Marriage is a cultural custom in most societies wherein two or more individuals -- usually adults -- are socially and legally recognized as forming common cause with each other. This is most often with the intention of having children, but that has never been the exclusive reason for the custom's existence.
Traditionally, marriage has had slightly different functions depending on the social class of the participants; for the lower classes, it was mainly a way to formalize the responsibility for the care of offspring. Among upper classes (at least in the West), it was also a way to seal bonds between aristocratic houses – sort of a familial corporate merger.
In modern, middle-class usage, it has become somewhat ambiguous in intent, though it is usually regarded as a requirement for having offspring. In the United States, it is necessary in order to get a lower "family rate" on health insurance or to share a lower, employer-sponsored insurance rate with a spouse not employed at the same company. It is also necessary in order to establish kinship in certain situations such as hospital visitation and "next-of-kin" for inheritance purposes.
- /history: history of marriage and its many definitions
- /problems: problems with the custom of marriage
Governments and cultures generally have laws and rules to encourage people to get married.
In the United States, one big incentive to get married is the reduction in health insurance costs. One's spouse is also considered to be "next of kin" and thus receives certain automatic rights, such as hospital visitation and effective power of attorney if the other spouse is unable to speak for her/himself.
- Gay marriage
- Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage; increases in divorce rates are generally seen as harmful.
- Some people are boycotting marriage until the laws are less restrictive.
- The purpose of marriage in 20th/21st century America seems to be largely to form the stable core of a family.
- "MARRIAGE = [male restroom icon] + [female restroom icon]"
- Conservapedia takes the conservative Christian view: "Marriage is a union formed between one man and one woman, ordained by God."
dKosopedia: no equivalent page (as of 2008-03-02); see Search SourceWatch: no equivalent page (as of 2008-03-02); see Search
- On Marriage (Tailsteak, a webcomic)
- 2014-03-02 [L..T] Ross Douthat looks at gay marriage and wonders what's love got to do with it ...if you think that marriage is not a synergistic coupling of sexual variables for the express purpose of pooping out babies from a vagina Pez dispenser, Ross thinks that you are setting your sights way too low and [you] are probably callow and unthinking...
- 2014-02-25 [L..T] Groom kidnappings: A blot on India's Bihar Poor and unable to find grooms for their daughters, many still seize men at gunpoint in what is known as pakadwa shaadi.
- 2014-02-18 [L..T] Sex Is Not an 'Economy' and You Are Not Merchandise The longer I live and the more I read and the deeper I fall in love and the less I give a fuck and the more patience I lose and the more perspective I gain, the more certain I become that the people who most aggressively try to define love for others have never actually experienced it themselves.