Parents Select the Bride
CHOICE OF A WIFE THE PARENTS' PREROGATIVE
It is well known that in the East the parents of a young man select a bride for him. This custom goes back to early Old Testament times. When Esau married against the wishes of his parents, he caused ill-favor (Genesis 26:34, 35).
Reason for this parental privilege. Why did parents usually insist on their right to select a bride for their son? The new bride was to become a member of the bridegroom's clan, and therefore, the whole family was interested in knowing if she would be suitable. There is evidence that at least sometimes the son or daughter was consulted. Rebekah was asked if she was willing to go and become the wife of Isaac (Genesis 24:58). But the parents felt they had a right to make the choice.
Love after marriage. Orientals look at the love between husband and wife very much as Occidentals would look at love between a brother and a sister. It is indicated that the former should love each other because GOD chose them for each other. Orientals would say that husband and wife love each other, because GOD through the parents, selected them for each other. In other words, the usual Oriental idea is that love comes after marriage.
When Isaac and Rebekah were married, they had never seen each other before. Yet the Sacred Record says, "Isaac brought her into his mother's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her" (Genesis 24:67).
Love before marriage. Although it is true that most Oriental couples have no opportunity for love before marriage, yet the Bible gives some examples of that sort of love, that are worthy of note. The case of Jacob and Rachel is the most noted illustration of this. With him it was love at first sight (Genesis 29:10-18). Genesis describes his love for her with these memorable words: "And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her" (verse 20). Other examples of love before marriage would include Samson who loved "a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines" (Judges 14:2), and "Michal, Saul's daughter, who loved David," and afterwards became his wife (I Samuel 18:20).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]