Love marriage

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This article is about a term. For other uses, see Love Marriage (disambiguation).

Love marriage a term used primarily in South Asia, especially in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, to describe a marriage which deviates from an arranged marriage, which is considered the norm.[1][2][3] There is no clear definition of love marriage. It is generally used to describe a marriage which was the sole decision of the couple.[1]

In Europe[edit]

"Abaelardus and Heloïse surprised by Master Fulbert", by Romanticist painter Jean Vignaud (1819)

According to historian Stephanie Coontz, marriages for love and personal reasons began to appear in the 14th century. It began to become popular in the early 17th century.[4]

In 1761, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote Julie, or the New Heloise. The title is a reference to Peter Abelard, a 12th-century philosopher, who fell in love with his pupil, Héloïse d'Argenteuil. They had a child and secretly married. When Heloise's guardian found this, he had Abelard castrated. The story was well-known at Rousseau's time, after their letter had been published. Rousseau's book, Julie, is about the titular character and her tutor St. Preux. The book is written in the form of letters. Julie's father opposes the relation and marries her to another man, whom he considers more suitable.[5]

According to Coontz, the marriages between Anglo-Saxons were organised to establish peace and trading relationships. In 11th century, marriages were organised on the basis of securing economics advantages or political ties. The wishes of the couples were not consider important. The bride was especially expected to defer to her father's wishes. In 1140, Decretum Gratiani was written by Gratian. It made consent of the couple as a requirement for marriage. This book became the foundation of the policy of the Christian Church on marriage.[6]

The marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert also made love marriage more acceptable in the minds of the British public in the Victoria era were love marriages were rising.[6]

In India[edit]

In India, the term love marriage is used to describe a marriage which is decided upon by the couple, without consulting their parents or families. These marriages may break caste, community and religion barriers. However, these marriages are considered socially unacceptable[by whom?]. Some[who?] think that these marriages have unreliable foundations. Arranged marriages are preferred over love marriages, to solidify family ties and create new ties, and as a deference to their parents' wishes.[7]

Love marriage starting becoming popular in urban areas in 1970s. Initially, love marriages occurred between acceptable communities. The boundaries between the two types have started to blur.[1] The term "love-arranged marriage" is used to describe a new emerging form of marriage. This contains elements of both arranged marriage and love marriage.[7] Love marriages are seen negatively and are considered foreign and contrary to Indian culture[by whom?]. It is also seen as imposition of the younger generation's will over the older generation's wishes.[1] The debate between the pros and cons of love marriages and arranged marriages in India continues to be a key topic among urban Indians. Research data on this subject and expert opinion has not yet produced any definitive answers.

In a 2012 survey conducted by Ipsos for the TV channel NDTV, 74% of the respondents said that they preferred an arranged marriage.[8] In 2010, the National Commission for Women (NCW) released a report stating that it had documented 326 cases of honour killing in the past year, majority of which were due to Inter-caste marriages.[9]

In a 2014 survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund and The International Center for Research on Women, 11.7% of men and 8.5% of women surveyed claimed that they chose their partners and married with or without the consent of their families.[10]

In Pakistan[edit]

In Pakistan, arranged marriages are the norm and love marriage is rare in the society. Several cases of honour killing are recorded every year.[11] In most cases, the woman is killed, however in some cases couples are killed.[12] The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan counted about 869 such cases reported in the media, it noted that many such cases may also unreported.[13]

In Egypt[edit]

In Egypt, love marriages, especially interfaith marriages, are generally considered socially unacceptable. Interfaith marriages are often seen as a tactic to recruit members from other religion. Such marriages sometimes result in sectarian violence. According to Egyptian law, a man from another religion must convert to Islam to marry a Muslim women. However, a Christian women may marry a Muslim man without converting; but officials require the woman to produce a letter of approval from her church, which is rarely granted.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Mr Henrike Donner (28 December 2012). Domestic Goddesses: Maternity, Globalization and Middle-class Identity in Contemporary India. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 80, 86. ISBN 978-1-4094-9145-3. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Glitz and tradition at Sri Lanka society wedding". BBC News. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2015. Society is becoming more Westernised, too: this is a love marriage, not one arranged by the family. 
  3. ^ "Pakistan police to protect Afghan runaway couple". BBC News. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2015. The couple say that they entered Pakistan illegally about three weeks ago and had a secret love marriage. 
  4. ^ "The Malleable Estate: Is marriage more joyful than ever?". Slate (magazine). 17 May 2005. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  5. ^ James Delaney (15 August 2009). Starting with Rousseau. A&C Black. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-84706-278-9. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Ten key moments in the history of marriage". BBC News. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Katherine Twamley (12 February 2014). Love, Marriage and Intimacy Among Gujarati Indians: A Suitable Match. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-137-29430-2. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "NDTV mid-term poll: Does India still want arranged marriages?". NDTV. 5 September 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Inter-caste ties behind most honour crimes. Just 3% cases due to same gotra marriages, says new survey". The Tribune (India). 5 July 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India". International Center for Research on Women. 
  11. ^ "Pakistan stoning victim's husband condemns police". BBC News. 29 May 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Pakistan ‘love marriage’ couple murdered by girl’s family". The National (Abu Dhabi). 29 June 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Dark tale of love and murder in Pakistan's rural heartland". Reuters. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Egypt: The forbidden love of interfaith romances". BBC News. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.