Marriage (also called matrimony or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but is usually an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. Such a union is often formalized via a wedding ceremony. In terms of legal recognition, most sovereign states and other jurisdictions limit marriage to two persons of opposite sex or gender in the gender binary, and some of these allow polygynous marriage. Since 2000, several countries and some other jurisdictions have legalized same-sex marriage. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity.
People marry for many reasons, including: legal, social, being in love, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious. Marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved. Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment. Polygamous marriages may also occur in spite of national laws.
Marriage can be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community or peers. It is often viewed as a contract. Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution irrespective of religious affiliation, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction. Forced marriages are illegal in some jurisdictions.
Read more about Marriage: Definitions, Etymology, History of Marriage By Culture, Same-sex Marriage, Group Marriage, Selection of A Partner, Marriage Ceremony, Cohabitation, Sex and Procreation, Marriage Law, Marriage and Religion, Financial Considerations, Termination, Temporary Marriages, Post-marital Residence, Power and Gender Roles
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Famous quotes containing the word marriage:
“The concerts you enjoy together
Neighbors you annoy together
Children you destroy together
That make marriage a joy”
—Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930)
“It appears that ordinary men take wives because possession is not possible without marriage, and that ordinary women accept husbands because marriage is not possible without possession; with totally differing aims the method is the same on both sides.”
—Thomas Hardy (18401928)
“Always the same old story
Father Time and Mother Earth,
A marriage on the rocks.”
—James Merrill (b. 1926)