Parental Directed Marriage

Essay by TrailRunner19University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Parental Directed Marriage

Most Americans know something of loving someone no matter what anyone else seems to think. Some even marry, which in turn can alienate them from their families because they chose a partner who is not seen as good enough. But how many people have heard of arranged marriages or where the parent's view of the marriage is the final word? Most Americans have never had this enforced upon them but for the Yoruba and some people in Japanese society, this is how marriage is done. A growing body of research has pointed out that maybe these types of marriage are detrimental to the persons involved.

For the Yoruba, parents are deeply involved in a mans first marriage. Parental views on the suitability of the chosen girl, expressed in terms of the health and moral character of her own family, still tend to outweigh the selection of the young man based, perhaps, on physical attraction.1

The wedding usually takes place when the girl is from sixteen to eighteen years old, and the man in his middle or late twenties. At this point the man makes a payment, now in cash, to the girl's parents. There is no fixed amount. Part of this sum is kept by the mother to buy pots and utensils for the new home. The rest is shared among the members of the girl's lineage.

When the Yoruba men are ready for marriage they are faced with the arranged marriage or the other alternative is they could inform there parents that a particular young woman has caught there eye and they wish for them to start inquiries and negotiations about her availability.2 I feel that the second choice offered is the best. I would not want myself forced into a marriage with a person...