A History of Marriage

A History of Marriage

A History of MarriageIs Marriage a thing of the past?

Marriage is a truly ancient institution, the first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one-man dates from about 2350 B.C.

Also called matrimony or wedlock, marriage is a culturally recognised union between people who make their relationship public, official, and permanent. 

Marriage has not always been known for romance and love. In the early years, it was seen as a strategic alliance between families, tying them together financially. There was the need to secure a safe environment in which to breed, handle the granting of property rights, and protect bloodlines.

The people involved didn’t have much to say about the decision and marriages were pre-arranged for young couples.

In the 1500s there appeared to be many marriages taking place without witness or a ceremony. Disturbed by this, the Council of Trent imposed a law in 1563 that marriages should be celebrated in the presence of a priest and at least two witnesses. The marriage took on a new role of saving men and women from being sinful and procreating. Even then, love wasn’t a necessary ingredient for marriage.

In later years, marriage was as much about love and desire as it was social and economic stability. A custom dating back to the Ancient Rome was to present an engagement ring to your loved one, this was believed to represent eternity and everlasting union. It was once considered that a vein or nerve ran directly from the ‘ring’ finger of the left hand to the heart.

A History of Marriage
Circular Engagement Ring

The choice of spouse is among the most important decisions most people ever make, but it’s a choice that comes with no guarantees of long-term happiness. 

Love and sexual chemistry are not always enough to sustain a marriage. It is important to get to know one another’s values and priorities before you commit.

Marriage brings great joy to many, but it also brings challenges too, often ones you least expect. Marriage counselling from ReGain can guide you in these trying circumstances and ultimately help to understand guidelines for change.

Many forms of marriage exist today:

Common-Law Marriage:  the two people involved are living together as if they were husband and wife. But there is no marriage certificate or religious ceremony involved.

Cousin Marriage: A marriage between cousins. 

Endogamy: The tradition of marrying within a specific social group, caste, or ethnic group,

Exogamy: When you marry outside one’s social group

Monogamous Marriage: you have dedicated yourself to living out the rest of your life with this one person unless you end up divorcing or one of you ends up dying first.

Polyandry: is when one woman is married to more than one man. 

Polygamous marriage: The practice of having more than one spouse at the same time.

Polygyny: A man who has more than one wife.

Morganatic Marriage: is a union between two people of unequal social ranking.

Same-sex Marriage: is when two people of the same gender get married

Today more and more couples get married simply because they love each other, and they have become more selective. The decline in one of the oldest institutions in our society is due to people not wanting to marry anymore, as well as the fact that separation and divorce are easily achieved. 60 years ago, the average age for men and women to marry was in their early 20’s. Now you are looking at the late twenties for such a commitment.

Priorities such as buying a house or having children are expensive. The money that would traditionally have been spent on an expensive wedding could be used elsewhere. Women have also become more educated and more likely to be independent and employed, taking away the original notion of stability, couples now are also more willing to have children out of wedlock and this is acceptable.

Whether you are married, a committed partner or single to key to ultimate success is happiness.

Poppy Watt

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