Traditionally, marriage used to refer to the legal union of a man and woman in a relationship. However, that definition has since changed in many parts of the world. Marriage constitutes the union of two people, who can be of the same or of different sexes. People can have their marriage recognized in a religious or civil setting. They can choose to perform a ceremony, such as a wedding, or they can fulfill the basic requirements of the law, which provides that there be some witnesses when the two are wedding. Some people choose to stay together for some time before deciding to make their marriage legal. Others choose to have an engagement before having a wedding ceremony, through which their wedding ceremony would be recognized. People have a choice in determining how they will legalize their marriage.

People marry for different reasons. However, the main criterion for marriage is love and the need for companionship. Two people come together in marriage because they love each other and they want to share their lives together. The romantic criterion for love includes love, sexual attraction, and affection for each other. Others choose to get married because they do not want to spend their entire lives alone. However, in some cases, people have married for other reasons including the economic status and social position of a person. A person may choose to get married because this will improve his or her social standing or raise his economic status. Procreation is one of the main reasons for getting married. Couples who have a desire to get and rear children will choose to marry for this reason. However, for some people, children are not a main priority in marriage.

The concept of marriage differs across cultures. In some cultures, people are free to choose their partners and they are not limited by any societal factors such as age. However, in other cultures, parents take it as their responsibility to select suitable partners for their children. Religion is also an important consideration for some people. Some religions allow men to marry more than one woman; others forbid the union of people belonging to the same sex, and others forbid people from divorcing. While some cultures encourage people to get married as soon as possible, other cultures do not have any criterion. For instance, in most developed countries both women and men will choose to avoid getting married at an early age, as they focus on their education and careers (Strong, DeVault, and Cohen 268).

There are different types of marriage. As noted, marriage can be between a man and a woman, or between people of the same sex. However, homosexual marriages are only allowed in some states in the country and in a few countries around the world. A monogamous type of marriage is between one man and one woman. It is the most common type of marriage around the world. Partners in a monogamy type of marriage can choose to marry other people following the death of one of them or a divorce. Some cultures allow bigamy, which means having more than one spouse. The most common type is polygyny whereby one man has more than one wife at the same time. Polyandry is a type of marriage whereby one woman has more than one husband at the same time. This marriage is not common. Another type of marriage is group marriage, which involves marriage of more than two women and two men at the same time. Only the people within the confines of marriage are considered partners. Having sexual relations with other people in a group marriage is considered a sign of infidelity (Blundell 133).

People experience different challenges in marriage. Currently, divorce rates have increased significantly in the US. There are different reasons for divorce including infidelity and financial challenges. Moreover, most people find out that they had not known their partners well enough when they were getting married. This can lead to many conflicts in the home, as the different personalities of the partners collide. Although many people who get married do so hoping that it will be a long time commitment, they end up being separated and divorced after some time. This has discouraged people from getting married. Although many people have come to recognize and accept homosexuals, some of them are hesitant in accepting the fact that people of the same gender can get married. They will support same sex partners in civil unions but they have a hard time accepting the fact that their union can be seen as a marriage.

Marriage has continued to evolve and transform over the years. Many people still hold the traditional and conservative approach whereby marriage is between a man and a woman and is meant to last for a lifetime. However, the definition and concept of marriage has changed in the recent past. Issues of same sex partners have become common, divorce rates have increased, and people no longer perceive procreation as a necessity.

Works Cited:

Blundell, Jonathan. Cambridge IGCSE Sociology Coursebook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Print

Strong, Bryan, Christine DeVault and Theodore, Cohen. The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society. New York: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print

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