Marriage is known as the relationship between a woman and a man in which they live as husband and wife, and it is a key to bring them happiness. Therefore, it is necessary for everyone to choose a partner to get married. In many countries in the world, religious, moral, traditional and economic reasons have strongly influenced the decision of choosing a husband or wife. Despite the facts that, in Western countries, men and women can choose their own partner, in some countries in Asia like Cambodia, parents generally arrange their children’s marriage. However, if we take a closer look at arranged marriages, there are some contrasting ideas about them in our society. We can easily acknowledge that parents have more life experience, but this does not necessarily ensure that they will always choose the right spouse for their children. In fact, the arranged marriage has two advantages and three disadvantages.
The first advantage of the arranged marriage is having a good financial condition. In deed, money does not always build a good relationship or happiness, but money problem can cause lots of stresses in the family. In Cambodian tradition, parents often involve transfers of property to their married children, and hopefully they wish to bring their children a very good financial and living condition. For example, some Cambodian parents give property such as house, land, money and jewelry to the new couple after getting married, and they have an important role in solving any problems happening to their married children. In addition, parents have greater life experiences than their children; therefore, they can usually make better decision or judgment. For instance, In Cambodian culture, many parents always think carefully about whom their children should marry, and most of their thoughts focus mainly on financial situation, family status and individual behavior because they strongly believe that if their children get married to a husband or wife who has these things ,problem will not happen.
The second advantage of the arranged marriage is that children can bring honor to their family and express gratitude to their parents. Cambodian people believe in Buddhism. In Buddhism, people believe in returning gratitude to their parents, and children have an obligation to maintain their family’s honor. Marrying into a good family is considered to be a way of returning gratitude to parents, especially for a young girl. Moreover, getting married to someone that is arranged by parents is recognized that children obey Khmer traditional culture and respect their parents gratefully. For example, when a daughter get married to a man that is selected by her parents, she will be considered a grateful daughter because everything she behaves does not go against Khmer tradition. Not only that, this practice can also preserve our precious tradition from being influenced by foreign culture.
Although arranged marriage has advantages, there are three serious disadvantages of it. The first disadvantage of arranged marriage is having bad impacts on couple. Obviously, arranged marriage is usually arranged by parents. However, this is an individual’s marriage and even an opinion about this marriage is not asked individually. Hence, a daughter or son marry to the one they even don’t know or meet before. After marriage, they can understand that their husband or wife does not have the characteristic which they wish. Consequently, this can cause many problems in the family such as domestic violence, having no happiness, and ruining couple’s future as well. In addition to domestic violence and having no happiness, the rate of getting divorce is increased because they do not have a good relationship with each other and they often have many troubles. Because of the everyday problems that they can not endure they have to live separately or get divorce. Furthermore, couple’s future can also be ruined. For example, a husband or wife has already fallen in love with someone else, so they do not want to live or share relationship and time with those that got married. They may ran away from home or commit suicide if their parents or family put too much pressure or force them to continue living with their partner.
The second disadvantage of the arranged marriage is that family’s reputation and honor can be suffered indirectly by couple. According to the above disadvantage, husband and wife can cause serious troubles to their family. For instance, at the time a daughter or son runs away from home either before or after marriage, both husband and wife families’ reputation are ruined. Relatives and neighbors might look down on parents. Sometimes people may insult that parents can not educate their children well. One more thing that is even more shameful is that the bride or groom runs away from home on the wedding day. This is a problem that we all often hear and meet in our society.
The third disadvantage of arranged marriage is having bad influences on our society. Although having no happiness or relationship and getting divorced are individual problems, these still effect indirectly to the society. When there is an increase of divorce rate, a number of divorcées will increased because men are much easier to find a new partner, whereas divorcées are very difficult to find another new partner to spend the rest of their life with. That’s why the government is now concerning about divorcées’ living condition. Moreover, many divorced women have to be responsible for everything in order to survive. In the case of having children, divorced mothers have a heavier burden. Anyway, it not surprised that children have metal injury. They can be easily influenced by gangsters and start making bad friends at school. When they have a lot of bad friends, they may start using drug. Finally, they will become the real gangsters and start stealing money or property from home and committing crime. As the result, this can decrease the amount of human resources and the government has to spend more money on building habitation centers for drug addicts and developing more human resources.
All over, even though arranged marriage has advantages, its disadvantages seem to be more serious to family and society, especially couple. Because of these problems, arranged marriage system nowadays has slightly changed. People can see their husband or wife before marriage, and they get a choice of whom they will marry. Their parents just introduce each person to each other, but there is not force involved. In my opinion, the two partners should make the ultimate decision; however, it is also important to take the approval of parents because without parents’ consent the marriage doesn’t go further.