Marriage : Rules Of Mate Selection


Mate selection is a social process through which individuals choose a partner for romantic relationships or marriage. The rules of mate selection are shaped by social institutions, which are the structures and norms that guide human behavior in different social contexts.

Social institutions play a crucial role in regulating mate selection practices and determining the acceptable criteria for choosing a partner. These institutions include family, religion, education, media, and government, among others. Each institution has its own rules and norms that influence the way people think about and approach mate selection.

For example, family plays a significant role in mate selection in many cultures, where parents or elders are involved in the process of choosing a partner for their children. Religion may also influence mate selection criteria by emphasizing certain moral and ethical values that are desirable in a partner. Education can also play a role by providing opportunities for individuals to meet potential partners who share their interests and values. Media, through various forms of communication such as movies and social media, can also shape people's expectations and preferences in mate selection.

Moreover, government institutions can also influence mate selection practices by regulating laws related to marriage, divorce, and child custody. For instance, in some countries, the government may regulate who can legally marry or the age at which someone can get married.

K.M. Kapadia is a sociologist who has extensively studied the process of mate selection in different cultures. He has proposed a three-fold classification to understand the procedure of mate selection. The three sub-headings he has discussed are:

  • The parties to selection
  • The field of selection
  • The criteria of selection

THE PARTIES TO SELECTION : The parties involved in mate selection may vary depending on cultural and social context. In some cultures, it is common for parents or elders to play an active role in choosing a partner for their children. In other cultures, mate selection is primarily the decision of the couple. Kapadia argues that the involvement of different parties can have significant implications for the mate selection process. For instance, the involvement of parents or elders may lead to greater emphasis on traditional values, such as religion or caste, in selecting a partner. On the other hand, individualistic cultures may prioritize personal choice and compatibility between partners.

THE FIELD OF SELECTION : The second sub-heading refers to the social settings where individuals meet potential partners. These settings may include schools, workplaces, religious institutions, social clubs, or online dating platforms. The field of selection can shape the characteristics and qualities of potential partners who are available for selection. For example, individuals who attend elite universities or work in high-status occupations may have a smaller pool of potential partners who share their socio-economic status. In contrast, online dating platforms may provide access to a broader range of potential partners but may also involve greater competition.

THE CRITERIA OF SELECTION : The third sub-heading refers to the qualities or traits that individuals consider when choosing a partner. These criteria may vary across cultures and social classes and may also change over time. Kapadia identifies several categories of criteria that individuals may consider when selecting a partner, including physical attractiveness, socio-economic status, educational background, personality traits, religious beliefs, and cultural values. The relative importance of these criteria may depend on factors such as age, gender, and cultural context. For example, research suggests that women tend to place greater emphasis on socio-economic status and educational background than men when selecting a partner.


In recent years, there has been a trend towards lavish expenditure on weddings, particularly in certain cultures and social classes. This trend has been driven by various factors, including increased disposable income, the desire for social status and prestige, and the influence of media and advertising.

One of the primary ways in which lavish expenditure is displayed in weddings is through elaborate decoration and lighting arrangements. Many families hire professional decorators to create ornate backdrops, floral arrangements, and lighting displays, often using expensive materials such as silk and crystals. These decorations are meant to create a sense of grandeur and extravagance and to impress guests.

Another significant expense in lavish weddings is the pandal, which is a temporary structure constructed for the wedding ceremony. These structures can be quite elaborate, with intricate designs and expensive materials. The pandal is meant to provide a grand setting for the wedding ceremony and to create a memorable experience for guests.

Feasting is also a crucial part of many wedding celebrations. In lavish weddings, large amounts of money may be spent on the food and drinks served to guests. Families often hire professional caterers and serve multiple courses of food, including traditional dishes and exotic delicacies.

In addition to the above expenses, pomp and show are also prevalent in lavish weddings. This may include hiring a procession of luxury cars or horses, setting off fireworks, and organizing live music and entertainment. Gifts are also often displayed as part of the wedding, with the couple receiving expensive jewelry, clothing, and other luxury items.

Overall, the trend towards lavish expenditure on weddings reflects a desire for social status and prestige, as well as a willingness to spend significant amounts of money on creating memorable experiences for guests. While this trend is more prevalent in certain cultures and social classes, it has become increasingly visible in many parts of the world due to the influence of media and advertising.


In conclusion, the trend towards lavish expenditure on weddings is a reflection of the changing social and cultural norms surrounding marriage and family. While traditional values of marriage may have emphasized modesty and simplicity, modern trends emphasize the importance of creating a memorable and impressive experience for guests. This trend is driven by various factors, including increased disposable income, social status, and the influence of media and advertising. However, it is important to note that this trend is not universal and may vary significantly across cultures and social classes. Ultimately, the decision to spend large amounts on weddings is a personal one, and individuals and families must weigh the benefits and costs of such expenditures.