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arranged marriage

Whenever I tell my friends that I've thought about getting married to a guy that my parents will pick for me, I always get the same response. But the more I learned about the traditions of my culture, the more I realized that our marriages are both a contract and a sacred journey across lifetimes.
At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women's Handicrafts. Nasreen is an outlier in her community. Typically, most Nepali girls marry between the ages of 15 and 18. The pressure to have a married daughter began to increase with each year Nasreen remained single however, and in 2014, Nasreen's parents decided that they had to take action. For Nasreen, this arranged marriage would have meant the end of Local Women's Handicrafts.
My parents have been married for 25 years. They're different in a lot of ways, but their marriage has survived through the hardships of immigrating to a new country. You might not guess it, but my parents had an arranged marriage. The Western narrative of an arranged marriage is quite severe: A family forces their oppressed daughter to marry a man 20 years her senior and she sees him for the first time at the altar. But the truth is in the language -- arranged marriage is not the same as forced marriage.
In my mind the modern day version of the 'arrangement' is boy and girl meet each other based on the recommendation of family or friends, it could be in a somewhat chaperoned setting or on their own, depending on how open-minded the respective families are. Both parties are equally allowed a say in the matter.
If we don't like the other person we don't have to date them again, and we certainly don't have to marry them. But according to statistics from the UN, that's not the case for everyone -- an estimated 55 per cent of marriages in the world are arranged.