Marriage is a form of interpersonal relationship that is established by individuals in various parts of the globe in order to form what is referred to as familial bond (George and Elshtain 43). The bond formed due to marriage is recognized by various institutions that include the legal, religious and even the general society. The various partners in marriage usually have mutual responsibility and conjugal rights depending on how they agree to handle their marriage. Marriage definition differs from one society to the other and even some of the cultures have regulations that guide marriage.
Even though cultures have different views when it comes to matters pertaining to marriage, the interpersonal relationship between various individuals is always recognized. Some of the cultures have restrictions and demand that before an individual indulges in any sexual activity, they must be married. Words such as welcome to the “hell for the rest of your life” are frequently heard amongst the engaged couples. Such words seem discouraging but as a matter of fact few marriages, last for a long time without ups and down or problems shaking the whole family. Marriage should be formulated on togetherness and trust and without that; marriage cannot even last for a month. Marriage mainly entails being aware of the bad and the good, the sadness and joys that one faces when staying with one another. The definition of marriage has changed from dictionary to the other over the years depending on the contemporary issues that arise on marriage matters. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines marriage as the act in which man and a woman relate to one another. Based on the definition given by the oxford dictionary, marriage is just a formal union that occurs between a woman and a man. The word marriage gives the definition of a special type of bond that exists between people who want to be each other’s partner.
Many contemporary issues arise based on the definition of marriage. Marriage is a challenging institution between two individuals based on the government regulations, cultural and religious beliefs that govern the society (Stefoff 23). The term marriage has changed over the past centuries because of the laws that govern the society. Hymowitz states that marriage is a form of contract that is regulated by the state laws and gives outlines on the property relations in a family, the inheritance rights and the way in which their children should inherit the property belonging to their parents (Carbone and Cahn 93).
Based on this perspective most of the difficulties faced in marriage arise due to legal tussles. Most of the spouses view marriage as a legal entity rather than a form of relationship in which they came together in order to live with one another in unity and harmony. In wasn’t till the last section of the eighteenth century in which the institution of marriage focused on a happy and affectionate correlation rather than a form of contract between two people based on their property (Carbone and Cahn 93). The institution of marriage began to change with time and people started accepting it as a form of correlation in which people spent most of their time living together as spouses. Based on that, marriage also faces some form of difficulty based on the cultural and the religious beliefs of the couples (Carbone and Cahn 97).
After many struggles to find what marriage probably means, most people will be surprised on what marriage is not. In order to define, what marriage is not, we can focus and express our opinions and feelings such as marriage do not refer to disrespect, divorce, disloyalty, convenience and adultery since such is the exact opposite of marriage (Stefoff 23). Myths have evolved in our society based on the institution of marriage and the main challenge is that most individuals found in the society partake of such myths. Some of the myths on marriage include the self-help myth based on the psychology of individuals. According to the myth based on the psychology of individuals, people come together and marry simply because they are in love (Stefoff 45).
The myth further states that those in marriage love one another. Stating that people marry because of love is a myth because people can come together and get married due to various reasons. Love is an important aspect in marriage but that does not imply that every individual marry because they are in love or they love the other party (Stefoff 23). Myths such as “good sex “refers to the ‘’best marriage” are null and void because people do not necessarily marry because they want to have some kind of romance. Some myths such as “married people usually understand one another without any form of communication such as talking” are not valid. Communication is of importance in the life of human beings and when people disagree, they can only solve their problems based on good communication and problem solving skills (Stefoff 23).
It is difficult to understand one another when there is no any form of communication; therefore the myth that married couples are able to understand one another without talking is null and void. Some of the myths that are stated may have some elements of truth in one or two marriages but not in all the marriages. Based on Nietzsche argument that it isn’t the absence of love but the absence of quality friendship that makes most of the marriages sad, one is left wondering whether all friends can make good marriage partners (George& Elshtain, 43).
Based on Hymowitz argument, many cultures define marriage depending on their beliefs. The legal institutions also contribute in defining marriage leading to confusion on what really marriage is. Many questions arise on whether marriage is between a man and a woman or whether it is between two individuals of the same sex who have come together in order to mutually share their responsibilities and conjugal rights(Arnett, 48). Various forms of marriage have cropped up that include same-sex marriage, arranged marriage, plural marriage, and opposite-sex marriage. Same sex marriage occurs between two individuals of the same gender and raises questions on what marriage is really meant to be. The legal institutions allow such kind of marriage but this also depends on the country in which an individual originates (Arnett, 96). Some of the countries have condemned such acts as they view them barbaric. Some of the countries in which democracy is the order of the day give a provision on such matters and allows same sex marriage.
The cultural and religious beliefs of an individual also define marriage. Some of the society’s view same sex marriage as a taboo and do not allow their members to practice. Based on the Christian religion perspective, marriage only occurs between a man and woman and therefore any form of marriage such as same sex marriage is a sin and should not be tolerated amongst the Christians (Heath 96).
Plural marriage which involves a man marrying more than one wife has led to controversies between the different religious groups. Muslims embrace plural marriage and a man in the Islamic society is allowed to marry more than one wife. Christians have argued on plural marriage with others supporting it while others condemning it depending on their interpretation of the bible. Some Christians argue that God told some of his people such as Abraham to practice that form of marriage while others argue from the New Testament of the Holy Bible point of view that a man should only have one wife (Heath 99). Some of the cultures practice polygamy, arranged marriage, forced marriage, and child marriage as their cultural tradition and eradicating that is difficult since to them that seems like a rite of passage. Civil marriages that are usually conducted by the different government institutions does not observe any form of religious content but focus on the guidance of the marriage laws depending with the jurisdiction.
Marriage is viewed as a step in life that every individual should pass through in order to be considered an adult. When am individuals becomes of age, they begin to date seriously while in the process looking for the qualities of an individual they would love to spend the rest of their life with. Most individuals look for people with personality or qualities that they lack in order in order to be complemented. When an individual finds that person that they would like to spend their life with, they make some forms of commitment before the family members and other people that they will stay together as husband and wife. By making that commitment, an individual is telling the person they have chosen that they are confident in the bond that joins them together and they are ready to spend the rest of their lives with them(Stefoff 23). In marriage, ups and downs are a norm but the man and woman joined together by that institution should ensure they work through it in order for their marriage to last. The effort and the hard work that an individual puts in marriage help them have a happy family and home where they can also raise their children in a responsible manner who after some time also gets married to one another. When such children grow up they look for advice from their parents.
Marriage is therefore not a tool that an individual can take lightly as it is a commitment between individuals to remain faithful and trustworthy to one another. Marriage is not an institution where anybody who feels like joining can join and go scot free even though it marks an important step in the life of an individual. Since marriage is a bond that joins people, an individual should not get nuptial if they want to use that as a way of making it appear better on the face value while the inner core is burning. Marriage is not a rule or law that comes with what an individual should do or should not partake but with time one gets to know their partner more and they live happily when they put their differences and barriers aside. Despite differences in cultural and religious belief, marriage is a special type of bond that exists between people who want to be each other’s partner.
George, Robert P., and Jean B. Elshtain. The meaning of marriage : family, state, market, and morals. New York: Scepter Publishers, 2010. Print.
Stefoff, Rebecca. Marriage. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2007. Print.
Girgis, Sherif, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George. What is marriage? : man and woman : a defense. New York: Encounter Books, 2012. Print.
Heath, Melanie. One marriage under God : the campaign to promote marriage in America. New York: New York University Press, 2012. Print.
Carbone, June, and Naomi R. Cahn. Marriage markets : how inequality is remaking the American family. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 2014. Print.
Arnett, Jeffrey J. Emerging adulthood : the winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.