Marriage is the approved social pattern whereby two to more persons establish a family. It involves not only the right to conceive and rear children, but also a host of other obligation and privileges affecting a good many people.
The real meaning of marriage is the acceptance of a new status, with a new set of privileges and obligations, and the recognition of this new status by others. A legal marriage legitimizes a social status and creates a set of legally recognized rights and duties.
Marriage is one of the oldest socially recognized institution and essential for the procreation of children and satisfaction of our sexual urges. In different societies there are different methods of marriage. Some of the societies allow a male to marry only a single female whereas in other societies a husband is allowed to have more than one wife. Similarly some societies will not allow a woman to have more than one husband whereas other societies will not mind a woman having more than one husband. In some cases the parent arranges the marriage whereas in others the boys and girls arrange their marriage.
Definition of Marriage: Marriageis a term for social relationships of husband and wife or of plural mates. Also used for the ceremony of uniting marital partners.
It refers to the finding of spouse by man and woman. There are two methods given as:
- Exogamy: When a person marries outside one's group, caste, religion, class or race. It is attributed as exogamy. In the modern times this marriage is mostly in practice.
- Endogamy: When a person marries inside one's group, caste, religion, class or race. It is known as endogamy. This kind of marriage is practice mostly in the rural areas
- Different societies have different views for the social recognition and approval of marriage. That is the reason why we find different of marriages. The main types of marriage are given below:
Functions of Marriage
- Monogamy: One person is allowed to marry once.
- Polygamy: Person ( man or woman ) is allowed to marry more than once.
- Polygyny: A husband is permitted to have more than one wife at one time.
- Polyandry: A woman marries to more than one man at a time.
- Fraternal polyandry: When a woman is considered and treated as the wife of all the brothers living in the family and the offspring is considered to be the son/daughter of the eldest brother.
- Non-fraternal polyandry: In this form a woman is supposed to have more than one husband.
- Group marriage: The brothers are required to marry with the sisters living together.
- Experimental marriage: In such a marriage the couple should be allowed to come together and freely mix and meet to understand each other before their marriage.
- Inter caste marriage: A man marries a woman with in a caste. Like in India.
- Anuloma: When the men of higher castes are allowed to marry the women of lower castes is called anuloma.
- Pratiloma: When the women of higher castes marry to the men of lower castes are called Pratiloma.
- Hyper-gamy & hypo-gamy: A man belonging to the nobility is allowed to marry a woman of lower social status is called Hyper-gamy. But when a woman of higher social status is marrying a man of lower social status is called Hypo-gamy.
- Sororate marriage: If the wife is died. After the death, the husband marries this deceased wife's sister.
- Levirate marriage: When the husband is died. After the death the wife marries her deceased husband's brother.
- Marriage by elopement: If a boy and girl run away and marry against the choice of their parents. They marry either in court or other place.
- Compassionate Marriage: The dissolution of marriage by mutual consents, due to having no children.
- Arranged Marriage: The marriage, which is arranged by the consent of both sides parent.
- Love Marriage: The system under which the youngsters themselves select their life partners is called love marriage.
- Swara Marriage: It's a common marriage in Pukhtoon society.
- Social Recognition: Marriage gives social recognition to all sexual relationships, which otherwise would have many social problems. Marriage alone makes the society accept the relationship of boy and girl, as husband and wife.
- Procreation of Children: Then another function of the marriage is to have legitimate children; The children born as a result of socially recognized marriage are accepted by the society as legitimate and legal heirs to the property and other assets of the family.
- Sense of Sympathy: After the marriage alone the husband and wife and their children develop a sense of sympathy for each other and they begin to share each other's joys and sorrows. They sacrifice for the sake of each other.
- Basis of Family: Then another function of marriage is that it is the basis of family life. As we all know that after marriage family comes into being and with that the virtues of all the family life emerge in the society.
- Stability in Relationship: After marriage alone relationships come into being e.g. the relationship of husband and wife, son or daughter, father in law and mother in law or that of grand father and grand mother etc. these relations get stabilized with the passage of time but only after marriage but not before marriage.
- Perpetuation of Lineage: It is after marriage that there is desire to perpetuate the name of the family. The children perpetuate the names of their parents and then come grand children, great grand children etc. After some time then there is a desire to perpetuate the lineage of the family and it at any stage in the family there are no offshoots, then every effort is made to have then, so that the name of the family continues.
In this way each family has very important and basic functions to perform. Without these functions our whole social system would failed and would resulting many social problems. Then marriage alone has helped in maintaining high moral standards of which any society can really feel proud.