pandit, & Thakar, 2013).
Viewpoint 3 No marriage in small groups around the world
In some cultures the practice of marriage is nonexistent. These cultures usually are found
in smaller areas of countries that do have marriage practices. The people who do not practice
marriage are usually small communities where modern beliefs and ideas havent had an effect on
them. The Na people of China are included in this group (Nanda & Warms, 2011). Many involve
families that consist of grandmothers, mothers, aunts, uncles, daughters and sons, but no fathers.
Fathers are not a big part of their childrens lives. They may rarely interact with their children,
and they have no economic obligations (Nanda & Warms, 2011). Men will sneak out at nightfall
and spend the night with a woman. Men and women can have many partners throughout their
lifetime. Sometimes the father of a child is unknown, but the women can usually tell (Nanda &
Warms, 2011). This may sound odd, but this practice is becoming more popular in America and
other Western countries although we think of it differently.
In the United States, marriage is becoming less of a priority than it originally was. Up
unto about the 1970s, marriage was mandatory for a couple to start a life together. Women who
became pregnant out of wedlock would have to marry the childs father before the child was
born. If the parents were not married it became a scandal. Marriage in the United States is
becoming more of an option rather than a mandatory practice now that many people move in
together and start families before marriage.

Viewpoint 4 Plural marriage in small groups around the world


Plural marriage is the practice of having more than one spouse at a time. A man or
woman can be married to many partners at once, and have a family with each. In Western
countries polygamy is usually viewed as something that is outlandish or even a sin. In the United
States, even though polygamy is illegal, some people still practice it (Marvel, 2015). People in
America generally practice plural marriage where one man marries many women; this is called
polygamy (Nanda & Warms, 2011). Polygamy in America is usually viewed negatively, and
there are good reasons behind those feelings. Many young women or even children are forced
into marriages with older men who may already have many wives. There are many reports of
abuse in polygamous families.
Polyandry is another type of plural marriage that is found in areas of Tibet and Nepal
(Nanda & Warms, 2011). This practice is where a woman marries more than man. This may
have originated from a time when there werent enough females or of a culture where a man may
be gone for a long period of time and so a woman could have another man to support the family
(Nanda & Warms, 2011).
Conclusion My Personal Perspective
In conclusion Id like to talk about my view on this issue. Being born in the United States
and growing up with American values and ideas I am partial to love marriages, but I can see the
benefits of each type of marriage practice. Arranged marriages usually have good outcomes and
end with happy families. In cultures where no marriages are present I can see that families are
still a strong and important value. Most of these families stay together for their entire lives. In
cultures where polygamy is practiced, I can see that many people are happy with and accepting

of the practice. But for me and my family I think that love marriages work best. I would probably
be nervous about having my parents choosing a spouse for me, and having many husbands or
sister-wives sounds daunting and uncomfortable. I would feel insecure starting a family without
a husband

Works Cited
Bowman, J. L., & Dollahite, D. C. (2013). Why Would Such A Person Dream About Heaven?" Family,
Faith, And Happiness In Arranged Marriages In India . Journal Of Comparative Family Studies , 207 225.
Epstein, R., Pandit, M., & Thakar, M. (2013). How Love Emerges In Arranged Marriages: Two CrossCultural Studies. Journal Of Comparative Family Studies , 341 - 360.
Marriage Laws Bureau. (2015). Retrieved 12 5, 2015, from usmarriagelaws:
http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/marriage-license/utah/clerk-auditor/office-requirements.shtml
Marvel, S. (2015). The Evolution of Pural Parentage: Applying Vulnerability to Polygamy and Same=Sex
Marraige. Amory Law Journal , 2017-2088.
Nanda, S., & Warms, R. L. (2011). Marriage, Family, and Domestic Groups. In S. Nanda, & R. L. Warms,
Cultural Anthropology [Eleventh Edition] (pp. 169-188). Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Lanugauge .
Wyatt-Nichol, H., & Naylor, L. A. (2015). Liberty and Equality: In Defense of Same-Sex Marriage.
Public Integrity , 117-130.