A love marriage is one which is driven solely by the couple, with or without consent of their parents, as opposed to arranged marriage.[1] While there is no clear definition of love marriage, the term was in common use globally during the Victorian era.[1] It is still used in the Commonwealth countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as Nepal and Egypt.[2][3]

By country

In Europe

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

According to the American historian Stephanie Coontz, marriages between Anglo-Saxons were organised to establish peace and trading relationships. She writes that in the 11th century, marriages were organised on the basis of securing economic advantages or political ties, and the wishes of the couples were not considered important. The bride was especially expected to defer to her father's wishes. Coontz has argued that while love marriages were not universal, marriages based on love and personal commitments started to emerge as early as the 14th century and really began to flower in the 1700s.[4]

In 1140, Decretum Gratiani was written by Gratian. It made consent of the couple a requirement for marriage. The book became the foundation of the policy of the Christian Church on marriage.[5]

The 1840 marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made love marriage more acceptable in the minds of the British public in the Victoria era, and love marriages were on the rise.[5]

In India

In India, love marriages started becoming popular in urban areas in the 1970s. Initially, love marriages occurred between acceptable communities. Love marriage now commonly transcend ethnic, community and religion barriers.

In a 2012 survey conducted by Ipsos for the TV channel NDTV, 74% of the respondents said that they preferred an arranged marriage.[6] In 2010, the National Commission for Women (NCW) released a report stating that it had documented 326 cases of honour crime in the past year, majority of which were due to inter-caste marriages.[7]

In a 2014 survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund and 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.[8] 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 which contains elements of both arranged marriage and love marriage.[9] Love marriages are seen as imposition of the younger generation's will over the older generation's wishes.[1][10]

In Pakistan

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, but noted that many such cases may also be unreported.[13]

In Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, there is a strong code of social and cultural prohibition on inter-gender friendship and/or romantic relationship; there have been so many incidents of unrequited love of boys, in the context of unrequited love, boys may face punishment by mob justice on the request of the girl whom the boy loves or the girl's guardians[14] and in the case of romantic relationship of two individuals, they secretly meet and talk, and may elope if their respective guardians are not willing to get them married.[15][16][17][18] Due to a large portion of society's Islamic adherence and conservative mentality, inter-gender friendship and romance is heavily suppressed. It is also very difficult to form a romantic relationship or to find a life partner by one's own will. It is generally hard for boys to find life-partners; they need to become earners as Bangladeshi society is very conservative and patriarchal.[19] The society largely relies on the arranged marriage system.[20][21]

There are strong records of guardian objections for various reasons whether the boy is not liked by the girl's parents or the boy is unemployed or of lower income status etc. In this case, the girl is forcibly married to a boy of her parents' choice, and if the girl elopes with another boy, her parents may file a police case against the boy. This social and cultural trend is still prevalent in Bangladeshi society.[19][22] Some couples may commit suicide for not being supported by their families and society.[18]

In Egypt

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 religions. Such marriages sometimes result in sectarian violence. According to Egyptian law, a man from another religion must convert to Islam to marry a Muslim woman. However, a Christian woman 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.[23]

In Iran

In Iran, marriage is bound by Islam and religious values. Accordingly, only two types of marriage, permanent and interrupted (temporary or Sigheh), have been recognized by the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Based on Article 1043 of the Civil Code states: The marriage of a girl who has not married previously is dependent on the permission of her father or her paternal grandfather even if she has reached the full age of majority. If, however, the father or the paternal grandfather withhold the permission without justifiable reason, the girl can refer to the Special Civil Court giving full particulars of the man whom she wants to marry and also the terms of the marriage and the dowry money agreed upon and notify her father or her paternal grandfather through that Court of the foregoing particulars The Court can issue a permission for marriage fifteen days after the date of notification to the guardian if no response has been received from the guardian to satisfy refusal.[24][25] However, due to the various changes that have occurred in Iranian society and culture, girls and boys have found more freedom in choosing a spouse.[26][27][28]

See also


  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. 17 May 2005. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Ten key moments in the history of marriage". BBC News. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  6. ^ "NDTV mid-term poll: Does India still want arranged marriages?". NDTV. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. ^ Tandon, Aditi (5 July 2010). "Inter-caste ties behind most honour crimes. Just 3% cases due to same gotra marriages, says new survey". The Tribune (India). Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  8. ^ "Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India". International Center for Research on Women.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Bansal, Pallavi (22 September 2015). "Arranged marriages losing respect in India?". Times of India. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  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. ^ Syed Samiul Bashar Anik (22 July 2019). "Alarming spike in mob justice". Dhaka Tribune.
  15. ^ Towheed Feroze (30 March 2014). "Love, elopement, and an unopened prophylactic". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  16. ^ Nasrin Siraj (28 March 2017). "The Freedom of (not) being married in Bangladesh". newagebd.net. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Love, elopement, and all that". dhakatribune.com. Dhaka Tribune. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Couple, student commit 'suicide' in Dhaka". bdnews24.com. Bdnews24.com. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  19. ^ a b Lewis 2011.
  20. ^ "To Love In Bangladesh". HuffPost. 19 May 2014.
  21. ^ "6 Places In The World Where Arranged Marriages Is Traditional & Historically Practiced". Elite Daily. 5 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Jailed for love". The Daily Star. 3 August 2019.
  23. ^ "Egypt: The forbidden love of interfaith romances". BBC News. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  24. ^ Article 1043 Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  25. ^ Ahmady, Kameel Et al 2021: House with Open Door (book) (A comprehensive research study on white marriage (cohabitation) in Iran). Mehri Publication, London-UK. 158.
  26. ^ Ahmady, Kameel (8 October 2021). "CHANGING THE ATTITUDE OF YOUNG PEOPLE TOWARDS MARRIAGE WITH A FOCUS ON LAW AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS SUCH AS RELIGION AND CUSTOM". Psychology and Education Journal. 58 (4): 5233–5244. ISSN 1553-6939.
  27. ^ Mohammadkhani, Shahram; Hasani, Jafar; Rasouli, Samira Sadat; Akbari, Mehdi (2019). "Conceptualization of Addiction to Romantic Relationships: A Conceptual Model". International Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences. 6 (4): 29–38. doi:10.22037/ijabs.v6i6.27971. ISSN 2423-5253.
  28. ^ "Investigating the Contemporary Lifestyle of Iranian Society An Analysis of Travel Style and Cultural Marketings". Tourism of Culture.