Marriage

February 8, 2012 by Anonymous Press  
Published in Marriage

The institution of marriage is the socially recognized union between two people. Traditionally and almost universally, that union is between a man and a woman. In recent years, however, a few jurisdictions have legalized marriage between two adults of the same sex.

The institution of marriage is the socially recognized union between two people. Traditionally and almost universally, that union is between a man and a woman. In recent years, however, a few jurisdictions have legalized marriage between two adults of the same sex.

In most societies of the world, husband and wife live together. They may live with or near the natal families of one or the other, or they may create a new household more or less independent of their families. A primary, although not essential, purpose of traditional marriage is the procreation of children. As a result, sex is always recognized as a legitimate part of marriage. In some cultures, though, marriage is not the only institution for approved sexual activity.

In almost all societies husbands and wives divide economic activities and domestic work between them according to traditional and approved ideas of man’s and woman’s work; which sex does precisely what tasks varies considerably from place to place, however. All societies create around marriage a host of related cultural features having a lesser or greater degree of elaboration. This makes marriage superficially one of the most complex and varied of all human institutions.

Marriage: Social Institution

A conventional marriage in most cultures follows a chain of typical events in a predictable order. The initial stage involves some sort of courtship or, in some cultures, an arrangement by a marriage broker. This leads to a wedding of the bride and the groom. The wedding itself functions as a rite of passage. Particular details of the ceremony and other activities associated with the event vary according to a particular culture’s customs and, within socially accepted boundaries, the wishes of the principals or their kinfolk. After the wedding phase the marital relationship gradually matures and changes as the married pair age and as children are born and grow up.

These three stages in marriage are almost universally recognizable, although the biological processes of maturing and aging are supplemented by widely divergent cultural expectations from one society to another. The termination of marriage, either with the death of one of the spouses or by divorce, marks the fourth and final stage. Widowed or divorced persons may or may not be allowed to remarry and go through the marital cycle once more.

Before Marriage.  Marriages either are arranged between families (usually with some right of veto by the bride or groom) or are begun through a courtship in which the partners have found one another. Arranged marriages are predominant primarily in societies that place great importance on property inheritance or on linkages between lineages, or in which elders think that young people are unable to make sound choices.

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One Response to “Marriage”
  1. Edyta N. Tehrani Says:

    Very informative article.


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