Although the influences of urban society, different cultures and the modern age have ended some Assyrian traditions, others have simply been modified and remain to this day.In this article, this writer will describe important Assyrian customs, largely drawn from his personal memories of Assyrian society in Iraq thirty years ago. Due to modern influences, social customs in betrothals and weddings now vary greatly in different localities.
Elopement (Jelawtha) against parental wishes is very disreputable, and is seldom practiced.
Even a public show of affection between husband and wife is frowned upon, and is considered the height of impropriety.
The social position of the family of the prospective bride (chalu) is carefully scrutinized before the bridegroom's family makes a final selection.
In keeping with established custom, families are eager to pick the prospective daughter-in-law (chaltha) from the same clan or tribal division.
Although it is much more common today, divorce is still generally frowned upon.
Ideally, only a religious divorce (dulala or shraya) can terminate the agreement.
Parents married their daughters off early because they were considered to be of little future value to the family.
The marriageable age has been steadily rising in recent times.
Because of its importance, there is no room for frivolity when it comes to marriage.
Pre- and extra-marital affairs are considered dishonorable and are almost unknown practices among Assyrians.
In practice, it is granted by the church only as a last resort.