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Generally, in the Christian community, the courts do not consider pregnancy a valid motive to grant permission for the marriage of a minor.Legislation has also abolished the possibility of reparatory marriage; in the past a person accused of rape or forceful abduction could avoid punishment by marrying the victim.In the southern end of the archipelago, where the majority of the Muslims live, a dowry is agreed on before a formal marriage arrangement is signed. D., Encyclopedia of Sexuality www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology, 2001 |~|] Love marriages with parental approval—as opposed to arranged marriages—are the norm although parents often play a role in choosing marriage partners for their children.The dowry, given by the bride’s parents to the groom, may be a large sum of money, property, or a sizable wedding present. Marriages have traditionally been monogamous although in some places, particularly Muslim and tribal areas, men have had more than one wife.
Because of the Western influence on women’s liberation, to be a single older woman is no longer considered a social disgrace or the result of any personal inadequacy. In the Muslim community, the parents of a girl between ages 14 and 16 may betroth her to an older man.However, men are expected to marry and if a man has not married by his late twenties, female relatives begin introducing him to potential brides. Young professionals wait until their late twenties to marry, and engagements of five to seven years are not uncommon.During this period, the couple becomes established in jobs, pays for the education of younger siblings, and acquires household items.Marriage has traditionally been regarded as the milestone to becoming an adult and young people were encouraged to get married as soon as possible.Marriages have traditionally been a way for elite, politically powerful families to unite.