The expected finding of the study is that there are significant differences in personal standards for choosing a spouse between students in KU and UK. The differences in the personal standards are due to cultural factors that influence perceptions of students in the two universities. Comparative analysis of the eastern and western cultures shows that they have different cultures, which influence how people choose their spouse. While the western culture is very permissive and liberal in allowing young people to choose their spouse, the eastern culture is somewhat restrictive as it dictates how young people choose their spouse.
Lalonde, Hynie, Pannu, and Tatla (2004) argue that cultural factors determine the nature of relationships, which people from diverse cultures develop, and thus influence the choice of marriage partners. Since UK students represent western culture while KU students represent eastern culture, they uphold cultural beliefs that influence choices of their spouses. In this view, the expected finding of the study is that the KU students perceive that their culture is very restrictive when compared to the perceptions of the UK students who perceive their culture as liberal.
Race, language, and social pressure also determine how individuals choose their spouse. Lalonde, Hynie, Pannu, and Tatla (2004) state that the relationships that people from diverse cultures develop are dependent on race, language, and social environment under which they live. For the UK students live in a liberal society, they tend to associate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the language that UK students predominantly use is English, which a significant number of people across the world speak.
The western society is also very liberal as it allows people to interact freely irrespective of their social, racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds. In contrast, the dominant language of the KU students is Arabic language, which limits their interaction with many people across the world. Furthermore, restrictive nature of the society limits how students interact with their peers and foreigners, and consequently dictates how they choose their spouse. On this basis, the expected study finding is that, race, language, and social pressure dictate more on how students choose their spouse in KU than in the UK.
Since family is an integral unit of society, it reflects cultural values, principles, and norms that the society upholds. From this perspective, the study expects that families in western world dictate how their children choose their spouse, while families in eastern world provide freedom to their children when choosing their spouses. The differences in the way families from eastern and western worlds control their children reflect the cultural values, norms, and principles.
According to Buunk, Park, and Dubbs (2008), parents and relatives have significant influence on the decisions of children in choosing their spouses because they are people who exist in the immediate social environment. This implies that family is a social environment that directly dictates how students choose their spouse. Since the western families subscribe to western culture, they tend to provide freedom to their children, unlike the eastern families that subscribe to the eastern culture, which is very restrictive. In this case, the expected finding of the study is that the western families are relatively liberal than the eastern families, and thus they do not influence decisions of their children in matters that deals with relationships and choice of spouses.
Given that religion plays a significant role in shaping cultural values, norms, and principles, it influences the development of marriage and families because they are social units in the society. Smith (1973) argues that the structure of the family varies from one culture to another depending on religion, culture, and norms. Evidently, while the dominant religion in the western world is Christianity, the dominant religion in the eastern world is Islam.
Christianity usually allows people to choose their spouse. Moreover, Christianity defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and thus disregards polygamy and same-sex marriages. Similarly, Islam recognizes marriage as a union between man and woman and support polygamy, but rejects same-sex marriages. Hence, the difference in the perceptions of the UK and KU students is partly due to their respective religions.
However, modern Christians have become so liberal in that they allow people to form same-sex marriages. With the advent of human rights, modern Christians no longer perceive same-sex marriage as a human rights’ issue rather than a moral issue. In contrast, Islam abhors same-sex marriages, and they do not feature in the eastern world. Therefore, the nature of religion predicts the formation and nature of families. In this case, the expected finding of the study is that the western religion is less restrictive than the eastern religion, which dictates every aspect of humanity.
Application to Practice
The finding that culture, race, language, and social pressure influence how students choose their spouses is very important in intercultural studies. Social scientists and psychologists have been battling with issues that emanate from families due to cultural differences.
To enhance understanding of the intercultural issues that affect modern families, an examination of cultural factors is essential. In this view, if social scientists and psychologists understand the dynamics of the intercultural marriages, they can elucidate how effective relationships occur and devise ways of resolving pertinent issues that affect modern marriages and families. Essentially, the finding shows that culture, race, language, and social pressure are significant determinants of the nature of spouses that individuals choose in the society.
The finding that families have significant influence on the decisions that their children make regarding the choice of spouse is important in establishing the role of families in shaping children. Application of the finding in the examination and analysis of behaviors among children could help in predicting the nature of spouses that they would choose. The way parents and relatives bring up children determine their lifestyles, and consequently how they would choose their spouse. In this view, the finding is important in parenting, as parents need to know the extent to which they can influence their children with the objective of helping them to choose appropriate spouses.
Since religion determines the morality of people in the society, the finding that religious beliefs, values, and principles dictate the nature and structure of marriages in the society is important in explaining the occurrence of divorce, polygamy, and same-sex marriages. Cases of divorce and same-sex marriages are dominant in the western society when compared to the eastern society. In this view, the finding is integral in elucidating the occurrence of divorce, polygamy, same-sex marriages and other issues that are affecting modern marriages and families.
Implications of Findings on Future Research
Since the findings suggests that culture influence how students choose their spouse, future study is necessary to establish if the culture has positive or negative influence on the choice of spouses. Given that eastern culture is restrictive while the western culture is liberal, they have different influence on the choices that students make when choosing their spouses. In this view, future research is essential to establish if the liberty of western culture or restriction of eastern culture is good or bad for the modern society.
Apparently, eastern cultures are gradually aping western culture, yet the western society is grappling with issues of divorce and same-sex marriages. The understanding of the influence of each of these two cultures aids in the adoption of appropriate cultures that support the institution of marriage and family in the society.
Weaknesses and Limitations
As the study will use the sample size of 200 participants, the sample has some weaknesses and potential limitations. The issue of representation is a limitation because both universities have thousands of students. The sample size of 200 will limit the external validity of the findings because it represents barely 1% of the population. Moreover, since the students are from one university in the eastern world and another university in the western world, the universities do not partly represent respective cultures. In this view, the sample size of 200 and comparative study of two universities reduces the external validity of the findings, and consequently their generalizability.
Other weaknesses and limitations that relate to the study are that of the reliability of the questionnaire and validity of information, which students will provide. Given that the questionnaire uses Likert scaled statements, Carter (2009) asserts that construction of Likert scaled statements is subjective, as it varies from one person to another.
The use of Likert statements has some inaccuracies because the statements do not cover all cultural variables that influence how students choose spouses. In addition, the validity of the information that students will provide is questionable because it depends on social, economic, and cultural perceptions. Some students may provide certain information because of their social status and not necessarily because of their cultural background. Hence, the reliability of the questionnaires and validity of collected data need consideration in the interpretation the research findings.
Buunk, A., Park, J., & Dubbs, S. (2008). Parents Offspring Conflict in Mate Preferences. Review of General Psychology, 12(1), 47-62.
Lalonde, R., Hynie, M., Pannu, M., & Tatla, S. (2004). Relationships Do Second Generation South Asian Canadians Want a Traditional Partner. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35(5), 503-524.
Smith, D. (1973). Parental Power and Marriage Patterns: An Analysis of Historical Trends in Hingham, Massachusetts. Journal of Marriage and Family, 35(3), 419-428.