Most young girls dream of the perfect wedding, the perfect husband and the perfect happily ever after. They have conjured up a beautiful day to share with a special person that they want to spend the rest of their lives with, yet millions of these girls won’t ever see their dreams come true. Since they were born, many children have been ingrained with the idea of an arranged marriage and so they grow up thinking it's the right thing, or in some cases, the only way. This is considered to be awful from the perspective of many Westerners but in many parts of the World, this is considered normal and even acceptable, as well as encouraged.

First of all, what is an arranged marriage? An arranged or pragmatic marriage is a “marriage planned and agreed by the families or guardians of the couple concerned” (Oxford Dictionaries). For many centuries, arranged marriages were the most common marital union in most cultures, including the United Kingdom. It was believed to bring stronger, happier marriages with a low chance of divorce. Although most Western countries now frown upon arranged marriages, as they believe these marriages restrict freedom.

Regardless, it still occurs in many parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In India, the percentage of arranged marriages is 90% while the divorce rate is only 1. 1% (Statistics Brain). Surprisingly, these statistics are not because women have different divorce rights than men. In countries like the USA though, according to the New York Times, the amount of arranged marriages is 4% while the divorce rate is as high as 50% (NY Times). Thus, further proving that there's no guarantee on its unspoken outcome, for it is to be dependent on the state, culture, religion or gender.

Arranged Marriages have been modernized in most parts of the World, meaning that parents will make sure that the couple will have a common language, religion and cultural views. Islam in particular insists on arranged marriages, however, they have come to realize that in order for two people to get married and have a successful marriage, they must genuinely have strong feelings and like each other. For example, in Japan, arranged marriages have become extremely similar to blind dating in the USA. This is because, when two people meet on an online matchmaking service, if they are looking for marriage, in their profile they will both have “marriage” listed as what they are looking for (Japan Daily Press).

Couples have spoken out about their own arranged marriages and many of them are actually happy. A famous example of a happy arranged marriage was between A. J. Khubani, a famous business man and entrepreneur and Poonam Israni, a Bollywood actress. “A. J. Khubani was 25 in 1985 when his parents tried to get him to visit their friends the Israni family, and meet the couple’s daughter Poonam. 'I just refused,' said Mr. Khubani, who was not keen on settling down because he had just started a company in Fairfield.

'I didn’t see why it was so important that I had to fly across the world to see one girl,' Mr. Khubani, now 52, reminisces. Ms Israni, now Mrs. Khubani, wasn’t ready, either. At the time she was a soap opera star and rising Bollywood actress. When they finally met, neither was impressed. Mrs Khubani recalled, 'It wasn’t love at first sight at all. ' Love did not kick in until Mr. Khubani became sick and the young woman he had just met stayed by his bedside to care for him. 'Spending a couple of days in the room with her, alone, I fell in love with her,' he said.

They have now been married for 27 years” (NY Times). It’s true that arranged marriages have caused and still do result in many successful marriages but at what cost? One of the many problems with them is the fact that you don’t marry for love, instead you marry for stability. “Decide with your head and not with your heart,” is what parents tell their children from an early age. Parents convince their children that if love is not present when they marry, it will eventually blossom, yet this is often not the case. Parents don’t let their sons and daughters make up their own mind about who to marry.

Instead of dating and meeting people, parents make sure that they have their own say in the matter. This is extremely selfish, even if it comes from good intentions. This life changing decision binds their children to them; for even once they’re gone it insures not losing them. They do this by involving themselves in the personal decisions of their children. Also, if the woman or man is in love with another person before the wedding and has no choice but to marry the wrong woman or man, it can often be very difficult and lead to an extremely unhappy marriage.

There have also been reports on suicide, as well as murder, all because of arranged marriages. A mother was brutally murdered by her husband in Italy, all because she didn’t want her daughter to suffer through an arranged marriage like she had had to (Tribune). In Iraq, a 16 year old girl attempted to commit suicide after she was forced to get engaged (NY Times... more suicides). To think that families can be torn apart and lives can be lost all because of arranged marriages is terrible and wrong. Women should have the freedom to choose their partners in order to have a successful and happy marriage.

Arranged marriages shouldn’t be encouraged because parents don't make their choice based on whether their daughter might be happy with her future husband, rather based on whether she can perform home chores as the parents often live with the couple. From the information gathered, it is simple to say that arranged marriages shouldn’t be encouraged as women and men should have the right to choose who they marry, at what age and take the risk. Love is the most important element in a marriage and, without it, a marriage simply can’t thrive properly.