Marriage can be defined as the joining of two people into a socially and legally approved form of lifetime companions. Marriage dates back from the early days in history and is a family building association between two spouses. According to the religious beliefs, God created marriage to be a form of companionship and a gift to His people thus marriage is generally respected in any society which should be the case. However, there are several concepts that come along with marriage, which mainly serve as a guide for couples before and after marriage.
The main concept is the motives that cause people to get married. As earlier hinted, people come from all walks of life and, therefore, they enter into marriage with different reasons. The whole idea of the creation of marriage between two individuals of the opposite sex can be viewed as procreation and sexual satisfaction. In the historic era, children were the reason people got married and started a family (Rosenthal 2002). They were also assured of lifetime sexual consent to each other so as to establish a sense of morality in the society. This aspect of morality is partially true but as a matter of fact people are prone to be sexually attracted to others, and getting into marriage posses this as a challenge.
In the modern world, people have many reasons for marriage, and the most common is the search for companionship. This is also the Biblical view of marriage as God himself created a wife for Adam for the same reasons. Companionship comes with people who fall in love, and this love and desire to live happily together brings them to marriage. Their agenda is to achieve happiness and a sense of lifetime union where people want to grow old together; this is a marriage built on love. However, some reasons for marriage are from the social and economic pressures of the modern world.
Socially people are pushed to marry due to the age factor. Men reach a certain age and decide to get married as they receive constant questions concerning their marriage status and the reasons for not having started a family. This is an old fashioned way of thinking, but it is there, and some marriages are built due to the pressures society puts upon individuals. Unfortunately, nowadays less and less families are founded on love or companionship. Moreover, the economic situation in most countries forces adults to acquire financial help In view of this, a common habit has arisen especially with women whereby they get married to get financial support and acquire wealth. This appears as a form of investment, and the husband dutifully provides financial stability to his wife.. Most men are never aware of the financial reasons of their wives while few choose to marry to share life’s economic responsibilities.
As stated earlier, the differences in people’s background cause them to form marriages for reasons which cannot be regarded as normal or natural. For instance, in New Guinea, men marry women not with a purpose to get a wife but to get an extended family. In this case they strive to get brothers in law. It is happening in the modern world, and no matter how strange it seems people have their rights to act as they want. Opinions on such a situation would on a higher side condemn such reasons for marriage.
Another main concept of marriage is its basic function in a society, and the impact marriages have. As compared to the early days, marriage in the modern world is also a purpose of procreation and making a family. A family is the primary and the smallest unit of a society. A man and a woman are obliged to give rise to their children and enable the creation of their own unit. Usually, in a family, the man is the head of the family and has his roles as the leader. More so, the wife and the children have their roles too. However, some religious leaders and Utopian philosophers have developed views affecting the erosion of family status. It is suggested that when children are born a separation from the mothers is to occur so that nobody could identify themselves. The reason for this is to create a sense of community other than family and consequently improve on humanity and love for everyone.
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Marriage gives stability to a couple that earlier lived as lovers. The marriage setting where people start living together and getting to know each other provides stability to a relationship of the two individuals since marriage is viewed as a merger of two people to become one. Another function that marriage brings is the sense of understanding between the two people especially when children are born. A family is created, and they all begin to treat each other’s feelings and opinions with respect. This aspect has to come from a family where people sympathize each other.
Marriage gives a certain lineage a continuity when children are born. It is a matter of fact that people die at some point in life and giving birth to children people continue the generation of their forefathers. Names are given according to lineage, and even in the course of death a name can still be given to a newborn baby. This is not required, however, in the modern world the essence of culture and continuity of a generation is slowly fading away and losing meaning.
An additional concept of marriage is the types and forms of marriages that exist worldwide. The forms are mainly four, but the types are quite many considering a variety of cultures, beliefs and backgrounds all over the world. These include polygamy, gay and lesbian marriages, arranged marriage, sororate marriage polyandry, group marriages and many more. The main forms include; religious marriages, traditional or customary marriage and the civil marriage. The civil marriage takes place in judicial offices of any government whereby the couple takes their vows in the presence of a judge and signs a contract hence being declared as a husband and wife.
Religious marriages are the most common, and they are practiced mostly by the Christians and Muslims whereby a wedding ceremony has to take place. In the wedding ceremony, a priest or a sheikh leads the couple into reciting their vows, and they are declared as blessings from God. They also sign certificates of marriage as religious marriages are legally recognized (Goody 1990). Traditional marriages typically are represented by an informal ceremony whereby two people are declared husband and wife by the elders of a community without signing any documented contract. They mostly exhibit the arranged form of marriage and later are allowed to practice polygamy if they wish. However, the most crucial aspect in marriage is when two parties coexist for life.
Despite the good that comes with marriage, another concept that arises is divorce and separation. This occurs when couples cease to have a common understanding and decide to separate or do it legally through a divorce. The events of divorce are as a result of getting into marriage for the wrong reasons hence compatibility with the other party becomes difficult. The main reason for separation and divorce is the loss of morality and also the historical virtues that guide spirituality and marriage as a sacred promise to each other. The demerits that come with a broken marriage are severe especially emotionally. Caution must be taken on the concepts of marriage so that they can serve as a guide for those who are not yet married and those who need to improve their marriages.