What is an “unconventional relationship”?Today, we are used to marriages involving oneman and one woman who love each other andlive in the same place. However, there aremany other types of relationships that are not“conventional” or usual. If a relationship isunusual, or strange we might call it an“unconventional relationship”.
Opening Discussion• What is a “conventional relationship” like?• What is the normal way for a man and woman to be married?• Can you think of some people you know that are in a marriage or relationship that you think is a little bit strange?
Arranged MarriageAn arranged marriage is a practice in whichsomeone other than the couple gettingmarried makes the selection of the personsto be wed, meanwhile curtailing or avoidingthe process of courtship. Such marriages haddeep roots in royal and aristocratic familiesaround the world. Arranged marriages areusually seen in Indian, traditional Europeanand African cultures, especially amongroyalty, and are usually decided by theparents or an older family member. Thematch could be selected by parents, amatchmaking agent, matrimonial site, or atrusted third party.
Shotgun Wedding A shotgun wedding is a form of forced marriage occasioned by an unplanned pregnancy. Some religions and cultures consider it a moral imperative to marry in such a situation, based on reasoning that premarital sex or out-of-wedlock births are sinful, sanctioned by law, or otherwise stigmatized. The phrase is from American English, though it is also used in other parts of the world. It is based on a scenario in which the pregnant females father resorts to coercion (such as threatening with a shotgun) to ensure that the male partner who caused the females pregnancy goes through with it, sometimes even following the man to the altar to prevent his escape.
Mail-order brideA Mail-order bride is a woman who lists herself incatalogs (online or otherwise) and is selected bymen for marriage. Although historically mail-orderbrides came from well-developed areas to marrymen in overseas colonies and frontier lands, thetrend has reversed. Recently, the trend is towardswomen living in developing countries seeking menin more-developed countries.Since the collapse of the Soviet Union largenumbers of eastern European women haveadvertised themselves in such a way, primarilyfrom Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. Menwho list themselves in such publications arereferred to as "mail-order husbands". Mail-orderhusbands come from primarily (in alphabeticalorder) Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan,Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United Kingdomand the United States.
What do you think?• What do you think of arranged marriages? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of such a relationship?• Have you ever heard of a “shotgun wedding” before? What do you think about this idea?• Would you ever consider becoming a “mail- order bride/husband”?
Open marriage Open marriage typically refers to a marriage in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual relationships, without this being regarded as cheating. There are many different styles of open marriage (such as swinging and polyamory), each with the partners having varying levels of input on their spouses activities. Open marriages place high value on honesty, especially of needs and wants. In the developed world, open marriages are a rare, but well-known practice. However, surveys show that large majorities of people still disapprove of extramarital sexual activity.
PolygamyPolygamy (from πολύς γάμος polys gamos,translated literally in Late Greek as "oftenmarried") is a marriage which includesmore than two partners. When a man ismarried to more than one wife at a time,the relationship is called polygyny, andthere is no marriage bond between thewives; and when a woman is married tomore than one husband at a time, it iscalled polyandry, and there is no marriagebond between the husbands. Polygamy iscommonly accepted in some parts of Asia,Africa, and the Islamic world.
Group marriage Group marriage, (a form of polyamory) is a marriage-like arrangement between more than two people. Usually consisting of three to six adults, all partners live together, share finances, children, and household responsibilities. Depending on the sexual orientation of the members, all adults in the family are sexual partners. For instance, if all members are heterosexual, all the women have sexual relationships with all the men. If the women are bisexual, they may have sexual relationships with the women as well as the men. And so on. However, this is a closed system, and sex is only allowed between (adult, non-related) family members--no outside sexual relationships are allowed.
What do you think?• Do you think marriage is necessary?• What do you think of “open marriages”? Is it a good way for couples to stay together, or is it gross?• Have you ever heard of a “group marriage”? What kind of people do you think this kind of relationship is suitable for? If you would like to review this English corner, go to www.englishslide.com