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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Finding a partner

In order to get married, it is necessary to find a suitable partner. A partner may be found by the person wishing to be married via a process of courtship. Alternately, two marriageable people may be matched by a third party, typically with the match finalized only if both candidates approve the union. This is known as an arranged marriage.

The choice between courtship and arranged marriage is made by the person seeking marriage or by his or her parents. In some cases, the parents will be ready to force an arranged marriage because of cultural tradition (e.g., in the Middle East) or for some other special reason (e.g., dowry). It is worth noting, however, that in many cases the person seeking marriage is comfortable with having his or her marriage arranged and, even disregarding parental preference, would freely choose an arranged marriage. Actual forced marriage is common in only a few communities and often attracts harsh criticism even from people who are generally in favor of arranged marriage.

Given a choice, the preference for the method of courtship or arranged marriage is determined by whether a person believes that marriage should be based on emotion or logic. At one end of the scale is a person who believes that there is only one unique "soul mate" suitable for them. A partner is typically chosen based on the depth of emotional connection experienced with their partner during the courtship phase of the relationship. At the other end of the scale is a person who believes that there are many suitable partners, and typically views marriage chiefly as a means to start a family. The deep emotional bond between partners characteristic of good marriages is more likely to be viewed as something which can be developed through nurture and cultivation with any suitable partner. Most people fall somewhere between these two extremes

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