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For other uses, see Marriage (disambiguation). Marriage_sentence_0

"Married" and "Matrimony" redirect here. Marriage_sentence_1

For other uses, see Married (disambiguation) and Matrimony (disambiguation). Marriage_sentence_2

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. Marriage_sentence_3

The definition of marriage varies between cultures and religions, and within a culture or religion, over time. Marriage_sentence_4

It has expanded and also constricted in terms of who and what is encompassed. Marriage_sentence_5

Typically, it is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. Marriage_sentence_6

In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. Marriage_sentence_7

When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. Marriage_sentence_8

A marriage ceremony is called a wedding. Marriage_sentence_9

Individuals may marry for several reasons, including legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious purposes. Marriage_sentence_10

Whom they marry may be influenced by gender, socially determined rules of incest, prescriptive marriage rules, parental choice and individual desire. Marriage_sentence_11

In some areas of the world arranged marriage, child marriage, polygamy, and forced marriage, are practiced. Marriage_sentence_12

In other areas such practices are outlawed to preserve women's rights or children's rights (both female and male) or as a result of international law. Marriage_sentence_13

Around the world, primarily in developed democracies, there has been a general trend towards ensuring equal rights for women within marriage and legally recognizing the marriages of interfaith, interracial, and same-sex couples. Marriage_sentence_14

These trends coincide with the broader human rights movement. Marriage_sentence_15

Marriage can be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community, or peers. Marriage_sentence_16

It is often viewed as a contract. Marriage_sentence_17

When a marriage is performed and carried out by a government institution in accordance with the marriage laws of the jurisdiction, without religious content, it is a civil marriage. Marriage_sentence_18

Civil marriage recognizes and creates the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony in the eyes of the state. Marriage_sentence_19

When a marriage is performed with religious content under the auspices of a religious institution, it is a religious marriage. Marriage_sentence_20

Religious marriage recognizes and creates the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony in the eyes of that religion. Marriage_sentence_21

Religious marriage is known variously as sacramental marriage in Catholicism, nikah in Islam, nissuin in Judaism, and various other names in other faith traditions, each with their own constraints as to what constitutes, and who can enter into, a valid religious marriage. Marriage_sentence_22

Some countries do not recognize locally performed religious marriage on its own, and require a separate civil marriage for official purposes. Marriage_sentence_23

Conversely, civil marriage does not exist in some countries governed by a religious legal system, such as Saudi Arabia, where marriages contracted abroad might not be recognized if they were contracted contrary to Saudi interpretations of Islamic religious law. Marriage_sentence_24

In countries governed by a mixed secular-religious legal system, such as Lebanon and Israel, locally performed civil marriage does not exist within the country, which prevents interfaith and various other marriages that contradict religious laws from being entered into in the country; however, civil marriages performed abroad may be recognized by the state even if they conflict with religious laws. Marriage_sentence_25

For example, in the case of recognition of marriage in Israel, this includes recognition of not only interfaith civil marriages performed abroad, but also overseas same-sex civil marriages. Marriage_sentence_26

The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved, and any offspring they may produce or adopt. Marriage_sentence_27

In terms of legal recognition, most sovereign states and other jurisdictions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and a diminishing number of these permit polygyny, child marriages, and forced marriages. Marriage_sentence_28

In modern times, a growing number of countries, primarily developed democracies, have lifted bans on, and have established legal recognition for, the marriages of interfaith, interracial, and same-sex couples. Marriage_sentence_29

In some areas, child marriages and polygamy may occur in spite of national laws against the practice. Marriage_sentence_30

Since the late twentieth century, major social changes in Western countries have led to changes in the demographics of marriage, with the age of first marriage increasing, fewer people marrying, and more couples choosing to cohabit rather than marry. Marriage_sentence_31

For example, the number of marriages in Europe decreased by 30% from 1975 to 2005. Marriage_sentence_32

Historically, in most cultures, married women had very few rights of their own, being considered, along with the family's children, the property of the husband; as such, they could not own or inherit property, or represent themselves legally (see, for example, coverture). Marriage_sentence_33

In Europe, the United States, and other places in the developed world, beginning in the late 19th century, marriage has undergone gradual legal changes, aimed at improving the rights of the wife. Marriage_sentence_34

These changes included giving wives legal identities of their own, abolishing the right of husbands to physically discipline their wives, giving wives property rights, liberalizing divorce laws, providing wives with reproductive rights of their own, and requiring a wife's consent when sexual relations occur. Marriage_sentence_35

These changes have occurred primarily in Western countries. Marriage_sentence_36

In the 21st century, there continue to be controversies regarding the legal status of married women, legal acceptance of or leniency towards violence within marriage (especially sexual violence), traditional marriage customs such as dowry and bride price, forced marriage, marriageable age, and criminalization of consensual behaviors such as premarital and extramarital sex. Marriage_sentence_37

Etymology Marriage_section_0

The word "marriage" derives from Middle English mariage, which first appears in 1250–1300 CE. Marriage_sentence_38

This, in turn, is derived from Old French, marier (to marry), and ultimately Latin, marītāre, meaning to provide with a husband or wife and marītāri meaning to get married. Marriage_sentence_39

The adjective marīt-us -a, -um meaning matrimonial or nuptial could also be used in the masculine form as a noun for "husband" and in the feminine form for "wife". Marriage_sentence_40

The related word "matrimony" derives from the Old French word matremoine, which appears around 1300 CE and ultimately derives from Latin mātrimōnium, which combines the two concepts: mater meaning "mother" and the suffix -monium signifying "action, state, or condition". Marriage_sentence_41

Definitions Marriage_section_1

Anthropologists have proposed several competing definitions of marriage in an attempt to encompass the wide variety of marital practices observed across cultures. Marriage_sentence_42

Even within Western culture, "definitions of marriage have careened from one extreme to another and everywhere in between" (as Evan Gerstmann has put it). Marriage_sentence_43

Relation recognized by custom or law Marriage_section_2

In The History of Human Marriage (1891), Edvard 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." Marriage_sentence_44

In The Future of Marriage in Western Civilization (1936), he rejected his earlier definition, instead provisionally defining marriage as "a relation of one or more men to one or more women that is recognized by custom or law". Marriage_sentence_45

Legitimacy of offspring Marriage_section_3

The anthropological handbook Notes and Queries (1951) defined marriage as "a union between a man and a woman such that children born to the woman are the recognized legitimate offspring of both partners." Marriage_sentence_46

In recognition of a practice by the Nuer people of Sudan allowing women to act as a husband in certain circumstances (the ghost marriage), Kathleen Gough suggested modifying this to "a woman and one or more other persons." Marriage_sentence_47

In an analysis of marriage among the Nayar, a polyandrous society in India, Gough found that the group lacked a husband role in the conventional sense; that unitary role in the west was divided between a non-resident "social father" of the woman's children, and her lovers who were the actual procreators. Marriage_sentence_48

None of these men had legal rights to the woman's child. Marriage_sentence_49

This forced Gough to disregard sexual access as a key element of marriage and to define it in terms of legitimacy of offspring alone: marriage is "a relationship established between a woman and one or more other persons, which provides a child born to the woman under circumstances not prohibited by the rules of relationship, is accorded full birth-status rights common to normal members of his society or social stratum." Marriage_sentence_50

Economic anthropologist Duran Bell has criticized the legitimacy-based definition on the basis that some societies do not require marriage for legitimacy. Marriage_sentence_51

He argued that a legitimacy-based definition of marriage is circular in societies where illegitimacy has no other legal or social implications for a child other than the mother being unmarried. Marriage_sentence_52

Collection of rights Marriage_section_4

Edmund Leach criticized Gough's definition for being too restrictive in terms of recognized legitimate offspring and suggested that marriage be viewed in terms of the different types of rights it serves to establish. Marriage_sentence_53

In a 1955 article in Man, Leach argued that no one definition of marriage applied to all cultures. Marriage_sentence_54

He offered a list of ten rights associated with marriage, including sexual monopoly and rights with respect to children, with specific rights differing across cultures. Marriage_sentence_55

Those rights, according to Leach, included: Marriage_sentence_56


  1. "To establish a legal father of a woman's children.Marriage_item_0_0
  2. To establish a legal mother of a man's children.Marriage_item_0_1
  3. To give the husband a monopoly in the wife's sexuality.Marriage_item_0_2
  4. To give the wife a monopoly in the husband's sexuality.Marriage_item_0_3
  5. To give the husband partial or monopolistic rights to the wife's domestic and other labour services.Marriage_item_0_4
  6. To give the wife partial or monopolistic rights to the husband's domestic and other labour services.Marriage_item_0_5
  7. To give the husband partial or total control over property belonging or potentially accruing to the wife.Marriage_item_0_6
  8. To give the wife partial or total control over property belonging or potentially accruing to the husband.Marriage_item_0_7
  9. To establish a joint fund of property – a partnership – for the benefit of the children of the marriage.Marriage_item_0_8
  10. To establish a socially significant 'relationship of affinity' between the husband and his wife's brothers."Marriage_item_0_9

Right of sexual access Marriage_section_5

In a 1997 article in Current Anthropology, Duran Bell describes marriage as "a relationship between one or more men (male or female) in severalty to one or more women that provides those men with a demand-right of sexual access within a domestic group and identifies women who bear the obligation of yielding to the demands of those specific men." Marriage_sentence_57

In referring to "men in severalty", Bell is referring to corporate kin groups such as lineages which, in having paid brideprice, retain a right in a woman's offspring even if her husband (a lineage member) deceases (Levirate marriage). Marriage_sentence_58

In referring to "men (male or female)", Bell is referring to women within the lineage who may stand in as the "social fathers" of the wife's children born of other lovers. Marriage_sentence_59

(See Nuer "ghost marriage".) Marriage_sentence_60

Types Marriage_section_6

Main article: Types of marriages Marriage_sentence_61

Monogamy Marriage_section_7

Main article: Monogamy Marriage_sentence_62

Monogamy is a form of marriage in which an individual has only one spouse during their lifetime or at any one time (serial monogamy). Marriage_sentence_63

Anthropologist Jack Goody's comparative study of marriage around the world utilizing the found a strong correlation between intensive plough agriculture, dowry and monogamy. Marriage_sentence_64

This pattern was found in a broad swath of Eurasian societies from Japan to Ireland. Marriage_sentence_65

The majority of Sub-Saharan African societies that practice extensive hoe agriculture, in contrast, show a correlation between "bride price" and polygamy. Marriage_sentence_66

A further study drawing on the Ethnographic Atlas showed a statistical correlation between increasing size of the society, the belief in "high gods" to support human morality, and monogamy. Marriage_sentence_67

In the countries which do not permit polygamy, a person who marries in one of those countries a person while still being lawfully married to another commits the crime of bigamy. Marriage_sentence_68

In all cases, the second marriage is considered legally null and void. Marriage_sentence_69

Besides the second and subsequent marriages being void, the bigamist is also liable to other penalties, which also vary between jurisdictions. Marriage_sentence_70

Serial monogamy Marriage_section_8

Governments that support monogamy may allow easy divorce. Marriage_sentence_71

In a number of Western countries, divorce rates approach 50%. Marriage_sentence_72

Those who remarry do so on average three times. Marriage_sentence_73

Divorce and remarriage can thus result in "serial monogamy", i.e. having multiple marriages but only one legal spouse at a time. Marriage_sentence_74

This can be interpreted as a form of plural mating, as are those societies dominated by female-headed families in the Caribbean, Mauritius and Brazil where there is frequent rotation of unmarried partners. Marriage_sentence_75

In all, these account for 16 to 24% of the "monogamous" category. Marriage_sentence_76

Serial monogamy creates a new kind of relative, the "ex-". Marriage_sentence_77

The "ex-wife", for example, remains an active part of her "ex-husband's" or "ex-wife's" life, as they may be tied together by transfers of resources (alimony, child support), or shared child custody. Marriage_sentence_78

Bob Simpson notes that in the British case, serial monogamy creates an "extended family" – a number of households tied together in this way, including mobile children (possible exes may include an ex-wife, an ex-brother-in-law, etc., but not an "ex-child"). Marriage_sentence_79

These "unclear families" do not fit the mould of the monogamous nuclear family. Marriage_sentence_80

As a series of connected households, they come to resemble the polygynous model of separate households maintained by mothers with children, tied by a male to whom they are married or divorced. Marriage_sentence_81

Polygamy Marriage_section_9

Main article: Polygamy Marriage_sentence_82

Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two spouses. Marriage_sentence_83

When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the relationship is called polygyny, and there is no marriage bond between the wives; and when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry, and there is no marriage bond between the husbands. Marriage_sentence_84

If a marriage includes multiple husbands or wives, it can be called group marriage. Marriage_sentence_85

A molecular genetic study of global human genetic diversity argued that sexual polygyny was typical of human reproductive patterns until the shift to sedentary farming communities approximately 10,000 to 5,000 years ago in Europe and Asia, and more recently in Africa and the Americas. Marriage_sentence_86

As noted above, Anthropologist Jack Goody's comparative study of marriage around the world utilizing the found that the majority of Sub-Saharan African societies that practice extensive hoe agriculture show a correlation between "Bride price" and polygamy. Marriage_sentence_87

A survey of other cross-cultural samples has confirmed that the absence of the plough was the only predictor of polygamy, although other factors such as high male mortality in warfare (in non-state societies) and pathogen stress (in state societies) had some impact. Marriage_sentence_88

Marriages are classified according to the number of legal spouses an individual has. Marriage_sentence_89

The suffix "-gamy" refers specifically to the number of spouses, as in bi-gamy (two spouses, generally illegal in most nations), and poly-gamy (more than one spouse). Marriage_sentence_90

Societies show variable acceptance of polygamy as a cultural ideal and practice. Marriage_sentence_91

According to the , of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous; 453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry. Marriage_sentence_92

However, as Miriam Zeitzen writes, social tolerance for polygamy is different from the practice of polygamy, since it requires wealth to establish multiple households for multiple wives. Marriage_sentence_93

The actual practice of polygamy in a tolerant society may actually be low, with the majority of aspirant polygamists practicing monogamous marriage. Marriage_sentence_94

Tracking the occurrence of polygamy is further complicated in jurisdictions where it has been banned, but continues to be practiced (de facto polygamy). Marriage_sentence_95

Zeitzen also notes that Western perceptions of African society and marriage patterns are biased by "contradictory concerns of nostalgia for traditional African culture versus critique of polygamy as oppressive to women or detrimental to development." Marriage_sentence_96

Polygamy has been condemned as being a form of human rights abuse, with concerns arising over domestic abuse, forced marriage, and neglect. Marriage_sentence_97

The vast majority of the world's countries, including virtually all of the world's developed nations, do not permit polygamy. Marriage_sentence_98

There have been calls for the abolition of polygamy in developing countries. Marriage_sentence_99

Polygyny Marriage_section_10

Main article: Polygyny Marriage_sentence_100

See also: Concubinage Marriage_sentence_101

Polygyny usually grants wives equal status, although the husband may have personal preferences. Marriage_sentence_102

One type of de facto polygyny is concubinage, where only one woman gets a wife's rights and status, while other women remain legal house mistresses. Marriage_sentence_103

Although a society may be classified as polygynous, not all marriages in it necessarily are; monogamous marriages may in fact predominate. Marriage_sentence_104

It is to this flexibility that Anthropologist Robin Fox attributes its success as a social support system: "This has often meant – given the imbalance in the sex ratios, the higher male infant mortality, the shorter life span of males, the loss of males in wartime, etc. – that often women were left without financial support from husbands. Marriage_sentence_105

To correct this condition, females had to be killed at birth, remain single, become prostitutes, or be siphoned off into celibate religious orders. Marriage_sentence_106

Polygynous systems have the advantage that they can promise, as did the Mormons, a home and family for every woman." Marriage_sentence_107

Nonetheless, polygyny is a gender issue which offers men asymmetrical benefits. Marriage_sentence_108

In some cases, there is a large age discrepancy (as much as a generation) between a man and his youngest wife, compounding the power differential between the two. Marriage_sentence_109

Tensions not only exist between genders, but also within genders; senior and junior men compete for wives, and senior and junior wives in the same household may experience radically different life conditions, and internal hierarchy. Marriage_sentence_110

Several studies have suggested that the wive's relationship with other women, including co-wives and husband's female kin, are more critical relationships than that with her husband for her productive, reproductive and personal achievement. Marriage_sentence_111

In some societies, the co-wives are relatives, usually sisters, a practice called sororal polygyny; the pre-existing relationship between the co-wives is thought to decrease potential tensions within the marriage. Marriage_sentence_112

Fox argues that "the major difference between polygyny and monogamy could be stated thus: while plural mating occurs in both systems, under polygyny several unions may be recognized as being legal marriages while under monogamy only one of the unions is so recognized. Marriage_sentence_113

Often, however, it is difficult to draw a hard and fast line between the two." Marriage_sentence_114

As polygamy in Africa is increasingly subject to legal limitations, a variant form of de facto (as opposed to legal or de jure) polygyny is being practised in urban centres. Marriage_sentence_115

Although it does not involve multiple (now illegal) formal marriages, the domestic and personal arrangements follow old polygynous patterns. Marriage_sentence_116

The de facto form of polygyny is found in other parts of the world as well (including some Mormon sects and Muslim families in the United States). Marriage_sentence_117

In some societies such as the Lovedu of South Africa, or the Nuer of the Sudan, aristocratic women may become female 'husbands.' Marriage_sentence_118

In the Lovedu case, this female husband may take a number of polygamous wives. Marriage_sentence_119

This is not a lesbian relationship, but a means of legitimately expanding a royal lineage by attaching these wives' children to it. Marriage_sentence_120

The relationships are considered polygynous, not polyandrous, because the female husband is in fact assuming masculine gendered political roles. Marriage_sentence_121

Religious groups have differing views on the legitimacy of polygyny. Marriage_sentence_122

It is allowed in Islam and Confucianism. Marriage_sentence_123

Judaism and Christianity have mentioned practices involving polygyny in the past, however, outright religious acceptance of such practices was not addressed until its rejection in later passages. Marriage_sentence_124

They do explicitly prohibit polygyny today. Marriage_sentence_125

Polyandry Marriage_section_11

Main articles: Polyandry, Polyandry in Tibet, and Polyandry in India Marriage_sentence_126

Polyandry is notably more rare than polygyny, though less rare than the figure commonly cited in the Ethnographic Atlas (1980) which listed only those polyandrous societies found in the Himalayan Mountains. Marriage_sentence_127

More recent studies have found 53 societies outside the 28 found in the Himalayans which practice polyandry. Marriage_sentence_128

It is most common in egalitarian societies marked by high male mortality or male absenteeism. Marriage_sentence_129

It is associated with partible paternity, the cultural belief that a child can have more than one father. Marriage_sentence_130

The explanation for polyandry in the Himalayan Mountains is related to the scarcity of land; the marriage of all brothers in a family to the same wife (fraternal polyandry) allows family land to remain intact and undivided. Marriage_sentence_131

If every brother married separately and had children, family land would be split into unsustainable small plots. Marriage_sentence_132

In Europe, this was prevented through the social practice of impartible inheritance (the dis-inheriting of most siblings, some of whom went on to become celibate monks and priests). Marriage_sentence_133

Plural marriage Marriage_section_12

Group marriage (also known as multi-lateral marriage) is a form of polyamory in which more than two persons form a family unit, with all the members of the group marriage being considered to be married to all the other members of the group marriage, and all members of the marriage share parental responsibility for any children arising from the marriage. Marriage_sentence_134

No country legally condones group marriages, neither under the law nor as a common law marriage, but historically it has been practiced by some cultures of Polynesia, Asia, Papua New Guinea and the Americas – as well as in some intentional communities and alternative subcultures such as the Oneida Perfectionists in up-state New York. Marriage_sentence_135

Of the 250 societies reported by the American anthropologist George Murdock in 1949, only the Kaingang of Brazil had any group marriages at all. Marriage_sentence_136

Child marriage Marriage_section_13

Main article: Child marriage Marriage_sentence_137

A child marriage is a marriage where one or both spouses are under the age of 18. Marriage_sentence_138

It is related to child betrothal and teenage pregnancy. Marriage_sentence_139

Child marriage was common throughout history, even up until the 1900s in the United States, where in 1880 CE, in the state of Delaware, the age of consent for marriage was 7 years old. Marriage_sentence_140

Still, in 2017, over half of the 50 United States have no explicit minimum age to marry and several states set the age as low as 14. Marriage_sentence_141

Today it is condemned by international human rights organizations. Marriage_sentence_142

Child marriages are often arranged between the families of the future bride and groom, sometimes as soon as the girl is born. Marriage_sentence_143

However, in the late 1800s in England and the United States, feminist activists began calling for raised age of consent laws, which was eventually handled in the 1920s, having been raised to 16–18. Marriage_sentence_144

Child marriages can also occur in the context of bride kidnapping. Marriage_sentence_145

In the year 1552 CE, John Somerford and Jane Somerford Brereton were both married at the ages of 3 and 2, respectively. Marriage_sentence_146

Twelve years later, in 1564, John filed for divorce. Marriage_sentence_147

While child marriage is observed for both boys and girls, the overwhelming majority of child spouses are girls. Marriage_sentence_148

In many cases, only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female, due to the importance placed upon female virginity. Marriage_sentence_149

Causes of child marriage include poverty, bride price, dowry, laws that allow child marriages, religious and social pressures, regional customs, fear of remaining unmarried, and perceived inability of women to work for money. Marriage_sentence_150

Today, child marriages are widespread in parts of the world; being most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with more than half of the girls in some countries in those regions being married before 18. Marriage_sentence_151

The incidence of child marriage has been falling in most parts of the world. Marriage_sentence_152

In developed countries, child marriage is outlawed or restricted. Marriage_sentence_153

Girls who marry before 18 are at greater risk of becoming victims of domestic violence, than those who marry later, especially when they are married to a much older man. Marriage_sentence_154

Same-sex and third-gender marriages Marriage_section_14

Main articles: Same-sex marriage and History of same-sex unions Marriage_sentence_155

Several kinds of same-sex marriages have been documented in Indigenous and lineage-based cultures. Marriage_sentence_156

In the Americas, We'wha (Zuni), was a lhamana (male individuals who, at least some of the time, dress and live in the roles usually filled by women in that culture); a respected artist, We'wha served as an emissary of the Zuni to Washington, where he met President Grover Cleveland. Marriage_sentence_157

We'wha had at least one husband who was generally recognized as such. Marriage_sentence_158

While it is a relatively new practice to grant same-sex couples the same form of legal marital recognition as commonly granted to mixed-sex couples, there is some history of recorded same-sex unions around the world. Marriage_sentence_159

Ancient Greek same-sex relationships were like modern companionate marriages, unlike their different-sex marriages in which the spouses had few emotional ties, and the husband had freedom to engage in outside sexual liaisons. Marriage_sentence_160

The Codex Theodosianus (C. Th. Marriage_sentence_161

9.7.3) issued in 438 CE imposed severe penalties or death on same-sex relationships, but the exact intent of the law and its relation to social practice is unclear, as only a few examples of same-sex relationships in that culture exist. Marriage_sentence_162

Same-sex unions were celebrated in some regions of China, such as Fujian. Marriage_sentence_163

Possibly the earliest documented same-sex wedding in Latin Christendom occurred in Rome, Italy, at the San Giovanni a Porta Latina basilica in 1581. Marriage_sentence_164

Temporary marriages Marriage_section_15

Several cultures have practiced temporary and conditional marriages. Marriage_sentence_165

Examples include the Celtic practice of handfasting and fixed-term marriages in the Muslim community. Marriage_sentence_166

Pre-Islamic Arabs practiced a form of temporary marriage that carries on today in the practice of Nikah mut‘ah, a fixed-term marriage contract. Marriage_sentence_167

The Islamic prophet Muhammad sanctioned a temporary marriage – sigheh in Iran and muta'a in Iraq – which can provide a legitimizing cover for sex workers. Marriage_sentence_168

The same forms of temporary marriage have been used in Egypt, Lebanon and Iran to make the donation of a human ova legal for in vitro fertilisation; a woman cannot, however, use this kind of marriage to obtain a sperm donation. Marriage_sentence_169

Muslim controversies related to Nikah Mut'ah have resulted in the practice being confined mostly to Shi'ite communities. Marriage_sentence_170

The matrilineal Mosuo of China practice what they call "walking marriage". Marriage_sentence_171

Cohabitation Marriage_section_16

See also: Cohabitation and Common-law marriage Marriage_sentence_172

In some jurisdictions cohabitation, in certain circumstances, may constitute a common-law marriage, an unregistered partnership, or otherwise provide the unmarried partners with various rights and responsibilities; and in some countries, the laws recognize cohabitation in lieu of institutional marriage for taxation and social security benefits. Marriage_sentence_173

This is the case, for example, in Australia. Marriage_sentence_174

Cohabitation may be an option pursued as a form of resistance to traditional institutionalized marriage. Marriage_sentence_175

However, in this context, some nations reserve the right to define the relationship as marital, or otherwise to regulate the relation, even if the relation has not been registered with the state or a religious institution. Marriage_sentence_176

Conversely, institutionalized marriages may not involve cohabitation. Marriage_sentence_177

In some cases, couples living together do not wish to be recognized as married. Marriage_sentence_178

This may occur because pension or alimony rights are adversely affected; because of taxation considerations; because of immigration issues, or for other reasons. Marriage_sentence_179

Such marriages have also been increasingly common in Beijing. Marriage_sentence_180

Guo Jianmei, director of the center for women's studies at Beijing University, told a Newsday correspondent, "Walking marriages reflect sweeping changes in Chinese society." Marriage_sentence_181

A "walking marriage" refers to a type of temporary marriage formed by the Mosuo of China, in which male partners live elsewhere and make nightly visits. Marriage_sentence_182

A similar arrangement in Saudi Arabia, called misyar marriage, also involves the husband and wife living separately but meeting regularly. Marriage_sentence_183

Partner selection Marriage_section_17

There is wide cross-cultural variation in the social rules governing the selection of a partner for marriage. Marriage_sentence_184

There is variation in the degree to which partner selection is an individual decision by the partners or a collective decision by the partners' kin groups, and there is variation in the rules regulating which partners are valid choices. Marriage_sentence_185

The United Nations World Fertility Report of 2003 reports that 89% of all people get married before age forty-nine. Marriage_sentence_186

The percent of women and men who marry before age forty-nine drops to nearly 50% in some nations and reaches near 100% in other nations. Marriage_sentence_187

In other cultures with less strict rules governing the groups from which a partner can be chosen 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, a matchmaker. Marriage_sentence_188

Age difference Marriage_section_18

Main article: Age disparity in sexual relationships Marriage_sentence_189

See also: Social stigma Marriage_sentence_190

Some people want to marry a person that is older or younger than them. Marriage_sentence_191

This may impact marital stability and partners with more than a 10-year gap in age tend to experience social disapproval In addition, older women (older then 35) have increased health risks when getting pregnant (which may only be an issue if the couple indeed intents on having children). Marriage_sentence_192

Social status and wealth Marriage_section_19

Main article: Hypergamy Marriage_sentence_193

Main article: Gold digger Marriage_sentence_194

Some people want to marry a person with higher or lower status than them. Marriage_sentence_195

Others want to marry people who have similar status. Marriage_sentence_196

In many societies, women marry men who are of higher social status. Marriage_sentence_197

There are marriages where each party has sought a partner of similar status. Marriage_sentence_198

There are other marriages in which the man is older than the woman. Marriage_sentence_199

Some persons also wish to engage in transactional relationship for money rather than love (thus a type of marriage of convenience). Marriage_sentence_200

Such people are sometimes referred to as gold diggers. Marriage_sentence_201

Separate property systems can however be used to prevent property of being passed on to partners after divorce or death. Marriage_sentence_202

The incest taboo, exogamy and endogamy Marriage_section_20

Further information: Prohibited degree of kinship, Cousin marriage, Affinity (canon law), and Avunculate marriage Marriage_sentence_203

Societies have often placed restrictions on marriage to relatives, though the degree of prohibited relationship varies widely. Marriage_sentence_204

Marriages between parents and children, or between full siblings, with few exceptions, have been considered incest and forbidden. Marriage_sentence_205

However, marriages between more distant relatives have been much more common, with one estimate being that 80% of all marriages in history have been between second cousins or closer. Marriage_sentence_206

This proportion has fallen dramatically, but still, more than 10% of all marriages are believed to be between people who are second cousins or more closely related. Marriage_sentence_207

In the United States, such marriages are now highly stigmatized, and laws ban most or all first-cousin marriage in 30 states. Marriage_sentence_208

Specifics vary: in South Korea, historically it was illegal to marry someone with the same last name and same ancestral line. Marriage_sentence_209

An Avunculate marriage is a marriage that occurs between an uncle and his niece or between an aunt and her nephew. Marriage_sentence_210

Such marriages are illegal in most countries due to incest restrictions. Marriage_sentence_211

However, a small number of countries have legalized it, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Malaysia, and Russia. Marriage_sentence_212

In various societies, the choice of partner is often limited to suitable persons from specific social groups. Marriage_sentence_213

In some societies the rule is that a partner is selected from an individual's own social group – endogamy, this is often the case in class- and caste-based societies. Marriage_sentence_214

But in other societies a partner must be chosen from a different group than one's own – exogamy, this may be the case in societies practicing totemic religion where society is divided into several exogamous totemic clans, such as most Aboriginal Australian societies. Marriage_sentence_215

In other societies a person is expected to marry their cross-cousin, a woman must marry her father's sister's son and a man must marry his mother's brother's daughter – this is often the case if either a society has a rule of tracing kinship exclusively through patrilineal or matrilineal descent groups as among the Akan people of West Africa. Marriage_sentence_216

Another kind of marriage selection is the levirate marriage in which widows are obligated to marry their husband's brother, mostly found in societies where kinship is based on endogamous clan groups. Marriage_sentence_217

Religion has commonly weighed in on the matter of which relatives, if any, are allowed to marry. Marriage_sentence_218

Relations may be by consanguinity or affinity, meaning by blood or by marriage. Marriage_sentence_219

On the marriage of cousins, Catholic policy has evolved from initial acceptance, through a long period of general prohibition, to the contemporary requirement for a dispensation. Marriage_sentence_220

Islam has always allowed it, while Hindu texts vary widely. Marriage_sentence_221

Prescriptive marriage Marriage_section_21

Main article: Arranged marriage Marriage_sentence_222

In a wide array of lineage-based societies with a classificatory kinship system, potential spouses are sought from a specific class of relative as determined by a prescriptive marriage rule. Marriage_sentence_223

This rule may be expressed by anthropologists using a "descriptive" kinship term, such as a "man's mother's brother's daughter" (also known as a "cross-cousin"). Marriage_sentence_224

Such descriptive rules mask the participant's perspective: a man should marry a woman from his mother's lineage. Marriage_sentence_225

Within the society's kinship terminology, such relatives are usually indicated by a specific term which sets them apart as potentially marriageable. Marriage_sentence_226

Pierre Bourdieu notes, however, that very few marriages ever follow the rule, and that when they do so, it is for "practical kinship" reasons such as the preservation of family property, rather than the "official kinship" ideology. Marriage_sentence_227

Insofar as regular marriages following prescriptive rules occur, lineages are linked together in fixed relationships; these ties between lineages may form political alliances in kinship dominated societies. Marriage_sentence_228

French structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss developed alliance theory to account for the "elementary" kinship structures created by the limited number of prescriptive marriage rules possible. Marriage_sentence_229

A pragmatic (or 'arranged') marriage is made easier by formal procedures of family or group politics. Marriage_sentence_230

A responsible authority sets up or encourages the marriage; they may, indeed, engage a professional matchmaker to find a suitable spouse for an unmarried person. Marriage_sentence_231

The authority figure could be parents, family, a religious official, or a group consensus. Marriage_sentence_232

In some cases, the authority figure may choose a match for purposes other than marital harmony. Marriage_sentence_233

Forced marriage Marriage_section_22

Main article: Forced marriage Marriage_sentence_234

A forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married against their will. Marriage_sentence_235

Forced marriages continue to be practiced in parts of the world, especially in South Asia and Africa. Marriage_sentence_236

The line between forced marriage and consensual marriage may become blurred, because the social norms of these cultures dictate that one should never oppose the desire of one's parents/relatives in regard to the choice of a spouse; in such cultures, it is not necessary for violence, threats, intimidation etc. to occur, the person simply "consents" to the marriage even if they don't want it, out of the implied social pressure and duty. Marriage_sentence_237

The customs of bride price and dowry, that exist in parts of the world, can lead to buying and selling people into marriage. Marriage_sentence_238

In some societies, ranging from Central Asia to the Caucasus to Africa, the custom of bride kidnapping still exists, in which a woman is captured by a man and his friends. Marriage_sentence_239

Sometimes this covers an elopement, but sometimes it depends on sexual violence. Marriage_sentence_240

In previous times, raptio was a larger-scale version of this, with groups of women captured by groups of men, sometimes in war; the most famous example is The Rape of the Sabine Women, which provided the first citizens of Rome with their wives. Marriage_sentence_241

Other marriage partners are more or less imposed on an individual. Marriage_sentence_242

For example, widow inheritance provides a widow with another man from her late husband's brothers. Marriage_sentence_243

In rural areas of India, child marriage is practiced, with parents often arranging the wedding, sometimes even before the child is born. Marriage_sentence_244

This practice was made illegal under the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929. Marriage_sentence_245

Economic considerations Marriage_section_23

See also: Economics of marriage and Family economics Marriage_sentence_246

The financial aspects of marriage vary between cultures and have changed over time. Marriage_sentence_247

In some cultures, dowries and bridewealth continue to be required today. Marriage_sentence_248

In both cases, the financial arrangements are usually made between the groom (or his family) and the bride's family; with the bride often not being involved in the negotiations, and often not having a choice in whether to participate in the marriage. Marriage_sentence_249

In Early modern Britain, the social status of the couple was supposed to be equal. Marriage_sentence_250

After the marriage, all the property (called "fortune") and expected inheritances of the wife belonged to the husband. Marriage_sentence_251

Dowry Marriage_section_24

A dowry is "a process whereby parental property is distributed to a daughter at her marriage (i.e. inter vivos) rather than at the holder's death (mortis causa)… A dowry establishes some variety of conjugal fund, the nature of which may vary widely. Marriage_sentence_252

This fund ensures her support (or endowment) in widowhood and eventually goes to provide for her sons and daughters." Marriage_sentence_253

In some cultures, especially in countries such as Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Nepal, dowries continue to be expected. Marriage_sentence_254

In India, thousands of dowry-related deaths have taken place on yearly basis, to counter this problem, several jurisdictions have enacted laws restricting or banning dowry (see Dowry law in India). Marriage_sentence_255

In Nepal, dowry was made illegal in 2009. Marriage_sentence_256

Some authors believe that the giving and receiving of dowry reflects the status and even the effort to climb high in social hierarchy. Marriage_sentence_257

Dower Marriage_section_25

Main articles: Bride price and Dower Marriage_sentence_258

Direct Dowry contrasts with bridewealth, which is paid by the groom or his family to the bride's parents, and with indirect dowry (or dower), which is property given to the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage and which remains under her ownership and control. Marriage_sentence_259

In the Jewish tradition, the rabbis in ancient times insisted on the marriage couple entering into a prenuptial agreement, called a ketubah. Marriage_sentence_260

Besides other things, 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. Marriage_sentence_261

This amount was a replacement of the biblical dower or bride price, which was payable at the time of the marriage by the groom to the father of the bride. Marriage_sentence_262

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. Marriage_sentence_263

So, to enable these young men to marry, the rabbis, in effect, delayed the time that the amount would be payable, when they would be more likely to have the sum. Marriage_sentence_264

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, either by death or divorce. Marriage_sentence_265

The only difference between the two systems was the timing of the payment. Marriage_sentence_266

It is the predecessor to the wife's present-day entitlement to maintenance in the event of the breakup of marriage, and family maintenance in the event of the husband not providing adequately for the wife in his will. Marriage_sentence_267

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. Marriage_sentence_268

Morning gifts, which might also be arranged by the bride's father rather than the bride, are given to the bride herself; the name derives from the Germanic tribal custom of giving them the morning after the wedding night. Marriage_sentence_269

She might have control of this morning gift during the lifetime of her husband, but is entitled to it when widowed. Marriage_sentence_270

If the amount of her inheritance is settled by law rather than agreement, it may be called dower. Marriage_sentence_271

Depending on legal systems and the exact arrangement, she may not be entitled to dispose of it after her death, and may lose the property if she remarries. Marriage_sentence_272

Morning gifts were preserved for centuries in morganatic marriage, a union where the wife's inferior social status was held to prohibit her children from inheriting a noble's titles or estates. Marriage_sentence_273

In this case, the morning gift would support the wife and children. Marriage_sentence_274

Another legal provision for widowhood was jointure, in which property, often land, would be held in joint tenancy, so that it would automatically go to the widow on her husband's death. Marriage_sentence_275

Islamic tradition has similar practices. Marriage_sentence_276

A 'mahr', either immediate or deferred, is the woman's portion of the groom's wealth (divorce) or estate (death). Marriage_sentence_277

These amounts are usually set on the basis of the groom's own and family wealth and incomes, but in some parts these are set very high so as to provide a disincentive for the groom exercising the divorce, or the husband's family 'inheriting' a large portion of the estate, especially if there are no male offspring from the marriage. Marriage_sentence_278

In some countries, including Iran, the mahr or alimony can amount to more than a man can ever hope to earn, sometimes up to US$1,000,000 (4000 official Iranian gold coins). Marriage_sentence_279

If the husband cannot pay the mahr, either in case of a divorce or on demand, according to the current laws in Iran, he will have to pay it by installments. Marriage_sentence_280

Failure to pay the mahr might even lead to imprisonment. Marriage_sentence_281

Bridewealth Marriage_section_26

Main article: Bride price Marriage_sentence_282

Bridewealth is a common practice in parts of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia), parts of Central Asia, and in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Marriage_sentence_283

It is also known as brideprice although this has fallen in disfavor as it implies the purchase of the bride. Marriage_sentence_284

Bridewealth is the amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom. Marriage_sentence_285

In anthropological literature, bride price has often been explained as payment made to compensate the bride's family for the loss of her labor and fertility. Marriage_sentence_286

In some cases, bridewealth is a means by which the groom's family's ties to the children of the union are recognized. Marriage_sentence_287

Taxation Marriage_section_27

In some countries a married person or couple benefits from various taxation advantages not available to a single person. Marriage_sentence_288

For example, spouses may be allowed to average their combined incomes. Marriage_sentence_289

This is advantageous to a married couple with disparate incomes. Marriage_sentence_290

To compensate for this, countries may provide a higher tax bracket for the averaged income of a married couple. Marriage_sentence_291

While income averaging might still benefit a married couple with a stay-at-home spouse, such averaging would cause a married couple with roughly equal personal incomes to pay more total tax than they would as two single persons. Marriage_sentence_292

In the United States, this is called the marriage penalty. Marriage_sentence_293

When the rates applied by the tax code are not based income averaging, but rather on the sum of individuals' incomes, higher rates will usually apply to each individual in a two-earner households in a progressive tax systems. Marriage_sentence_294

This is most often the case with high-income taxpayers and is another situation called a marriage penalty. Marriage_sentence_295

Conversely, when progressive tax is levied on the individual with no consideration for the partnership, dual-income couples fare much better than single-income couples with similar household incomes. Marriage_sentence_296

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. Marriage_sentence_297

Such systems apply in Australia and Canada, for example. Marriage_sentence_298

Post-marital residence Marriage_section_28

In many Western cultures, marriage usually leads to the formation of a new household comprising the married couple, with the married couple living together in the same home, often sharing the same bed, but in some other cultures this is not the tradition. Marriage_sentence_299

Among the Minangkabau of West Sumatra, residency after marriage is matrilocal, with the husband moving into the household of his wife's mother. Marriage_sentence_300

Residency after marriage can also be patrilocal or avunculocal. Marriage_sentence_301

In these cases, married couples may not form an independent household, but remain part of an extended family household. Marriage_sentence_302

Early theories explaining the determinants of postmarital residence connected it with the sexual division of labor. Marriage_sentence_303

However, to date, cross-cultural tests of this hypothesis using worldwide samples have failed to find any significant relationship between these two variables. Marriage_sentence_304

However, Korotayev's tests show that the female contribution to subsistence does correlate significantly with matrilocal residence in general. Marriage_sentence_305

However, this correlation is masked by a general polygyny factor. Marriage_sentence_306

Although, in different-sex marriages, an increase in the female contribution to subsistence tends to lead to matrilocal residence, it also tends simultaneously to lead to general non-sororal polygyny which effectively destroys matrilocality. Marriage_sentence_307

If this polygyny factor is controlled (e.g., through a multiple regression model), division of labor turns out to be a significant predictor of postmarital residence. Marriage_sentence_308

Thus, Murdock's hypotheses regarding the relationships between the sexual division of labor and postmarital residence were basically correct, though the actual relationships between those two groups of variables are more complicated than he expected. Marriage_sentence_309

There has been a trend toward the neolocal residence in western societies. Marriage_sentence_310

Law Marriage_section_29

Main article: Marriage law Marriage_sentence_311

Marriage laws refer to the legal requirements which determine the validity of a marriage, which vary considerably between countries. Marriage_sentence_312

Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. Marriage_sentence_313

They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage_sentence_314

Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses." Marriage_sentence_315

Rights and obligations Marriage_section_30

See also: Matrimonial regime and Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States Marriage_sentence_316

A marriage bestows rights and obligations on the married parties, and sometimes on relatives as well, being the sole mechanism for the creation of affinal ties (in-laws). Marriage_sentence_317

These may include, depending on jurisdiction: Marriage_sentence_318


  • Giving one spouse or his/her family control over the other spouse's sexual services, labor, and property.Marriage_item_1_10
  • Giving one spouse responsibility for the other's debts.Marriage_item_1_11
  • Giving one spouse visitation rights when the other is incarcerated or hospitalized.Marriage_item_1_12
  • Giving one spouse control over the other's affairs when the other is incapacitated.Marriage_item_1_13
  • Establishing the second legal guardian of a parent's child.Marriage_item_1_14
  • Establishing a joint fund of property for the benefit of children.Marriage_item_1_15
  • Establishing a relationship between the families of the spouses.Marriage_item_1_16

These rights and obligations vary considerably between societies, and between groups within society. Marriage_sentence_319

These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment. Marriage_sentence_320

Property regime Marriage_section_31

In many countries today, each marriage partner has the choice of keeping his or her property separate or combining properties. Marriage_sentence_321

In the latter case, called community property, when the marriage ends by divorce each owns half. Marriage_sentence_322

In lieu of a will or trust, property owned by the deceased generally is inherited by the surviving spouse. Marriage_sentence_323

In some legal systems, the partners in a marriage are "jointly liable" for the debts of the marriage. Marriage_sentence_324

This has a basis in a traditional legal notion called the "Doctrine of Necessities" whereby, in a heterosexual marriage, a husband was responsible to provide necessary things for his wife. Marriage_sentence_325

Where this is the case, one partner may be sued to collect a debt for which they did not expressly contract. Marriage_sentence_326

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. Marriage_sentence_327

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. Marriage_sentence_328

The respective maintenance obligations, both during and eventually after a marriage, are regulated in most jurisdictions; alimony is one such method. Marriage_sentence_329

Restrictions Marriage_section_32

Marriage is an institution that is historically filled with restrictions. Marriage_sentence_330

From age, to race, to social status, to consanguinity, to gender, restrictions are placed on marriage by society for reasons of benefiting the children, passing on healthy genes, maintaining cultural values, or because of prejudice and fear. Marriage_sentence_331

Almost all cultures that recognize marriage also recognize adultery as a violation of the terms of marriage. Marriage_sentence_332

Age Marriage_section_33

Most jurisdictions set a minimum age for marriage, that is, a person must attain a certain age to be legally allowed to marry. Marriage_sentence_333

This age may depend on circumstances, for instance exceptions from the general rule may be permitted if the parents of a young person express their consent and/or if a court decides that said marriage is in the best interest of the young person (often this applies in cases where a girl is pregnant). Marriage_sentence_334

Although most age restrictions are in place in order to prevent children from being forced into marriages, especially to much older partners – marriages which can have negative education and health related consequences, and lead to child sexual abuse and other forms of violence – such child marriages remain common in parts of the world. Marriage_sentence_335

According to the UN, child marriages are most common in rural sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Marriage_sentence_336

The ten countries with the highest rates of child marriage are: Niger (75%), Chad, Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Guinea, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and Malawi. Marriage_sentence_337

Kinship Marriage_section_34

Main article: Cousin marriage Marriage_sentence_338

See also: Coefficient of relationship Marriage_sentence_339

To prohibit incest and eugenic reasons, marriage laws have set restrictions for relatives to marry. Marriage_sentence_340

Direct blood relatives are usually prohibited to marry, while for branch line relatives, laws are wary. Marriage_sentence_341

Race Marriage_section_35

Main article: Interracial marriage Marriage_sentence_342

Laws banning "race-mixing" were enforced in certain North American jurisdictions from 1691 until 1967, in Nazi Germany (The Nuremberg Laws) from 1935 until 1945, and in South Africa during most part of the Apartheid era (1949–1985). Marriage_sentence_343

All these laws primarily banned marriage between persons of different racially or ethnically defined groups, which was termed "amalgamation" or "miscegenation" in the U.S. Marriage_sentence_344

The laws in Nazi Germany and many of the U.S. states, as well as South Africa, also banned sexual relations between such individuals. Marriage_sentence_345

In the United States, laws in some but not all of the states prohibited the marriage of whites and blacks, and in many states also the intermarriage of whites with Native Americans or Asians. Marriage_sentence_346

In the U.S., such laws were known as anti-miscegenation laws. Marriage_sentence_347

From 1913 until 1948, 30 out of the then 48 states enforced such laws. Marriage_sentence_348

Although an "Anti-Miscegenation Amendment" to the United States Constitution was proposed in 1871, in 1912–1913, and in 1928, no nationwide law against racially mixed marriages was ever enacted. Marriage_sentence_349

In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional. Marriage_sentence_350

With this ruling, these laws were no longer in effect in the remaining 16 states that still had them. Marriage_sentence_351

The Nazi ban on interracial marriage and interracial sex was enacted in September 1935 as part of the Nuremberg Laws, the Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre (The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour). Marriage_sentence_352

The Nuremberg Laws classified Jews as a race and forbade marriage and extramarital sexual relations at first with people of Jewish descent, but was later ended to the "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring" and people of "German or related blood". Marriage_sentence_353

Such relations were marked as Rassenschande (lit. Marriage_sentence_354

"race-disgrace") and could be punished by imprisonment (usually followed by deportation to a concentration camp) and even by death. Marriage_sentence_355

South Africa under apartheid also banned interracial marriage. Marriage_sentence_356

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949 prohibited marriage between persons of different races, and the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a crime. Marriage_sentence_357

Sex/gender Marriage_section_36

Main article: Same-sex marriage Marriage_sentence_358

Same-sex marriage is legally performed and recognized (nationwide or in some jurisdictions) in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay. Marriage_sentence_359

Israel recognizes same-sex marriages entered into abroad as full marriages. Marriage_sentence_360

Furthermore, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued a ruling that is expected to facilitate recognition in several countries in the Americas. Marriage_sentence_361

The introduction of same-sex marriage has varied by jurisdiction, being variously accomplished through legislative change to marriage law, a court ruling based on constitutional guarantees of equality, or by direct popular vote (via ballot initiative or referendum). Marriage_sentence_362

The recognition of same-sex marriage is considered to be a human right and a civil right as well as a political, social, and religious issue. Marriage_sentence_363

The most prominent supporters of same-sex marriage are human rights and civil rights organizations as well as the medical and scientific communities, while the most prominent opponents are religious groups. Marriage_sentence_364

Various faith communities around the world support same-sex marriage, while many religious groups oppose it. Marriage_sentence_365

Polls consistently show continually rising support for the recognition of same-sex marriage in all developed democracies and in some developing democracies. Marriage_sentence_366

The establishment of recognition in law for the marriages of same-sex couples is one of the most prominent objectives of the LGBT rights movement. Marriage_sentence_367

Number of spouses Marriage_section_37

Main article: Legality of polygamy Marriage_sentence_368

Polygyny is widely practiced in mostly Muslim and African countries. Marriage_sentence_369

In the Middle Eastern region, Israel, Turkey and Tunisia are notable exceptions. Marriage_sentence_370

In most other jurisdictions, polygamy is illegal. Marriage_sentence_371

For example, In the United States, polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. Marriage_sentence_372

In the late-19th century, citizens of the self-governing territory of what is present-day Utah were forced by the United States federal government to abandon the practice of polygamy through the vigorous enforcement of several Acts of Congress, and eventually complied. Marriage_sentence_373

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally abolished the practice in 1890, in a document labeled 'The Manifesto' (see Latter Day Saint polygamy in the late-19th century). Marriage_sentence_374

Among American Muslims, a small minority of around 50,000 to 100,000 people are estimated to live in families with a husband maintaining an illegal polygamous relationship. Marriage_sentence_375

Several countries such as India and Sri Lanka, permit only their Islamic citizens to practice polygamy. Marriage_sentence_376

Some Indians have converted to Islam in order to bypass such legal restrictions. Marriage_sentence_377

Predominantly Christian nations usually do not allow polygamous unions, with a handful of exceptions being the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Zambia. Marriage_sentence_378

Myanmar (frequently referred to as Burma) is also the only predominantly Buddhist nation to allow for civil polygynous marriages, though such is rarely tolerated by the Burmese population. Marriage_sentence_379

State recognition Marriage_section_38

In various jurisdictions, a civil marriage may take place as part of the religious marriage ceremony, although they are theoretically distinct. Marriage_sentence_380

Some jurisdictions allow civil marriages in circumstances which are notably not allowed by particular religions, such as same-sex marriages or civil unions. Marriage_sentence_381

The opposite case may happen as well. Marriage_sentence_382

Partners may not have full juridical acting capacity and churches may have less strict limits than the civil jurisdictions. Marriage_sentence_383

This particularly applies to minimum age, or physical infirmities. Marriage_sentence_384

It is possible for two people to be recognised as married by a religious or other institution, but not by the state, and hence without the legal rights and obligations of marriage; or to have a civil marriage deemed invalid and sinful by a religion. Marriage_sentence_385

Similarly, a couple may remain married in religious eyes after a civil divorce. Marriage_sentence_386

Marriage license, civil ceremony and registration Marriage_section_39

Main article: Wedding Marriage_sentence_387

A marriage is usually formalized at a wedding or marriage ceremony. Marriage_sentence_388

The ceremony may be officiated either by a religious official, by a government official or by a state approved celebrant. Marriage_sentence_389

In various European and some Latin American countries, any religious ceremony must be held separately from the required civil ceremony. Marriage_sentence_390

Some countries – such as Belgium, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, Romania and Turkey – require that a civil ceremony take place before any religious one. Marriage_sentence_391

In some countries – notably the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Norway and Spain – both ceremonies can be held together; the officiant at the religious and civil ceremony also serving as agent of the state to perform the civil ceremony. Marriage_sentence_392

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. Marriage_sentence_393

Often this involves simply signing a register during the religious ceremony. Marriage_sentence_394

If the civil element of the religious ceremony is omitted, the marriage ceremony is not recognized as a marriage by government under the law. Marriage_sentence_395

Some countries, such as Australia, permit marriages to be held in private and at any location; others, including England and Wales, require that the civil ceremony be conducted in a place open to the public and specially sanctioned by law for the purpose. Marriage_sentence_396

In England, the place of marriage formerly had to be a church or register office, but this was extended to any public venue with the necessary licence. Marriage_sentence_397

An exception can be made in the case of marriage by special emergency license (UK: licence), which is normally granted only when one of the parties is terminally ill. Rules about where and when persons can marry vary from place to place. Marriage_sentence_398

Some regulations require one of the parties to reside within the jurisdiction of the register office (formerly parish). Marriage_sentence_399

Each religious authority has rules for the manner in which marriages are to be conducted by their officials and members. Marriage_sentence_400

Where religious marriages are recognised by the state, the officiator must also conform with the law of the jurisdiction. Marriage_sentence_401

Common-law marriage Marriage_section_40

See also: Common-law marriage Marriage_sentence_402

In a small number of jurisdictions marriage relationships may be created by the operation of the law alone. Marriage_sentence_403

Unlike the typical ceremonial marriage with legal contract, wedding ceremony, and other details, a common-law marriage may be called "marriage by habit and repute (cohabitation)." Marriage_sentence_404

A de facto common-law marriage without a license or ceremony is legally binding in some jurisdictions but has no legal consequence in others. Marriage_sentence_405

Civil unions Marriage_section_41

Main article: Civil union Marriage_sentence_406

A civil union, also referred to as a civil partnership, is a legally recognized form of partnership similar to marriage. Marriage_sentence_407

Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in several countries in order to provide same-sex couples rights, benefits, and responsibilities similar (in some countries, identical) to opposite-sex civil marriage. Marriage_sentence_408

In some jurisdictions, such as Brazil, New Zealand, Uruguay, Ecuador, France and the U.S. states of Hawaii and Illinois, civil unions are also open to opposite-sex couples. Marriage_sentence_409

"Marriage of convenience" Marriage_section_42

Sometimes people marry to take advantage of a certain situation, sometimes called a marriage of convenience or a sham marriage. Marriage_sentence_410

In 2003, over 180,000 immigrants were admitted to the U.S. as spouses of U.S. Marriage_sentence_411 citizens; more were admitted as fiancés of US citizens for the purpose of being married within 90 days. Marriage_sentence_412

These marriages had a diverse range of motives, including obtaining permanent residency, securing an inheritance that has a marriage clause, or to enroll in health insurance, among many others. Marriage_sentence_413

While all marriages have a complex combination of conveniences motivating the parties to marry, a marriage of convenience is one that is devoid of normal reasons to marry. Marriage_sentence_414

In certain countries like Singapore sham marriages are punishable criminal offences. Marriage_sentence_415

Contemporary legal and human rights criticisms of marriage Marriage_section_43

Main article: Criticism of marriage Marriage_sentence_416

People have proposed arguments against marriage for reasons that include political, philosophical and religious criticisms; concerns about the divorce rate; individual liberty and gender equality; questioning the necessity of having a personal relationship sanctioned by government or religious authorities; or the promotion of celibacy for religious or philosophical reasons. Marriage_sentence_417

Power and gender roles Marriage_section_44

Feminist theory approaches opposite-sex marriage as an institution traditionally rooted in patriarchy that promotes male superiority and power over women. Marriage_sentence_418

This power dynamic conceptualizes men as "the provider operating in the public sphere" and women as "the caregivers operating within the private sphere". Marriage_sentence_419

"Theoretically, women ... [were] defined as the property of their husbands .... Marriage_sentence_420

The adultery of a woman was always treated with more severity than that of a man." Marriage_sentence_421

"[F]eminist demands for a wife's control over her own property were not met [in parts of Britain] until ... [laws were passed in the late 19th century]." Marriage_sentence_422

Traditional heterosexual marriage imposed an obligation of the wife to be sexually available for her husband and an obligation of the husband to provide material/financial support for the wife. Marriage_sentence_423

Numerous philosophers, feminists and other academic figures have commented on this throughout history, condemning the hypocrisy of legal and religious authorities in regard to sexual issues; pointing to the lack of choice of a woman in regard to controlling her own sexuality; and drawing parallels between marriage, an institution promoted as sacred, and prostitution, widely condemned and vilified (though often tolerated as a "necessary evil"). Marriage_sentence_424

Mary Wollstonecraft, in the 18th century, described marriage as "legal prostitution". Marriage_sentence_425

Emma Goldman wrote in 1910: "To the moralist prostitution does not consist so much in the fact that the woman sells her body, but rather that she sells it out of wedlock". Marriage_sentence_426

Bertrand Russell in his book Marriage and Morals wrote that: "Marriage is for woman the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution." Marriage_sentence_427

Angela Carter in Nights at the Circus wrote: "What is marriage but prostitution to one man instead of many?" Marriage_sentence_428

Some critics object to what they see as propaganda in relation to marriage – from the government, religious organizations, the media – which aggressively promote marriage as a solution for all social problems; such propaganda includes, for instance, marriage promotion in schools, where children, especially girls, are bombarded with positive information about marriage, being presented only with the information prepared by authorities. Marriage_sentence_429

The performance of dominant gender roles by men and submissive gender roles by women influence the power dynamic of a heterosexual marriage. Marriage_sentence_430

In some American households, women internalize gender role stereotypes and often assimilate into the role of "wife", "mother", and "caretaker" in conformity to societal norms and their male partner. Marriage_sentence_431

Author bell hooks states "within the family structure, individuals learn to accept sexist oppression as 'natural' and are primed to support other forms of oppression, including heterosexist domination." Marriage_sentence_432

"[T]he cultural, economic, political and legal supremacy of the husband" was "[t]raditional ... under English law". Marriage_sentence_433

This patriarchal dynamic is contrasted with a conception of egalitarian or Peer Marriage in which power and labour are divided equally, and not according to gender roles. Marriage_sentence_434

In the US, studies have shown that, despite egalitarian ideals being common, less than half of respondents viewed their opposite-sex relationships as equal in power, with unequal relationships being more commonly dominated by the male partner. Marriage_sentence_435

Studies also show that married couples find the highest level of satisfaction in egalitarian relationships and lowest levels of satisfaction in wife dominate relationships. Marriage_sentence_436

In recent years, egalitarian or Peer Marriages have been receiving increasing focus and attention politically, economically and culturally in a number of countries, including the United States. Marriage_sentence_437

Extra-marital sex Marriage_section_45

See also: Chastity and Adultery Marriage_sentence_438

Different societies demonstrate variable tolerance of extramarital sex. Marriage_sentence_439

The Standard Cross-Cultural Sample describes the occurrence of extramarital sex by gender in over 50 pre-industrial cultures. Marriage_sentence_440

The occurrence of extramarital sex by men is described as "universal" in 6 cultures, "moderate" in 29 cultures, "occasional" in 6 cultures, and "uncommon" in 10 cultures. Marriage_sentence_441

The occurrence of extramarital sex by women is described as "universal" in 6 cultures, "moderate" in 23 cultures, "occasional" in 9 cultures, and "uncommon" in 15 cultures. Marriage_sentence_442

Three studies using nationally representative samples in the United States found that between 10–15% of women and 20–25% of men engage in extramarital sex. Marriage_sentence_443

Many of the world's major religions look with disfavor on sexual relations outside marriage. Marriage_sentence_444

There are non-secular states that sanction criminal penalties for sexual intercourse before marriage. Marriage_sentence_445

Sexual relations by a married person with someone other than his/her spouse is known as adultery. Marriage_sentence_446

Adultery is considered in many jurisdictions to be a crime and grounds for divorce. Marriage_sentence_447

In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Yemen, any form of sexual activity outside marriage is illegal. Marriage_sentence_448

In some parts of the world, women and girls accused of having sexual relations outside marriage are at risk of becoming victims of honor killings committed by their families. Marriage_sentence_449

In 2011 several people were sentenced to death by stoning after being accused of adultery in Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mali and Pakistan. Marriage_sentence_450

Practices such as honor killings and stoning continue to be supported by mainstream politicians and other officials in some countries. Marriage_sentence_451

In Pakistan, after the 2008 Balochistan honour killings in which five women were killed by tribesmen of the Umrani Tribe of Balochistan, Pakistani Federal Minister for Postal Services Israr Ullah Zehri defended the practice; he said: "These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them. Marriage_sentence_452

Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid." Marriage_sentence_453

Sexual violence Marriage_section_46

Main article: Marital rape Marriage_sentence_454

An issue that is a serious concern regarding marriage and which has been the object of international scrutiny is that of sexual violence within marriage. Marriage_sentence_455

Throughout much of the history, in most cultures, sex in marriage was considered a 'right', that could be taken by force (often by a man from a woman), if 'denied'. Marriage_sentence_456

As the concept of human rights started to develop in the 20th century, and with the arrival of second-wave feminism, such views have become less widely held. Marriage_sentence_457

The legal and social concept of marital rape has developed in most industrialized countries in the mid- to late 20th century; in many other parts of the world it is not recognized as a form of abuse, socially or legally. Marriage_sentence_458

Several countries in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia made marital rape illegal before 1970, and other countries in Western Europe and the English-speaking Western world outlawed it in the 1980s and 1990s. Marriage_sentence_459

In England and Wales, marital rape was made illegal in 1991. Marriage_sentence_460

Although marital rape is being increasingly criminalized in developing countries too, cultural, religious, and traditional ideologies about "conjugal rights" remain very strong in many parts of the world; and even in many countries that have adequate laws against rape in marriage these laws are rarely enforced. Marriage_sentence_461

Apart from the issue of rape committed against one's spouse, marriage is, in many parts of the world, closely connected with other forms of sexual violence: in some places, like Morocco, unmarried girls and women who are raped are often forced by their families to marry their rapist. Marriage_sentence_462

Because being the victim of rape and losing virginity carry extreme social stigma, and the victims are deemed to have their "reputation" tarnished, a marriage with the rapist is arranged. Marriage_sentence_463

This is claimed to be in the advantage of both the victim – who does not remain unmarried and doesn't lose social status – and of the rapist, who avoids punishment. Marriage_sentence_464

In 2012, after a Moroccan 16-year-old girl committed suicide after having been forced by her family to marry her rapist and enduring further abuse by the rapist after they married, there have been protests from activists against this practice which is common in Morocco. Marriage_sentence_465

In some societies, the very high social and religious importance of marital fidelity, especially female fidelity, has as result the criminalization of adultery, often with harsh penalties such as stoning or flogging; as well as leniency towards punishment of violence related to infidelity (such as honor killings). Marriage_sentence_466

In the 21st century, criminal laws against adultery have become controversial with international organizations calling for their abolition. Marriage_sentence_467

Opponents of adultery laws argue that these laws are a major contributor to discrimination and violence against women, as they are enforced selectively mostly against women; that they prevent women from reporting sexual violence; and that they maintain social norms which justify violent crimes committed against women by husbands, families and communities. Marriage_sentence_468

A Joint Statement by the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice states that "Adultery as a criminal offence violates women's human rights". Marriage_sentence_469

Some human rights organizations argue that the criminalization of adultery also violates internationally recognized protections for private life, as it represents an arbitrary interference with an individual's privacy, which is not permitted under international law. Marriage_sentence_470

Laws, human rights and gender status Marriage_section_47

The laws surrounding heterosexual marriage in many countries have come under international scrutiny because they contradict international standards of human rights; institutionalize violence against women, child marriage and forced marriage; require the permission of a husband for his wife to work in a paid job, sign legal documents, file criminal charges against someone, sue in civil court etc.; sanction the use by husbands of violence to "discipline" their wives; and discriminate against women in divorce. Marriage_sentence_471

Such things were legal even in many Western countries until recently: for instance, in France, married women obtained the right to work without their husband's permission in 1965, and in West Germany women obtained this right in 1977 (by comparison women in East Germany had many more rights). Marriage_sentence_472

In Spain, during Franco's era, a married woman needed her husband's consent, referred to as the permiso marital, for almost all economic activities, including employment, ownership of property, and even traveling away from home; the permiso marital was abolished in 1975. Marriage_sentence_473

An absolute submission of a wife to her husband is accepted as natural in many parts of the world, for instance surveys by UNICEF have shown that the percentage of women aged 15–49 who think that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances is as high as 90% in Afghanistan and Jordan, 87% in Mali, 86% in Guinea and Timor-Leste, 81% in Laos, 80% in Central African Republic. Marriage_sentence_474

Detailed results from Afghanistan show that 78% of women agree with a beating if the wife "goes out without telling him [the husband]" and 76% agree "if she argues with him". Marriage_sentence_475

Throughout history, and still today in many countries, laws have provided for extenuating circumstances, partial or complete defenses, for men who killed their wives due to adultery, with such acts often being seen as crimes of passion and being covered by legal defenses such as provocation or defense of family honor. Marriage_sentence_476

Right and ability to divorce Marriage_section_48

While international law and conventions recognize the need for consent for entering a marriage – namely that people cannot be forced to get married against their will – the right to obtain a divorce is not recognized; therefore holding a person in a marriage against their will (if such person has consented to entering in it) is not considered a violation of human rights, with the issue of divorce being left at the appreciation of individual states. Marriage_sentence_477

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly ruled that under the European Convention on Human Rights there is neither a right to apply to divorce, nor a right to obtain the divorce if applied for it; in 2017, in Babiarz v. Poland, the Court ruled that Poland was entitled to deny a divorce because the grounds for divorce were not met, even if the marriage in question was acknowledged both by Polish courts and by the ECHR as being a legal fiction involving a long-term separation where the husband lived with another woman with whom he had an 11-year-old child. Marriage_sentence_478

In the EU, the last country to allow divorce was Malta, in 2011. Marriage_sentence_479

Around the world, the only countries to forbid divorce are Philippines and Vatican City, although in practice in many countries which use a fault-based divorce system obtaining a divorce is very difficult. Marriage_sentence_480

The ability to divorce, in law and practice, has been and continues to be a controversial issue in many countries, and public discourse involves different ideologies such as feminism, social conservatism, religious interpretations. Marriage_sentence_481

Dowry and bridewealth Marriage_section_49

In recent years, the customs of dowry and bride price have received international criticism for inciting conflicts between families and clans; contributing to violence against women; promoting materialism; increasing property crimes (where men steal goods such as cattle in order to be able to pay the bride price); and making it difficult for poor people to marry. Marriage_sentence_482

African women's rights campaigners advocate the abolishing of bride price, which they argue is based on the idea that women are a form of property which can be bought. Marriage_sentence_483

Bride price has also been criticized for contributing to child trafficking as impoverished parents sell their young daughters to rich older men. Marriage_sentence_484

A senior Papua New Guinea police officer has called for the abolishing of bride price arguing that it is one of the main reasons for the mistreatment of women in that country. Marriage_sentence_485

The opposite practice of dowry has been linked to a high level of violence (see Dowry death) and to crimes such as extortion. Marriage_sentence_486

Children born outside marriage Marriage_section_50

Further information: Legitimacy (family law) Marriage_sentence_487

Historically, and still in many countries, children born outside marriage suffered severe social stigma and discrimination. Marriage_sentence_488

In England and Wales, such children were known as bastards and whoresons. Marriage_sentence_489

There are significant differences between world regions in regard to the social and legal position of non-marital births, ranging from being fully accepted and uncontroversial to being severely stigmatized and discriminated. Marriage_sentence_490

The 1975 European Convention on the Legal Status of Children Born out of Wedlock protects the rights of children born to unmarried parents. Marriage_sentence_491

The convention states, among others, that: "The father and mother of a child born out of wedlock shall have the same obligation to maintain the child as if it were born in wedlock" and that "A child born out of wedlock shall have the same right of succession in the estate of its father and its mother and of a member of its father's or mother's family, as if it had been born in wedlock." Marriage_sentence_492

While in most Western countries legal inequalities between children born inside and outside marriage have largely been abolished, this is not the case in some parts of the world. Marriage_sentence_493

The legal status of an unmarried father differs greatly from country to country. Marriage_sentence_494

Without voluntary formal recognition of the child by the father, in most cases there is a need of due process of law in order to establish paternity. Marriage_sentence_495

In some countries however, unmarried cohabitation of a couple for a specific period of time does create a presumption of paternity similar to that of formal marriage. Marriage_sentence_496

This is the case in Australia. Marriage_sentence_497

Under what circumstances can a paternity action be initiated, the rights and responsibilities of a father once paternity has been established (whether he can obtain parental responsibility and whether he can be forced to support the child) as well as the legal position of a father who voluntarily acknowledges the child, vary widely by jurisdiction. Marriage_sentence_498

A special situation arises when a married woman has a child by a man other than her husband. Marriage_sentence_499

Some countries, such as Israel, refuse to accept a legal challenge of paternity in such a circumstance, in order to avoid the stigmatization of the child (see Mamzer, a concept under Jewish law). Marriage_sentence_500

In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of a German man who had fathered twins with a married woman, granting him right of contact with the twins, despite the fact that the mother and her husband had forbidden him to see the children. Marriage_sentence_501

The steps that an unmarried father must take in order to obtain rights to his child vary by country. Marriage_sentence_502

In some countries (such as the UK – since 2003 in England and Wales, 2006 in Scotland, and 2002 in Northern Ireland) it is sufficient for the father to be listed on the birth certificate for him to have parental rights; in other countries, such as Ireland, simply being listed on the birth certificate does not offer any rights, additional legal steps must be taken (if the mother agrees, the parents can both sign a "statutory declaration", but if the mother does not agree, the father has to apply to court). Marriage_sentence_503

Children born outside marriage have become more common, and in some countries, the majority. Marriage_sentence_504

Recent data from Latin America showed figures for non-marital childbearing to be 74% for Colombia, 69% for Peru, 68% for Chile, 66% for Brazil, 58% for Argentina, 55% for Mexico. Marriage_sentence_505

In 2012, in the European Union, 40% of births were outside marriage, and in the United States, in 2013, the figure was similar, at 41%. Marriage_sentence_506

In the United Kingdom 48% of births were to unmarried women in 2012; in Ireland the figure was 35%. Marriage_sentence_507

During the first half of the 20th century, unmarried women in some Western countries were coerced by authorities to give their children up for adoption. Marriage_sentence_508

This was especially the case in Australia, through the forced adoptions in Australia, with most of these adoptions taking place between the 1950s and the 1970s. Marriage_sentence_509

In 2013, Julia Gillard, then Prime Minister of Australia, offered a national apology to those affected by the forced adoptions. Marriage_sentence_510

Some married couples choose not to have children. Marriage_sentence_511

Others are unable to have children because of infertility or other factors preventing conception or the bearing of children. Marriage_sentence_512

In some cultures, marriage imposes an obligation on women to bear children. Marriage_sentence_513

In northern Ghana, for example, payment of bridewealth signifies a woman's requirement to bear children, and women using birth control face substantial threats of physical abuse and reprisals. Marriage_sentence_514

Religion Marriage_section_51

Further information: Religion and divorce Marriage_sentence_515

Religions develop in specific geographic and social milieux. Marriage_sentence_516

Religious attitudes and practices relating to marriage vary, but have many similarities. Marriage_sentence_517

Abrahamic religions Marriage_section_52

Baháʼí Faith Marriage_section_53

The Baháʼí Faith encourages marriage and views it as a mutually strengthening bond, but it is not obligatory. Marriage_sentence_518

A Baháʼí marriage requires the couple to choose each other, and then obtain the consent of all living parents. Marriage_sentence_519

Christianity Marriage_section_54

Main article: Christian views on marriage Marriage_sentence_520

Further information: Wedding § Christian customs Marriage_sentence_521

Modern Christianity bases its views on marriage upon the teachings of Jesus and the Paul the Apostle. Marriage_sentence_522

Many of the largest Christian denominations regard marriage as a sacrament, sacred institution, or covenant. Marriage_sentence_523

However, this was not the case in the Roman Catholic Church before the 1184 Council of Verona officially recognized it as such. Marriage_sentence_524

Before then, no specific ritual was prescribed for celebrating a marriage: "Marriage vows did not have to be exchanged in a church, nor was a priest's presence required. Marriage_sentence_525

A couple could exchange consent anywhere, anytime." Marriage_sentence_526

The Church only formally recognized the union and it was finalized with the couple together partaking Holy Communion. Marriage_sentence_527

Decrees on marriage of the Roman Catholic Council of Trent (twenty-fourth session of 1563) made the validity of marriage dependent on the wedding occurring in the presence of a priest and two witnesses. Marriage_sentence_528

The absence of a requirement of parental consent ended a debate that proceeded from the 12th century. Marriage_sentence_529

In the case of a civil divorce, the innocent spouse had and has no right to marry again until the death of the other spouse terminates the still valid marriage, even if the other spouse was guilty of adultery. Marriage_sentence_530

The Christian Church performed marriages in the narthex of the church prior to the 16th century, when the emphasis was on the marital contract and betrothal. Marriage_sentence_531

Subsequently, the ceremony moved inside the sacristy of the church. Marriage_sentence_532

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, and the two shall become one", to accessing the Divine grace of the Roman Catholic Sacrament. Marriage_sentence_533

Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, as well as many Anglicans and Methodists, consider marriage termed holy matrimony to be an expression of divine grace, termed a sacrament and mystery in the first two Christian traditions. Marriage_sentence_534

In Western ritual, the ministers of the sacrament are the spouses themselves, with a bishop, priest, or deacon merely witnessing the union on behalf of the Church and blessing it. Marriage_sentence_535

In Eastern ritual churches, the bishop or priest functions as the actual minister of the Sacred Mystery; Eastern Orthodox deacons may not perform marriages. Marriage_sentence_536

Western Christians commonly refer to marriage as a vocation, while Eastern Christians consider it an ordination and a martyrdom, though the theological emphases indicated by the various names are not excluded by the teachings of either tradition. Marriage_sentence_537

Marriage is commonly celebrated in the context of a Eucharistic service (a nuptial Mass or Divine Liturgy). Marriage_sentence_538

The sacrament of marriage is indicative of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Marriage_sentence_539

The Roman Catholic tradition of the 12th and 13th centuries defined marriage as a sacrament ordained by God, signifying the mystical marriage of Christ to his Church. Marriage_sentence_540

For Catholic and Methodist Christians, the mutual love between husband and wife becomes an image of the eternal love with which God loves humankind. Marriage_sentence_541

In the United Methodist Church, the celebration of Holy Matrimony ideally occurs in the context of a Service of Worship, which includes the celebration of the Eucharist. Marriage_sentence_542

Likewise, the celebration of marriage between two Catholics normally takes place during the public liturgical celebration of the Holy Mass, because of its sacramental connection with the unity of the Paschal mystery of Christ (Communion). Marriage_sentence_543

Sacramental marriage confers a perpetual and exclusive bond between the spouses. Marriage_sentence_544

By its nature, the institution of marriage and conjugal love is ordered to the procreation and upbringing of offspring. Marriage_sentence_545

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". Marriage_sentence_546

According to current Roman Catholic legislation, progeny of annulled relationships are considered legitimate. Marriage_sentence_547

Civilly remarried persons who civilly divorced a living and lawful spouse are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic Communion. Marriage_sentence_548

Divorce and remarriage, while generally not encouraged, are regarded differently by each Christian denomination. Marriage_sentence_549

Most Protestant Churches allow persons to marry again after a divorce, while other require an annulment. Marriage_sentence_550

The Eastern Orthodox Church allows divorce for a limited number of reasons, and in theory, but usually not in practice, requires that a marriage after divorce be celebrated with a penitential overtone. Marriage_sentence_551

With respect to marriage between a Christian and a pagan, the early Church "sometimes took a more lenient view, invoking the so-called Pauline privilege of permissible separation (1 Cor. Marriage_sentence_552

7) as legitimate grounds for allowing a convert to divorce a pagan spouse and then marry a Christian." Marriage_sentence_553

The Catholic Church adheres to the proscription of Jesus in Matthew, 19: 6 that married spouses who have consummated their marriage "are no longer two, but one flesh. Marriage_sentence_554

Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Consequently, the Catholic Church understands that it is wholly without authority to terminate a sacramentally valid and consummated marriage, and its Codex Iuris Canonici (1983 Code of Canon Law) confirms this in Canons 1055–7. Marriage_sentence_555

Specifically, Canon 1056 declares that "the essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in [C]hristian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament." Marriage_sentence_556

Canon 1057, §2 declares that marriage is "an irrevocable covenant". Marriage_sentence_557

Therefore, divorce of such a marriage is a metaphysical, moral, and legal impossibility. Marriage_sentence_558

However, the Church has the authority to annul a presumed "marriage" by declaring it to have been invalid from the beginning, i. e., declaring it not to be and never to have been a marriage, in an annulment procedure, which is basically a fact-finding and fact-declaring effort. Marriage_sentence_559

For Protestant denominations, the purposes of marriage include intimate companionship, rearing children, and mutual support for both spouses to fulfill their life callings. Marriage_sentence_560

Most Reformed Christians did not regard marriage to the status of a sacrament "because they did not regard matrimony as a necessary means of grace for salvation"; nevertheless it is considered a covenant between spouses before God. Marriage_sentence_561

In addition, some Protestant denominations (such as the Methodist Churches) affirmed that Holy Matrimony is a "means of grace, thus, sacramental in character". Marriage_sentence_562

Since the 16th century, five competing models have shaped marriage in the Western tradition, as described by John Witte, Jr.: Marriage_sentence_563


  • Marriage as Sacrament in the Roman Catholic TraditionMarriage_item_2_17
  • Marriage as Social Estate in the Lutheran ReformationMarriage_item_2_18
  • Marriage as Covenant in the Calvinist TraditionMarriage_item_2_19
  • Marriage as Commonwealth in the Anglican TraditionMarriage_item_2_20
  • Marriage as Contract in the Enlightenment TraditionMarriage_item_2_21

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) 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." Marriage_sentence_564

Their view of marriage is that family relationships can endure beyond the grave. Marriage_sentence_565

This is known as 'eternal marriage' which can be eternal only when authorized priesthood holders perform the sealing ordinance in sacred temples. Marriage_sentence_566

Christian attitudes to same-sex marriage Marriage_section_55

Main article: Religious arguments about same-sex marriage Marriage_sentence_567

Although many Christian denominations do not currently perform same-sex marriages, many do, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), some dioceses of the Episcopal Church, the Metropolitan Community Church, Quakers, United Church of Canada, and United Church of Christ congregations, and some Anglican dioceses, for example. Marriage_sentence_568

Same-sex marriage is recognized by various religious denominations. Marriage_sentence_569

Islam Marriage_section_56

Judaism Marriage_section_57

Main article: Jewish views on marriage Marriage_sentence_570

In Judaism, marriage is based on the laws of the Torah and is a contractual bond between spouses in which the spouses dedicate to be exclusive to one another. Marriage_sentence_571

This contract is called Kiddushin. Marriage_sentence_572

Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is also expected to fulfill the commandment to have children. Marriage_sentence_573

The main focus centers around the relationship between the spouses. Marriage_sentence_574

Kabbalistically, marriage is understood to mean that the spouses are merging into a single soul. Marriage_sentence_575

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. Marriage_sentence_576

The Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) describes a number of marriages, including those of Isaac (), Jacob () and Samson (). Marriage_sentence_577

Polygyny, or men having multiple wives at once, is one of the most common marital arrangements represented in the Hebrew Bible; another is that of concubinage (pilegesh) which was often arranged by a man and a woman who generally enjoyed the same rights as a full legal wife (other means of concubinage can be seen in Judges 19-20 where mass marriage by abduction was practiced as a form of punishment on transgressors). Marriage_sentence_578

Today Ashkenazi Jews are prohibited to take more than one wife because of a ban instituted on this by Gershom ben Judah (Died 1040). Marriage_sentence_579

Among ancient Hebrews, marriage was a domestic affair and not a religious ceremony; the participation of a priest or rabbi was not required. Marriage_sentence_580

Betrothal (erusin), which refers to the time that this binding contract is made, is distinct from marriage itself (nissu'in), with the time between these events varying substantially. Marriage_sentence_581

In biblical times, a wife was regarded as personal property, belonging to her husband; the descriptions of the Bible suggest that she would be expected to perform tasks such as spinning, sewing, weaving, manufacture of clothing, fetching of water, baking of bread, and animal husbandry. Marriage_sentence_582

However, wives were usually looked after with care, and men with more than one wife were expected to ensure that they continue to give the first wife food, clothing, and marital rights. Marriage_sentence_583

Since a wife was regarded as property, her husband was originally free to divorce her for any reason, at any time. Marriage_sentence_584

Divorcing a woman against her will was also banned by Gershom ben Judah for Ashkenazi Jews. Marriage_sentence_585

A divorced couple were permitted to get back together, unless the wife had married someone else after her divorce. Marriage_sentence_586

Hinduism Marriage_section_58

Main article: Marriage in Hinduism Marriage_sentence_587

Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. Marriage_sentence_588

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, without any need for even a single third person as witness) to normal (present day) marriages, to "Rakshasa Vivaha" ("demoniac" marriage, performed by abduction of one participant by the other participant, usually, but not always, with the help of other persons). Marriage_sentence_589

In the Indian subcontinent, arranged marriages, the spouse's parents or an older family member choose the partner, are still predominant in comparison with so-called love marriages until nowadays. Marriage_sentence_590

The Hindu Widow's Remarriage Act 1856 empowers a Hindu widow to remarry. Marriage_sentence_591

Buddhism Marriage_section_59

Main article: Buddhist view of marriage Marriage_sentence_592

The Buddhist view of marriage considers marriage a secular affair and thus not a sacrament. Marriage_sentence_593

Buddhists are expected to follow the civil laws regarding marriage laid out by their respective governments. Marriage_sentence_594

Gautama Buddha, being a kshatriya was required by Shakyan tradition to pass a series of tests to prove himself as a warrior, before he was allowed to marry. Marriage_sentence_595

Sikhism Marriage_section_60

In a Sikh marriage, the couple walks around the Guru Granth Sahib holy book four times, and a holy man recites from it in the kirtan style. Marriage_sentence_596

The ceremony is known as 'Anand Karaj' and represents the holy union of two souls united as one. Marriage_sentence_597

Wicca Marriage_section_61

Wiccan marriages are commonly known as handfastings. Marriage_sentence_598

Although handfastings vary for each Wiccan they often involve honoring Wiccan gods. Marriage_sentence_599

Sex is considered a pious and sacred activity. Marriage_sentence_600

Health and income Marriage_section_62

Marriages are correlated with better outcomes for the couple and their children, including higher income for men, better health and lower mortality. Marriage_sentence_601

Part of these effects is due to the fact that those with better expectations get married more often. Marriage_sentence_602

According to a systematic review on research literature, a significant part of the effect seems to be due to a true causal effect. Marriage_sentence_603

The reason may be that marriages make particularly men become more future-oriented and take an economic and other responsibility of the family. Marriage_sentence_604

The studies eliminate the effect of selectivity in numerous ways. Marriage_sentence_605

However, much of the research is of low quality in this sense. Marriage_sentence_606

On the other hand, the causal effect might be even higher if money, working skills and parenting practises are endogenous. Marriage_sentence_607

Married men have less drug abuse and alcohol use and are more often at home during nights. Marriage_sentence_608

Health Marriage_section_63

Main article: Marriage and health Marriage_sentence_609

Marriage, like other close relationships, exerts considerable influence on health. Marriage_sentence_610

Married people experience lower morbidity and mortality across such diverse health threats as cancer, heart attacks, and surgery. Marriage_sentence_611

Research on marriage and health is part of the broader study of the benefits of social relationships. Marriage_sentence_612

Social ties provide people with a sense of identity, purpose, belonging, and support. Marriage_sentence_613

Simply being married, as well as the quality of one's marriage, have been linked to diverse measures of health. Marriage_sentence_614

The health-protective effect of marriage is stronger for men than women. Marriage_sentence_615

Marital status—the simple fact of being married—confers more health benefits to men than women. Marriage_sentence_616

Women's health is more strongly impacted than men's by marital conflict or satisfaction, such that unhappily married women do not enjoy better health relative to their single counterparts. Marriage_sentence_617

Most research on marriage and health has focused on heterosexual couples; more work is needed to clarify the health impacts of same-sex marriage. Marriage_sentence_618

Divorce and annulment Marriage_section_64

Main articles: Divorce and Divorce law by country Marriage_sentence_619

In most societies, the death of one of the partners terminates the marriage, and in monogamous societies, this allows the other partner to remarry, though sometimes after a waiting or mourning period. Marriage_sentence_620

In some societies, a marriage can be annulled, when an authority declares that a marriage never happened. Marriage_sentence_621

Jurisdictions often have provisions for void marriages or voidable marriages. Marriage_sentence_622

A marriage may also be terminated through divorce. Marriage_sentence_623

Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), Paraguay (1991), Colombia (1991), Ireland (1996), Chile (2004) and Malta (2011). Marriage_sentence_624

As of 2012, the Philippines and the Vatican City are the only jurisdictions which do not allow divorce (this is currently under discussion in Philippines). Marriage_sentence_625

After divorce, one spouse may have to pay alimony. Marriage_sentence_626

Laws concerning divorce and the ease with which a divorce can be obtained vary widely around the world. Marriage_sentence_627

After a divorce or an annulment, the people concerned are free to remarry (or marry). Marriage_sentence_628

A statutory right of two married partners to mutually consent to divorce was enacted in western nations in the mid-20th century. Marriage_sentence_629

In the United States, no-fault divorce was first enacted in California in 1969 and the final state to legalize it was New York in 1989. Marriage_sentence_630

About 45% of marriages in Britain and, according to a 2009 study, 46% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Marriage_sentence_631

History Marriage_section_65

The history of marriage is often considered under History of the family or legal history. Marriage_sentence_632

Ancient world Marriage_section_66

Ancient Near East Marriage_section_67

Many cultures have legends concerning the origins of marriage. Marriage_sentence_633

The way in which a marriage is conducted and its rules and ramifications have changed over time, as has the institution itself, depending on the culture or demographic of the time. Marriage_sentence_634

The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting a man and a woman dates back to approximately 2350 BC, in ancient Mesopotamia. Marriage_sentence_635

Wedding ceremonies, as well as dowry and divorce, can be traced back to Mesopotamia and Babylonia. Marriage_sentence_636

According to ancient Hebrew tradition, a wife was seen as being property of high value and was, therefore, usually, carefully looked after. Marriage_sentence_637

Early nomadic communities in the middle east practised a form of marriage known as beena, in which a wife would own a tent of her own, within which she retains complete independence from her husband; this principle appears to survive in parts of early Israelite society, as some early passages of the Bible appear to portray certain wives as each owning a tent as a personal possession (specifically, Jael, Sarah, and Jacob's wives). Marriage_sentence_638

The husband, too, is indirectly implied to have some responsibilities to his wife. Marriage_sentence_639

The Covenant Code orders "If he take him another; her food, her clothing, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish(or lessen)". Marriage_sentence_640

If the husband does not provide the first wife with these things, she is to be divorced, without cost to her. Marriage_sentence_641

The Talmud interprets this as a requirement for a man to provide food and clothing to, and have sex with, each of his wives. Marriage_sentence_642

However, "duty of marriage" is also interpreted as whatever one does as a married couple, which is more than just sexual activity. Marriage_sentence_643

And the term diminish, which means to lessen, shows the man must treat her as if he was not married to another. Marriage_sentence_644

As a polygynous society, the Israelites did not have any laws that imposed marital fidelity on men. Marriage_sentence_645

However, the prophet Malachi states that none should be faithless to the wife of his youth and that God hates divorce. Marriage_sentence_646

Adulterous married women, adulterous betrothed women, and the men who slept with them, however, were subject to the death penalty by the biblical laws against adultery According to the Priestly Code of the Book of Numbers, if a pregnant woman was suspected of adultery, she was to be subjected to the Ordeal of Bitter Water, a form of trial by ordeal, but one that took a miracle to convict. Marriage_sentence_647

The literary prophets indicate that adultery was a frequent occurrence, despite their strong protests against it, and these legal strictnesses. Marriage_sentence_648

Classical Greece and Rome Marriage_section_68

See also: Marriage in ancient Rome and Ancient Greek wedding customs Marriage_sentence_649

In ancient Greece, no specific civil ceremony was required for the creation of a heterosexual marriage – only mutual agreement and the fact that the couple must regard each other as husband and wife accordingly. Marriage_sentence_650

Men usually married when they were in their 20s and women in their teens. Marriage_sentence_651

It has been suggested that these ages made sense for the Greeks because men were generally done with military service or financially established by their late 20s, and marrying a teenage girl ensured ample time for her to bear children, as life expectancies were significantly lower. Marriage_sentence_652

Married Greek women had few rights in ancient Greek society and were expected to take care of the house and children. Marriage_sentence_653

Time was an important factor in Greek marriage. Marriage_sentence_654

For example, there were superstitions that being married during a full moon was good luck and, according to Robert Flacelière, Greeks married in the winter. Marriage_sentence_655

Inheritance was more important than feelings: a woman whose father dies without male heirs could be forced to marry her nearest male relative – even if she had to divorce her husband first. Marriage_sentence_656

There were several types of marriages in ancient Roman society. Marriage_sentence_657

The traditional ("conventional") form called conventio in manum required a ceremony with witnesses and was also dissolved with a ceremony. Marriage_sentence_658

In this type of marriage, a woman lost her family rights of inheritance of her old family and gained them with her new one. Marriage_sentence_659

She now was subject to the authority of her husband. Marriage_sentence_660

There was the free marriage known as sine manu. Marriage_sentence_661

In this arrangement, the wife remained a member of her original family; she stayed under the authority of her father, kept her family rights of inheritance with her old family and did not gain any with the new family. Marriage_sentence_662

The minimum age of marriage for girls was 12. Marriage_sentence_663

Germanic tribes Marriage_section_69

Among ancient Germanic tribes, the bride and groom were roughly the same age and generally older than their Roman counterparts, at least according to Tacitus: Marriage_sentence_664

Where Aristotle had set the prime of life at 37 years for men and 18 for women, the Visigothic Code of law in the 7th century placed the prime of life at 20 years for both men and women, after which both presumably married. Marriage_sentence_665

Tacitus states that ancient Germanic brides were on average about 20 and were roughly the same age as their husbands. Marriage_sentence_666

Tacitus, however, had never visited the German-speaking lands and most of his information on Germania comes from secondary sources. Marriage_sentence_667

In addition, Anglo-Saxon women, like those of other Germanic tribes, are marked as women from the age of 12 and older, based on archaeological finds, implying that the age of marriage coincided with puberty. Marriage_sentence_668

Europe Marriage_section_70

Further information: History of the family and Royal intermarriage Marriage_sentence_669

From the early Christian era (30 to 325 CE), marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter, with no uniform religious or other ceremony being required. Marriage_sentence_670

However, bishop Ignatius of Antioch writing around 110 to bishop Polycarp of Smyrna exhorts, "[I]t becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust." Marriage_sentence_671

In 12th-century Europe, women took the surname of their husbands and starting in the second half of the 16th century parental consent along with the church's consent was required for marriage. Marriage_sentence_672

With few local exceptions, until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties. Marriage_sentence_673

The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required. Marriage_sentence_674

This promise was known as the "verbum." Marriage_sentence_675

If freely given and made in the present tense (e.g., "I marry you"), it was unquestionably binding; if made in the future tense ("I will marry you"), it would constitute a betrothal. Marriage_sentence_676

In 1552 a wedding took place in Zufia, Navarre, between Diego de Zufia and Mari-Miguel following the custom as it was in the realm since the Middle Ages, but the man denounced the marriage on the grounds that its validity was conditioned to "riding" her ("si te cabalgo, lo cual dixo de bascuence (...) balvin yo baneça aren senar içateko"). Marriage_sentence_677

The tribunal of the kingdom rejected the husband's claim, validating the wedding, but the husband appealed to the tribunal in Zaragoza, and this institution annulled the marriage. Marriage_sentence_678

According to the Charter of Navarre, the basic union consisted of a civil marriage with no priest required and at least two witnesses, and the contract could be broken using the same formula. Marriage_sentence_679

The Church in turn lashed out at those who got married twice or thrice in a row while their formers spouses were still alive. Marriage_sentence_680

In 1563 the Council of Trent, twenty-fourth session, required that a valid marriage must be performed by a priest before two witnesses. Marriage_sentence_681

One of the functions of churches from the Middle Ages was to register marriages, which was not obligatory. Marriage_sentence_682

There was no state involvement in marriage and personal status, with these issues being adjudicated in ecclesiastical courts. Marriage_sentence_683

During the Middle Ages marriages were arranged, sometimes as early as birth, and these early pledges to marry were often used to ensure treaties between different royal families, nobles, and heirs of fiefdoms. Marriage_sentence_684

The church resisted these imposed unions, and increased the number of causes for nullification of these arrangements. Marriage_sentence_685

As Christianity spread during the Roman period and the Middle Ages, the idea of free choice in selecting marriage partners increased and spread with it. Marriage_sentence_686

In Medieval Western Europe, later marriage and higher rates of definitive celibacy (the so-called "European marriage pattern") helped to constrain patriarchy at its most extreme level. Marriage_sentence_687

For example, Medieval England saw marriage age as variable depending on economic circumstances, with couples delaying marriage until the early twenties when times were bad and falling to the late teens after the Black Death, when there were labor shortages; by appearances, marriage of adolescents was not the norm in England. Marriage_sentence_688

Where the strong influence of classical Celtic and Germanic cultures (which were not rigidly patriarchal) helped to offset the Judaeo-Roman patriarchal influence, in Eastern Europe the tradition of early and universal marriage (often in early adolescence), as well as traditional Slavic patrilocal custom, led to a greatly inferior status of women at all levels of society. Marriage_sentence_689

The average age of marriage for most of Northwestern Europe from 1500 to 1800 was around 25 years of age; as the Church dictated that both parties had to be at least 21 years of age to marry without the consent of their parents, the bride and groom were roughly the same age, with most brides in their early twenties and most grooms two or three years older, and a substantial number of women married for the first time in their thirties and forties, particularly in urban areas, with the average age at first marriage rising and falling as circumstances dictated. Marriage_sentence_690

In better times, more people could afford to marry earlier and thus fertility rose and conversely marriages were delayed or forgone when times were bad, thus restricting family size; after the Black Death, the greater availability of profitable jobs allowed more people to marry young and have more children, but the stabilization of the population in the 16th century meant fewer job opportunities and thus more people delaying marriages. Marriage_sentence_691

The age of marriage was not absolute, however, as child marriages occurred throughout the Middle Ages and later, with just some of them including: Marriage_sentence_692


  • The 1552 CE marriage between John Somerford and Jane Somerford Brereto, at the ages of 3 and 2, respectively.Marriage_item_3_22
  • In the early 1900s, Magnus Hirschfeld surveyed the age of consent in about 50 countries, which he found to often range between 12–16. In the Vatican, the age of consent was 12.Marriage_item_3_23

As part of the Protestant Reformation, the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state, reflecting Martin Luther's view that marriage was a "worldly thing". Marriage_sentence_693

By the 17th century, many of the Protestant European countries had a state involvement in marriage. Marriage_sentence_694

In England, under the Anglican Church, marriage by consent and cohabitation was valid until the passage of Lord Hardwicke's Act in 1753. Marriage_sentence_695

This act instituted certain requirements for marriage, including the performance of a religious ceremony observed by witnesses. Marriage_sentence_696

As part of the Counter-Reformation, 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. Marriage_sentence_697

The Council also authorized a Catechism, issued in 1566, which defined marriage as "The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life." Marriage_sentence_698

In the early modern period, John Calvin and his Protestant colleagues reformulated Christian marriage by enacting the Marriage Ordinance of Geneva, which imposed "The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage" for recognition. Marriage_sentence_699

In England and Wales, Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act 1753 required a formal ceremony of marriage, thereby curtailing the practice of Fleet Marriage, an irregular or a clandestine marriage. Marriage_sentence_700

These were clandestine or irregular marriages performed at Fleet Prison, and at hundreds of other places. Marriage_sentence_701

From the 1690s until the Marriage Act of 1753 as many as 300,000 clandestine marriages were performed at Fleet Prison alone. Marriage_sentence_702

The Act required a marriage ceremony to be officiated by an Anglican priest in the Anglican Church with two witnesses and registration. Marriage_sentence_703

The Act did not apply to Jewish marriages or those of Quakers, whose marriages continued to be governed by their own customs. Marriage_sentence_704

In England and Wales, since 1837, civil marriages have been recognized as a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act 1836. Marriage_sentence_705

In Germany, civil marriages were recognized in 1875. Marriage_sentence_706

This law permitted a declaration of the marriage before an official clerk of the civil administration, when both spouses affirm their will to marry, to constitute a legally recognized valid and effective marriage, and allowed an optional private clerical marriage ceremony. Marriage_sentence_707

In contemporary English common law, a marriage is a voluntary contract by a man and a woman, in which by agreement they choose to become husband and wife. Marriage_sentence_708

Edvard Westermarck proposed that "the institution of marriage has probably developed out of a primeval habit". Marriage_sentence_709

As of 2000, the average marriage age range was 25–44 years for men and 22–39 years for women. Marriage_sentence_710

China Marriage_section_71

Main article: Chinese marriage Marriage_sentence_711

The mythological origin of Chinese marriage is a story about Nüwa and Fu Xi who invented proper marriage procedures after becoming married. Marriage_sentence_712

In ancient Chinese society, people of the same surname are supposed to consult with their family trees prior to marriage to reduce the potential risk of unintentional incest. Marriage_sentence_713

Marrying one's maternal relatives was generally not thought of as incest. Marriage_sentence_714

Families sometimes intermarried from one generation to another. Marriage_sentence_715

Over time, Chinese people became more geographically mobile. Marriage_sentence_716

Individuals remained members of their biological families. Marriage_sentence_717

When a couple died, the husband and the wife were buried separately in the respective clan's graveyard. Marriage_sentence_718

In a maternal marriage, a male would become a son-in-law who lived in the wife's home. Marriage_sentence_719

The New Marriage Law of 1950 radically changed Chinese marriage traditions, enforcing monogamy, equality of men and women, and choice in marriage; arranged marriages were the most common type of marriage in China until then. Marriage_sentence_720

Starting October 2003, it became legal to marry or divorce without authorization from the couple's work units. Marriage_sentence_721

Although people with infectious diseases such as AIDS may now marry, marriage is still illegal for the mentally ill. Marriage_sentence_722

See also Marriage_section_72


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