Recent Trends of Marriage in Iran

Akbar Aghajanian1, *, Sajede Vaezzade2, Javad Afshar Kohan3, Vaida Thompson4
1 Department of Sociology, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
2 Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research Kermanshah, Iran
3 Department of Social Sciences Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences Bu-Ali Sina University, Hammedan, Iran
4 Department of Psychology (Emerita), University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

© 2018 Aghajanian et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Sociology, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA; Tel: 910-672-2927; E-mail:



In Iran, historically, establishing, maintaining, and continuing family units have been perpetuated through the development of strong ideals about marriage and reproduction that are integrated with Islamic values. Despite the long tradition of marriage as the foundation of both family and society, the data show there are declines in both the rate and the number of marriages. The popular belief among both laymen and social scientists is that, while there has been a decline in permanent marriages, there has been an increase in the number of what can be called temporary marriages. There are no data demonstrating trends in these marriages.


In this paper, we present data on the declining trend in marriage and review the literature on factors considered as a barrier toward marriage. In addition, we examine data from a snowball sample of couples involved in temporary marriages or Sighe.


Our analysis suggests that those in such marriages may generally ignore or defy cultural prescriptions and proscriptions about marriage, seemingly reflecting a more modernistic view.


From this perspective, we suggest that both recorded and non-recorded temporary marriages may reflect changing attitudes that stress individualism, autonomy, and secularism and, particularly for the young who are engaged in Sighe, the postponing of parenthood and, indeed, of adulthood.

Keywords: Cohabitation, Temporary Marriage, Remarriage, Polygamy, Iran, Family.