How are spouses chosen for the citizens in The Giver?  

Spouses in The Giver are chosen by the Committee of Elders. The Committee controls every aspect of life in this society, including marriage and childbearing.

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In The Giver, there is very little (or any, really) autonomy for citizens. Every single aspect of life is determined by committees, who claim to act in the best interest of the society as a whole rather than the individual. While this may sound idealistic, it has some very dark consequences, ranging from personal unhappiness and lack of fulfillment to untimely and unwarranted death.

Marriage is no different from every other major life event in terms of a committee’s oversight: it is chosen by people other than those entering into the marriage contract, and whether the couple loves each other is irrelevant. Marriages are determined by the Committee of Elders, who oversee the entire family unit. A person may apply for a spouse (giving the illusion of autonomy), but the process is taken over by the Committee of Elders after that. Although the matching is not random or done blindly—it does take into account each person’s interests, intelligence, and personality—it is still done without the input of either member of the couple. Once the couple has been matched, they must wait for a period of three years before they may apply for a child. Each family unit consists of a man, a woman, and a child of each gender.

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