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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Arranged marriage

Pic: An arranged marriage between Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain

A pragmatic (or 'arranged') marriage is facilitated by formal procedures of family or group politics. A responsible authority sets up or encourages the marriage; they may, indeed, engage a professional matchmaker to find a suitable spouse for an unmarried person. The authority figure could be parents, family, a religious official, or a group consensus.

In some cases, the authority figure may choose a match for purposes other than marital harmony. Some of the most popular uses of arranged marriage are for dowry or immigration.
Though now a rarity in Western countries, arranged marriages in countries such as India are widely prevalent even today. In illiterate villages, marriage of a child often has much to do with family property; parents adopt the practice of child marriage and arrange the wedding sometimes even before the child is born (though this practice was made illegal by Child Marriage Restraint Act of the Indian Government). In urban India, people use thriving institutions known as Marriage Bureaus or a Matrimonials Sites, where candidates register themselves for a small fee.

A related form of pragmatic marriage, sometimes called a marriage of convenience, involves immigration laws. According to one publisher of information about "green card" marriages, "Every year over 450,000 thousand United States citizens marry foreign-born individuals and petition for them to obtain a permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States."While this is likely an over-estimate, in 2003 alone 184,741 immigrants were admitted to the U.S. as spouses of U.S. citizens.

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