What I learned about arranged marriages in Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan arranged marriages have a long tradition and are very popular. When a girl turns 17 – considered as the perfect wedding age – her parents select a potential spouse for her. The first date is usually the first time ever the girl gets to meet her future groom. If they both like each other, the marriage is perfectly arranged. If the young man doesn’t like the young woman, the wedding won’t take place. Whereas the woman has no right to reject her parents’ choice.

Furthermore, a family’s reputation depends on their daughter’s virginity, which often leads families to encourage early marriage. After the wedding, the newly wed leaves her parental home to live with her husband’s family and takes over the main responsibility for housework and serves her spouse’s whole family.

I talked about this tradition with a lot of Uzbeks at any age and gender. The majority of them advocate it. They say that they would be too young and unknowing to enter a proper marriage. They find that their parents, based on their age and life experience, know best the perfect match for them.

I felt like Uzbeks are more modest – or just more realistic? –  when it comes to love. Marriage is an arrangement in a practical way and as such not the romantic love story we know from movies. Young people less pursue THE perfect match. They rather look for a partner with whom they can arrange themselves and who is eligible to create a family.

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