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Sikhism: Are marriages arranged in the Sikh tradition?
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Q: Are marriages arranged in the Sikh tradition?

A: Culturally, Arranged marriages have been a tradition for Sikhs but Sikhs do not object to non-arranged marriages. Sikhs are free to choose their own life partner and more and more Sikhs presently find their own partner. Sikhism does not specify that marriage should be arranged, rather this practiced is influenced by culture, not religion.

In case of arranged marriage, the parents look for a partner for their son or daughter. The arranged marriage is performed with the approval of both bride and the groom. There is no restriction as far as Sikhism is concerned, as to whether one must choose arranged marriage or not. Sikhs can choose their own partners. Mostly it is considered best, when the life partner is chosen with the consent of the parents. Most importantly, Sikhs are to choose a partner with similar belief system, preferably Sikhs. Marriage with a Sikh is preferred because God, spirituality, and religion are major part of one’s life. If there are similarities in the belief system, the marriage has a higher rate of success.

People from other cultures do not always properly interpret the word ‘arranged’. An arranged marriage does not mean forcing a boy or a girl into wedlock of parents' choice. It is agreeing to marriage proposed by mutual discussion between the boy and the girl on one side and his and her parents and relatives on the other. This is in fact selecting the right partner with the approval of all. Most importantly the boy and girl themselves must get to know each other to convey their consent to their parents. If the match is not suitable, both boy and girl’s family keep searching for a suitable match. Many families talk to multiple matches before making their decision. If either the boy or the girl refuses to the match, the search continues.

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