Thesis: We should not be living in a country where a person can not choose his/her life partner, where one does not have the freedom of choice.
Introduction: Freedom of choice.
I.The Issue of Arranged Marriages.
A.Saudi Women and their Life Issues.
B.Marriages in Saudi Arabia.
II.Examples of Arranged Marriages in the Arab World.
A.What Happened to Jack and Xena.
B.An Arranged Marriage in Lebanon.
C.Why Arranged Marriages are not the Right Choice.
D.Forced Arranged Marriages.
III.Consequences of Arranged Marriages.
A.Divorces among Arranged Marriages Couples.
B.Unhappiness of Arranged Marriages Couples.
IV.Solutions to the Problem of Arranged Marriages Conclusion:Free Society. Arranged Marriages
Khalil Gibran once wrote the following about Freedom: "You can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment. You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound. And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour? In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle your eyes." Freedom is not only about the individual's freedom but about freedom of choice as well. Freedom of choosing one's own life partner, no matter how much it might seem unbelievable is unfortunately not practiced by all countries yet. Arranged marriages are still too common in the Middle East. They still exist in a time where modernization has taken over in so many different countries in the world. Choosing a life partner is a human right that should be practiced by all countries but is not in some like: Saudi Arabia, Sri lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria and even Lebanon...The list goes on and on.(Internet) It's a shame to live in a country where a person can not choose his/her life partner and its a shame to have such a strict and closed-minded upbringing when modernization has taken such a huge place in societies. The issue of arranged marriages is diverse: There are forced arranged marriages, consensual arranged marriages and prearranged marriages. Consensual arranged marriages are when the couple gets to see the person before getting married and gets to agree on the person as a life partner. Forced arranged marriages are the complete opposite process: the couple rarely gets to see the person before the big day and anyways does not have a say in the matter. The woman and sometimes even the men are forced on each other by their respective families. Prearranged marriages fall somewhere in the middle of the first two. It is a negotiated marriage. In Saudi Arabia, where the world is still far behind concerning women's rights, women have to endure a life of suffering in order to be considered normal. All of these women live in a state of incredible boredom. A woman there has nothing to do but wait. Wait to get married, wait for her husband to come back home every night, wait for her next child to be born and finally wait for old age, when relieved from her child-bearing duties, she assumes a place of honor within her family.(Internet) The Saudi women do not do anything productive or constructive like studying or working and they do not have ambitions for a career. Their life is absolutely not satisfying for any individual. Issues such as education, rebellion against the veil, and hostility towards the repressive attitudes of men are not often discussed. Women there are so dominated by the expectations of family and the need for peer approval that feelings of rebellion, if they exist, are kept under tight rein. In Saudi Arabia, the women do not express themselves at all. Their voices are unheard. They are invisible. They have no opinion what so ever. It is a cruel life for anyone. Because ancient traditions have made a woman the repository of group strength and have made her subservient to men and the protector of the family, Saudis' attitudes towards marriage are vastly different from what they are in the West. The philosophy of marriage in the West emphasizes individual choice and personal fulfillment. In Saudi culture, the purpose of marriage is never the happiness of the individual but rather the good of the group and the perpetuation of its interests. A Saudi never expects to experience the ecstasy of courtship and marriage that a westerner does because love, if it develops, comes after marriage not before. It is so sad that a woman is forced to marry for her whole family to be happy ignoring her own happiness and satisfaction. She should be able to make such a life-altering decision by herself. No one should make this decision for her, no matter whom.
Not her father, not her brother, not anyone from her family. We live in a free world and all the countries should start acting as such. Jack Briggs and his wife Xena lived on the run for more than 12 years. Xena's family has threatened to kill them both. Xena was born into a strict Muslim family and they lived in England having emigrated from Pakistan in the 1950's. Jack was born in the same town in England. They met and fell in love dreaming of getting married one day. Later that same year when they met, Xena showed up at Jack's house with 12 suitcases and all her family behind. When they phoned her family to tell them she was ok, her older brother came to the phone and threatened to kill them as soon as he finds them. The couple began to move from hotel to hotel where police and social workers did not believe a story like theirs could take place in our day and age. Twelve years later, Jack and Xena are still hunted by her family who is seeking retribution for damaged honor.(Internet) There is also a Lebanese couple who got married in 1999 except the bride never loved the groom. Before getting married, she had a relationship with a man who is Lebanese while her family consists of Kurds. She loved Hassan, a young man who wished to marry her and make her happy. When her family found out about him they sent people to hit him and scare him away. "I was never this humiliated during my whole life" says Hassan. Later that same year, Souad's family arranged for her to marry a wealthy Kurd man and they made sure she never saw Hassan again. "The day Souad got married, I felt like someone was tearing my heart away" continued Hassan. (Personal Interview) It is really unfair for a couple to suffer that much when the whole crime they committed was falling in love. Arranged marriages are common in many cultures but are also celebrated between consenting adults sometimes. In those cases, the families organize the introduction of the couple but leave the final choice for the persons concerned. Some families force their offspring into marriages of convenience, a form of institution in which very young and even older victims find it impossible to resist family pressures. It is a problem that afflicts people from everywhere and every religion. This kind of marriage is the worst kind. It denies the couple the right to choose and the freedom of having an opinion about the person they are about to spend the rest of their life with. Most of the arranged marriages are the worst way to get married because even after having chosen the other person and gotten to know each other, couples still separate and divorce. How about if they did not even get the chance to know each other before committing their life to an unknown stranger? There are other consequences for arranged marriages: Unhappiness. Couples, who get forced to get married, are often unhappy because they don't love each other and they stay together out of obligation and duty, not by choice. There are also secret marriages that happen when a couple wants to get married to someone forbidden and without the consent of their families. It is true that in the early days, arranged marriages were much more common but that does not mean that they have ceased to exist completely yet. Today they are fewer but still there. When the day comes when no marriages will be arranged and all will be performed with the consent, approval and by the choice of the couple involved, we would have become a truly modernized society because free will is the most important ingredient of a society that is truly developed and open-minded.
On Freedom. [Introduction] (1923) Gibran Khalil Gibran .The Prophet, pp. 42-43.
Arranged Marriages and the arab world.(1998)www.arrangedmarriages. . Yahoosearch.com
Arranged Marriages in Saudi Arabia.(2003).www.saudimarriages.com
When defying arranged marriages becomes a life or death decision . Jack Briggs .
Hassan, H.(1999). Personal interview.