Depending what country you live in today (even in the US), you can still be *given* or promissed to your husband, years before you get married.
I worked with a girl from Pakistan. She was in the US on a student visa, then a work visa. She was very attractive and *perky*. She and a Pakistani in the office really hit it off. However, she had to go back to Pakistan and get married. The girl was completing her master's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. She was smart, educated and well paid.
She left in tears...she came back about 4 months later (the company routinely let employees from Pakistan take 3-6 months off to visit the homeland) and was miserable. She brought her new husband to America who did not speak english. She would talk with him, on the phone, for hours at work. Crying at her desk.
Then she would go to lunch with her co-worker.
When I spoke to her about it and she explained that her parents had paid years ago for her (her dowry), she had no choice. She had to go back and marry this guy she knew since childhood, but detested.
It was very sad. Yet it persists. It will take many generations for that type of mind set to change. Women are still chattel.