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Exchange marriage is most common in societies that have a unilineal descent system emphasizing the male line (patrilineality) and a consistent expectation of postmarital residence with or near the groom’s family (patrilocality).In such cases, the symmetry of an alliance is often maintained by a systematic exchange: whenever a marriage is arranged between a daughter from group A and a son from group B, a marriage between a daughter from group B and a son from group A is also arranged.

When these processes are repeated by subsequent generations, the practice is known as cross-cousin marriage A sham marriage is a union (marriage) motivated not so much by love but instead by a desire for political advantage or personal convenience.

The universality of marriage is attributed to the many basic social and personal functions it performs, such as procreation, regulation of sexual behaviour, care of children and their education and socialization, regulation of lines of descent, division of labour between the sexes, economic production and consumption, and satisfaction of personal needs for social status, affection, and companionship.

Until modern times marriage was rarely a matter of free choice, and it was rarely motivated by romantic love.

The assumption is that love between the partners comes after marriage, and much thought is given to the socioeconomic advantages accruing to the larger family from the match.

Some form of dowry or bridewealth is almost universal in societies that use arranged marriages.

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