Society - Relationships
By: - at July 3, 2013

15 Weird Reasons People Have Been Married

People have been getting married for centuries. Most of the time, those reasons have been quite standard: need to procreate, need to join two warring families, true love, and so on. But some people get married for reasons that really don't make sense to most people. Not that it matters to these folks. They decided to get married for reasons all of their own. Ranging from curses to reincarnation to the wishes of the spirit, people have gotten married for just as many strange reasons as common ones. Not all of these marital reasons are wise, nor are all of the marriage choices legal. But these marriages have all happened for very bizarre reasons.


15)  The Ghost Told Them to Marry
This might sound like something off a paranormal reality series, but quite a few couples have married because a ghost told them that they had to marry. One of the most scandalous, involved the marriage of an eight year old boy to a sixty-one year old woman. According to Global Grind, the eight year old had a vision in which an ancestor told him that he had to marry this woman, who already had six children. All six children were older than he was too. Daily Mall supplements this story with the explanation that otherwise horrible things would happen. The ancestor's ghost did not threaten to put a curse on the family. The marriage was intended just to prevent bad things from happening. It brought about a great deal of controversy, according to the Courier Journal. Neither families have informed the media what the reasons were behind this marriage aside from general discussion of preventing "bad things."

However, the marriage is not without precedent. Other couples have been married for similar reasons. It's not uncommon in some parts of Romania for couples to seek the wisdom of their ancestors and of certain spirits. This is also commonplace in Singapore, Thailand, and Mongolia.

14)  The Ghost Wanted to Get Married
Ghost marriageSometimes the ghost isn't just telling people to get married. Sometimes the ghost wants to get married himself. In certain parts of China, ghost marriages are quite common. According to the book, "Folk Religion," the term "ghost marriage" is one that includes many different possible scenarios and meanings, all relating to marriage. One form of ghost marriage occurs when a man dies without a wife. According to many local beliefs, the spirit of the male ghost comes back from the grave and begins to cause trouble either in the house of his family or in the house of the woman he wants to marry. Most of the time, this trouble involves illness of some sort that cannot be cured through normal means or a drastic increase in bad luck. According to "Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors," the appropriate solution reveals itself when the family enters into a seance to learn the reason for the illnesses, and the ghost then appears to request a bride. The parents must then obtain this bride at whatever the cost, as that is the only way to end the curse. Refusing such an offer is insulting and not permitted.

In Singapore though, the ghosts don't just want to marry living people. In "Ghost Marriages Among the Singapore Chinese: A Further Note," the author tells about ghosts who died and came back requesting weddings to other ghosts. The parents of these children then come together and prepared weddings for these children. The most famous account is that of a young Cantonese boy who died at the age of fourteen. His parents claimed that he came back and said that he could not be at peace until he married a Cantonese ghost girl who had also recently died. The parents put together a wedding so that the two could be united, and the wedding was just as elaborate as if they were living. Singapore has matchmakers who specialize in the matchmaking of the dead as well.

13)  The Fiance Died
Love SkullsSometimes tragedy strikes, and a couple who were supposed to get married are unable to get married. In certain countries in southeast Asia, this is no reason for the wedding to stop. In many of these local cultures, the only way that the woman can enter in to the afterlife is if she is married. Otherwise, she hangs around in the in between parts of the spiritual realms or she dies forever. Additionally, the common belief is that the young groom would in fact want to marry the woman. The catch here, according to National Geographic, is that the bride to be must complete both the wedding and the mourning rites at the same time. These are often quite elaborate. In some parts of Cantonese China though, she has no choice but to go through with this. Throughout her lifetime, she may not have sexual intercourse with anyone. While in most other scenarios the bride can divorce the groom, a ghost bride cannot divorce the groom in this case because the groom cannot give his consent. "Planet Marriage" lists this as being a troubling violation of women's rights, and it is still practiced despite attempts to outlaw it.

However, this is not an exclusively Eastern tradition. According to BBC, an Irish woman decided to marry her fiance after he was murdered. The wedding took place in the morgue before the funeral. The Catholic priest who conducted the service also performed the last rites. Her two children whom she had had with her fiance were also there. Rings were exchanged, and the groom was buried with his wedding ring.

12)  The Animal Wished to Marry

Charles Tombe married his goat:

In India, Sudan, and other countries, anyone who is caught having sex with an animal must follow through and marry it. According to "Bizarre Practices of the World," this applies to just about any animal, ranging from horses to pigs to goats. And some individuals have gone through with this. It is not considered an honorable thing, but it is considered necessary.

The practice is most common within Sudan and India. However, according to "Planet Marriage," it is practiced in other countries including Korea and Thailand. The most famous account involving this is Charles Tombe in Sudan. According to BBC, the owners of a goat caught Charles Tombe having sex with it. The elders required that he pay a dowry to the goat owners and then marry the animal, which he did. A similar account is that of an Indian woman who wanted to marry her favorite cobra, according to Hindustan Times. She had a big wedding with over 2,000 visitors and became a vegetarian in honor of her "husband."

11)  To Be a Caretaker to His Parents
Female BrideA common request of men these days is that all they want is for someone to take care of them. However, in some of the local cultures throughout southeastern Asia, that statement is made by the son's parents. If a son died without being married, then his parents had no one to help take care of them. So they would purchase a ghost bride, a woman who would marry their dead son. According to "Ancestors and Traditions," the woman would be required to live in the family home and serve the parents. She could never marry, but she would be a part of the patrilineage. "Adoption Customs" explains that in such situations, the son's parents would go on to adopt a male heir who would be the daughter-in-law's son. She would be expected to raise him and provide for him as a mother would. The reason that the daughter and the daughter's parents would agree to this though is that people in those cultures believed that the only way a woman could enter into the afterlife was if she was married. Additionally, the son's parents would pay very high prices for their sons' ghost wives.

10)  Exorcism
Animal LoveSome people think that exorcism customs in the United States and Europe are strange, but exorcisms of young girls in India are even stranger. According to, many of the local cultures within India believe that physical deformities in young girls are the result of a ghost or demon. The only way to purge this demon or ghost is for the disfigured girl to marry an animal. According to "Ancestors and Beliefs," dogs and goats are the most common "husbands." However, the girl is not required to have sex with the animal. She must care for it though. Later on in her life, she may in fact marry a man if she chooses and if she is cured. The cure is demonstrated through the absence of the deformity or the completion of a particular religious ceremony. The reason that they believe that this works is because dogs and goats are considered to be the hosts of ghosts in many cases or a reincarnated ghost. When the girl marries a dog or a goat, she joins the ghost within herself to the ghost in the animal. The two ghosts can then come together in marriage and leave both the girl and the animal alone. By law though, India does not recognize this as valid, but it is still practiced.

In some parts of India, the opposite is true. Parents give their daughters to the temple gods so that the gods may marry them and the girls may become possessed by the spirits. While this is technically illegal, it is still practiced regularly. The girls have no choice in this matter, and they are required to have sex with all followers of the gods who request it. According to the Regent Journal of International Law, efforts have been made to outlaw this and to enforce the laws that are already in existence. However, efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

9)  She's Fat Enough
Fat BrideIn most cultures of the Western world, slender and almost skeletal women are considered beautiful. However, in Mauritania, the fatter a woman is, the more beautiful she is. In fact, her ability to marry can depend on whether she is fat enough. "Africa Uncovered," a documentary that goes through some of the controversial practices in Africa to determine whether they are accurate, examines this practice. As it turns out, this practice is not only still continued, it is considered ideal. Force feedings start with girls when they are between the ages of five and seven. This is known as Leblouh or Gavage. It is not only considered socially acceptable, it is expected in many parts of the country. A woman cannot be married until she is fat enough if she wants a good husband. Currently, there are still fat farms, though these have gone largely underground. According to, the Mauritania culture realizes that this is largely socially unacceptable on a global scale, and it is considered inappropriate by most women's rights organizations. Girls may have their arms broken, and they may be beaten severely if they refuse to eat. If a girl vomits the food up, she will be forced to eat her own vomit so that nothing is wasted. This is considered a severe issue throughout a number of women's rights organizations.

8)  She's Going to Kill Her Husband
It's never a good sign if the families are worried that the bride is going to kill the groom. According to "Extremely Strange Wedding Traditions," all Indian women born under the sign of the Manglik is cursed. This is the astrological combination that involves the conjunction of Mars and Saturn. It involves their being under the seventh house, and trouble will always arise. The result for this woman is that she will be a curse and a great evil to her husband. The evil that she will traditionally cause is an early death.

Woman loving a tree

Thus, the solution is to marry the woman to a tree. It must be a young tree. Once she marries the tree, the curse attaches to the tree, and the bride's family burns the tree down or destroys it in some fashion. This then leaves the girl free to marry the man her parents choose as the curse can only strike once, according to "NuptialPedia."

7)  Tigers Were Going to Attack
Boy marries a dogSometimes these marriage stories seem too bizarre to be real. Both MSNBC and Reuters went to investigate the account of the Indian boy who the parents believed would be attacked by a tiger. The belief that the child might be attacked by a tiger is not so strange, but the fact that the only way to cure the child of this curse was to marry him to a dog. In the Munda tribe of India, children with tooth eruptions are considered cursed. This makes them more likely to be attacked by tigers and other predators. Because the child is cursed though, the tribal gods will not defend him until after he is married. The only solution then is to marry the child to a dog. This is yet another marital practice that is not recognized in official Indian law. However, it is a fairly common practice, according to Reuters. The dog is allowed to roam free, and the boy, when he grows up, can take on a human wife without having to file for divorce.

6)  The Chick's Liver Said It Was Alright
Holding a chickThe Daur people place great focus on the ability of a chick's liver to say who is to be married. According to "Bizarre Wedding Traditions," a man and a woman who wish to be married must take a live chick and place it on a cutting block. Then they must both take hold of a butcher knife and split the chick in half. After this, they must dissect the chick together to find the liver. According to "Planet Marriage," the man and woman can only get married and set a date for their marriage if the chick's liver demonstrates that it is appropriate. What the liver does to indicate that the marriage is permitted is unknown. It's considered a tribal secret, and most families who are part of the Daur culture practice it religiously. If a couple does not get the right answer from the chick's liver though, they can try again two weeks later. Supposedly, this can be done an unlimited number of times, implying that eventually, they could find a chick's liver that says it's alright for them to get married.

5)  Just a Temporary Fix
Muslim Slave WifeKnown as Nikah al Mut'ah, this scenario is a temporary marriage. It is practiced in several Muslim populated countries, although most modern Islam sects no longer officially recognize it, according to Hindustan Times. Shia Muslims do still practice this. All men have the option of entering into a temporary or permanent marriage. Temporary marriages are sometimes also known as pleasure marriages. They started out as marriages for slave girls. The girl had to do her husband's bidding in all ways. According to most women's rights organizations, these women are still nothing more than slaves who are obligated to provide sexual services as well. However, according to "Answering Ansar," a response to some of the concerns about this marriage form, it is considered to be a good opportunity for women to prepare themselves for marriage.

They are compensated at the end of their tenure, and then they are free to marry other men. The challenge, of course, is that most men in these countries aren't interested in taking on a permanent wife who has already been in a temporary marriage. So the primary way that they convince the girls to do this is through omens that indicate the importance. Or in some cases, according to Protecting Women's Rights, the girls are given no choice at all. For the men though, this is seen as being a better solution than frequenting a whore house or having multiple relationships until he finds his perfect permanent wife. The legal contract in the temporary marriage also prevents the temporary wife from seeking additional care and protection.

4)  To Set a World Record
The jury's out on whether these women decided to get married to set a world record or decided to set a world record when they were going to get married. Regardless, one bride in Guangzhou, China decided to set the record for the longest bridal train in the world. The train itself was more than 600 feet long, and it weighed over 200 pounds, according to the "Guinness Book of World Records." This did not beat out the Cyprus bride who still holds the record for the longest wedding dress train. That train was over 4400 feet long. An Ohio bride decided to opt for an easier solution. She went for the record on the most bridesmaids. The previous record was for 90, and so she had 110 different bridesmaids. These bridesmaids were all her students from her dance school, Tumble World. These women were all ecstatic at getting into the Guinness Book of World Records, and they said that they would gladly do it again.

Long bridal train

3)  The Bride Was Inherited
In some countries, property is owned by the woman but can only be inherited by the man. It's not uncommon then for a wife to be inherited by the next oldest brother if her husband passes. In some African countries, this is practiced even if the wife has no property. According to "Marriage Customs of the World," this obligation does not pass if the brother is already married. The woman has no choice, and she may become a second, third, or even fourth wife. The marriage must be consummated. According to Reuters, one highly publicized scenario resulted in a media frenzy when the vice president of Kenya died from HIV AIDS. His brother inherited the wife, but she refused to marry the brother. Her decision to refuse was upheld. She gave no reasons publicly, but later it was learned that she had HIV AIDS. The brother did not inherit anything.

2)  To Keep the Spirits from Taking Her
Sad MarriageApparently, not all ghosts are friendly when they ask for wives, and not all parents are willing to give up their daughters to ghosts or spirits. In cultures like the Ukambani and the Odu, if a ghost or a spirit demands a wife, then the parents of the requested daughter must find a man to marry her quickly. According to "Bantu Beliefs and Magic," the girl must not sleep, and she must be guarded at all times until the wedding. The ghosts or spirits typically take on the forms of locusts or ants, and they supposedly consummate the marriage by eating the bride alive before her wedding. The only way to keep this from happening is for her to marry a good man who will take away her virginity and protect her.

There are similar beliefs in a number of other countries as well. Jamaica and many of the Caribbean islands still have a number of traditions that draw on these. According to Irish customs, the classic practice that an Irish bride must not fully lift her feet from the ground stems from the belief that the evil fairies will carry her away. Unlike modern paranormal romances, these events are not seen as romantic events that might be a good alternative, but are rather regarded with horror. The spirit's marking of a woman could come about in a number of ways such as through the supposed manifestation of a curse or the appearance of bad luck or a shaman's word.

1)  She Said No
Saying no to marriageThose evil spirits continue to cause significant problems, but in Albania, a man and woman can only marry if the woman demonstrates herself sufficiently stubborn. During the courtship and the wedding, the bride to be must say "no." In fact, she must consistently refuse everything that the groom asks. According to Odd Stuff Magazine, this confuses the evil spirits because everyone knows that a bride should want to do what her boyfriend, betrothed, or husband asks of her. Since the evil spirits like to spirit brides away, a bride who consistently says no fools the spirits into thinking that she is not a good wife or a wife at all. How the grooms can tell whether the brides have actually accepted is anyone's guess. According to National Geographic, the bride's refusal is to last up through the third day of marriage. The bride is not even allowed to have sex with the groom, though the groom may try to "overpower" her. However, the bride retains the right to beat him, and in some cases, brides have even been known to fracture their grooms' arms. This is still widely practiced, and it is considered necessary. After all, according to Albanian folk lore, evil spirits are always trying to whisk wives away from their husbands. So having a wife who can always say no is a good way to make sure that she doesn't ever agree to run off with the evil spirits.

I Love You For Now
There are a number of reasons to get married. Fact is, regardless of the reason, the majority of marriages still end up in divorce. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 41 percent of first marriages end with a divorce. That number only goes up from there: 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce and a whopping 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. Just how bad is the divorce rate? Someone gets divorced in the U.S. every 13 seconds.





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