Personal Standards for Choosing a Spouse

Subject: Family, Life & Experiences
Pages: 9
Words: 2503
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: PhD


An understanding of the issues involved in any research has been considered critical in developing a clear picture of the significance of any type of research study. This plays a role in ensuring that the approaches adopted by a research have been placed in their right context. This paper presents the significance and nature of the research on personal standards when choosing a spouse. It aims at developing a clear picture on the significance of the research, how the research will be undertaken, gaps in literature and the importance of the study on existing knowledge and practice.

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Description of the problem

There is no doubt on the importance of the role played by culture and cultural diversity in learning, relationship building and sharing of resources when ensuring societal cohesiveness. The ability to enhance unity by mitigating the risks that are associated with segregation and discriminations is indeed critical as shall be explored in this paper (Al-Hamly & Coombe, 2005). It is apparent that diversity of cultures plays a crucial role in developing relationships and the confidence with which an individual in a particular culture can obtain a spouse. Cultural diversity is therefore an important operational variable and understanding its impact on spouse selection ought to be understood and addressed effectively.

Numerous cultural issues and practices exist in the process of finding a spouse among communities in the West and the East. Unique trends are also exhibited among communities located across the globe. An understanding of this reality with particular focus on the East and Western societies is critical for this study. It is essential in developing a clear picture of the specific personal standards that these cultures require for an individual to get a spouse.

As such, it is imperative to note that this is central to numerous development and researches that have been conducted in the past especially in regards to the impact of culture when seeking a spouse. Determining the best approaches to culture and other factors that have a significant effect on how students think about choosing the perfect person to share their lives with are also pertinent in this research study.

Significance of the problem and rationale

This study has largely been motivated by the role that diversity of cultures plays on the standards for choosing a life partner among Kuwait University Students in the east and those in the University of Kentucky in the western world. No one can deny that culture impacts and shapes an individual’s perspective on how to select and treat a spouse, and also regard marriage and family (Andreasen, 2005). While this is in itself not a negative factor, culture provides a platform upon which an individual’s standards are measured by adhering to set rules, beliefs, guidelines and cultural elements (Anthias & Lloyd, 2002).

Students of Kentucky University unlike those in Kuwait University perceive arranged marriage as a negative culture as it manifests in terms of inequality. In particular, making choices and a set of beliefs in which a particular group feels superior to others is usually vital in this type of marriage. In most cases, they have to understand the concepts of their traditions alongside the notions that drive their respective cultures. To some students, culture is perceived as a habit that informs and controls the manner in which people view each other (Dan, 2004). As such, they hold a perception that parents in Arabia discriminate against their children’s ability to make their own spouse choices and perform actions that adversely affect those targeted. It is not surprising that Kuwaiti students are shifting to the Western culture.

It has also been thought among students of Kuwaiti that culture is so intense in institutional systems of learning whereby a lot of restrictions are practiced. This is indeed true since in these institutions, interaction between local and international students is limited (Dan, 2004). When it comes to spouse selection, students in Arabia act negatively towards approaches made by students from the West. This is a clear indication of the influence of culture. In both universities, there is an agreement that that the actions and perceptions when choosing a spouse are largely motivated by culture.

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The role played by culture in the western world differs quite a bit with those of Arabs especially on the ideal notion of choosing a spouse. In the West, mutual attractions and love are the basis for picking a spouse, a factor that has been assaulted by the increasing rates of polygamy and same sex marriage (Arthur, 2007). In Arabia, the choice of a partner in most cases is taken away from an individual as marriages are mostly arranged.

The latter is commonly referred to as arranged marriage (Deal & Peterson, 2009). It is thus apparent that the study whose main aim is to discern the impact of these two cultures, seeks to establish the hurdle they pose when choosing a spouse and the actual roles that may be played to ensure such cultures actively contribute to social development. It is worth mentioning that even with the differences, love is an aspect shown to have a close correlation to the act of choosing a spouse or being forced to marry a chosen spouse in both social and cultural systems (Garcia, 2001). This implies that the study has the potential of affecting the ease of picking a spouse bearing in mind that this practice can be controlled by both societies irrespective of culture.

Purpose of the study

Understanding cultural differences between communities on the subject of choosing a partner is critical in this study because it assists in determining key factors that may impact the act of marriage as an important rite of passage. The idea of finding a spouse among different cultures has become an issue that has drawn great attention especially on how diverse communities treat marriage. The concept of culture and its diversity among different societies have come to be accepted as a model of determining people’s comportment on matters such as relationships and future focus in marriage (Glasgow, 2003).

The role played by culture in the choice of spouses makes it an important operational variable for students in Kuwait University and those in the University of Kentucky. By developing a clear picture on the impacts of culture on selection of a spouse, it will be easy for individuals to deal with cultural barriers they are faced with and which are also important in ensuring that they achieve their desires. It is equally vital to comprehend various areas that scholars and researchers have denoted to be crucial especially with respect to personal standards that students from different cultures apply when choosing a spouse.


The following hypothesis has been developed to aid in addressing the required research question:

  • H0: About 30% of the student population do not think culture impacts negatively on the choice of a spouse.
  • H1: About 60% of the student population think that culture does not influence the choice of spouse by an individual.

Dependent and independent variables

The hypotheses above consist of two main variables namely the choice of spouse and culture. The freedom to choose a spouse is the dependent variable. In addition, it directly and indirectly rely on the ability of culture to progress at all levels. As indicated in H0, the independent variable will be the type of cultural practice employed by the host society whereby both Kentucky and Kuwait Universities are located while the dependent variable is the 30% population which consists of both institutions. This segment thinks that culture impacts negatively on students’ ability to choose spouses. The independent variable will facilitate its evaluation while the dependent variable will provide further platform for dictating the ability of the students to choose spouse after being subjected to it.

From H1, the independent variable is culture while abilities to freely choose spouse form the dependent variable. Independent variable will therefore be assessed against the views of the students towards its efficacy in improving their abilities to choose spouses. The ease that cultural integrations in the United States and the dynamics of culture create to relationships is an independent variable while the expected freedom and cooperation improvement will form the dependent variables. Under this consideration, the researcher will work on the assumption that the respondents will be conversant with the cultures related to choosing spouse as a key factor for their ability to figure out the implications of possible changes.

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Literature review

Summary of previous studies

The article entitled The ordinary concept of race by Hardimon (2003) brings out a fascinating revelation of how a particular culture can facilitate or act as a hurdle on the selection of a partner before marriage. It presents the main arguments in a holistic and convincing manner by adopting a broad perspective or view. The author cites that cultures of diverse communities are misconceived in conception and presentation, a factor that presents major setbacks on the choice and freedoms related to marriage. In the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the culture attached to marriage is mainly arranged relationships. Hence, this begs the question on whether the young people have a choice and if the foundation of such marriages is love (Haslanger, 2000).

Nuechterlein (2011) explains that the status quo and current conception about cultures in relation to marriage have been vastly researched. In the introduction, he explains that unlike the West, several cultures have established themselves on traditions and heritage of arranged marriage. This generally impacts the freedom of the youth who would want to make their own choices and may also affect those who migrate to other nations.

Comparatively, Kuwait University students and University of Kentucky students experience different effects on their cultures based on the arguments by Sharon (2008). This is due to the traditions which appear strongly rooted in Arabia than in the United States. Hence, the local students in Kuwait University may find themselves reluctant to oppose arranged marriages in order to save their families from the possibilities of losing dignity in the community (Sparks, 2000).

Besides, the article by Naǧmābādī and Suad (2006) is perhaps one of the best foundations that can be used to address the problem of culture in relation to choosing a marital partner. Its holistic outset can be reflected from the following major considerations. First, the authors appreciate the existing problem of cultural diversity and further dissect it to address the main source. Secondly, the article derives a highly applicable model of embracing change as the solution to the problem.

As a third consideration, this model appreciates the critical role that all stakeholders such as the families, the community, young men and private entities must play in overcoming the long existing uncertainties in embracing change. However, it is the emphasis of changing and/or abandoning certain traditions which according Nanda and Warms (2009) that has steered the whole shift whereby Kuwaiti students are adopting the Western culture of approaching their own choice of spouse not just with the main objective of making their own choices, but with strategic step by step orientation on change model.

Gaps in the literature

Despite the realization of the effect of culture and developments that are being made in bridging the existing cultural gap and the role played by information in creating awareness, forced and arranged marriages as well as cases of same sex marriages are on the increase in the USA and Arabia respectively (Winer, 2009). It is apparent that in the current day and age, culture and heritage are still major threats toward choosing a partner and also a major problem towards establishing proper and acceptable relationship (Markle, 2011).

The developments that are being observed by the presence and absence of culture restrictions are a reflection of the demand for more studies on the subject. Could culture be a source of learning and acceptance or is it a major stumbling block to an individual’s choice of a marriage partner? This is an area of research that has not been addressed by researchers though its significance in addressing the problem of choosing a spouse is quite clear.

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The methodology adopted in exploring and researching this case scenario is indeed vital towards developing a study whose findings are acceptable to an existing social system. It is fundamental that the investigation be designed in a manner that is appreciative of the role played by accuracy in ensuring that the findings of a research are acceptable. A presentation of the methodology that will be used in the study is the main goal of this chapter.

Theoretical/ conceptual basis

A review of the previous chapter shows that culture of a particular society plays an important role in shaping the perspective and actions of people in that society. One significant factor is the role it plays in finding a spouse by students in Kentucky University in comparison to Kuwait University students. There have been tremendous developments in cultural integration whereby students of diverse cultural backgrounds mingle and abandon or adopt new cultural systems. However, the same developments have been affected by lack of change seen in students who even though have migrated from their countries of origin, still cling to their traditions.

Besides, the freedom to choose a spouse in the West appears to give room to the spread of same sex relationships. An understanding of the magnitude of threat that this type of freedom creates t6end to fade in the face of forced marriages. Therefore, there is need to develop a clear picture of the magnitude of threats posed by cultural diversity that students in both universities face. A research to determine the validity of the existing findings is necessary because it plays an important role in highlighting the areas that may be lacking.

Data and data collection

Data collection is an integral step in any research that plays a role in determining the levels of accuracy that ought to be attained. It is imperative for data collection in any study be carried out in a manner that is appreciative of the role it plays in ensuring findings are accurate. The method of data collection for this study will be both qualitative and quantitative. Data will be collected from male and female American Kentucky University and Kuwaiti University students from different disciplines.

Primary data will be used to provide the analysis while secondary data will be employed in supporting the existing trends and conclusions after carrying out the comparisons. Structured questionnaires will be used to gather views, perceptions, and expectations of the respondents with reference to the effects of culture on choosing a spouse. To aid in seeking this research goal, the following questions will be used:

  • Are opinions of the most important criteria for choosing a spouse different between Kentucky University and Kuwait University students’? Is it significant?
  • What are some of these differences?
  • Why do you think Kuwait University students are shifting away from their traditions toward western students’ criteria?

Finally, review of the existing literature on the impact of culture on the choice of a spouse and marriage will also be addressed.


Al-Hamly M. & Coombe, C. (2005). To change or not to change: investigating the value of MCQ answer changing for Gulf Arab students. Language Testing 22(4), 509- 531.

Andreasen, R. (2005). The meaning of ‘race’: folk conceptions and the new biology of race. Journal of Philosophy 102, 94-106.

Anthias, F & Lloyd, C (2002). Rethinking anti-racisms: from theory to practice. London, UK: Routledge.

Arthur, J. (2007). Race, equality, and the burdens of history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dan, A.P. (2004). It’s not written here, but this is what happened: students’ cultural comprehension of textbook narratives on the Israeli-Arab conflict. American Educational Research Journal 41(4), 963-996.

Deal, T., & Peterson, K. D. (2009). Shaping school culture: Pitfalls, paradoxes, and promises. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Garcia, J. (2001). Racism and racial discourse, Philosophical Forum 32(2), 125-145.

Glasgow, J. (2003). On the new biology of race. Journal of Philosophy 100, 456-474.

Hardimon, M. (2003). The ordinary concept of race. Journal of Philosophy 100, 437- 455.

Haslanger, S. (2000). Gender and race: (What) Are They? (What) Do we want them to be? Nous 34(1), 31-55.

Markle, G. (2011). Constructions of citizenship among multinational corporations, International Journal of Business and Social Science: Special Issue 2(24), 283-293.

Naǧmābādī, A. & Suad, J. (2006). Encyclopedia of women & Islamic cultures: family, body, sexuality and health, Danvers, MA: Koninklijke Brill Incorporates.

Nanda, S. & Warms, R. (2009). Culture counts: a concise introduction to cultural antropology, Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Nuechterlein, J. (2011). Race Matters. First Thing 6 (2), 3-5.

Sharon, E. (2008). Prelude to compatibility between human rights and intellectual property. Chicago Journal of International Law, 9(1), 171-211.

Sparks, J. (2000). The deconstruction of magic: Rereading, rethinking Erickson, Family process, 39(3) 307-311.

Winer, R. (2009). New communications approaches in marketing: issues and research directions, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23(2), 108-117.