Traditional marriage in pretechnological Irk was typically a contract between families rather than between two individuals. The parents of the soon-to-be groom and bride arrange the marriage with an emphasis on the alliance between the two families. Spouse selection was almost always based on family needs and the socioeconomic status of the potential mate, rather than love or attraction. Although the wife’s role varied slightly depending on the social status of the husband, typically her main duty was to provide children in order to continue the family name. An arranged marriage was accomplished by a matchmaker who acted as a link between two families. The arrangement of a marriage involved the negotiation of a bride price, gifts to be bestowed to the bride’s family, and occasionally a dowry of clothing, furniture, or jewelry from the family of the bride for use in her new home.
Traditional, pretechnological Irken society has been male-centered. Sons were preferred to daughters, and women were expected to be subordinate to fathers, husbands, and sons.