For love or honour? The case of arranged marriages.

Travis DixonLove and Marriage, Teaching Ideas

Arranged marriages are an interesting topic of discussion for students from all cultural backgrounds.

The idea of arranged marriages is an inherently interesting topic and one that hits close to home in many cultures. Would (or will) you marry someone you weren’t in love with? This is the same question Levine et al. (1995) asked their participants when comparing across cultures the role of love in forming a relationship.

Teaching Tip: I like to show these two videos to open the discussion as a “hook” during my “For Love or…” lesson in my Love and Marriage unit (Chapter 5). It can really open the discussion of ideas closely related to the concepts we explore in topics 5.3 and 5.5.

The case for…

Here is an interesting perspective from Ira Trevidi.


In Trevidi’s video she states divorce statistics as a sign that perhaps love marriages are detrimental for society. But could the higher divorce rate also be a sign of social advancement, particularly in terms of gender equality?

The idea that in the West people marry the person they love, and in the East they love the person they marry is also an thought-provoking parallelism.

The case against…

Here is a different perspective from Pakistani woman, Sabatina James.


I find this talk particularly striking, especially when she talks about losing her anchor. Imagine having to choose between life and your family’s honour. It’s a situation far removed from my own personal experience and one I find hard to contemplate. But I still have enormous sympathy for James’ decision to have to lose her family, and enormous respect for her choice to risk her own life to save the lives and freedom of other women.

Richard Dawkins believes that Islam is in desperate need of a feminist revolution; James’ story would suggest he’s absolutely right.