Marriage is a legal obligation or social institution which binds two people together as husband and wife. It establishes rights and obligations amongst spouses, children and in-laws. It is considered to be a momentous union in every society. It is significant in terms of providing security, emotional support and fulfilling economical, social, cultural and physical needs – which are the natural cravings of young adults that drive them towards marriage. It is a foundation based on personal responsibilities which establish the backbone of civilizations.
The study sought to investigate the differentiations among males and females regarding preferences for future spouses. The selected participants included university undergraduates based in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Dubai. The segment of the study – which was randomly selected - composed of hundred and sixty undergraduates from nine universities. The results of the findings demonstrated substantial differences in preferences of males and females when it comes to selecting partners. The study revealed a few exceptions as well in terms of social skills – where majority of the boys and girls opted for outgoing spouses; duration of commitment – where a couple of moths’ commitment remained the top choice; status in society – where financially independent and working spouses were favoured; outward appearance – where majority of the males and females fancied physically attractive partners and where personality was concerned – majority of both genders desired amusing spouses and lastly, the internet was considered an immature source to look for spouses.
Design: The research design used in for the study was in the form of quantitative questionnaire.
Population of the Study: The population of the study was Pakistani born male and females. We gave our questionnaires to approximately hundred undergraduates; ranging between the ages of eighteen to twenty four.
Sample of the Study: The sample of the study comprised of 160 undergraduates; out of whom females were ninety (90) and males were seventy (70). They all belonged to reputed universities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Dubai such as Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology [SZABIST], Lahore University of Management Sciences [LUMS], Institute of Business Administration [IBA]; Institute of Business Management [CBM], Iqra University [IU], DOW Medical College, Ziauddin University and Royal Holloway University of London.
Instrumentation: The research instrument used for data collection in this study is a questionnaire titled “Preferences of Youth for their future spouses” designed by university undergraduates. The questionnaire included questions related to their personal preferences- age, social class and complexion, what qualities do them like in their spouses. The questions were designed in a way that we can obtain their views on outer beauty, physical attractiveness, traits, and socio- economic status.
Data Collection Procedure: An online website specifically designed for drawing up gender-based questionnaires was used. We attained the data by distributing the questionnaires by mailing them to our samples via a social networking site.
Statement of Hypothesis
Following is a comparative analysis of the preferences of males and females concerning their future partners. Majority of the females opted for males that were slightly elder to them – their percentage amounting to 75 percent. Most of the males also wanted their partners to be younger than them – the percentage being as high as 68.4 percent. The percentage of females who wanted partners of the same age was 5 percent, whereas for males it was 10.53 percent. 2.5 percent females wanted a partner who was younger to them, 5 percent wanted much older partners and for another 5 percent, age was not the concern. On the other hand, 2.63 percent males wanted much younger female partners, another 2.63 percent wanted much older partners and to the rest of the 10.53 percent, age did not matter.
In terms of education, majority of the boys and girls wanted post-graduate partners, with females at 80 percent and males at 50 percent. The meager 7.5 percent of the females wanted partners with undergraduate degrees, whereas males with Doctorate in Philosophy [PhD] were desired by 12.5 percent of the females. On the contrary, 26.32 percent of the males wanted female partners with under-graduate degrees, 7.89 percent with PhD and 5.26 percent wanted females who had studied till Intermediate and A-Levels. 2.63 percent of the males wanted a female partner who had no education and to 7.89% of the males, the standards of education did not matter.
Where sports were concerned, majority of the females – 48.7 percent – wanted partners who played sports every now and then, whereas 68.42 percent of the males and 35.9 percent females did not care about having sporty female and male partners respectively. 15.4 percent females and 2.63 percent males wanted partners whose indulgence level in sports was high. Another 2.63 percent males wanted females who did not play sports and 26.32 percent males wanted females who played sports every now and then.
Considering social skills, 90 percent females and 52.63 percent males wanted outgoing partners, with only 10 percent females and 31.58 percent males opting for reserved partners. 13.16 percent and 2.63 percent males opted for shy and party girls respectively, with none of the females wanting neither partying nor shy males.
There were close variations in marriage preferences as well, with 40 percent females and 52.63 percent males favouring love marriages and 17.5 percent females and 18.42 percent males choosing arranged marriage. Lastly, to 42.5 percent females and 28.95 percent males, this issue was of least importance.
When questioned on the duration of commitment, 7.9 percent females and 22.22 percent males responded that they preferred love at first sight. 13.2 percent females and 13.89 percent males chose a month’s commitment, 31.6 percent females and 27.8 percent males selected a couple of months’ commitment, 18.4 percent and females and 16.7 percent males preferred a year’s commitment and 28.9 percent females and 19.44 percent males would rather have several years’ commitment before finally settling down.
In terms of complexion, majority of the females fancied partners with wheatish complexions. Males rather have rather favoured fair-skinned partners – with majority going as high as 60.53 percent. Only 22.5 percent females and 13.16 percent males had preferences for fair-skinned partners and wheatish complexioned partners respectively. 2.63 percent of the males would have rather had pale-skinned female partners and to 42.5 percent females and 23.68 percent males complexion did not matter.
On intelligence, 2.63 percent males wanted partners with below average intelligence; 7.5 percent females and 23.6 percent males wished for partners with average intelligence; 45 percent females and 28.95 percent males desired very smart partners; 40 percent females and 34.21 percent males wanted spouses who were smart in their fields and to 7.5 percent females and 10.53 percent males, intelligence did not matter.
As for status, the highest number of males at 26.32 percent and females at 70 percent wanted their partners to be financially independent. Only 2.63 percent males and 25 percent females wanted well-off partners. Moreover, 2.5 percent of the females wanted partners of middle class and to another 2.5 percent, status did not matter. Only 2.63 percent of the males had preferences for partners of working class.
The response on preferences for working and house – wife or husband, 100 percent females and 60.53 percent males were inclined towards working husbands and wives respectively. Only 39.47 percent of the males had a fondness for housewives. Where jobs were concerned, 52.5 percent females preferred businessmen, 7.5 percent preferred doctors and to 27.5 percent, it did not matter. On the other hand, 21.5 percent males wanted wives to be surgeons, 31.58 percent wanted teachers, 2.63 percent desired chefs and models and to 42.11 percent, job was not a concern.
There were surprising variations in relationship preferences as well; 2.5 percent females wanted to marry their cousins; 25 percent females and 18.42 percent males wanted to marry their friends; 2- percent females and 23.68 percent males wanted best friends to be their spouses; 15 percent females and 2.63 percent males opted for acquaintances; choice of parents was the first option for 17.5 percent females and 23.68 percent males and lastly, relationship was not the primary concern of 20 percent females and 31.58 percent males.
When questioned on the importance of outward appearance, 61.5 percent females and 76.32 percent males responded affirmatively. Facial features were considered to be the most important by 53.6 percent of the females and 70.59 percent males. Height was considered vital only by 32.1 percent females and 5.88 percent males. Weight was also an important factor to 3.6 percent females and 14.71 percent males. Only 8.8 percent males had a liking for their partner’s hair. Moreover, where dressing was concerned, 31.58 percent males opted for eastern; 21.5 percent for Hijabi, 15.79 percent for casual, 13.2 percent for a person who changed looks frequently, 1o.53 percent for modern and westernized and only 7.89 percent for completely covered or niqaabi person.
In terms of personality, majority of the females at 30.3 percent and males at 24.53 percent had a fondness for funny spouses. 4.6 percent females and 14.15 percent males opted for introversive, reserved partners. 8.3 percent females and 5.66 percent males had a liking for somber partners. Outgoing or extroversive partners were ultimate favourites of 26.6 percent females 20.75 percent males. Religious partners were selected by 20.2 percent females and 22 percent males.
When asked whether internet was a good opportunity to look for a spouse, only 18.92 percent males responded in the affirmative. Otherwise, it was considered risky and unsafe by 47.5 percent females and 27.63 percent males. It was also considered immature by 52.5 percent females and 54.5 percent males.
When questioned whether assistance with domestic chores was needed, 35 percent females and 47.37 percent males responded positively and 2.5 percent females and 7.89 percent males negatively. Lastly, 62.5 percent females and 44.74 percent males seldom needed help.
Participants were also asked whether they wanted their spouses to have male or female friends. An affirmative response was received from 17.5 percent females and 13.16 percent males, negative from 15 percent females and 34.21 percent males and to 67.5 percent females and 52.63 percent males, it did not matter.
Last but not the least, participants were questioned whether they would marry males or females who had histories or boyfriends or girlfriends. A positive response was received by 27.5 percent females and 21.5 percent males and disapproving by 20 percent females and 34.21 percent males. For 52.5 percent females and 44.74 percent males, it was not a concern.
The results showed that women underlined on characteristics such as intellect and financial stability. Males, however, accentuated physical appearances. There weren’t any significant differences in personality types they wished to have. Apparently, many of their answers were influenced by the cultural norms of society and the social media.