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MARRIAGE FOR BOYS AND GIRLS. Intellectual discourse on the right age for marriage has had religious philosophers, economists, political scientists, psychologists, physicians and social scientists address the issue and debate over the right age for marriage; when both the mind and the body are adequately ready for marriage. Demographic studies have shown varying opinions. While in some countries the right age for marriage could stretch anywhere form 18 to 45 for women and 21 to 55 for men, within the United States itself, in some states, the law permits minors to marry with parental consent; in India, where social structures denied equalism to the genders, social reformers succeeded in urging the governmental machinery in putting brakes on the minimal age for marriage among girls and boys. The state in our country fixes the minimum age at 18 for girls and 21 for boys. Western society is more complacent towards gender roles and married partners respect each others’ freedom and personal liberty. Life moves on the philosophy "one lives for one's self". No big sanctity is attached to marriage and one can come out of it if he feels that it is a burden for his personal growth and liberty. Thus age is not a big issue that is why it is common to find the bride being older than the groom. It is all about legal sanction for man-woman relationship. I believe great responsibility comes with this commitment, including a consistent, earnest effort to maintain the marriage and its foundations of mutual love, admiration, trust, support and respect. 1 Oriental social structures are more integrated and the ‘family’ and
familial relations are central to the existential being of the married couple. In India, marriage is seen as bringing a new member; a stranger very often into the family. It is the girl who has to make a lot of compromises to suit her to the new environment i.e. the boy's family. The older the girl, the stronger is her individuality. Age coupled with education gives her a stronger sense of the self; she tends to have a strong opinion about almost everything and is not easily malleable. She expects her partner to respect her freedom. It is relative in the case of men too. If he is conservative and has faith in family values he would do well to get married early in life with a young girl. Often, getting married at an early age will help them understand one another and establish better ties. On the lighter side, it would do well to add that there cannot be any EXPIRY DATE or a ‘best before' date associated with marriage! The right age to get married is when one decides to marry! What's more important is that whatever the age you get married, you should be happy. When I look back two generations, at those who were older to me, I see a social structure largely governed by the interests and the dictates of the doyens of society. In a way, both family and culture steered the destinies of people; at least, that was the scene in India. When I look two generations ahead of me, at the youth of today, the structure has undergone a metamorphosis. There was a different standard yesterday, there are different standards regarding the right age for marriage today. Centuries ago, civilized societies recognized and acknowledged the most basic instincts of all - i.e., the need for companionship, and founded an
honorable institution known as marriage. Experience has shown that this institution can help navigate the complex ocean of life full of conflicts, questions, concerns, temptations, joys, sorrows, ups and downs. Marriage is a state of accommodation of two individuals, an accommodation of the will to live together, to rear together, to set up a home together and to plan a future for ‘their’ family, to spend the rest of ‘their’ lives together, through thick and thin. Such an accommodation involves sacrifice and selflessness. The business of everyday living throws up several challenges before the wary couple who jointly combat adverse forces that attempt to disrupt their normal life. This calls for maturity on the part of the householders- the partners in marriage. That then is the main crux of our issue- though the law, world over has a definitive stand on the right age for marriage for a girl and a boy; philosophically and ethically, the right age for marriage is the age the partners reach maturity; in other words, they should be mature enough to steer and handle life effectively and as responsible citizens of society. However, before we begin with the debate on this important social issue as this, an issue which actually serves as a foundation of society; let us consider the facts about marriage: marriages that are governed by religions, class, community; arranged marriages, love marriages, the roles and responsibilities of the partners, the relation between marriage and the state, the role of sex and procreation in marriage, and the gendered nature of spousal roles. There are libraries of humour on marriage. Allow me to quote some: Socrates, that great philosopher had said, By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.
- G. K. Chesterton. And
then there are innumerable witty quotes of the great Bernard Shaw on marriage who described marriage as an institution that brings together two people "under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions. They are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part." However much men may say they all suffer through marriage, most of us think so little about it that we regard it as a fixed part of the order of nature, like gravitation. Except for this error, which may be regarded as constant, we use the word with reckless looseness, meaning a dozen different things by it, and yet always assuming that to a respectable man it can have only one meaning.
“MARRIAGE is a term for a social institution. As such it may be defined as a relation of one or more men to one or more women who is recognized by custom or law and involves certain rights and duties both in the case of the parties entering the union and in the case of the children born of it. These rights and duties vary among different peoples, yet there are certain factors that remain constant; something which they have in common. Marriage allows special rights to a husband and wife. It is an economic institution, which may in various ways affect the proprietary rights of the parties. It is the husband's duty, so far as it is possible and necessary; to support his wife and children, but it may also be their duty to work for him.” 2
Marriage practices are very diverse across cultures. Edward Westermarck defined marriage as "a more or less durable connection between male and female lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring. a holy union for the performance of religious duties accompanied with solemn religious rites with Hindus while among the Muslims. and practically every woman gets married. Hindu ancestors set aside some guidelines to make sure that the institution is a permanent one capable of not only bringing happiness to two young people but also providing a delicate balance so that the family enjoys the fullness of life within the framework of what they called Dharma. they often don't realize that love without close friendship is only a hormonal illusion. and are often formalized by a wedding. but also a union of two families. the Hindu code of right conduct. nearly every man endeavours to marry when he has reached the age of puberty.So while marriage is addressed both as a social and an economic institution. “While many men and women know that love is essential for such a lifelong bond. it is more a contract for the purposes of procreation and legitimating of children and the regulation of social life in the interests of society. it is hailed as a sacrament. It is a union not only of a man and his wife. may take many forms. both slow and radical as far as the existential truth of marriage is concerned. One cannot desire another person over the long haul without really being best friends with that person. If there is one prevailing wish that husbands and wives have for their marriage.3 In his book The History of Human Marriage (1921)."4 This brings us to the very crucial question of the right age of a boy and a girl for marriage."5 Even Yudhishtira. . it is to be close companions for life. As a general rule. In the highly competitive global world of today there are changes.
" i. Swami Dayanand Saraswati.6 One of the questions the Yaksha asked Yudhishtira was "kimsvin mitram grhesatah?" i. and now.7 According to Hindus. gender. from twenty-five to forty-eight years. a divine being challenged the prince in exile to answer some questions. satisfactory answers to which may help restore the lives of his “dead” brothers. her position in this equation that binds them together. The marriage of a girl of sixteen to a man of twenty-five years was called ‘inferior marriage’. Who is the friend of a householder? To which the prince answered: "bhaaryaa mitram grhesatah. therefore. the promise and the commitment that unites a man and a woman. the friend of a householder is his spouse. marriage has come to mean an institution that is bound by restrictions.the eldest son of King Pandu and Queen Kunti.e. a girl of eighteen or twenty to a man of thirty-five or forty is ‘ medium marriage’. of a girl of twenty-four to a man of forty-eight is called ‘superior marriage.” Historically. in the great Hindu epic Mahabharata. restrictions such as age. social status. the basis for marriage is friendship and such friendship is the understanding.e. who is her equal.. her importance. In an episode known as Yaksha Prashna in the Aranya Parva of that great epic. race. passing on . consanguinity. are placed on marriage by society for reasons of benefiting the children. there is then no question about the role of a woman. refers to the bond of companionship between a husband and a wife about 4000 years ago.’ Even Manu in his ‘Manusmriti’ says-“Let a maid wait for three years after she has begun to menstruate then let her chose for herself a husband. With such authority. in his book ‘Satyarth Prakash’ (Light of Truth) writes that the best time for marriage for a girl is from sixteen to twenty-four years and for a man.
spiritual. Hence. cultural. Islam also commends marriage. ‘pavitra’ and ‘pujaniya’. Hindus call it the evolution of Sanskars: or in other words. educational and religious needs of the society as they rear and bring new life into the world. it is equally important to standardize the age. Marriage in itself is the performance of a ‘sanskar’ which calls for right abilities in the spouses for an ‘ideal marriage’. abilities and duties of the parties to a marriage.healthy genes. What is most important is that whether the spouses consider their marriage a ‘sacrament’ as do all Hindus. or whether they consider it a contract. From an Islamic law perspective. and the groom should be ‘gyani’ and ‘vidvan’. a contract. they must bear in mind that marriage brings in marital duties. that a boy and a girl who possess these attributes are truly ‘able’ and are ready for marriage. maintaining cultural values. or because of prejudice and fear. maintenance) to the bride. Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God and regard it as a sacrament. ‘vaani’ and ‘shareer’ that mould a person’s character and spell her integrity. with the age of marriage being whenever the individuals feel ready. They assume new roles as guardians of society as they contribute towards the social. economic. the minimum requirements and responsibilities in a Muslim marriage are that the groom provides living expenses (housing. the purification of ‘man’. financially and emotionally. the bride's main responsibility . it is very essential that the married partners show utmost responsibility in their new duties. as it is with the Muslims and the Christians. The genes that bear physiological properties also have a latent spiritual and religious component to them. The ‘Atharvaveda’ has handed down certain prescriptions as for as the qualifications of bride and a groom are concerned. clothing. and in return. As genes get carried over and children inherit traits. food. a sacred institution. It implies then. It says that a bride should be ‘shudhha’.
Independence is the reason for the increase in delayed marriages and likewise to the increase of the marriage age of men and women.9 Women today forego household economic functions for careers that supply them with income security. All other rights and responsibilities are to be decided between the husband and wife. Economic theorists state that women’s increase in economic independence has led to a reduction in marriage desirability. the man would be in charge of finding an income that would supply the family needs. Globalization and the process of industrialization have affected the marriage process. As women today take new economic roles as a result of industrialization they tend to become less specialized in household activities and men also have begun to take up new household roles. A study indicates that the single rates for women under 25 years rose from 14% in the 1960’s to 42% in the 1960’s.8 This suggests that either women have found a viable alternative to marriage before that age or that circumstances are forcing them not to marry by that age. Socioeconomic studies show how social factors coalesce with economic factors to cause the delay in marriage timing.is raising children to be proper Muslims. Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. The age of marriage has changed drastically in the 21st century among women. the partners performed duties that were special to their nature: implying that while the woman was assigned domestic and child rearing chores. and may even be included as stipulations in the marriage contract before the marriage actually takes place. Earlier. so long as they do not go against the minimum requirements of the marriage. While the earlier sex role . Both theories hold true. hence reducing their dependence on the men for their daily needs.
With some cohabitation has become a stage in the marriage process. Men too have changed attitudes to the marriage age. Married men and women were viewed as potential trading partners with the man focusing on market work while the women were concerned with home production. divorce and many men absconding their duties due to the pressure of maintaining an economically sound household. Then there is a growing trend among working men and women to cohabit before they marry. of the man looking after the market economy and the lady balancing the family economy. This leads to strain in marriages and consequently divorce and also a delay factor in single couples with women now tending to focus on the more economic aspects of her life. A lot of young men and women working together or otherwise don’t marry but live-in.segregation was a functional necessity in the stability of marriage. This process of cohabitation shows that women’s economic independence is not the only answer to explaining why women are now marrying much later. This has led to suicides. it was good as it helped prevent disruptive competition between a husband and his wife. Young men tend to wait until they have established a career path before they get married. Live-in relationships or cohabitation . This increases the delay in age of marriage for men too as they find it hard to find a woman who can support his own agenda for his career by providing for his needs at home. In the industrial age the gains for marriage for men are declining because of increased participation of women in the labour market. but it is reduced when incomes fall and the woman is forced to participate in the market production. This specialization provides major gains to marriage for each partner. This largely because of their role as the provider in the family and the challenges associated with becoming the head of the household.
Therefore cohabitation and the rise in delayed marriages is decreasing the rate of marital instability due to the stable nature of partners who tend to have delayed their marriage as opposed to those who marry young and consequently face greater stress due to lower capacities to deal with household challenges like providing for the family health. This also leads to delay in marriage. today. This results in women not feeling ready to marry until they have achieved some career goals. Social and economic scientists affirm that one’s ‘work’ has now such an influence in structuring one’s life that any career uncertainties directly affect behaviour and attitudes towards marriage formation. financial and social needs. At most times.as a social occurrence also reduces the cost of search and also reduces the risk of promiscuity while pooling resources creating a more stable economic environment that can lead to successful marriages. such working women who have high financial expectations of their spouse reveal a latent need to be economically . They also desire a perfect partner with characteristics that can provide her the best economic comforts. While this has become a way of life in large parts of the western world. Another issue in the delay of marriage among boys and girls is the increase in the process of selection and socialization that goes in the search of a marriage partner. The conventional system of assortative mating that happens in arranged marriages where one is uncertain about the rightness of one’s marriage partner is gradually being replaced by a more liberal system where both the partners are given time and opportunity to chose their partners. the situation is different among African American women and some South Asian women who for one reason or another find themselves as single parents and have to find their own economic independence in order to survive.
and then shall the fruit be good also. by producing a weak and feeble generation of children. Education too plays a role in increasing the efficiency of the search process. It is better not to consummate a marriage until a full development of body and mind has taken place. Women should not marry too young and take upon themselves the responsibility." Delayed too long in either sex too does not give them the energy to play and grow with the children. Age also affects the choice of contraceptive method and the vigilance with which contraception is practiced. If the cost of the search for a suitable partner is high then it might be better to delay ones marriage until it becomes less economically sound. Women who marry too early remain small in stature. It is age which can help couple make decisions with respect to conception or termination of fertility. A young woman of twenty-one to twenty-five and a young man of twenty-three to twenty-eight are considered the right age in order to produce an intelligent and healthy offspring. The longer the woman postpones childbearing. Hence it would be better for people to delay the marriage selection process until they are confident that they have made an educated decision which will contribute to greater stability in marriage. pale. weak. the greater is the likelihood that .dependent on men even though they may have their own working careers. Age has a strong biological and sociological effect on fertility. "First make the tree good. and more or less miserable. Educated people tend to be aware of more important characteristics that they need to look out for during the search as opposed to the young couples who start dating at an early age. emaciated.
05).she will get involved in other ego-involved activities that consume time and energy. A recent international survey found 79 per cent of the Indian youths. Today. Executive Director. Rural males believed the ideal marriage age for females to be 20 years whereas rural females believed it to be 22 years (p . However. of AC Nielsen which conducted the survey. 25. with Indonesians topping the chart with 87 per cent giving utmost importance to it. one of the lowest in the Asia Pacific region. Females tended to prefer a higher marriage age for males than did the males (26. "The new generation is more career-oriented and is reluctant to assume other responsibilities before their career objectives are fulfilled. marriage is a major goal in life. These results indicated that both males and females prefer to marry after they have completed their education. for 61 per cent people across the globe.5 vs. A survey was conducted on one hundred and sixty 18-24 year old students attending 4 colleges of Dharwad city of Karnataka in India to examine their opinion concerning the ideal marriage age and the required age difference between spouses. young men in India feel thirties is the right age to get married and start a family. vouching for thirties as the right time to tie the knot. The advantages of . higher than the global figure of 77 per cent. who were questioned. and South Asia. Studies have revealed that only 53 per cent of respondents in India consider marriage a life goal." said Sarang Panchal. Marriage is no longer a life goal for a large number of Indian youth who are now more career-oriented. but the difference was not significant.5). Urban females also believed it to be 22 years and urban males reported 21 years.
The trend for never marrying is on the increase. Change for men has been less regular and with less magnitude. Southeast Asian countries experienced less dramatic changes.B. And I think. South Korea.. depending on the individual's maturity.e. and from 18 years to 24 years and older in east Asia. Bangladesh. Men's marriage age has also risen but not as much. and Philippines. Well. and changes primarily in the 20-24 year old group (from 30% to 74% of single women). Examples are given of marriage age changes for Nepal and Bangladesh. Singapore.as the institution of marriage calls for tremendous responsibility on the part of the boy and the girl.10 . Never marrying is common in urban or educated populations. The norm for female age at marriage has risen from 15 years to 17-18 years in south Asia.more so for girls as they wish to acquire a level of social security that comes with economic independence...In the A cities the girls push the age greater and likewise. Thailand. The number of singles is rising and expected to continue to rise. Malaysia. the rise in marriage age for men has risen only 1-2 years compared with women. Women not ever marrying are increasing in Thailand. particularly for men in Japan. and that differs again with the different types of cities-A. i.schooling including improved thinking and decision-making abilities allow them to wisely allocate family resources and decide upon an ideal family size. For the less .. In Southeast Asia.. and regional totals. The social transformations in Asia have been significant. Sri Lanka. in the urban areas the age has stretched both for girls and boys. and Hong Kong. the step should be taken.C types . I believe it is a very relative issue.
is. 2009 Marriage. fundamentally. and family life. In this area philosophy courts public debate: in 1940. as well as itself raising distinctive philosophical questions. with implications for questions such as the content of its moral obligations and the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. which shapes today's debates. Political philosophers have taken the organization of sex and reproduction to be essential to the health of the state. Philosophical debate concerning marriage extends to what marriage.2 Institutional Views 4. Philosophers have also disputed the underlying moral and legal rationales for the structure of marriage. Section 5 will outline the foremost critiques of the institution.1 Contractual Views o 3. Understanding Marriage: Historical Orientation 3. and moral philosophers have debated whether marriage has a special moral status and relation to the human good. and they further divide on whether that purpose necessarily includes procreation or may be limited to the marital love relationship. Defining Marriage 2. Marriage and Morals o 3. Marriage and Domestic Partnership First published Sat Jul 11. therefore. Bertrand Russell's appointment to an academic post was withdrawn on the grounds that the liberal views expressed in Marriage and Morals made him morally unfit for such a post. Unlike many other contemporary issues sparking such wide interest. Discussion of marriage has played a central role in feminist philosophy. The Politics of Marriage . there is a long tradition of philosophical thought on marriage. Section 3 taxonomizes ethical views of marriage accordingly. reproduction. Feminist philosophers have seen marriage as playing a crucial role in women's oppression and thus a central topic of justice. Section 4 will examine rival political understandings of marriage law and its rationale. meaning the institution regulating sex. debate over same-sex marriage is highly charged. Today. • • • • 1. is a route into classical philosophical issues such as the good and the scope of individual choice. Section 2 sets out the historical development of the philosophy of marriage. it may be alright to set these limits of 18 and 21 . Many of the ethical positions on marriage can be understood as divided on the question of whether marriage should be defined contractually by the spouses or by its institutional purpose. and this more so to put brakes on child marriages which are still rampant in certain parts of the country.educated and the naive. Section 1 examines its definition.
There have been studies on the relation between marriage and the state. just as male and female watchdogs perform the same duties. The ‘love revolution’ in marriage dates popularly to the 18th century (Coontz 2006. and a relationship of mutual support. religious doctrine. It is thus a state of families rather than a family state. and the gendered nature of spousal roles. and its dependence on the functioning of individual households makes marriage essential to political theory (Politics.1 Marriage and Legal Contract 4. a contractual association. men and women should work together. among others . In his depiction of the ideal state. ideas of marriage as an economic or procreative unit. and culture. and a social practice. ‘wives and children [should be held] in common’ (The Republic. ca. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) sharply criticized this proposal as unworkable. Indeed. some societies have approved of extra-marital sex and. marriage historically functioned primarily as an economic and political unit used to create kinship bonds. control inheritance. He argued that. The state arises from component parts. among Guardians.2 The Rationale of Marriage Law 4. More fundamentally. the role of sex and procreation in marriage. The Aristotelian idea that the stability of society depends on the marital family influenced Hegel. Rawls. some ancients and medievalists discouraged ‘excessive’ love in marriage. 375-370 BCE.1 Feminist Approaches o 5.3 Same-Sex Marriage 5. and share resources and labor.• • • • 4. Plato errs in assuming that the natural love for one's own family can be transferred to all fellow-citizens. recognized same-sex marriages. a religious rite. 423e-424a). 1264b).2 The Queer Critique Bibliography o Contemporary Works o Historical Works (first published prior to 1950) Other Internet Resources Related Entries o o o 1. Defining Marriage ‘Marriage’ can refer to a legal contract and civil status. and Sandel. Marriage and Oppression o 5. Plato (427-347 BCE) described a form of marriage contrasting greatly with actual marriage practices of his time. or companionship. friendship. all of which vary by legal jurisdiction. The philosophy of marriage has been the subject of debate ever since man entered into the contract. beginning with the natural procreative union of male and female. and. History shows considerable variation in marital practices: polygyny has been widely practiced. arguably. while the contemporary Western ideal of marriage involves a relationship of love. a religious sacrament. Part 3). On his view.
reflecting the various theoretical orientations of contributors to the debate.S. Hegel commented that arranged marriage is the most ethical form of marriage because it subordinates personal choice to the institution. The ensuing discussion will set forth the main considerations brought to bear in arguments concerning the legal structure of marriage. like the state. marriage law no longer imposes gender- . but it has long been recognized to be an anomalous one.” Kant and Hegel attempted to show that the distinctive features of marriage could be explained and justified by guiding normative principles. 4. although an anomalous one (see 4. Locke believed that marriage.Christian philosophers believed that only a husband and a wife bound by marriage can procreate. Similarly. or to protect spousal love.1 Marriage and Legal Contract Marriage is a legal contract. the value of marriage consists precisely in the limitations it sets on individual choice in the service of a greater good: thus. rests on consent. Until the 1970's in the U. The institutional view holds that the purpose of the institution defines its obligations. 4. marriage law restricted divorce and defined the terms of marriage on the basis of gender. questions have arisen as to how far its obligations should be subject to individual choice. in the service of a procreative union. Marxists also saw marriage as originating in ancient exercises of force and as continuing to contribute to the exploitation of women. However. early feminists argued that marital hierarchy was simply an unjust remnant of a pre-modern era. The idea that marriage has a special moral status and entails fixed moral obligations is widespread—and philosophically controversial. taking precedence over spouses' desires. Marking a shift towards greater alignment of marriage with contractual principles of individualization. In contrast. as well as the point and purpose of marriage. marriage is a “voluntary compact. discussions of marriage law invoke diverse considerations. defending marital hierarchy posed a problem for John Locke (1632-1704). to some.. not natural hierarchy. The contractual view of marriage implies that spouses can choose marital obligations to suit their interests. in the two most prominent forms. as the idea of it as a contract has taken hold. Marriage is a legal contract.1). The Politics of Marriage In political philosophy. either. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) argued that women's subordination within marriage originated in physical force—an anomalous holdover of the ‘law of the strongest’. These theories have implications for the moral status of extra-marital sex and divorce.
Before exploring some common rationales. First. In a society characterized by freedom of contract. as does the resource allocation involved in providing marital benefits (Cave 2004. neither party need understand its terms. or privatization. there is an onus to provide a rationale justifying such resource allocations and legal discrimination on the basis of marriage. Sunstein and Thaler 2008). Marxists have argued that freedom of contract is compatible with exploitation and oppression—and Marxist feminists have taken marriage as a special example. taxation. importing considerations of individual desert which alienate family members from their previous unselfish identification with the whole (Sandel 1982. providing benefits through marriage may treat the unmarried unjustly. it must be between two and only two people. such discrimination requires justification. The many legal implications of marriage for benefit entitlements. and so on. the state encourages the relationships thereby formalized (Waldron 1988-89. to treating it as a case for application of principles of justice: the concern is that a rights-based perspective will undermine the morally superior affection between family members. or the content of its legal obligations. using marriage as a special example (Sandel 1982. suggest the need for rules governing property division on divorce. arguing against contractualizing it on these grounds (Pateman 1988. and it permits easier exit through no-fault divorce. as well as merely recognizing marriage as a legal status. 1149-1152). although marriages are not merely an exchange of rights. By conferring these benefits. In the absence of such justification. 162-188). communitarians have argued that contractual relations are inferior to those characterized by trust and affection—again. But marriage remains (at least in U. it is worth noting that critics of the social contract model of the state and of freedom of contract have used the example of marriage against contractual principles. Marriage is the basis for legal discrimination in a number of contexts. Proponents of the contractualization. cf. A default assumption for some liberals.S. §75. can also be seen as a form of state interference in private choice. restrictions on entry to or exit from marriage. Full contractualization would imply that there should be no law of marriage at all—marriage officiation would be left to religions or private organizations. is that competent adults should be legally permitted to choose the terms of their interaction. Second. inheritance. as for libertarians. each party gives up its right to selfprotection. Vanderheiden 1999). and these two people must be one man and one woman” (Kymlicka 1991. as we will see. it allows pre-nuptial property agreements. as their exclusion from such benefits would then be arbitrary (Card 1996). Thus. §161A). 88). as well as for restricting marriage in ways that other contracts are not restricted. federal law) an anomalous contract: “there is no written document. However. with the state enforcing whatever private contracts individuals make and otherwise not interfering (Vanderheiden 1999. This objection applies not only to contractualizing marriage.specific obligations. 31-35). the terms of the contract cannot be re-negotiated. but more generally. Hegel 1821. Such points. spousal rights protect spouses' interests when affection fails. given the existence of abuse and economic inequality within . of marriage have argued that marriage should be brought further into line with the contractual paradigm. 31-35. appear to be an illiberal anomaly.
Shanley 2004. 286). gender-structured legal duties. but through its child-rearing role it can pass on other traditions (Sommers 1989. A second is that legal recognition is necessary to maintain and protect social support for the institution. by providing incentives to enter marital commitments. thus helps people lead better lives (e. It is sometimes argued that traditions. having stood the test of time. 3-30. Scruton 1986. allocating resources to it. amongst which this rationale fails to choose (Bolte 1998. Further. Finally. The next section will examine gender restrictions on entry. the naturalness of a given practice is irrelevant. these rights are especially important for protecting individuals within. such objections must answer to feminist concerns that excluding the family unit from principles of justice. Not only is marriage itself such a tradition. But this prompts the question as to why this form of life is valuable. allowing natural affection to regulate it. Waldron 1988-89). the allocation of resources to marriage. this section will examine reasons for recognizing marriage in law at all. guiding individuals into a valuable form of life (George 2000). inter-racial marriage bans—have been unjust.2 The Rationale of Marriage Law As noted. as legislation. Let us then begin with the question of why marriage should be recognized in law at all. marriage law. Devlin 1965. A first reason for recognizing marriage should be set aside. have proved their value. An account of the value of a particular form of marriage itself (and not just qua tradition) is needed. there are many competing traditions. 392-3. Chapter 4).marriage. this approach faces objections. has facilitated inequality and abuse within it (see section 5). cf. and legal discrimination on the basis of it. Scruton 1986. Waldron 1988). in no area other than the family is it proposed that law should follow nature (with the possible exception of laws regarding suicide). cf. new natural lawyers). But many marital traditions—coverture. Garrett 2008). 356-361. One thought is that monogamous marriage encourages the sexual self-control needed for health and happiness. This is that the monogamous heterosexual family unit is a natural. First. a valuable form of life which would otherwise erode (Raz 1986. pre-political structure which the state must respect in the form in which it finds it (Morse 2006. 356-361. However. a rationale must be given for marriage law which explains the restrictions placed on entry and exit. But. Macedo 1995. the explanation in terms of emotional goods underdetermines the institution to be supported: other . 162. marital rape exemptions. see discussion in Freeman 1999. is constrained by principles of justice constraining legislation. and after. in a diverse society. 4. Within most contemporary political philosophy.g. and constraining property division on divorce. State support for monogamous marriage. indeed. marriage (Kleingeld 1998. another is that it encourages the goods of love and intimacy found in committed relationships. One answer is that legal recognition conveys the state's endorsement. whatever the natural reproductive unit may be. Tradition provides at best a prima facie reason for legislation which may be overridden by considerations of justice.
To such neutral liberals. following divorce. Nussbaum 1999. This depends on the empirical case (as we have seen. which appeal to controversial value judgments about sex and love.relationships. a contested one) that children of single parents face psychological and economic hurdles which threaten their capacity to acquire the virtues of citizenship. objectors might argue that polygamy. Young 1995). Finally. For one thing. However. are children of divorce unhappier due to divorce itself. polyamory. Women in gender-structured marriages. line of thought invokes the alleged psychological effects of twoparent families to argue that marriage benefits society by promoting good citizenship and state stability (Galston 1991. (Moreover. Some liberals embrace neutrality. or to give up paid work entirely. 205]. Child poverty could be addressed more efficiently through direct anti-child-poverty programs rather than the indirect strategy of marriage (Cave 2004. but empirical evidence does not seem to support this [Lee 2008. Because these patterns of choice within marriages lead to inequalities between men and women. and so a just law of divorce is essential to gender justice (Okin 1989. this approach does not address the many children outside marriages and in poor two-parent families. Thus. But marriage and child-rearing have increasingly diverged despite incentives to marry. Second. Bloom 1987. tend to become economically vulnerable. embody emotional goods. 283-288. especially to meet the demands of child-rearing. property division on divorce is a matter of equality or equal opportunity. If two-parent families benefit children. Rawls 1997. or to the high-conflict marriage preceding it? (Young 1995) A related. this class of rationales. Vanderheiden 1999. even to enter poverty. cf. claims about the value of sexual self-control are controversial. this account assumes that incentives to marry will lead a significant number of parents who would not otherwise have married to marry. Statistically.2). the view that the state should not base law on controversial judgments about valuable lives. Second. particularly if they have children. There is a further problem with this justification. The second benefit is emotional: children appear to benefit from having two parents (Galston 1991. women are likely to have a reduced standard of living. or promiscuity are equally good options (see 5. Moreover. some argue that gender complementarity in parenting benefits children. then Mill's ‘school of injustice’ objection applies—an institution teaching injustice is likely to undermine the virtues of citizenship (Okin 1994. Young 1995). married women are more likely than their husbands to work in less well-paid part-time work. incentives to marry may be justified as promoting two-parent families and hence children's welfare. 779). . One benefit of two-parent families is economic: there is a correlation between single motherhood and poverty. such as friendships. 283-288). Moreover. if economic dependence produces power inequality within marriage. there is controversy over the psychological effects of single parenthood. 118-121). particularly over the causality underlying certain correlations: for instance. but distinct. a rationale for restricting the terms of exit from marriage (but not for supporting it as a form of life) is the protection of women and children on divorce. it is widely accepted that the state should protect children. which speaks to a division within liberal thought. 787-794. Chapters 7 and 8.) One objection is that marriage is an ineffective child anti-poverty plan. must be excluded (Rawls 1997.
Legally. marriage is at best an indirect strategy for achieving goals such as protecting women or children (Cave 2004. for example.1). Chapter 16). Moreover. Waldron 1988. marriage was beset by a “perfect storm”: the expectation that it should be emotionally fulfilling. exit from marriage has become relatively easy since the ‘no-fault divorce revolution’ of the 1970's. which could serve the purpose of identifying significant others for benefit entitlements. and effective contraception (Coontz 2006. This reflects the end of laws against unmarried cohabitation and legal discrimination against children on grounds of ‘illegitimacy’. especially to men. However. The question is whether religious autonomy would allow them. as well as diminishing social stigmas against such behavior. In addition. intimacy. changing legal and social norms undermine its effectiveness as a policy tool. The preceding two rationales are both weakened by the diminished social role of marriage. Sunstein and Thaler 2008. If marriage is essentially religious. In the 20th century.Shanley 2004. Marriage has religious associations in part responsible for public controversy over same-sex marriage. as opposed to default rules governing property distribution when such gender-structured relationships end (Sunstein and Thaler 2008). another is to replace civil marriage entirely with a secular status such as civil union or domestic partnership. in such roles. 3-30. leaving women more vulnerable. Given such significant changes. Sunstein and Thaler 2008. visiting rights. Indeed. However. In the absence of compelling reason for such discrimination. but it could also be objected to as unjust discrimination—as it would be if. Civil unions. Privatization does not solve this conflict so long as religious organizations are involved in civil society—for example. women's liberation. equal treatment were denied to inter-racial marriages. rather than favoring particular arrangements for love. it can still be asked why a law recognizing marriage as such should be necessary. and sex. would still involve a legal discrimination requiring justification. it should allow consenting adults to choose those they prefer (Vanderheiden 1999. . avoiding non-neutrality. liberty considerations suggest the state should cease recognizing or supporting intimate relationships entirely. and hence be counter-productive. cohabitation and child-rearing increasingly take place outside marriage. leaving marriage to churches and private organizations. cf. placing these restrictions only on marriage. Calhoun 2005). There is a further problem with the proposal to replace marriage with civil unions on grounds of neutrality. neither solution would resolve the conflict between religious autonomy and equality for same-sex relationships. Such exclusion could be defended as a matter of religious autonomy. and so on. if they carry legal benefits similar to marriage. and respecting the autonomy of religious organizations by not compelling them to recognize same-sex marriage (Sunstein and Thaler 2008. Vanderheiden 1999). Torcello 2008). and see 5. as employers or benefit providers. as opposed to enacting general default rules. its divisive nature has prompted arguments for abolishing marriage as a legal category. One solution is contractualization. This would allow equal treatment of same-sex relationships while reducing controversy. may make marriage less attractive. then legal recognition of it arguably violates state neutrality or even religious freedom. to exclude same-sex civil unions from benefits.
if they choose. There are tangible benefits such as eligibility for health insurance and pensions. 89. One case for the essential heterosexuality of marriage invokes linguistic definition: marriage is by definition heterosexual. and indirectly social. making them ‘second-class citizens’ and underlying social discrimination against them. cited in Mercier 2001). Crucially. there is also an important benefit of legal. Further. In addition. just as a bachelor is by definition an unmarried man (Stainton. Wedgwood 1999). To see why a two-tier solution fails to address these arguments. arguments in support of such discrimination seem to depend on controversial moral claims regarding homosexuality of the sort excluded by neutrality (Wellington 1995. Marriage provides benefits which are denied to same-sex couples on the basis of their orientation. the exclusion of samesex relationships appears arbitrary and unjustly discriminatory (Wellington 1995.3 Same-Sex Marriage The proposal to replace marriage entirely with civil unions or domestic partnerships differs from the ‘compromise’ proposal of a two-tier marriage law: marriage for oppositesex couples only. and hospital visiting rights (see Mohr 2005. if the function of marriage is the legal recognition of loving. some philosophers have argued that excluding gays and lesbians from marriage is central to gay and lesbian oppression. Calhoun 2000. Mohr 2005. Schaff 2004. Rajczi 2008). Bolte 1998. yet the state denies gays and lesbians access to the benefits of marriage. privacy rights. all the benefits) of marriage to same-sex couples. Many arguments for same-sex marriage invoke liberal principles of justice such as equal treatment. Chapter 5. excluding same-sex couples is not unequal treatment. recognition of a relationship as marriage. Same-sex relationships are relevantly similar to heterosexual relationships recognized as marriages. we must consider what benefits marriage provides. This position does not fully answer arguments for samesex marriage. the ‘separate-but-equal’ category of civil unions retains the harmful legal symbol of inferiority (Card 2007. opposite-sex couples. or “voluntary intimate. The status of marriage itself confers legitimacy and invokes social support. and civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex and. Past applications of a . cf. From this perspective. as usually proposed.” relationships. The compromise proposal grants some of the benefits of marriage without ceding the title (or indeed. The two-tier system does not provide equal treatment because it does not confer on same-sex relationships the status associated with marriage. 13). However. however. and so exclusion from it displaces gays and lesbians from full and equal citizenship: “being fit for marriage is intimately bound up with our cultural conception of what it means to be a citizen … because marriage is culturally conceived as playing a uniquely foundational role in sustaining civil society” (Calhoun 2000. immigration eligibility. But this confuses meaning and reference. 108). Marriage is central to concepts of good citizenship.4. Chapter 3). hence treating them unequally (Mohr 2005. Stivers and Valls 2007). equal opportunity. and neutrality. same-sex relationships simply do not qualify as marriages. if marriage is essentially heterosexual.
cf. This point suggests a second defense of same-sex marriage: exclusive marital commitments are goods which the state should promote amongst same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples (Macedo 1995. but not in same-sex marriage (e. appeal to past definition begs the question of what the legal definition should be (Stivers and Valls 2007). like ‘citizen’.g. law) suspended a wife's legal personality on . A second objection made to same-sex marriage is that its proponents have no principled reason to oppose legalizing polygamy (e. may be extended to new cases without thereby changing its meaning (Mercier 2001). Marriage and Oppression Marriage historically played a central role in women's oppression. As noted above. or not intending to do so. Until the late 19th century. some arguments against same-sex marriage have invoked neutrality. Some arguments against same-sex marriage rely on judgments that same-sex sexual activity is impermissible. marriage has purposes other than child-rearing—notably. But this reasoning seems to imply. the state should recognize a diversity of marital relationships—including polygamy (Calhoun 2005. Thus. Schaff 2004. neutrality excludes appeal to such contested moral views (Rawls 1997. the doctrine of coverture (in English and U. Wedgwood 1999). Finnis 1997. the state is not required to be neutral in matters of justice (Beyer 2002. As noted above. A normative argument for the essential heterosexuality of marriage appeals to its purpose: reproduction in a naturally procreative unit (see 3. Further. Mahoney 2008). Wellington 1995. the soundness of these arguments aside. A rights claim to equal treatment (if such a claim can support same-sex marriage) trumps offense caused to those who disagree. 12). where that is the subject of controversy. However. Bolte 1998. rather than procreating ‘naturally’. married couples adopt and reproduce using donated gametes. on the grounds that legalizing same-sex marriage would force some citizens to tolerate what they find morally abhorrent (Jordan 1995. Indeed. But marriage does not require that spouses be able to procreate naturally. One response differentiates the two by citing possible harmful effects for women found in male-headed polygyny. 5. Wedgwood 1999). should not be legalized.a).term need not yield necessary and sufficient criteria for applying it: ‘marriage’. or that they intend to do so at all. that mixed-race marriage.g.S. further controversy regarding them will be discussed below (5. 779. Schaff 2004). Boonin 1999. as the existence of intentionally childless married couples suggests. see Corvino 2005). Another response is to bite the bullet: a liberal state should not choose amongst the various ways (compatible with justice) individuals wish to organize sex and intimacy.2. Torcello 2008). Nor do proponents of this objection to same-sex marriage generally suggest that entry to marriage should be restricted by excluding those unable to procreate without third-party assistance. meaning economic and political disempowerment and limitation of opportunities. absurdly. fostering a committed relationship (Mohr 2005. As noted above. Freeman 1999.2). Wedgwood 1999). such rationales come into tension with liberal neutrality.
238. Marriage law has also been a tool of racial oppression. to exempt rape within marriage from criminal prosecution. and to allow—or impose— professional bars on married women (Coontz 2006. the gendered division of labor in marriage. historical conditions have led to practices of shared child-rearing in AfricanAmerican communities. So Kant writes that “skepticism on this topic [marriage] is bound to have bad consequences for the whole feminine sex.—Woman becomes free by marriage. that law which . 210-211. which. while the late 20th century U. While Mill and Engels saw the establishment of monogamous marriage as an ancient defeat of the female sex. AfricanAmerican marriage patterns were shaped by slavery. For example. Kleingeld 1998). rather than a single male providing for his female partner.marriage. and material support. The majority of American states at one time prohibited inter-racial marriage. Tjaden and Thoennes 2000). because this sex would be degraded to a mere means for satisfying the desire of the other sex. but it excluded women of color and their children from the benefits of marriage..g. and. As a thesis about the protection of women by their male partners. the idea that monogamy provided women with needed material support has been debunked. context. and many others have seen monogamy as a victory for women. protection. states still exempt spouses from sexual battery charges (Posner and Silbaugh 1996) —. Contemporary philosophers of race argue that marriage is still implicated in systemic racism (Collins 1998). 253-254). however. 37-38). And as a thesis about sex difference. some U. Anti-miscegenation law did not prevent actual miscegenation. However. legislatures continued to impose gendered legal roles within marriage (known as ‘head and master laws’). the Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1967 (Wallenstein 2002. ‘covering’ it with that of her husband.S. Some theories of marriage imply that such child-rearing practices are inferior to the marital family. female foraging likely provided more than male hunting. make a will. earn her own money. Kant. Aquinas. child-care was arranged communally. Contemporary feminist attention to marriage is focused on spousal abuse—indeed. as a historical thesis about the origin of marriage.S. in the contemporary U. saw gender-neutrality in legal marital responsibilities and an end to the marital rape exemption. Theorists of racial oppression argue that such practices should be recognized as a valuable alternative. and slave couples and their children were frequently separated. moreover. ). and. Well into the 20th century.S. can easily result in boredom and unfaithfulness. criticisms of marriage as oppressive persist. and giving her little recourse against physical abuse. Cronan 1973. Furthermore. securing for them faithful partners. or leave her husband. John Stuart Mill compared wives' condition under coverture to slavery (see section 1). evolutionary ‘just-so’ stories purporting to show that women are naturally more monogamous have been challenged by feminist philosophers of biology (Tuana 2004). removing her rights to own property. In early hunting-gathering societies. It was also a potent symbol of alleged racial difference. man loses his freedom by it” (Kant 1798. and the effects of marriage on women's economic opportunities and power. the incidence of rape and violence by male partners themselves must be taken into account (e. Slaves could not legally marry. make contracts. survival required a much larger group (Coontz 2006.
Moreover. However. and that justice must therefore regulate its terms—even. Sandel 1982. 1989). perform more housework than husbands—this ‘second shift’ affecting their workplace competitiveness. choose parttime work. feminists argue that today gender-structured marriage contributes to. marriage is part of the basic structure of society. or stay home to facilitate child-rearing or when the spouses' careers conflict. cf. Collins 1998. it is not clear that affection and justice must conflict. 792). perhaps. should be ordered as spouses choose—so long as these choices do not lead to injustice (Rawls 1997. is subject to principles of justice. 5. Chapter 7). §161A. to which women were confined. These choices make women “vulnerable by marriage”: economic dependence. this meant that the private sphere of marriage. 31-35). We will return to this below. undergirds gender inequality (rival accounts place greater emphasis on sexual objectification or workplace discrimination). rather than their husbands.excludes such practices from benefits accorded to marriage may be racially unjust (hooks 1984. and . This does not determine. and in some feminist analyses. the gravity of which should. the default liberal presumption is that marriage. Okin 1989. Finally. Wives. The gendered division of labor and the fact that ‘women's work’ is less well-paid than men's together make it more likely that married women. But abuse within marriage and inequality on dissolution are significant problems. one persistent rationale for excluding the family from norms of justice is that its natural relations of affection and trust are superior to merely just relations and likely to be threatened by construing the family in terms of justice (Hegel 1821. to the point of interfering with voluntary marital relations. As noted above. Historically. The social assignment of primary responsibility for childcare to women. Card 1996). even those who work full-time outside the home. also undermine the workplace competitiveness of women with children (Maushart 2001. outweigh these finer virtues. will downgrade their careers. law and political philosophy have come to recognize that equal rights and liberties should be upheld within the private sphere as without. Chapter 10. rights within marriage protect spouses when affection fails (Waldron 1988).1 Feminist Approaches A major theme in feminist political philosophy has been the exclusion of the marital family from justice. Gradually. a commitment to treating one's spouse justly could be part of marital love (Kleingeld 1998). women's economic inequality and disempowerment. Marriage is a focus of feminist concern due to its effects on women's life chances. §75. or is even the mainstay of. according to critics. however. how principles of justice should constrain marriage. Continuing disadvantage accruing to women in marriage has been widely documented. Political philosophy has tended to relegate the inner workings of the family to natural hierarchy or affection (Okin 1979. as a voluntary association. and thus. was also the zone of state non-interference. combined with the difficulty of combining childcare with paid work. Vanderheiden 1999. but many political philosophers still resist applying principles of justice directly within the private sphere. so that what happened to women there was not subject to norms of justice. at least within Rawlsian liberalism.
exclusive love relationship which. some feminists have rejected ideals of romantic. Chapter 8). in turn facilitating abuse (Okin 1989. precluding the possibility of true feminist reform. by sexist norms. Chapter 7. the legal structure of marriage. As discussed in 4. Moreover. encourages women to make disadvantageous choices by inculcating an exaggerated valuation of such relationships—at the expense of women's other aspirations. On such views. socially. state interference in on-going marriages arguably conflicts with spouses' liberties (Rawls 1997. or that liberalism must reconsider how principles of justice apply within voluntary associations (Levey 2005. but most liberal theory would protect such choices. exclusive . in combination with social norms. feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-86) identified the expectations surrounding marriage as one of the primary means by which women are socialized into a femininity which. career. Card 1996). Thus. First. the gendered division of labor within ongoing marriages is costly for women (Kleingeld 1998. Equal opportunity seems to require changing social norms related to marriage in ways which divorce law does not. legal marriage may encourage women's economic dependence by enabling and providing incentives for it. or other ambitions. power imbalances within marriage limit girls' expectations and teach children to accept gendered inequality (Okin 1989. Okin 1989.2. For this reason. nor does it address the systemic way in which such inequalities arise. Feminist liberals could also hold that the state should temporarily interfere with choices only until gender equality is reached (Okin 1989. in The Second Sex. Chapter 6). 787-794). Maushart 2001). Shanley 2004. Chapter 7). For example. in her view. 787-794). Legal measures such as requiring all marital income to be held equally could encourage power equality within marriage (Okin 1989. Second. Third. It is sometimes claimed that marriage is inherently structured. leading women to focus on their attractiveness as mates—and not on study. While many feminists have focused on the reform of marriage. divorce law does not address non-economic sources of power imbalances (such as gender role socialization) within on-going marriages. Chapter 7. anticipation of marriage affects women's investment in their earning ability before marriage (Okin 1989. others have argued for its abolition. Chapter 8). abolishing marriage is necessary to reshape social expectations and change patterns of choice accompanying it. However. 425).dependence on marriage for benefits such as health insurance. fosters power inequality and makes exit difficult. is taken to encourage choices which disempower women relative to men. 3-30. This suggests that either feminism and liberalism must part ways. However. Chapters 7 and 8. Okin 1994). Rawls 1997. was limiting: marriage “is the destiny traditionally offered to women by society” (de Beauvoir 1949 . Such social norms could be addressed through education or through media campaigns promoting the equitable division of housework. rationales of equality or equal opportunity are given for addressing economic inequalities arising within marriage through divorce law (Okin 1989. This raises a theoretical problem for feminism: economic equality for women seems to require interfering with voluntary choices within marriage and social expectations surrounding it. legal recognition of marriage itself endorses an ideal of a central. Thus. on the views of some feminists.
gay and lesbian liberation. bisexual. Such critics note that gays and lesbians often choose relationships which are less possessive and more flexible than monogamous marriage. drawing on gay and lesbian experience. because it rests on the view that it would be better for gay and lesbian relationships to be as much like traditional heterosexual intimate relationships as possible” (Calhoun 2000. the assumption of heterosexuality and of the gender difference that defines it. in order to ensure that emotional manipulation does not lead to unfairness (Hampton 1993). have argued that the central. 5. there are significant gender differences in attitudes towards relationships. On this view. so some philosophers of gay. Such conferrals of legitimacy are thought to discourage diversity. implicitly. especially lesbian feminists. any more than it should so discriminate between children born in or out of wedlock. as some scholarship claims. these critics argue that the state should not confer legitimacy (and hence. For this reason. But critics of heteronormativity. see 3. For these critics of heteronormativity. as a norm. same-sex marriage would assimilate lesbian and gay relationships into the heterosexual model.g. Chapters 2 and 3). that is. While some advocates of same-sex marriage argue that marital status would confer legitimacy on same-sex relationships. and that same-sex marriage would benefit gays and lesbians by encouraging them to enter such relationships (e. does not address systemic inequities.3). and transgender oppression argue that it is essentially heterosexist. same-sex marriage would expose gays and lesbians to the . arguing that women should choose non-monogamy or lesbian separatism (Firestone 1970). Freeman 1999. Macedo 2005. Instead of recognizing the diverse relationships found in the gay and lesbian community. there is an overlap between their critiques of marriage and those of some feminists. If. pejorative usage. Because queer theorists resist the normativity of gender as well as of heterosexuality. illegitimacy) on consensual adult relationships. exclusive relationship ideal is a heterosexual paradigm. same-sex marriage is undesirable because it would assimilate same-sex relationships to an essentially heterosexual marital ideal: “Queer theorists worry that pursuing marriage rights is assimilationist. rather than achieve. Moreover. lesbian. one of the sources of power inequalities in love relationships between men and women could be women's greater emotional investment (Gilligan 1993. (Some of these philosophers refer to themselves as queer theorists in an effort to help reclaim the word “queer” from its earlier. extending marriage to same-sex marriage will undermine. feminist contractarians have suggested that women should privately subject their intimate relationships to a contractarian test for fairness. Recall that some arguments for same-sex marriage claim that central.2 The Queer Critique Just as some feminists argue that marriage is inherently sexist.) Queer theorists have sought to demonstrate that a wide range of social institutions display heteronormativity. This approach. of course. The idea that marriage is essentially tied to such an ideal of romantic love will require further examination in the next section.love relationships. while excluding affective benefits (such as the warmth one gets from nurturing another) from the analysis. 113). exclusive relationships are valuable.
perhaps. or essentially heterosexist. marriage is based on mutual love. in response to worries about gay and lesbian assimilation. It is truly a shared experience that is both fair and mutually responsible. Ettelbrick 1989). affection and an abiding desire to develop a relationship that is free of loneliness and fear. Excluding gays and lesbians from marriage marks them as inferior. of marriage: economic incentives to stay in loveless marriages and reduced exit options which facilitate abuse and violence (Card 1996. custody and inheritance rights. even evils. same-sex marriage could serve women's and gay liberation by transforming marriage. caring and acceptance. Finally. rather than suppressing it. Marriage provides society with the guarantee for the structured perpetuation of the human species and the assurance of some security for the caring of the offspring of that marriage. Mayo and Gunderson 2000. it is argued that same-sex marriage could perform the liberatory function of teaching heterosexuals that neither gender roles nor monogamy are essential to love and marriage (Mohr 2005. each bringing to the relationship love. Chapter 3). Mayo and Gunderson 2000). face the same objection as do other claims about the essence of marriage. and tax and immigration status (Bolte 1998. opening the door to recognition of a still wider variety of family forms (Ferguson 2007. The feminist and queer critiques of marriage as essentially sexist. are the responsibility of the two individuals involved and that they are obligated to provide support for these children until which time these children are able to provide for themselves. Calhoun 2000. 69-9. and so same-sex marriage would decrease stigmas against homosexuality. the institution of marriage has evolved to be a reflection and expression of two individuals desire to offer or to provide support and protection to each other. It is a mutually beneficial relationship based on equality and respect for each other. it is essential to it. Thus. Halwani 2003. Further. defenders of same-sex marriage have argued that marriage can incorporate diversity.disadvantages. Neither of the partners is superior to the other and neither of the partners has any overriding power over the other. 2007. Ferguson 2007. children. Chapter 5. Other philosophers of gay and lesbian oppression have responded in defense of same-sex marriage that it not only serves gay liberation. Marriage need not entail monogamy. Marriage is the partnership of two human beings. Bolte 1998. the costs of same-sex marriage must be weighed with benefits such as healthcare. Traditionally there are two major reasons for marriage. Just because marriage has in the past possessed certain features does not entail that they are inherent to it. even. Thus. rather than reproducing sexist and heterosexist patterns. Calhoun 2005). indeed. cf. . In modern society where child rearing is not necessarily the primary purpose for committed relationships. This historical framework is based on the assumption that the results of procreation.
" In English common law. many cultures have legends concerning the origins of marriage. have existed in history. One of the oldest known and recorded marriage laws is discerned from Hammurabi's Code. and therefore are not either polygyny or polyandry. He might therefore be willing to pay a bride price or provide for a woman in exchange for exclusive sexual access. so they are given little choice other than to get married. in which by agreement they choose to become husband and wife.History Although the institution of marriage pre-dates reliable recorded history. However. as has the institution itself. these forms of marriage are extremely rare. Of the 250 societies reported by the American anthropologist George P. lose sexual freedom. Legitimacy is the consequence of this transaction rather than its motivation. But nubile women are a source of jealousy and strife in the tribe. Murdock in 1949. only the Caingang of Brazil had any group marriages at all. and do not seem to obtain any benefit from marriage. married women work harder. enacted in ancient Mesopotamia (widely considered as the cradle of civilization). Forms of group marriage which involve more than one member of each sex. access to women is institutionalized in some way so as to moderate the intensity of this competition. Various cultures have had their own theories on the origin of marriage. One example may lie in a man's need for assurance as to paternity of his children. "In almost all societies. . depending on the culture or demographic of the time. a marriage was a voluntary contract by a man and a woman. Edvard Westermarck proposed that "the institution of marriage has probably developed out of a primeval habit". The way in which a marriage is conducted and its rules and ramifications has changed over time. In Comanche society.
only mutual agreement and the fact that the couple must regard each other as husband and wife accordingly. Greeks married in the winter. It has been suggested that these ages made sense for the Greek because men were generally done with military service by age 30. declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the . In this type of marriage. There were several types of marriages in ancient Roman society. there were superstitions that being married during a full moon was good luck and. She now was subject to the authority of her husband. kept her family rights of inheritance with her old family and did not gain any with the new family. until 1545. bishop Ignatius of Antioch writing around 110 to bishop Polycarp of Smyrna exhorts. according to Robert Flacelière. she stayed under the authority of her father. and even simple affection. that their marriage may be according to God. with no uniform religious or other ceremony being required. In this arrangement. Historically. The minimum age of marriage for girls was 12. Time was an important factor in Greek marriage. no specific civil ceremony was required for the creation of a marriage ." In the 12th century women were obligated to take the name of their husbands and starting in the second half of the 16th century parental consent along with the churches consent was required for marriage . and marrying a young girl ensured her virginity. to form their union with the approval of the bishop. There was the free marriage known as sine manu. In Ancient Greece. marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter. "[I]t becomes both men and women who marry. The traditional ("conventional") form called conventio in manum required a ceremony with witnesses and was also dissolved with a ceremony. and not after their own lust. Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent. were not considered essential. Inheritance was more important than feelings: A woman whose father dies without male heirs can be forced to marry her nearest male relative— even if she has to divorce her husband first. For example. the wife remained a member of her original family. Romantic love. marriage was more or less a business agreement between two families who arranged the marriages of their children. However.European marriages For most of European history. With few local exceptions. Men usually married when they were in their 20s or 30s  and expected their wives to be in their early teens. From the early Christian era (30 to 325 CE). a woman lost her family rights of inheritance of her old family and gained them with her new one. the perceived necessity of marriage has been stressed. Married Greek women had few rights in ancient Greek society and were expected to take care of the house and children.
 These were clandestine or irregular marriages performed at Fleet Prison. the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state.  As part of the Counter-Reformation." If freely given and made in the present tense (e. which was not obligatory. This promise was known as the "verbum.. As Christianity spread during the roman period and the Middle Ages. if made in the future tense ("I will marry you"). and at hundreds of other places.000 clandestine marriages were performed at Fleet Prison alone. which obliges them to live together throughout life. the idea of free choice in selecting marriage partners increased and spread with it. the average marriage age range was 25–44 years for men and 22–39 years for women. One of the functions of churches from the Middle Ages was to register marriages. As part of the Reformation. "The conjugal union of man and woman. The church resisted these imposed unions. under the Anglican Church. Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act 1753 required a formal ceremony of marriage. issued in 1566. This act instituted certain requirements for marriage. with these issues being adjudicated in ecclesiastical courts.g. The Council also authorized a Catechism. it would constitute a betrothal. John Calvin and his Protestant colleagues reformulated Christian marriage by enacting the Marriage Ordinance of Geneva. sometimes as early as birth. nobles. The Act required a marriage ceremony to be officiated by an Anglican priest in the Anglican Church with two witnesses and registration. "I marry you"). In England and Wales. marriage by consent and cohabitation was valid until the passage of Lord Hardwicke's Act in 1753. and increased the number of causes for nullification of these arrangements. During the Middle Ages marriages were arranged. in 1563 the Council of Trent decreed that a Roman Catholic marriage would be recognized only if the marriage ceremony was officiated by a priest with two witnesses. There was no state involvement in marriage and personal status. The . The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other. The average age of marriage in the late 1200s into the 1500s was around 25 years of age. and these early pledges to marry were often used to ensure treaties between different royal families. and heirs of fiefdoms. it was unquestionably binding. including the performance of a religious ceremony observed by witnesses. As of 2000. which defined marriage as. Recognition by the state In the early modern period. which imposed "The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage" for recognition. thereby curtailing the practice of Fleet Marriage. the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required. From the 1690s until the Marriage Act of 1753 as many as 300." In England. By the 1600s many of the Protestant European countries had a state involvement in marriage.parties. contracted between two qualified persons.
families sometimes intermarried from one generation to another. a male would become a son-in-law who lived in the wife's home. the husband and the wife were buried separately in the respective clans’ graveyard. when both spouses affirm their will to marry.7. and at certain times in ancient European history. recent publicity and debate over the past decade gives an impression that civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples is novel and untested. Chinese marriage Main article: Chinese marriage The mythological origin of Chinese marriage is a story about Nüwa and Fu Xi who invented proper marriage procedures after becoming married. There is a long history of recorded samesex unions around the world.Act did not apply to Jewish marriages or those of Quakers. Selection of a partner Main articles: Arranged marriage and Forced marriage . In ancient Chinese society. and allowed an optional private clerical marriage ceremony. However. In England and Wales. some regions of China. This law permitted a declaration of the marriage before an official clerk of the civil administration. ranging from informal. but the exact intent of the law and its relation to social practice is unclear. since 1837. 9. Over time. to constitute a legally recognized valid and effective marriage. While it is a relatively new practice that same-sex couples are being granted the same form of legal marital recognition as commonly used by mixed-sex couples. as only a few examples of same-sex marriage in that culture exist. In a maternal marriage. civil marriages were recognized in 1875. When a couple died. people of the same surname were not supposed to marry and doing so was seen as incest. A law in the Theodosian Code (C. In Germany. Same-sex marriage Main article: Same-sex marriage Various types of same-sex marriages have existed.3) issued in 342 CE prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome. because marriage to one's maternal relatives was not thought of as incest. Th. such as Fujian. Chinese people became more geographically mobile. whose marriages continued to be governed by their own customs. Individuals remained members of their biological families. civil marriages have been recognized as a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act of 1836. It is believed that same-sex unions were celebrated in Ancient Greece and Rome. unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions.
any religious ceremony must be held separately from the required civil ceremony. For example. a matchmaker. Some countries . sometimes even before the child is born. indeed.require that a civil . the most famous example is The Rape of the Sabine Women. widow inheritance provides a widow with another man from her late husband's brothers. Other marriage partners are more or less imposed on an individual. child marriage is also practiced.An arranged marriage between Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain. engage a professional matchmaker to find a suitable spouse for an unmarried person. in which a woman is captured by a man and his friends. A pragmatic (or 'arranged') marriage is made easier by formal procedures of family or group politics. with parents at times arranging the wedding. France. they may. The authority figure could be parents. This practice is now illegal under the Child Marriage Restraint Act. with groups of women captured by groups of men. Bulgaria. but sometimes it depends on sexual violence. In previous times. Romania and Turkey . the authority figure may choose a match for purposes other than marital harmony. In some societies ranging from Central Asia to the Caucasus to Africa. Marriage ceremony A marriage is usually formalized at a wedding or marriage ceremony. the Netherlands. by a government official or by a state approved celebrant. or a group consensus. raptio was a larger-scale version of this. Sometimes this covers an elopement. In rural Indian villages. In many European and some Latin American countries. The ceremony may be officiated either by a religious official. The selection of a marriage partner may involve either the couple going through a selection process of courtship or the marriage may be arranged by the couple's parents or an outside party. In some cases.such as Belgium. sometimes in war. A responsible authority sets up or encourages the marriage. the custom of bride kidnapping still exists. a religious official. family. which provided the first citizens of Rome with their wives.
historic building or other venue that has obtained the necessary license. the United Kingdom. each religious authority has rules for the manner in which weddings are to be conducted by their officials and members. To avoid any implication that the state is "recognizing" a religious marriage (which is prohibited in some countries) the "civil" ceremony is said to be taking place at the same time as the religious ceremony. residency after marriage is matrilocal. . and for many other reasons.both ceremonies can be held together. also involves the husband and wife living separately but meeting regularly. marriage is not a prerequisite for cohabitation. often sharing the same bed. In some cases cohabitation may constitute a common-law marriage. such as when pension or alimony rights are adversely affected. Residency after marriage can also be patrilocal or avunculocal. If the civil element of the religious ceremony is omitted. In some countries . in Australia. Often this involves simply signing a register during the religious ceremony. with the married couple living together in the same home. Among the Minangkabau of West Sumatra. Such marriages have also been increasingly common in modern Beijing. told a Newsday correspondent. others. Norway and Spain . called misyar marriage. In some cases couples living together do not wish to be recognized as married. In modern western societies some couples cohabitate before marriage to test whether such an arrangement might work in the long term. While some countries. Marriage is an institution which can join together people's lives in a variety of emotional and economic ways. require that the civil ceremony be conducted in a place open to the public and specially sanctioned by law. This is the case. An exception can be made in the case of marriage by special emergency license. the officiant at the religious and civil ceremony also serving as agent of the state to perform the civil ceremony.ceremony take place before any religious one. with the husband moving into the household of his wife's mother. marriage usually leads to the formation of a new household comprising the married couple. the place of marriage need no longer be a church or register office." A similar arrangement in Saudi Arabia. Some regulations require that one of the parties reside in the locality of the registry office. but could also be a hotel. or because of taxation consideration. In England. Rules about where and when persons can marry vary from place to place. Conversely. but in some other cultures this is not the tradition. Canada. director of the center for women's studies at Beijing University. the Republic of Ireland.notably the United States. which is normally granted only when one of the parties is terminally ill. Within the parameters set by the law of the jurisdiction in which a marriage or wedding takes place. permit marriages to be held in private and at any location. the marriage is not recognized by government under the law. including England and Wales. and in some countries the laws recognize cohabitation in preference to the formality of marriage for taxation and social security benefits. "Walking marriages reflect sweeping changes in Chinese society. such as Australia. In many Western cultures. for example. Guo Jianmei. or because of immigration issues.
for example. In recent years the legal relevance of illegitimacy has declined and social acceptance has increased. marriage is not a prerequisite for having children. which means little more than once a week. Some married couples choose not to have children and so remain childfree. especially in western countries. In some cultures. Connecticut that procreation within marriage could be abridged by artificial insemination. the highest judicial body ruled in the case Griswold v. Sexual relations by a married person with someone other than his/her spouse is known as adultery and is also frequently disapproved by the major world religions (some calling it a sin). a tendency that the older the spouses are. on average. 30. it seems that people under 30 years old have sex about 111 times a year and about 15% of married couples have not had sex with their spouse in the last six months to one year. According to the same study. mostly with Muslim majorities.  Maintaining the passion alive is however one of the most common issues that a married couple is confronted with. bastards and whoresons. Many nonsecular states. payment of bridewealth signifies a woman's requirement to bear children. Couples whom have a low sex standard during marriage usually have sexual intercourse or any kind of sexual. marriage imposes an obligation on women to bear children. sanction criminal penalties for sexual intercourse before marriage. that number had risen to 38.1 percent of births were to unmarried women. and women using birth control face substantial threats of physical abuse and reprisals. This is normally due to the fact that individuals become accustomed or even bored to their spouse or due to the demands of raising a family or establishing a career and the stress that arises from these. According to a study. Adultery is considered in many jurisdictions to be a crime and grounds for divorce. romantic activity.5 percent. In 2006. Children born outside of marriage. the National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 1992. There are also cases in which the individuals just have a low sex drive and they gradually become asexual. There is however. married men and women. have sex with their spouse 58 times a year. one or two times a month. In northern Ghana. the less sex they have. were known as illegitimate and suffered legal disadvantages and social stigma. They think of sex as a chore and they only practice it when it has been previously scheduled.  Marriage law . On the other hand. In the United States.Sex and procreation See also: Chastity and Adultery Many of the world's major religions look with disfavor on sexual relations outside of marriage. In the United States. Others are unable to have children because of infertility or other factors preventing conception or the bearing of children.
Giving a husband/wife visitation rights when his/her spouse is incarcerated or hospitalized. and sometimes on relatives as well. and property. as in common-law marriage. Giving a husband/wife control over his/her spouse's affairs when the spouse is incapacitated. Common-law marriage See also: Common-law marriage In some jurisdictions but not all.Main article: Marriage law Marriage laws refer to the legal requirements which determine the validity of a marriage." A de facto common-law marriage without a license or ceremony is legally binding in some jurisdictions but has no legal consequence in others. Establishing the second legal guardian of a parent's child. Rights and obligations See also: Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States A Ketubah in Hebrew. sometimes called "marriage by habit and repute (cohabitation). labor. Establishing a relationship between the families of the spouses. These may include: • • • • • • • Giving a husband/wife or his/her family control over a spouse's sexual services. a Jewish marriage-contract outlining the duties of each partner. which vary considerably between countries. marriage relationships may be created by the operation of the law alone. Establishing a joint fund of property for the benefit of children. Giving a husband/wife responsibility for a spouse's debts. being the sole mechanism for the creation of affinal ties (in-laws). A marriage bestows rights and obligations on the married parties. .
However. Almost all cultures that recognize marriage also recognize adultery as a violation of the terms of marriage. such marriages are now highly stigmatized. States such as North Carolina and South Carolina banned Blacks and Native Americans. historically it was illegal to marry someone with the same last name. The United States has had a history of marriage restriction laws. to gender. Arkansas. and laws ban most or all first-cousin marriage in 30 states. Many states enacted miscegenation laws which were first introduced in the late seventeenth century in the slave-holding colonies of Virginia (1691) and Maryland (1692) and lasted until 1967 (until it was overturned via Loving v. and some states such as Georgia. and between groups within society. States such as Mississippi and Missouri banned Blacks and Asians. Three of those states have statutory language that pre-dates DOMA (enacted before 1996) defining marriage as such. Virginia). to social status. For example. In modern times this proportion has fallen dramatically. marriages between parents and children or between full siblings have been considered incest and forbidden.These rights and obligations vary considerably between societies. In the United States. or because of prejudice and fear. Alabama. In the United States. Specifics vary: in South Korea. Thirty states have defined marriage in their constitutions. It is a relatively new practice that same-sex couples are being granted the same form of legal marital recognition available to mixed-sexed couples. Arizona is the only state that has ever defeated a constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman (2006). but it subsequently passed one in 2008. but still more than 10% of all marriages are believed to be between first and second cousins. . South Carolina. and Virginia banned all non-whites. to consanguinity. with one estimate being that 80% of all marriages in history have been between second cousins or closer. and Oklahoma banned Blacks in particular. From age. Marriage restrictions Main article: Marriage law#Marriage restrictions Marriage is an institution that is historically filled with restrictions. passing on healthy genes. Societies have often placed restrictions on marriage to relatives. Many of these states restricted several minorities from marrying whites. the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) explicitly defines marriage for the purposes of federal law as between a man and a woman and allows states to ignore same-sex marriages from other states (though states arguably could do this already). restrictions are placed on marriage by society for reasons of benefiting the children. though the degree of prohibited relationship varies widely. maintaining cultural values. to race. Forty-one US states currently define marriage as between a man and a woman. marriages between more distant relatives have been much more common. With few exceptions.
State recognition Main article: Marriage law#State recognition In many jurisdictions. Most religions perform a wedding ceremony to solemnize the beginning of a marriage. Marriage and religion All mainstream religions have strong views relating to marriage. a civil marriage may take place as part of the religious marriage ceremony.[Judg 14:7-12] In those times the most . Bible-based faiths In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) Rembrandt's depiction of Samson's marriage feast The Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) describes a number of marriages. although they are theoretically distinct.[Gen 29:27] and Samson. Restrictions against polygamy have been common.Many societies have required a person to marry within their own general social group. Opposition to the recognition of Deseret as a State by the Federal government was founded on opposition to the oncepracticed polygamous marriages of Mormons. An example of such restrictions would be a requirement to marry someone from the same tribe. including those of Isaac.[Gen 24:49-67] Jacob. Some jurisdictions allow civil marriages in circumstances which are notably not allowed by particular religions. such as same-sex marriages or civil unions. which anthropologists refer to as endogamy.
and sexual activity. They variously regard it as a sacrament. The foundation of the Western tradition of Christian marriages have been the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. clothing. is for men to have multiple wives at once. In biblical times. baking of bread. Japan. manufacture of clothing. a contract. dancing.[Ex 21:10] Since a wife was regarded as property. marriage law and theology have been a major matter. week-long feasts were sometimes held. accompanied by music. Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God. sewing. belonging to her husband. although among the Israelites (unlike the Arabs) the procession was a festive occasion. a wife was regarded as chattel. weaving. of those that are mentioned at all. Like the adjacent Arabic culture (in the preIslamic period). her husband was originally free to divorce her for any reason. a sacred institution. fetching of water. with the time between these events varying substantially. is distinct from marriage itself (nissu'in). the act of marriage appears mainly to have consisted of the groom fetching the bride. To celebrate the marriage. at any time.common marital arrangement. and animal husbandry. the girl’s consent is not explicitly required by any biblical law. and lights. the descriptions of the bible suggest that she would be expected to perform tasks such as spinning. wives were usually looked after with care. Since a wife was regarded as property in those days. Christians often marry for religious reasons ranging from following the biblical injunction for a "man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. which is merely a binding promise to get married. one that should not be taken for granted. However.[Deut 24:2-4] Christianity Main article: Christian views of marriage Christian wedding in Kyoto. From the very beginning of the Christian Church. Betrothal (erusin). and bigamous men were expected to ensure that they give their first wife food. the betrothal (erusin) was effected simply by purchasing her from her father (or guardian). and the two . A divorced couple were permitted to get back together. or a covenant. unless the wife had married someone else after her divorce.
" – Jesus[Matthew 19:6] Liturgical Christianity Further information: Marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church Anglicans. Western Christians commonly refer to marriage as a vocation. Therefore what God has joined together.  "The matrimonial covenant. Sacramental marriage confers a perpetual and exclusive bond between the spouses.[Eph. Divorce is not encouraged. and adding a blessing. The celebration of marriage between two Catholics normally takes place during the public liturgical celebration of the Holy Mass. Most Protestant churches allow people to marry again after a divorce. In the Roman Catholic Church. or deacon merely witnessing the union on behalf of the church. marriage can only be ended by an annulment where the Church for special reasons regards it as never having taken place. the . the bishop or priest functions as the actual minister of the Sacred Mystery (Eastern Orthodox deacons may not perform marriages).. because of its sacramental connection with the unity of the Paschal mystery of Christ (Communion). Catholics. while Eastern Christians consider it an ordination and a martyrdom. The sacrament of marriage is indicative of the relationship between Christ and the Church. 2:24] to obeying Canon Law stating marriage between baptized persons is a sacrament. priest. In Eastern ritual churches. the ministers of the sacrament are the husband and wife themselves. though the theological emphases indicated by the various names are not excluded by the teachings of either tradition. and Eastern Orthodox consider marriage termed holy matrimony to be an expression of divine grace. "'.. termed a sacrament or mystery.[dubious – discuss] Marriage is commonly celebrated in the context of a Eucharistic service (a nuptial Mass or Divine Liturgy). let man not separate. with a bishop. by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life. By its nature. but one. In Western ritual."[Gen.shall become one. this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. 5:29-32] Roman Catholicism The Roman Catholic tradition of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries defined marriage as a sacrament ordained by God.So they are no longer two."  The mutual love between man and wife becomes an image of the eternal love with which God loves humankind. is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. signifying the mystical marriage of Christ to his Church.
institution of marriage and conjugal love is ordered to the procreation and upbringing of offspring. Protestants generally approve of birth control and consider marital sexual pleasure to be a gift of God. and family as something of an earthly form of heavenly government. warns that contemporary liberal attitudes toward marriage ultimately will produce a family that is "haphazardly bound together in the common pursuit of selfish ends." The secularism of the Enlightenment emphasized marriage as a contract "to be formed." John Calvin taught that marriage was a covenant of grace that required the coercive power of the state to preserve its integrity. Anglican theologians had begun to develop a theology of marriage to replace the sacramental model of marriage. "The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility." John Witte. Professor of Law and director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory University. rearing children and mutual support for both husband and wife to fulfill their life callings. Other purposes of marriage include intimate companionship. These "regarded the interlocking commonwealths of state." Latter-day Saints . Anglicans regarded marriage as a domestic commonwealth within England and the church. maintained. and dissolved as the couple sees fit. five competing models of marriage in Christianity have shaped Western marriage and legal tradition: • • • • • The Protestant Reformationists replaced the Roman Catholic sacramental model. in Christian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament. not the Pope. but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. The remarriage of persons divorced from a living. lawful spouse are not separated from the Church. Most Reformed Christians would deny the elevation of marriage to the status of a sacrament. Offspring resulting from annulled relationships are considered legitimate. Divorce is not recognized. nevertheless it is considered a covenant between spouses before God. Protestantism Protestant denominations see the primary purpose of marriage to be to glorify God by demonstrating his love to the world.cf. Martin Luther saw it as a social "estate of the earthly kingdom…subject to the prince. church. [Ephesians 5:31-33] Historically. but annulments predicated upon previously existing impediments may be granted. Marriage creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children: "[e]ntering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more than likely grounds for an annulment." According to current Catholic legislation governing marriage. By the seventeenth century.
In Judaism. 1:28] The main focus centers around the relationship between the husband and wife. Judaism Main article: Jewish views of marriage A Jewish wedding. 1903. painting by Jozef Israëls. This is why a man is considered "incomplete" if he is not married. as his soul is only one part of a larger whole that remains to be unified. Kabbalistically." The LDS belief is that marriage between a man and a woman can last beyond death and into eternity. marriage is understood to mean that the husband and wife are merging together into a single soul. a Jewish marriage is also expected to fulfill the commandment to have children.Main article: Celestial marriage A couple following their marriage in the Manti Utah Temple. 24:1] Though procreation is not the sole purpose. [Deut. marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which God is directly involved. Islam Main article: Islamic marital jurisprudence . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) believe that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.[Gen.
given the religious requirement that they are able to and willing to partition their time and wealth equally among the respective wives. and in return. maintenance) to the bride. polygamy is allowed for men. the bride and her guardian must both agree on the marriage. Should either the guardian or the girl disagree on the marriage. given that his reasons are valid. he has the right to stop a marriage from taking place. with the age of marriage being whenever the individuals feel ready. the bride's main responsibility is raising children to be proper Muslims. All other rights and responsibilities are to be decided . The professed purpose of this practice is to ensure that a woman finds a suitable partner whom she has chosen not out of sheer emotion. A Muslim couple being wed alongside the Tungabhadra River at Hampi. India. In essence. while the guardian/father of the girl has no right to force her to marry.A Muslim bride of Pakistan origin signing the nikkah nama or marriage certificate. In Islam. it may not legally take place. with the specific limitation that they can only have up to four wives at any one time. financially and emotionally. food. the minimum requirements and responsibilities in a Muslim marriage are that the groom provide living expenses (housing. Islam also commends marriage. For a Muslim wedding to take place. From an Islamic (Sharia) law perspective. clothing.
In Shia Islam marriage must take place in the presence of at least two reliable witnesses. with the consent of the bride and the consent of both spouses (including the girl). Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. To create a religious contract between them. Bahá'í In the Bahá'í Faith marriage is encouraged and viewed as a mutually strengthening bond. but is not obligatory. or months later.between the husband and wife. and may even be included as stipulations in the marriage contract before the marriage actually takes place. with the help of other persons). and then the consent of all living parents. without any need for even a single third person as witness) to normal (present day) marriages. it is sufficient that a man and a woman indicate an intention to marry each other and recite the requisite words in front of a Muslim priest The wedding party can be held days. but not always. marriage must take place in the presence of witnesses. Old Hindu literature in Sanskrit gives many different types of marriages and their categorization ranging from "Gandharva Vivaha" (instant marriage by mutual consent of participants only. Hindu widows cannot remarry. In Sunni Islam. to "Rakshasa Vivaha" ("demoniac" marriage. Sikhism . A Bahá'í marriage requires the couple to choose each other. Hinduism Main article: Marriage in Hinduism Hindu marriage ceremony from a Rajput wedding. usually. with the consent of the guardian of the bride and the consent of both spouses (including the girl). Following the marriage. so long as they do not go against the minimum requirements of the marriage. the couple is immediately allowed to consummate the marriage. Following the marriage they may consummate their marriage. whenever the couple and their families want to announce the marriage in public. performed by abduction of one participant by the other participant.
the . the social status of the couple was supposed to be equal. After the marriage. Quaker. the couple make rounds around the holy book called Guru Granth Sahib four times and the holy man speaks some words from the Guru Granth Sahib in the form of kirtan. In both cases.[in Early Modern Britain?] but was usually a part of a wider marriage settlement. For the most part. they could not inherit the dowry. Metropolitan Community Church. but there are exceptions including Unitarian Universalist. Dowry Main article: Dowry A dowry was not an unconditional gift. if the groom had other children. In Early Modern Britain. and often not having a choice in whether to participate in the marriage. Financial considerations The financial aspects of marriage vary between cultures and have changed over time. In some cultures. United Church of Christ and Reform Jewish congregations. with the bride in many cases not being involved in the arrangement. The ceremony is known as 'Anand Karaj' and represents the holy union of between two souls that are united as one. In the event of her childlessness. For example. religious traditions in the world reserve marriage to heterosexual unions. This model is currently recognized by various jurisdictions and religious denominations. and some Anglican dioceses. United Church of Canada. Same-sex marriage Main article: Religious arguments about same-sex marriage A same-sex couple exchanging wedding vows in an Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. dowries and bride prices continue to be required today. which had to go to the bride's children. all the property (called "fortune") and expected inheritances of the wife belonged to the husband.In a Sikh marriage. the financial arrangements are usually made between the groom (or his family) and the bride's family.
it may be called dower. . while some countries impose restrictions on the payment of dowry. Another legal provision for widowhood was jointure. in which property.dowry had to be returned to her family. and activists believe that figures represent only a third of the actual number of such murders. which was payable at the time of the marriage by the groom to the father of the bride. but sometimes not until the groom's death or remarriage. and family maintenance in the event of the husband not providing adequately for the wife in his will. Morning gifts. the name derives from the Germanic tribal custom of giving them the morning after the wedding night.000 women are killed annually in disputes over dowries. It may also be noted that both the dower and the ketubah amounts served the same purpose: the protection for the wife should her support cease. a union where the wife's inferior social status was held to prohibit her children from inheriting a noble's titles or estates. and may lose the property if she remarries. In India. which might also be arranged by the bride's father rather than the bride. in Sudan). This required the groom to work for the bride's family for a set period of time. nearly 7. to enable these young men to marry. she may not be entitled to dispose of it after her death. [Exodus 22:15-16] This innovation was put in place because the biblical bride price created a major social problem: many young prospective husbands could not raise the bride price at the time when they would normally be expected to marry. the rabbis. So. but is entitled to it when widowed. the ketubah provided for an amount to be paid by the husband in the event of a divorce or his estate in the event of his death. In the Jewish tradition. Besides other things. or dower. She might have control of this morning gift during the lifetime of her husband. Another function performed by the ketubah amount was to provide a disincentive for the husband contemplating divorcing his wife: he would need to have the amount to be able to pay to the wife. Morning gifts were preserved for many centuries in morganatic marriage. which was payable to the bride. It is the predecessor to the wife's presentday entitlement to maintenance in the event of the breakup of marriage. called a ketubah. the rabbis in ancient times insisted on the marriage couple entering into a marriage contact. delayed the time that the amount would be payable. would be held in joint tenancy. Bride price and dower In other cultures. the morning gift would support the wife and children. This amount was a replacement of the biblical dower or bride price. in effect. either by death or divorce. The only difference between the two systems was the timing of the payment. so that it would automatically go to the widow on her husband's death. Depending on legal systems and the exact arrangement. If the amount of her inheritance is settled by law rather than agreement. dowries continue to be required today (for example. often land. when they would be more likely to have the sum. the groom or his family were expected to pay a bride price to the bride's family for the right to marry the daughter. In some cultures. are given to the bride herself. In this case.
Islamic tradition has similar practices.  Taxation In some countries. In some legal systems. either immediate or deferred. Friedman has written a lengthy and controversial study of marriage as a market transaction (the market for husbands and wives). both during and eventually after a marriage. Where this is the case.000. The respective maintenance obligations. anarcho-capitalist economist David D. especially if there are no male offspring from the marriage. is the woman's portion of the groom's wealth (divorce) or estate (death). Critics of this practice note that debt collection agencies can abuse this by claiming an unreasonably wide range of debts to be expenses of the marriage. one partner may be sued to collect a debt for which they did not expressly contract. spouses are allowed to average their incomes. Failure to pay the mahr might even lead to imprisonment.  Modern customs In many countries today. In many legal jurisdictions. called community property. To compensate for this somewhat. the partners in a marriage are "jointly liable" for the debts of the marriage. or the husband's family 'inheriting' a large portion of the estate. when the marriage ends by divorce each owns half. laws related to property and inheritance provide by default for property to pass upon the death of one party in a marriage firstly to the spouse and secondly to the children. for example. While income averaging might still benefit a married couple with a stay-at-home spouse. each marriage partner has the choice of keeping his or her property separate or combining properties. This has a basis in a traditional legal notion called the "Doctrine of Necessities" whereby a husband was responsible to provide necessary things for his wife. If the husband cannot pay the mahr. As the economic status of woman was enhanced through marrige in the past. including Iran. nowadays. but in some parts these are set very high so as to provide a disincentive for the groom exercising the divorce. the mahr or alimony can amount to more than a man can ever hope to earn. more man than woman gain economicly. alimony is one such method. this is advantageous to a married couple with disparate incomes. either in case of a divorce or on demand. are regulated in most jurisdictions. many countries provide a higher tax bracket for the averaged income of a married couple. A 'mahr'. as more wives work. These amounts are usually set on the basis of the groom's own and family wealth and incomes. The cost of defense and the burden of proof is then placed on the non-contracting party to prove that the expense is not a debt of the family.000 (4000 official Iranian gold coins). sometimes up to US$1. he will have to pay it by installments. In the latter case. Wills and trusts can make alternative provisions for property succession. according to the current laws in Iran. In some countries. such averaging would cause a married couple with roughly equal personal incomes to pay . Some have attempted to analyze the institution of marriage using economic theory.
it does not indicate the number of these marriages that are convenience marriages. and. in fact. One example would be to obtain an inheritance that has a marriage clause. when progressive tax is levied on the individual with no consideration for the partnership. citizens. "Every year over 450.741 immigrants were admitted to the U. . Another example would be to save money on health insurance or to enter a health plan with preexisting conditions offered by the new spouse's employer. though sometimes after a waiting or mourning period. according to one publisher of information about "green card" marriages.S. Many other situations exist. A marriage of convenience is one that is devoid of normal reasons to marry.000 United States citizens marry foreign-born individuals and petition for them to obtain a permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States. In most cases.S. Regardless of the number of people entering the US to marry a US citizen. all marriages have a complex combination of conveniences motivating the parties to marry. when the rates applied by the tax code are not based on averaging the incomes. Isogyny refers to the act of seeking out those who are of similar status. The effect can be increased when the welfare system treats the same income as a shared income thereby denying welfare access to the non-earning spouse. in 2003 alone 184. Others want to marry people who have similar status. higher rates will definitely apply to each individual in a two-earner households in progressive tax systems. sometimes called a marriage of convenience or sham marriage. Some people want to marry a person with higher or lower status than them. Such systems apply in Australia and Canada. dual-income couples fare much better than single-income couples with similar household incomes. Many more were admitted as fiancés of US citizens for the purpose of being married within 90 days. Moreover. and in monogamous societies this allows the other partner to remarry. which number could include some of those with the motive of obtaining permanent residency. This is most often the case with high-income taxpayers and is another situation where some consider there to be a marriage penalty. Termination In most societies. but rather on the sum of individuals' incomes.more total tax than they would as two single persons. Other considerations Sometimes people marry for purely pragmatic reasons." While this is likely an over-estimate. This is commonly called the marriage penalty. as spouses of U. For example. but also include many people who are US citizens. Hypergyny refers to the act of seeking out those who are of slightly higher social status. the death of one of the partners terminates the marriage. hypergyny refers to women wanting men of higher status. for example. Conversely.
Although an increase in the female contribution to subsistence tends to lead to matrilocal residence. however. one spouse may have to pay alimony. or George Peter Murdock) connected it with the sexual division of labor. Lewis Henry Morgan. The absolute right of two married partners to consent to divorce was only recognized in western nations in recent decades.. If this polygyny factor is controlled (e. to have emotional or behavioral problems. Marriages can also be annulled in some societies. Korotayev's tests show that the female contribution to subsistence does correlate significantly with matrilocal residence in general. Edward Tylor. In modern societies we observe a trend toward the neolocal residence.g. it also tends simultaneously to lead to general non-sororal polygyny which effectively destroys matrilocality. Several cultures have practiced temporary and conditional marriages. a fixed-term marriage contract. where an authority declares that a marriage never happened. though. to engage in premature sexual relations. through a multiple regression model). After divorce. division of labor turns out to be a significant predictor of postmarital residence. However. the actual relationships between those two groups of variables are more complicated than he expected. to use drugs. as has been shown by Korotayev. cross-cultural tests of this hypothesis using worldwide samples have failed to find any significant relationship between these two variables.. Murdock's hypotheses regarding the relationships between the sexual division of labor and postmarital residence were basically correct. to date. In the United States no-fault divorce was first recognized in California in 1969 and the final state to recognize it was New York in 1989 . Muslim controversies related to Nikah Mut'ah have resulted in the practice being confined mostly to Shi'ite communities. Societal considerations President of the Institute for American Values David Blankenhorn claims that children who grow up in homes where parents are married to one another are less likely to be impoverished. Contemporary views on marriage Criticisms . However. In either event the people concerned are free to remarry (or marry). Thus. this correlation is masked by a general polygyny factor.Many societies also provide for the termination of marriage through divorce. Examples include the Celtic practice of handfasting and fixed-term marriages in the Muslim community. Pre-Islamic Arabs practiced a form of temporary marriage that carries on today in the practice of Nikah Mut'ah. or to commit suicide.g. Post-marital residence Early theories explaining the determinants of postmarital residence (e.
S. Mixed marriage. Social conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage in some countries claim that any attempt to define marriage to include anything other than the union of one man and one woman would "deprive the term of its fundamental and defining meaning. Jump to: navigation. polygamy is a "socially conservative" practice. The state of Massachusetts has sued the U. respectively. Currently 37 U. and 4 states (Alaska. and wider family obligations." In other countries. therefore. said the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) infringed on a state's sovereign right to define marital status.S. Child marriage. the acceptable number and minimum age of wives.Main article: Criticism of marriage Many people have proposed arguments against marriage for various reasons. especially wives. Nebraska and Nevada) have. Polygamy. Hawaii. do not currently have laws on their books which limit marriage to a union between one man and one woman. and Arranged marriage Many controversies have arisen over the centuries in relation to marriage . the rights of partners. tribes or races. Controversial views See also: Anti-miscegenation laws. states have passed laws which define marriage as limited to a union between one man and one woman: 33 state legislatures have passed statutes to that effect. the Ohio state legislature is currently debating a Defense of Marriage Act.including issues relating to the suitability of partners of different denominations. Interracial marriage. federal government over its definition of marriage. Thirteen states. The lawsuit alleges that DOMA infringed on a state's sovereign right to define marital status and is unconstitutional. either as of right or subject to parental or other forms of consent. faiths. For example. The lawsuit. Same-sex marriage. reference to the divorce rate. Divorce. passed Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs) as constitutional amendments. search Marriageable age (or marriage age) is the age at which a person is allowed to marry. by popular vote. The age and other . Interfaith marriage. a contemporary controversy of particular significance in the USA concerns the exclusion of homosexual relationships from legal and social recognition and the rights and obligations it provides. brought by the first state to legalize gay marriage. as well as celibacy for religious or philosophical reasons. Advocates of same-faith marriage and same-race marriage may criticize the legalization of interfaith marriage and interracial marriage. These include political and religious criticisms. Transnational marriage.
According to me.then age is just the literal factor. the age at which a person is legally permitted to engage in sexual activity may be below the marriage age.in some family. which are all the most important qualities that one should develop before marriage Regards Valarmathi Member ISC Author: Vellamji 23 May 2009 Member Level: Gold Points : 2 Voting Score: 0Well. All d people who believe N think its important to settle down & be independent before entering into d world of Commitment of Marriage Author: Dinesh Pradeep T 31 May 2009 Member Level: Silver Points : 2 (Rs. The marriage age in a country may be below the age of majority and the age of consent that applies in that country. The marriage age should not be confused with the age of majority or the age of consent.right age of marriage of girl is 22 and for a boy 27. In my view the only right age for marriage whether you’re from Morogoro or Katmandu.the girl's family may not be wellbulit to get the daughter married in the correct age. Author: Anand 24 May 2009 Member Level: Silver Points : 2 Voting Score: 0In today's time many Girls & boys wish to get married after achieving their desired Goals & objective in professional life.ultimately it depends on each person's family situation. Only by 23 years in girls and 28 years in guys they would have met many personalities and would have learnt the art of giving concern to others. Actually speaking.Similiarly. as we all have witnesses (mine being this column right now) let’s celebrate them! The best age to get married legally is 18 for girls and 21 for guys.If the hearts are matched with no ego and dominancy.They want & wish to settle down in career & life before getting into commitment or bond of Marriage.so he has to look after his responsibility and then enter into marriage life.however. Happy matrimony everyone. Additionally. That when you look in your witness’s eyes (your future spouse) it only swells and swells and swells for you truly have a witness. it will be that much more worth living for. 2) Voting Score: 0The ideal age for getting married are as follows: Girls .so in that case it might take a bit late. It might be physically true but not mentally.21+ . Only with them now. is when the love you have for yourself is so big.requirements vary between countries.the age is considered mainly to enable understanding between the couple.the boy may be the bread winner of the house.In some families. a witness to the rest of your life exactly as it would be without them. showing hospitality and caring for people around them.
PLEASE GUYS AND GALS. Though the solution lies in nucleus family. SO. Physicians and psychologists prescribe that age when the body and mind are adequately matured as marriageable age. but the younger age enjoyment is entirely different to the other age categories. organize and responsible. we are concerned about .this is not an argument against education and individuality of women but it is matterof-factly speaking. and more often its take-it-easy or take it as it goes life. No big sanctity is attached to marriage and one can come out of it if he feels that it is a burden for his personal growth and liberty. Before that age its all fun and enjoyment. because after this age only guys/gals have to reach various opportunities which requires certain legal status. Older the girl. The girl will have to make a lot of compromises to suit herself to the new environment i. I mean the enjoyment life which everyone requires to run throughout their lives. stronger her individuality. scientifically guys and gals gets to attain the marriage resposibilities only after 21 yrs.the boy's family.Boys . ITS TOGETHER FOR A WHOLE LIFE-TIME.. It is all about legal sanction for man-woman relationship. Driving License. thats when they learn to manage things. which is not good for marriage. If you are an American or an European you have to consider only issues concerning you and your would be partner. their life would be all over before it even would start. but its not good for them in the current lifestyle. AFTER ALL MARRIAGE IS NOT A SHORT-TERM LIFE. Ideally if someone gets married before 21 yrs. But in India marriage is seen as an important mile stone in a person's life. 7) Voting Score: 0Hi. coupled with strong educational background of the girl could be attributed to the root cause of many problems that new marriages face. GET MARRIED AFTER 24 AND 21 (Respectively). Thus age is not a big issue that is why it is common to find the bride being older than the groom.24+ Its been told that 18 yrs is enough to get married as they become MaJORs.e. It is because life revolves around family here. She tends to have strong opinion about almost everything. But this MAJOR stat has been mis-used often with Marriage. Passport etc. FOR A HEALTHY AND ENJOYABLE MARRIAGE LIFE. Marriage results in bringing a stranger in to the family. This 18 yrs to attain the MAJOR stat is ment entirely for various other purposes like Voting. Author: R GANESAN 07 Jun 2009 Member Level: Silver Points : 7 (Rs. But it is not as simple as it sounds here. We can enjoy at all ages. Life moves on the philosophy "one lives for one's self". More over a married person here normally respects the freedom of his/her partner and personal liberty is essence of life. This. Also. No.
persons who have faith in the family values. So a possible choice to such persons would be to get married to young girls who could be easily made to understand what the family expects from her. She will enthusiastically understand and learn about the new set up and she may not have to give up much from her side. Or giving up will not be much of a pain. In the case of a man, it all depends on the individual. If he is conservative and has faith in strong lasting marriage with family values he would do well to get married early in life with an young girl. Getting married at an early age will help them to understand each other and will create very strong bondage between the life partners.
Here are my reasons. 1. Both will be financially secure (or insecure) 2. Expectations will be low as they would have studied human nature at close range and have experienced it all 3. No children to mess up the Guys TV time or the Girls Kitty time 4. Can spend more time together as they would likely be out of work, friends, relatives 5. No active sex or extra marital life to mess up the marriage 6. The guy would hopefully have learnt cooking by 50 years 7. Companionship and talking about failed relationship will be great. 8. Both can travel w/o the necessary diapers, bottle, stroller in tow. 9. Both would have already fulfilled their ambitions so no blame game as to you didnt let me do this do that. 10. I can think of a hundred more reasons on why a late marriage with a Capital L will work :-) Recently the committee headed by justice K.Laxmanan suggested that the age limit to get married for men has to be decreased from 21 years to 18 years.Is it good. Give your comments.not good ay all The laws regulating marriage are quite uniform. The right to marry is considered very personal, and once the "age of majority," or when one can marry without the permission of a parent or guardian, is reached, it is the couple's sole decision whether or not to marry. However, below this age, parental consent is required (though states do not require the consent of a parent or guardian who is not present in the country or who has abandoned his or her child). The age of majority is now universally eighteen, except in Mississippi, where the parties need to be twenty-one. While only three states, California, Kansas, and Massachusetts, have no statutory minimum age under which marriage licenses will not be issued, many states with a minimum age requirement do permit marriages between minors under that age. Virtually all states allowing the marrying of minors require court approval in addition to parental
consent. A growing number of states now require counseling for minors seeking to marry. Provisions for underage marriages exist in order to permit pregnant minor females and/or couples to marry, and prevailing code language still clearly reflects that bias. Ohio has the most explicit rule on this issue. In that state, the juvenile court is authorized to grant official consent to the marriage of underage persons, and the probate court issues the license. According to Ohio statutes, the probate court may delay issuing the license until the court is convinced that the female is pregnant and will carry the child to term or may even delay issuance of the license until the baby is born.
We'd say any age (yes, yes above the permissible 18 years, that is) is the perfect age to get married. There really is no upper limit! Picture perfect It was our parents' or their parents' generation or the one before that, which probably had the idea of setting a particular age as the appropriate one to getting married. Those times are gone now. If you've found the man of your dreams at age 25, then that's the perfect time to get married. If not, it might be anything: 28, 30, 34…how does it really matter? The point is, when do you think you would be comfortable to get into a long term commitment? And it is different for everyone so, just because your best friend was married off at 22, doesn't mean you should have also. What's in a number? With more and more people subscribing to that belief, the boundaries between what is the right age, and should be, are turning fuzzy by the day. So, if you are tying the knot soon after you graduate, at 22 or 23, you start your career after marriage and have the opportunity to 'grow up together.' But if you're starting your innings rather late, you have already gotten a whole lot of experience and maturity behind you, which is what men respect about women a lot, by the way! No expiry date Thankfully, there's no longer a 'best before' date associated with marriage! So, if you are say past 26, it doesn't mean that you are past your prime and can't get married anymore. Or, won't find someone to your liking and might have to settle down for someone 'not up to the mark'.
With careers taking priority over everything else these days its pretty acceptable to marry late. Now the right age to get married is when you decide you want to marry! What's more important than the age you get married at, is the fact that whenever you do get married, you should be happy. You will then realise that the delay and the wait was definitely worth it! How the Marriage Institution has Evolved, from Primitive Societies to the Present Kirkus Reviews Coontz (Family Studies/Evergreen State) turns from scrutiny of the family (The Way We Really Are, 1997, etc.) to examination of marriage itself. With a host of examples, she considers the long-established system of marriages as they were arranged for economic, social and political advantage. These involved the input of parents, in-laws, siblings, rival nobles, concubines and, after the Middle Ages, popes, bishops and church reformers as well. This system, Coontz finds, remained the norm until the 18th century, when the spread of the market economy and the beginning of the Enlightenment brought profound changes. By the end of that century, the model of a love-based, male-protector marriage was firmly in place, with men and women seen as occupying separate spheres of existence, each dependent on the other and each incomplete without marriage. While the early-20th century saw changes in sexual expressiveness and relations between the sexes, the love-based model persisted, culminating in "the golden age of marriage" in the 1950s. It was, Coontz says, a "unique moment in the history of marriage," a time when breadwinner husband and stay-at-home mom were considered the norm, and marriage provided the context for the greater part of most people's lives. While short-lived, the 1950s model has come to be regarded by many as "traditional marriage," an ideal whose decline is mourned. Coontz, however, exposes that view as shortsighted. Using both story and statistic, she demonstrates that for most of human history marriage has been an alliance held together by outside forces, and that an array of societal transformations continue even now to shape the institution. Just as the long-lived economic/political model can't be revived, she counsels, neither can the 1950s "traditional" model. In her concluding chapters, she examines the pluses and minuses of contemporary marriage and looks at the value of alternatives. A rich, provocative and entertaining social history. http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/books/marriage/index.htm
Books > Marriage, A History > Chapter 1
The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love
George Bernard Shaw described marriage as an institution that brings together two people "under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions. They are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part."1 Shaw's comment was amusing when he wrote it at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it still makes us smile today, because it pokes fun at the unrealistic expectations that spring from a dearly held cultural ideal—that marriage should be based on intense, profound love and a couple should maintain their ardor until death do them part. But for thousands of years the joke would have fallen flat. For most of history it was inconceivable that people would choose their mates on the basis of something as fragile and irrational as love and then focus all their sexual, intimate, and altruistic desires on the resulting marriage. In fact, many historians, sociologists, and anthropologists used to think romantic love was a recent Western invention. This is not true. People have always fallen in love, and throughout the ages many couples have loved each other deeply.2 But only rarely in history has love been seen as the main reason for getting married. When someone did advocate such a strange belief, it was no laughing matter. Instead, it was considered a serious threat to social order. In some cultures and times, true love was actually thought to be incompatible with marriage. Plato believed love was a wonderful emotion that led men to behave honorably. But the Greek philosopher was referring not to the love of women, "such as the meaner men feel," but to the love of one man for another.3 Other societies considered it good if love developed after marriage or thought love should be factored in along with the more serious considerations involved in choosing a mate. But even when past societies did welcome or encourage married love, they kept it on a short leash. Couples were not to put their feelings for each other above more important commitments, such as their ties to parents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, or God.
As late as the eighteenth century the French essayist Montaigne wrote that any man who was in love with his wife was a man so dull that no one else could love him.4 This cure assumed. In an attempt to save his career but still placate Héloïse's furious uncle. as Oscar Wilde once put it. the parents might even send her back to her parents.8 . socially disapproved relationship. chaplain to Countess Marie of Troyes. The most famous love affair of the Middle Ages was that of Peter Abelard. the brilliant niece of a fellow churchman at Notre Dame. If a son's romantic attachment to his wife rivaled his parents' claims on the couple's time and labor." But he meant loving someone outside the marriage. adultery became idealized as the highest form of love among the aristocracy. excessive love between husband and wife was seen as a threat to the solidarity of the extended family. a well-known theologian in France.5 In Europe. that the quickest way to conquer yearning and temptation was to yield immediately and move on to more important matters. In the Chinese language the term love did not traditionally apply to feelings between husband and wife. but they too looked beyond marriage for love and intimacy. Many of the songs and stories popular among peasants in medieval Europe mocked married love. Abelard proposed they marry in secret. The two eloped without marrying."6 In twelfth-century France. almost antisocial act. arguing that marriage would not only harm his career but also undermine their love. In the Middle Ages the French defined love as a "derangement of the mind" that could be cured by sexual intercourse. The Greeks thought lovesickness was a type of insanity. and Héloïse. falling in love before marriage was seen as a disruptive.In ancient India. and she bore him a child. The first rule was that "marriage is no real excuse for not loving. noblemen and kings fell in love with courtesans rather than the wives they married for political reasons. According to the Countess of Champagne. But Heloise resisted the idea.7 Courtly love probably loomed larger in literature than in real life. In the 1920s a group of intellectuals invented a new word for love between spouses because they thought such a radical new idea required its own special label. But for centuries. This sharp distinction between love and marriage was common among the lower and middle classes as well. This would mean that Héloïse would not be living in sin. either with the loved one or with a different partner. Queens and noblewomen had to be more discreet than their husbands. whether or not he loved her. It was used to describe an illicit. during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Andreas Capellanus. a view that was adopted by medieval commentators in Europe. They could also require him take a concubine if his wife did not produce a son. Parents could force a son to divorce his wife if her behavior or work habits didn't please them. In China. wrote a treatise on the principles of courtly love. it was impossible for true love to "exert its powers between two people who are married to each other. while Abelard could still pursue his church ambitions.
secular writers in the Islamic world believed that love thrived best outside marriage.." In this society. disguising the fondness they may really feel. just a smile. public displays of love between husband and wife were considered unseemly. because such familiarity on a wife's part undermined the husband's authority and the awe that his wife should feel for him." Many centuries later Catholic and Protestant theologians argued that husbands and wives who loved each other too much were committing the sin of idolatry. women speak wistfully about how wonderful it is to be a "love wife. the term for wife is trouble and strife. An eighty-year-old man recalled that his fourth wife "was the wife of my heart.13 In many cultures. In many cultures."Nothing Is More Impure Than to Love One's Wife as if She Were a Mistress"9 Even in societies that esteemed married love. especially within marriage. the Fulbe people of northern Cameroon do not see love as a legitimate emotion. no matter how exemplary it may actually be. they also insisted that too much intimacy between husband and wife weakened a believer's devotion to God. love is rarely seen as the main ingredient for marital success. A Roman was expelled from the Senate because he had kissed his wife in front of his daughter. even after marriage." In many peasant and workingclass communities. In Africa. because a Taita man normally marries a love wife only after he has accumulated a few more practical wives. Fulbe women "vehemently deny emotional attachment to a husband. In Cockney rhyming slang. Although medieval Muslim thinkers were more approving of sexual passion between husband and wife than were Christian theologians. like their European counterparts. The Hindu tradition celebrates love and sexuality in marriage. And. Theologians chided wives who used endearing nicknames for their husbands. One observer reports that in conversations with their neighbors. couples were expected to keep it under strict control.11 Many cultures still frown on placing love at the center of marriage. compulsion. Plutarch conceded that the punishment was somewhat extreme but pointed out that everyone knew that it was "disgraceful" to kiss one's wife in front of others." But only a small percentage of Taita women experience this luxury. in terms of convenience.12 As a result. love has been seen as a desirable outcome of marriage but not as a good reason for getting married in the first place. through the conventions of a war between the sexes. men and women often relate to each other in public.10 Some Greek and Roman philosophers even said that a man who loved his wife with "excessive" ardor was "an adulterer. Among the Taita of Kenya. recognition and approval of married love are widespread.. Whether it is valued or not.. too much love between husband and wife is seen as disruptive because it encourages the couple to withdraw from the wider web of dependence that makes the society work. but love and sexual attraction are not considered valid reasons for .I could look at her and no words would pass. They describe their marital behavior. or self-interest rather than love or sentiment. where men often take several wives.
" she wrote him. As recently as 1975. not as a necessity. and neighbors to marry for practical reasons rather than love. material security. Moralists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries argued that if a husband and wife each had a good character. Such capital. Pepys recorded that it "did wrap up my soul so that it made me really sick.15 "[I]t Made Me Really Sick. while 32 percent completely disapproved. my love is such that rivers cannot quench. it was thought. during their thirty-year marriage."17 The famous seventeenth-century English diarist Samuel Pepys chose to marry for love rather than profit. would certainly help love flower. give recompense. But love in marriage was seen as a bonus.marriage. in early modern Europe most people believed that love developed after marriage. nor ought but love from thee."18 Pepys would later disinherit a nephew for marrying under the influence of so strong yet transient an emotion. then thee.14 Similarly. But they insisted that youths be guided by their families in choosing spouses who were worth learning to love. In seventeenth-century America. "If ever two were one. they would probably come to love each other.I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold. if ever man were loved by wife. But that didn't stop him from divorcing her when she was no longer able to support him in the style to which he had become accustomed.. He later arranged her marriage to a cherished childhood friend who eventually became the governor of Massachusetts.16 Sometimes people didn't have to make such hard choices. Combining love. There were always youngsters who resisted the pressures of parents. and marriage was not the strain for her that it was for many men and women of that era. duty. Anne Bradstreet was the favorite child of an indulgent father who gave her the kind of education usually reserved for elite boys. kin. "then surely we. But he was not as lucky as Anne. a survey of college students in the Indian state of Karnataka found that only 18 percent "strongly" approved of marriages made on the basis of love. but most accepted or even welcomed the interference of parents and others in arranging their marriages. Anne wrote love poems to her husband that completely ignored the injunction of Puritan ministers not to place one's spouse too high in one's affections.. Terentia. then we'll fall in love" is the formula.. or all the riches that the East doth hold. The great Roman statesman Cicero exchanged many loving letters with his wife. just as I have formerly been when in love with my wife. "Whatever possessed me to think I loved you enough . After hearing a particularly stirring piece of music. "First we marry. Just as I Have Formerly Been When in Love with My Wife" I don't believe that people of the past had more control over their hearts than we do today or that they were incapable of the deep love so many individuals now hope to achieve in marriage." Nowadays a bitter wife or husband might ask. A common saying in early modern Europe was "He who marries for love has good nights and bad days. It was up to parents and other relatives to make sure that the woman had a dowry or the man had a good yearly income.
This package of expectations about love. all of whom share sexual access to her. we believe. Leo Tolstoy once remarked that all happy families are alike. Among Tibetan brothers who share the same wife. successful marriages have not been happy in our way. and sex. sharing their most intimate feelings and secrets." There they say: "Without cowives." In other cultures. Parents and in-laws should not be allowed to interfere in the marriage. Kashmir. Today there is general agreement on what it takes for a couple to live "happily ever after. a woman may be married to two or more brothers. is extremely rare. leaving their tear-stained—and sometimes bloodstained—records across the ages. women add an interesting wrinkle to the old European saying "Woman's work is never done. sexual jealousy is rare. But the more I study the history of marriage. "Whatever possessed me to marry you just because I loved you?" "Happily Ever After" Through most of the past. But each happy." in marriage. each must make the partner the top priority in life. "My wife slept with my brother". marriage. the customs of modern America and Western Europe appear exotic and exceptional. In Tibet and parts of India. In Botswana. and society viewed them as siblings. they must love each other deeply and choose each other unswayed by outside pressure. Eskimo couples often had cospousal arrangements. or at least "tranquil affection. Most unhappy marriages in history share common patterns. however. From then on. Married couples should be best friends. while every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. When we look at the historical record around the world.to marry you?" Through most of the past. The children of Eskimo cospouses felt that they shared a special bond. in which each partner had sexual relations with the other's spouse. And for most of human history. A woman in ancient China might bring one or more of her sisters to her husband's home as backup wives. "My parents brought their lovers into our home". individuals often find such practices normal and comforting. such practices are the stuff of trash TV: "I caught my sister in bed with my husband". a woman's work is never done." First. A husband and wife.20 In modern America. cowives see one another as allies rather than rivals.21 In some cultures. and Nepal. owe their highest obligations and deepest loyalties to each other and the children they raise.19 But nowhere did they have the same recipe for marital happiness that prevails in most contemporary Western countries. putting that relationship above any and all competing ties. the more I think the opposite is true. he or she was more likely to have asked. "It broke my heart to share my husband with another woman." A researcher who worked with the Cheyenne Indians of the United States in the 1930s and 1940s told . individuals hoped to find love. And of course they should be sexually faithful to each other. successful marriage seems to be happy in its own way. They should express affection openly but also talk candidly about problems.
but often enough to challenge common preconceptions. Instead candor meant fairness." In China it was said that "you have only one family. the word love usually referred to feelings toward God or neighbors rather than toward a spouse. In thirteenth-century China the bond between father and son was so much stronger than the bond between husband and wife that legal commentators insisted a couple do nothing if the patriarch of the household raped his son's wife. President John Adams in his diary. was willing "to palliate faults and Mistakes. wrote U. wives have also been allowed to do this without threatening the . a Kiowa Indian woman commented to a researcher that "a woman can always get another husband.23 In the early eighteenth century. The ideal mate. was seen as having a weak character. A husband who demonstrated open affection for his wife. American lovers often said they looked for "candor" in each other. Numerous cultures have allowed husbands to seek sexual gratification outside marriage. Sons were sometimes ordered beaten for siding with their wives against their father. saying that if he sent two of them away.26 In many societies of the past. Less frequently. and they certainly did not believe that couples should talk frankly about their grievances. Chinese commentators on marriage discouraged a wife from confiding in her husband or telling him about her day.25 In Confucian philosophy. But in many societies. although the judge was sure that a woman's rape accusation against her father-in-law was true. But they were not talking about the soul-baring intimacy idealized by modern Americans. No wonder that for 1. and therefore the son should send his wife back to her own father. marriage ranks very low in the hierarchy of meaningful relationships. who could then marry her to someone else. the two strongest relationships in family life are between father and son and between elder brother and younger brother. even at home. to put the best Construction upon Words and Action. On the North American plains in the 1930s. The expectation of mutual fidelity is a rather recent invention. not between husband and wife.S. people rarely had a high regard for marital intimacy. kindliness. he ordered the young man to give up his sentimental desire "to grow old together" with his wife.700 years women in one Chinese province guarded a secret language that they used to commiserate with each other about the griefs of marriage. and to forgive Injuries. but you can always get another wife. sexual loyalty was not a high priority."24 Modern marital advice books invariably tell husbands and wives to put each other first. and good temper. A good wife did not bother her husband with news of her own activities and feelings but treated him "like a guest. People's strongest loyalties and emotional connections may be reserved for members of their birth families. All three women defied him. In one case. Loyalty to parents was paramount. but she has only one brother." no matter how long they had been married.22 Even when societies celebrated the love between husband and wife as a pleasant byproduct of marriage. People wanted a spouse who did not pry too deeply. he would have to give away the third as well.of a chief who tried to get rid of two of his three wives." In Christian texts prior to the seventeenth century.
anthropologists have traditionally called it wife loaning. young married women publicly pursued extramarital relationships with the encouragement of their mothers. Their husbands were usually aware and did not object. she would name all the men she had slept with since learning she was pregnant. anthropologists found that only 48 forbade extramarital sex to both husbands and wives. they call it male privilege. including the obligation to share food with the woman and her child in the future. In these groups. Among the Rukuba of Nigeria. husbands and wives. bitter breakups.27 When a woman has sex with someone other than her husband and he doesn't object. Among the Dogon of West Africa. But all these examples of differing marital and sexual norms . the Eskimo believed that a remarried person's partner had an obligation to allow the former spouse. But in some societies the choice to switch partners rests with the woman. Expressing open jealousy about the sexual relationships involved was considered boorish. In fact. later in life. But among the Bari people this practice was in the best interests of the child. established comarriages with other couples. When a woman gave birth."31 In Europe and the United States today such an arrangement would be a surefire recipe for jealousy. but the woman's lover or lovers also have paternal responsibilities. In a study of 109 societies. During the 1990s researchers taking life histories of elderly Bari women in Venezuela found that most had taken lovers during at least one of their pregnancies. to ask his former mistress to marry her daughter to his son. This relationship is so embedded in accepted custom that the lover has the right. with the result that a child with a secondary father was twice as likely to live to the age of fifteen as a brother or sister without such a father.32 Few other societies have incorporated extramarital relationships so successfully into marriage and child rearing.29 Such different notions of marital rights and obligations made divorce and remarriage less emotionally volatile for the Eskimo than it is for most modern Americans. people believe that any man who has sex with a woman during her pregnancy contributes part of his biological substance to the child. and very mixed-up kids.30 Several small-scale societies in South America have sexual and marital norms that are especially startling for Europeans and North Americans. The husband is recognized as the primary father. a wife can take a lover at the time of her first marriage. as I noted earlier. The secondary fathers were expected to provide the child with fish and game. Some anthropologists believe cospouse relationships were a more socially acceptable outlet for sexual attraction than was marriage itself. and gather in the new spouse's territory. the right to fish. with mutual consent. hunt. When a man does it. and a woman attending the birth would tell each of these men: "You have a child.28 Among the Eskimo of northern Alaska.marriage. as well as any children of that union.
I will also be discussing socioeconomic theory that shows how social factors coalesce with economic factors to cause the delay in marriage timing. the adoption of these unprecedented goals for marriage had unanticipated and revolutionary consequences that have since come to threaten the stability of the entire institution.make it difficult to claim there is some universal model for the success or happiness of a marriage. Although many Europeans and Americans found tremendous joy in building their relationships around these values. Introduction The age of marriage has changed drastically of the 20 century among women. Individuals want marriage to meet most of their needs for intimacy and affection and all their needs for sex. About two centuries ago Western Europe and North America developed a whole set of new values about the way to organize marriage and sexuality. Marriage is supposed to be free of the coercion. In this essay i will be discussing Becker’s “new home economic theory” which describes household activities as a sum of economic functions and consequently how the industrialization process affects the marriage process. In this Western model. and many of these values are now spreading across the globe. This is attributed in the new home economic theory (Becker) to the industrialization process that has lead to many women foregoing household economic functions for careers that supplied them with income security hence reducing their dependence on the men for their daily needs. socioeconomic and sociological theories. violence. people expect marriage to satisfy more of their psychological and social needs than ever before. An example given by Oppenheimer (1997) indicates that the single rates for women under 25 years rose from 14% in the 1960’s to 42% in the 1960’s. Hence this theory holds in part a decline to gains in marriage due to women independence is reason why there is an increase in delayed marriages. This suggest that either women have found a viable alternative to marriage before that age or that circumstances are forcing them not to marry by that age. Never before in history had societies thought that such a set of high expectations about marriage was either realistic or desirable. and gender inequalities that were tolerated in the past. Economic theory as defined by the Princeton University online glossary is a theory of commercial activities such as the production and consumption of goods. . A number of theories are mentioned in the studied texts that can be categorised into economic. With respect to this essay economic theory states that women’s increase in economic independence has led to a reduction in marriage desirability (Berk 1983).
This largely because of their role as the provider in the family and the challenges with become the head of the household.Becker postulates that the main gain to marriage is due to the mutual dependence of both spouses due to their own specialized nature. Cohabitation as a social occurrence also reduces the cost of search and also reduces the risk of promiscuity while pooling resources creating a more stable economic environment that can lead to successful marriages. Therefore cohabitation and the rise in delayed marriages is decreasing the rate of marital instability due to the stable nature of partners who tend to have delayed their marriage as opposed to those who marry young and . This implies that while the woman would be concerned with household activities the man would be in charge of finding an income that would supply the family needs. Part of the economic theory can be explained from the young men’s income position. This process of cohabitation shows that women’s economic independence is not the answer to explaining why women are now marrying much later. Oppenheimer further develops the theory into a socioeconomic theory by borrowing Becker’s ideas on the economic aspects of marriage and merging with social occurrences that also influence the marriage timing of the cohort. Oppenheimer postulates that in the 1940’s 3% of the women less than 25 years cohabited compared to 37% in the 1960’s. which is a largely ignored factor with regards to analyzing the change in marriage age. Parsons (1949) maintains that sex role segregation is a functional necessity in the stability of marriage because it prevents disruptive competition between husband and wife. This increase the delay in age of marriage for men as they find it hard to find a woman that supports his own agenda for his career by providing for his needs at home. Becker (1981) in line with this thought views married men and women as potential trading partners with man focusing on market work while women are concerned with home production. While having had a look at various explanations of the economic theory proposed by Becker. and social structures work. Oppenheimer (1997) indicates that marriages tend to be delayed due to the trend in many couples to cohabit before they marry. This specialization provides major gains to marriage for each partner and is reduced when incomes fall and the woman is forced to participate in the market production. This has led to suicides. divorce and many men absconding their duties due to the pressure of maintaining an economically sound household. we can also show how sociological theory can help construct a framework Oppenheimer uses to analyze variously how social action. In the industrial age the gains for marriage for men are declining because of increased participation of women in the labour market. Hence as women tend to take new economic roles as a result of industrialization they become less specialized in household activities and men also begin to take up new household roles. social processes. This leads to strain in marriages and consequently divorce and also a delay factor in single couples with women now tending to focus on the more economic aspects of her life. Young men tend to wait until they have established a career path before they get married. Hence cohabitation seems to becoming a stage in the marriage process.
anyone who falls out of this range is deemed unacceptable and would therefore not be considered as a partner.e when cost of the search is equal or higher than the returns of the search) to continue with the search. Uncertainty also due to the establishment of ones own career also delays the timing in which a person thinks is the best time to get married in the industrial society.Hence assortative mating is reduced due to uncertainty about the important attributes that a prospective partner should possess leads to delay in the timing for marriage. This results in women not feeling ready to marry until they have achieved some career goals. This is described as anyone within the acceptability range. This dual assessment of marriage form a socioeconomic theory on how financial or economic factors participate with the social environment of dating or potential couples in the search process. Oppenheimer argues that work is such an influence in structuring life that any career uncertainties will affect behaviour and attitudes towards marriage formation.consequently face greater stress due to lower capacities to deal with household challenges like providing for the family health. like being able to provide economically or possessing certain abilities that show future economic achievements come into play in this socialization process. However Oppenheimer states that the situation is different among African American women who for one reason or another find themselves as single parents and have to find their own economic independence in order to survive. resulting in a change in the age of marriage due to the delay in the search process. Hence the theory of economic independence theory does not hold against this sociological argument. This analysis shows that in general women tend to be economically dependent on men even though they may have their own working careers. However it may not be prudent to view the marriage search process from a purely economic point of view but from a social one as well. This shows that desirability may not necessarily be objective but is influenced by certain fantasies a woman may have with regards to a perfect partner. Using the Job search economic theory to describe search in marriage we can differentiate efficient searches from costly ones as a function of how one uses time and resources to efficiently find the right partner in the marriage market while observing the opportunity cost of keeping a certain partner or continuing with the search of another partner. Hence we can say if the opportunity cost of avoiding the search for a suitable partner is high then it might be better to delay ones marriage until it becomes less economically sound ( i. financial and social needs. where we consider both the social and emotional aspects of a relationship and how they support the build up to marriage rather than the economic and financial aspects of the partnership. Therefore what tends to happen is that people will tend to look for the minimum acceptable match. Educated people tend to be aware of more important characteristics that they need to look out for during the search as . As a result the search for the perfect partner with desired characteristics. Another issue is the increase in selection and socialization in the search of the marriage partner as a result of socioeconomic issues that are arising due to the continuous industrial process . Another crucial point to mention with regards to marriage search is how education plays a role in the increasing the efficiency of the search process.
Larry (1978) Age and the Sociology of Fertility: How Old is Too Old?. A theory of marriage timing: American Journal of Sociology. Annual Review of Sociology. 375-395 -----Age and the Sociology of Fertility: How Old is Too Old? Citation: Rindfuss. C. Supply-side sociology of the family. Age is an important consideration in a couple's decision with respect to the termination of fertility. (1983). Annual Review of Sociology.. Age also effects the choice of contraceptive method . Oppenheimer in my view has reliable theories that explain both the social and economic aspects of marriage and hence we are able to arrive at more sound conclusions as to why age of marriage is increasing among men and women. There is also a sociological component. (1997). 431-453 Oppenheimer. R. and Berk. V. F. (1988). Bumpass. Tagged: Summary: Notes: In this article Rindfuss and Bumpass argue that while age has a strong biological effect on fertility. (1995). Women’s employment and the gain to marriage: the specialization and trading model. 97(1). In conclusion new home economic theory as proposed by Becker leaves out a lot of social actions that have been shown by Oppenheimer to contribute to the delay in the age of marriage in Industrial society. the challenge of the new home economics. F. 23. S. This socialization process increases the stability of marriage. References Oppenheimer. It is therefore in my view prudent to develop a socioeconomic theory based on empirical evidence to show how social and economic factors correlate. 21. 9. K.opposed to the young couples who start dating at an early age. 163-194 Berj. E. V. The Easterlin Effect. and Peters. A. H. biology is not the only way in which age affects fertility. Annual Review of Sociology. K. Hence it would be better for people to delay the marriage selection process until they are confident that they have made an educated decision. Ronald R. 143-168 Pampel.
The effects of both age and age of youngest child are substantial even after all of the other variables are controlled. The sample is limited to married women ages 25-34. education. The authors test whether these effects are the same for second marriages. vouching for thirties as the right time to tie the knot. and the length of the interval between marriage and the birth of the first child. who are without known or suspected fecundity problems. higher than the global figure of 77 per cent. length of first marriage. NEW DELHI: In a sign of changing times and priorities. The longer that a woman postpones childbearing. education of current husband. the greater the likelihood that she will get involved in other ego-involved activities that consume time and energy. For any given parity. age at second marriage. the proportion intending to have more children is strongly and inversely related to age. creating a loss of important advice and support. and the expectations of significant others. The authors conclude that changes or differences in the timing of fertility are associated with differences in the ultimate amount of childbearing. Postponing childbearing increases that likelihood that other members of the woman's cohort will have completed their childbearing. The sociological meanings of age as they affect fertility decisions are seen as the critical link in this relationship. The question how old is too old? is a question about the relative childbearing pace of one's peer. and religion of wife. race. majority of the Indian youth feels thirties is the right age to get married and start a family. The remaining difference may be interpretable in terms of the sociological effects described above. Age differentials in contraceptive failure may be interpreted as reflecting this component as well as differential fecundity. There may be normative bounds prescribing the 'proper' time for childbearing. In other analyses about one-third of the difference in fertility by age at first marriage can be explained by differential in sterility and unwanted births. the partners may not have sufficient time and energy to cope with a child. race of wife. controlling for age. There is also the concern that with increasing age. number of previous children. education of wife. The results show that mean fertility decreases as age at second marriage increases. Even when age at first marriage. age at marriage. religion. . A recent international survey found 79 per cent of the Indian youths. the authors analyze whether or not the respondent intends to have more children.and the vigilance with which contraception is practiced. and length of marital disruption are controlled. age at second marriage retains its significance. The regress intended fertility in the second marriage (sum of wanted births born in 2nd marriage and additional intended children) on age. Using data from the 1970 and 1965 National Fertility Study. who were questioned. internalized ideal life cycles. reason for previous marital dissolution. age of youngest child. parity.
but the difference was not significant. 56.05). 2 20-23 year old male students believed the ideal age difference to be more than 10 years. Gaonkar V. with Indonesians topping the chart with 87 per cent giving utmost importance to it. of AC Nielsen which conducted the survey. he said. PIP: Professors conducted a survey of 160 18-24 year old students attending 4 colleges of Dharwad city of Karnataka in India to examine their opinion concerning ideal marriage age and age difference between spouses. for 61 per cent people across the globe. Males also preferred this age difference (42. Executive Director. 1991 Apr. . South Asia. Urban females also believed it to be 22 years and urban males reported 21 years.77% vs.36% for males).5%) and females (61. one of the lowest in the Asia Pacific region.5%). especially 18-19 year olds (77. Females tended to prefer a higher marriage age for males than did males (26.06% vs.23% for females)."The new generation is more career-oriented and is reluctant to assume other responsibilities before their career objectives are fulfilled. The advantages of schooling including improved thinking and decision-making abilities allow them to wisely allocate family resources and decide upon an ideal family size.05). Rural males believed the ideal marriage age for females be 20 years whereas rural females believed it to be 22 years (p .15(2):35-9. However. People generally attain a degree of stability in terms of career around the age of 30 years and hence there has been an increasing trend where people prefer to get married in their thirties. Indian J Behav. Students' age was significantly associated with their opinion on the ideal age difference between spouses (p . said the ideal age difference between spouses was under 5 years. Opinions of educated youth towards age at marriage and difference in age between partners. Most students (57." said Sarang Panchal. 38. Only 53 per cent of respondents in India consider marriage a life goal.05). 25. These results indicated that both males and females prefer to marry after they have completed their education. Marriage is no longer a life goal for a large number of Indian youth who are now more career-oriented. Students who were at least 24 years old tended to state 5-10 (60%).5).5 vs. marriage is a major goal in life. Students from extended families and rural areas tended to prefer a 5-10 year age difference between the spouses with a few mentioning more than 10 years whereas students from nuclear families and urban areas preferred under 5 years with no one mentioning more than 10 years (p . Patravali P.
01). PIP: Attitudes affecting career and family choices are examined in a sample of 203 US university business students. p . whether women's choice of career or employer is influenced by family considerations. careers before children. no children with a career.001). Women were also more likely to believe that career comes before having children (t = 2. the timing of career and children.more resources Supplemental Content Related articles Family life cycle and labour force behaviour of married women. 1992 Mar. and the relationship between husband's and wive's career ideals and their plans for children. Gender is related to the beliefs about women's career before children. and number of children were significantly correlated at a low level. Additional counseling in various stages of a career is also important. and the ability to balance a career and children. p . Race and attitudes were also significantly related to sequencing career and marriage (t = 2.15.PMID: 12286491 [PubMed . The implications for counselors are that women need to be made aware of the options available and advantages and disadvantages for the sequencing of career and family. . Questions remain unanswered about whether women desiring children choose less demanding careers. nationality. Additional research is suggested on the examination of the relationship between race. marital status.indexed for MEDLINE] Career Dev Q. the ability to balance children and career. Is there a time for everything? Attitudes related to women's sequencing of career and family. and the choice of career with no children. PMID: 12344925 [PubMed .64.27. p 0. both male and female.40. Conflict may occur with the spouse over sequencing choices. simultaneously balancing career and family.40(3):234-43.indexed for MEDLINE] MeSH Terms LinkOut . The results of the intercorrelation matrix analysis showed that age. and no children with a career. An instrument that measures women's development and the factors influencing sequencing decisions at different career stages is needed. The implication is that men are more traditional in their beliefs about working women and marriage. p . Sullivan SE. Age and race were related to the belief that women should have careers before marriage.05) and that women can successfully balance a career and children (t = 3. which was an unexpected finding. Multiple regression resulted in gender differences: women were significantly less likely to believe in no children with a career (t = 4. Opinions were sought about women's careers before marriage. The belief that women should establish their careers before marriage was more likely to occur among minorities. 4 sequencing patterns were examined: the timing of marriage and career.001). and attitudes about the sequencing of career and marriage.
The norm for female age at marriage has risen from 15 years to 17-18 years in south Asia. and The Netherlands. Women Health. [Pak Dev Rev. [Int J Sociol Fam. 23(92):959-66.. Related Articles for PubM. Greenspan A. and from 18 years to 24 years and older in east Asia. 2003] » See reviews. 16:313-33. Recent activity Clear Turn Off Is there a time for everything? Attitudes related to women's sequencing of career and fami.Int J Sociol Fam. with changing roles for women. well-being. Adolescence.. 1992] Productive and reproductive choices: report of a pilot survey of urban working women in Karachi. 1992 Sep.. | » See all. Age at marriage is rising for Asian women and men. 2000.. 1986 Winter.(22):1-4. Asia Pac Pop Policy. Recent Dev Alcohol. 2003. [Women Health. [Adolescence. 25(4):593-608. 22(1):119-35. maternal employment. PIP: The social transformations in Asia are described: delayed age at marriage and the proportions marrying.. Concurrent changes have occurred with fertility declines and small family sizes and lower population growth. Men's marriage age has also risen but not as much.. 1992 Spring. [Recent Dev Alcohol.. according to new data. Policy implications are ascertained. and work-family plans to sex role orientations of late adolescents. 1986] The relationship of self-esteem. 1988] Review Women's work roles and their impact on health. 1988 Winter. and with emergent youth . and career: comparisons between the United States.. 2000] Review Treatment for alcohol-related problems: special populations: research opportunities. Sweden. Pak Dev Rev. 31(4):1-20.
particularly for men in Japan (1. while women's patterns are more reflective of structural change. the step should be taken.. Marriage timing for men is not as closely associated as for women with social and cultural change. Research findings have shown that a 1 year delay in age at 1st marriage reduces fertility by 20% of a child. Thailand. The trend for never marrying is on the increase. Singapore.e. it may be alright to set these limits of 18 and 21 . and 2 years in Japan. Change for men has been less regular and with less magnitude. Downturns for men follow momentous. South Korean increases of 6 years. Hindu Philosophy of Marriage by Dr.1% in the 1920s to 18% in the early 1980s for men 50 years)... Well. in the urban areas the age has stretched both for girls and boys. and Hong Kong. Single males have been common in South and Southeast Asia.B. Policies affect the status of women and opportunities. Never marrying is common in urban or educated populations.C types . Posted by John Karanja on Nov 16th. Sheenu Srinivasan . while in East Asia married male teens 25 years are rare. and this more so to put brakes on child marriages which are still rampant in certain parts of the country. depending on the individual's maturity. Schooling delays marriage age as well as marriage laws. South Korea. East Asia patterns vary by country. Sri Lanka.more so for girls as they wish to acquire a level of social security that comes with economic independence. The number of singles is rising and expected to continue to rise..indexed for MEDLINE] MeSH Terms JohnKaranja.. 2008 and filed under Society.. and regional totals. In Southeast Asia. and changes primarily in the 20-24 year old group (from 30% to 74% of single women). Malaysia. temporary disruptions such as happen during wars and periods of migration.as the institution of marriage calls for tremendous responsibility on the part of the boy and the girl. For the less educated and the naive. Women not ever marrying are increasing in Thailand. i.com and the title is “The change of the age of marriage in industrial societies”.subcultures and increased prevalence of premarital sexual behavior.e. Taiwanese increases of 4 years. I believe it is a very relative issue. Examples are given of marriage age changes for Nepal and Bangladesh.In the A cities the girls push the age greater and likewise. The implications are a longer gap between successive generations and a shorter period of exposure to risk of conception. i. And I think. but structural and economic changes may be more important than policy changes. PMID: 12285807 [PubMed . Southeast Asian countries experienced less dramatic changes. Bangladesh. and Philippines. and that differs again with the different types of cities-A. the rise in marriage age for men has risen only 1-2 years compared with women.
In an episode known as Yaksha Prashna in the Aranya Parva of that great epic. the Hindu code of right conduct. the need for companionship .Centuries ago. temptations. published by Periplus Lines LLC and released by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. With such authority.. Second Edition. a climax is reached when a particular event .e. questions. the friend of a householder is his spouse. therefore..and founded an honorable institution known as marriage. According to Hindus. April 2001)." This may sound like a newly discovered concept by modern psychologists but an ancient Hindu prince known as Yudhishtira revealed this "secret" about 4000 years ago. satisfactory answers to which may help restore the lives of his “dead” brothers (See my book Yaksha Prashna: A Hindu Primer. The subject matter of marriage has been discussed and debated ever since. Who is the friend of a householder? To which the prince answered "bhaaryaa mitram grhesatah. ups and downs. Experience has shown that this institution can help navigate the complex ocean of life full of conflicts. the Mahabharata. They continue and say "If there is one prevailing wish that husbands and wives have for their marriage. The July 1989 issue of Readers Digest has an article entitled "Surprising Key to the Happiest Couples" written by two psychologists who conclude that "Romance ‘talks’ about love but it is friendship that puts love to the ultimate test"." i. the basis for marriage is friendship and such friendship is the understanding. there is then no question about the role of a woman. her position in this equation that binds them together.e. concerns. Hindu ancestors set aside some guidelines to make sure that the institution is a permanent one capable of not only bringing happiness to two young people but also providing a delicate balance so that the family enjoys the fullness of life within the framework of what they called Dharma. Bangalore. One of the questions the Yaksha asked Yudhishtira was "kimsvin mitram grhesatah?" i. In most Hindu wedding ceremonies.e. it is to be close companions for life. and especially among South Indians. a divine being challenged the prince in exile to answer some questions. her importance. Let us explore this further.i. One cannot desire another person over the long haul without really being best friends with that person. the promise and the commitment that unites a man and a woman. they often don't realize that love without close friendship is only a hormonal illusion. sorrows. joys. While many men and women know that love is essential for such a lifelong bond. civilized societies recognized and acknowledged the most basic instincts of all .
Because. But what happens afterwards is truly the most significant and meaningful for the rest of their life together. Again the basis of friendship in marriage is emphasized. . Hindu ancestors went even further: they blessed the bride by saying..a man's God-given friend is his wife. May your friendship make you one with me. May I deserve your friendship.” There are in fact two more questions in the Yaksha Prashna where this subject matter comes up. Nothing short of the status of a queen is what the scriptures prescribe. the God of fire and pledge to each other their eternal friendship. ethically and morally that moment is the sacred moment in the wedding when they become husband and wife. meaning "let him respect you. "May your husband keep you on his head.takes place.e. What they say after they have taken those seven steps is unquestionably the foundation for a successful marriage. "murdhaanam patyuraroha. He recites: Samraajni shvashurebhava Be queenly with your father-in-law Samraajni shvashruvaambhava Be queenly with your mother-in-law Nanandaari saamraajnibhava Be queenly with his sisters Saamraajni adhidevrshu Be queenly with his brothers.” Anyone who has had any question about the role of a woman in Hindu marriage should pay special attention to the charge and blessing by the presiding priest at the end of the saptapadi. Legally." i. in a following ceremony known as saptapadi the bride and the groom hold hands and take seven steps together as husband and wife as they walk around Agni. In one question the Yaksha asks Yudhishtira: kimsvid daiva krita sakha? Who is man's god-given friend? Yudhishtira's answer was: bhaaryaa daivakrita sakha. May my friendship make me one with you. Together they chant: sakhaa sapta padi bhava sakhyam te gameyam sakhyam te mayoshah sakhyam te mayoshtah “With these seven steps you have become my friend. That peak in the ceremony known as Maangalyaddhaaranam confirms for ever and seals the bond between the bride and the groom through the tying of a golden necklace around the bride's neck by the groom.
valor.The basis of Hinduism is rooted in the Vedas composed around 1500 B.” A serious study of the Vedas reveals how practical the findings of the ancient sages truly are. the ancient Hindus said. June 2005. Bhavan’s Journal. the sun god) is found in the Rig Veda. enjoy the good life in a responsible way.the physical prowess.the radiance of intellect. Dharma truly forms the very core of Hindu philosophy (See my paper Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha. then by all means practice fully in the affairs of the society. Other prayers are for strength. The demands of Artha and Kama in the life of married people are in apparent conflict with the dictates of Dharma and Moksha.all within the framework of Dharma.C. serve the community. Acquisition of these two attributes. leading to Brahmateja . A specific reference to the wedding ceremony of Suryaa (daughter of Surya. arttha and kama conflict with each other. higher talent etc. or earlier. efficiency. How does the Hindu resolve this apparent contradiction? This in fact was the third question on the subject asked of Yudhishtira by the Yaksha: dharmashcaarthasca kaamashca paraspara virodhinah eshaam nitya viruddhaanam katthamekatra sangamah Dharma. Some Vedic prayers blended into a wedding ceremony are directed towards acquiring intellectual power. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. fearlessness and qualities of heroism leading to Kshaatraveerya . the life-long companionship of two people. raise a family. If salvation is to be your goal. Artha and Kama leading to the fourth. page 259. wisdom.) The inclusion of Artha (financial aspect) and Kama (aspects of love) in this series confirms the practicality of Vedic thought. spiritual vigor. The Vedic ideal of marriage. power. in Hindu thought.the complete release of bondage and to total freedom known as Moksha. according to Abhinash Chandra Bose (The Call of the Vedas. . 1970) "is that of perfect monogamy. leads to fulfillment of Chaturvidhaphalapurushaarttha. How can these contraries be reconciled? How can a householder necessarily involved in the pursuit of good life seeking arttha and kaama in raising a family and serving a community not find himself in conflict with Dharma and how can he strive for moksha? Notice that Artha and Kama are safely sandwiched between Dharma and Moksha. the four aspects of life known as Dharma.
Marriage was solemnized soon after marriage. That is why a Hindu wife is not simply called a patni (wife) but she is always referred to as Dharmapatni. very unique.” That means. It is that protection coming from such a spouse. Connecticut) Marriage There is very little evidence of child (or infant) marriage in the Rig Veda. in order to keep that delicate balance among the attributes of arttha and kaama. when her physical development was complete. wife-in-Dharma. that torch light. there is only one way and that is yada dharmasca bhaaryaca paraspara vashanugau tada dharmaartha kamaanam trayaanamapi sangamah “When dharma and one's wife are in harmony.orientalia. then dharma. 1989 at the Academy School in Glastonbury. Each step in a Vedic wedding ceremony conveys implicitly or explicitly an understanding between the couple.would be a Dhaarmic one. has to have a spouse who is dhaarmic. artha and kama are reconciled. http://www. This then is the reason for that very special. very necessary role a woman was called upon to play in the Hindu household.org/article709. The Vedic rituals presuppose that the married pair was grown up enough to be lovers.How does a grhasttha reconcile these contrary requirements? According to Yudhishtira. that spirit of friendship and cooperation and sacrifice that gives a reasonable chance for a couple to succeed in meeting this challenge of conflicting attributes.her own family . man and wife.html-(Speech delivered at a Seminar on "Marriage of Hindu Youth in America" sponsored jointly by the Connecticut Chapter of the Vishva Hindu Parishad of America and the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society on July 23. A girl was married at 16 or more years of age. a person. and parents of children (marriage hymn . The life companion inherited this burden of providing the umbrella of Dharma so that the family she was going to raise .
the seclusion of women was not practiced. 7. The swayamvaras of the princesses are of course well documented.vedah. qualified to give consent and make choice.com/org2/literature/pdf_docs/Atharva_Veda. Surya. The marriage hymns 139 in the Rig-Veda and the Atharvaveda indicate that the parties to marriage were generally grown up persons competent to woo and be wooed. "selects among many of her loved one as her husband. There is a reference to certain occasional festivals or gatherings called Samanas organized to help young boys and girls to get together.140 and 141). was married to Soma (the Moon). www. The term for the bridegroom was vara. Never think of giving in marriage a daughter of very young age’” (RV 3. "The woman who is of gentle birth and of graceful form. involved the intercession of the families on either side. as in the later day Hindu society today. These go to show that a girl was married after she attained puberty. The Rig-Veda (v.pd Young women of the time could exercise their choice in the matter of their marriage. only when she became youthful and yearned for a husband.12)." so runs a verse in the Rig Veda.16). but a maiden was consulted and her wishes taken into account when the matrimonial alliance was discussed. Rig Veda described Samana as where: Wives and maidens attire themselves in gay robes and set forth to . Young girls had the freedom to go out to attend fairs.55. The Vedas say that an educated girl should be married to an equally educated man “An unmarried young learned daughter should be married to a bridegroom who like her is learned. the chosen one. festivals and assemblies’. the daughter of Surya (the Sun). 9) refers to young maidens completing their education as brahmacharins and then gaining husbands. ”The happy and beautiful bride chooses (vanute) by herself (svayam) her own husband" RV (27. Many marriages.
) It was appears that the bride was given by her parents gold.com/books? id=SZhCm7ajencC&pg=PA358&lpg=PA358&dq=given+below+is+a+description+of+a+samana+from+th e+%22rig+veda%22&source=web&ots=IhUPaCq0w_&sig=SH9Eg8xG9hssfTr-ghF-AkKMawI Rig Veda talks of the seven steps and vows based on mutual respect.google. youths and maidens hasten to the meadow when forest and field are clothed in fresh verdure to take part in dance. cattle. and never part from thy friendship. May I retain thy friendship.27. horses. Nay. will be wroth with her for blindness? Which of the two will lose on him his anger-the man who leads her home or he who woos her?” (RV 10. 14. valuables .11) . herself. I iii. taken during marriage A friend thou shall be. which she carried to her new home .27.the joyous feast. meaning well towards each other. 1918. having paced the seven steps. having paced these seven steps with me. No doubt the dowry a girl brought with her did render her more attractive. knowing. articles etc. she finds. “Howmuch a maiden is pleasing to the suitor who would marry for her splendid riches? If the girl be both good and fair of feature. Cymbals sound and seizing each other lads and damsels whirl a about until the ground vibrates and clouds of dust envelop the gaily moving throng. a friend among the people. Sastri. let us join our thoughts. . “(Rig-Veda X .12) There were also the woes of a father. who. http://books. Let us unite together: let us propose together. (Source: Taittiriya Ekagnikanda.” When a man's daughter hath been ever eyeless.She had a right to deal with it as she pleased. we have become friends. sharing together all enjoyments and pleasures. Loving each other and ever radiant in each other’s company. A girl often chose one of the suitors whom she met in these Samanas as her husband.
I am not therefore sure of that. could marry even after the child bearing age. if she chose. At the wedding. It was regarded as a social and religious duty.Marriage was an established institution in the Vedic Age. For instance Gosha a well known female sage married at a late stage in her life (her husband being another well known scholar of that time Kakasivan) as she earlier suffered from some skin ailment. She participates in performances of yagnas for devas and pitrs of her husband’s family. the bride addressed the assembly in which the sages too were present. Monogamy normally prevailed but polygamy was also in vogue . There are no direct references to that. Married life A girl when she marries moves into another household where she becomes part of it.85. Her gotra changes from that of her father into that of her husband. a girl who grew old at her father’s house.26-27)] Marriage was not compulsory for a woman. The husband-wife stood on equal footing and prayed for long lasting love and friendship. Widows were allowed to remarry if they so desired. An unmarried person was however not eligible to participate in Vedic sacrifices. A woman. and not a contract.Some scholars say that polyandry and divorce were also common. and faced no condemnation and ostracization socially. [Rig Veda (10. an unmarried who stayed back in the house of her parents was called Amajur. The bride takes charge of her new family that includes .
" (Rig Veda: 10. address your company (i.85.85. brothers and sisters. your husband. Over the sister of thy lord . with the charming look. O desired of the gods.27) The famous marriage hymn (10.e. his parents. over his brothers rule supreme"(Rig Veda 10. in this home ‘.27) . indicates the rights of a woman as wife.the wedding prayer .27) ." (Rig Veda 10. It is addressed to the bride sitting next to bridegroom. kind towards animals. May you bring happiness for both our quadrupeds and bipeds. 85. "Happy be you (as wife) in future and prosper with your children here (in the house): be vigilant to rule your household in this home (i. She is welcomed in many ways: " Come.44) Over thy husband's father and thy husband's mother bear full sway. Closely unite (be an active participant) in marriage with this man. good towards your husband.85. destined to bring forth heroes. others in the house listen to you. It touches upon few other issues as well. exercise your authority as the main figure in your home). beautiful one with tender heart.46) “Happy be thou and prosper with thy children here. So shall you. The Rig Veda hymn (10. be vigilant to rule thy household. and others who lived there for some reason.e. and obey and care about what you have to say). (Rig-Veda 10.her husband.85) calls upon members of the husband’s family to treat the daughter in law (invited into the family 'as a river enters the sea') as the queen samrajni. 85. full of years (for a very long life).
being the equal halves of one substance." (RV 5.The idea of equality is expressed in the Rig Veda: "The home has.com/hindu-history/rawarchives.msn. verily. http://groups. To sum up. are equal in every respect. Dharmapathni (the one who guides the husband in dharma) and Sahadharmacharini (one who moves with the husband on the path of dharma). 8) She wasPathni (the one who leads the husband through life). 61.msnw? action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=181 . religious and secular. She did have an important position in the family and yielded considerable influence.” The wife and husband. therefore both should join and take equal parts in all work. its foundation in the wife”. one can say that the bride in the Vedic ideal of a household was far from unimportant and weak.
Annual Review of Sociology. Second Edition. (Berk 1983) 10 . Contributors: Edward Westermarck . Dr. Cavendish Children's Books. London.html-.com and the title is “The change of the age of marriage in industrial societies”. ISBN 0761450319. 2008 and filed under Society . 431-453 9 Rindfuss. 1921. Page Number: 26 3 Eleanor. Schick (1999). released by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Second Edition. JohnKaranja.author. released by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. K. Lines LLC . Posted by John Karanja on Nov 16th.org/article709. Sheenu Srinivasan. 71.questia.html (http://www.com/PM. ‘Hindu Philosophy of Marriage’. (1997). Larry (1978) Age and the Sociology of Fertility: How Old is Too Old?. published by Periplus. Connecticut) 6 Yaksha Prashna: A Hindu Primer. ISBN 0766146189. Volume: 1.qst?a=o&d=1065904) The History of Human Marriage. published by Periplus. 1989 at the Academy School in Glastonbury. p.1 2 http://www.us/MyPhilosophyonMarriage.. http://www.stillwaterstudio. Lines LLC . 4 5 Westermarck. (Speech delivered at a Seminar on "Marriage of Hindu Youth in America" sponsored jointly by the Connecticut Chapter of the Vishva Hindu Parishad of America and the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society on July 23. Bumpass. Edward. Bangalore. Navajo Wedding Day: A Dine Marriage Ceremony. Women’s employment and the gain to marriage: the specialization and trading model. Macmillan. Ronald R.orientalia. V. April 2001 8 Oppenheimer. 23. Bangalore. April 2001 7 Yaksha Prashna: A Hindu Primer. (1921) The History of Human Marriage Volume 1.