Social Role of Marriage
Love has always been the basic idea and philosophy of marriage. Nowadays the role of
marriage has acquired controversial tendencies. The first tendency is connected with
the ever-strengthening position of women in the society. Women today can lead in
professional spheres, and very often they appear to be stronger than men in private
relations as well. The second tendency is related to the fact that people feel the
necessity to unite, thus combining their minds, hopes, powers, finances, and strivings.
This provides the increased power of family as opposed to a separate person. Very often
the social role of marriage depends on the governmental policies and social traditions.
Thus, the direct dependency can be found between the economic growth and age of the
couples: the higher is the economic advancement of the country, the higher is the
age of the married. Economic growth is also the reason for the lower birthrate. People
strive first of all to please themselves, to provide themselves with everything
needed and even more, and only then devote their lives to children. On the contrary,
thoughtless and not serious attitude to one's life and the lives of other people,
low awareness of contraceptives, low standards of living lead families in
developing countries to a greater precipice. Certainly this does not mean that
well-provided people don't have a lot of children, and vice versa, that all
poor people have large suffering families. But these are the common tendencies.
However, if we consider the marriage from the standard point of view (economic
stability, social responsibility etc.), we can claim that marriage is the legal,
religious and spiritual union of two people who in such way demonstrate their
cohesion and unanimity. It is also an important social union. There is a claim
that successful family is a necessary part of the prosperous country.
The sense of the marriage is that interpersonal and private relationships
become recognized by society, by religious institutions and by the state.
Marriage in terms of civil code implies that a family is a separate social
unit which at the same time is a part of the whole society. A family contributes
to the society its children, their upbringing, the labor of family members, and
There are different types of marriages, which depend on the purposes of
marriage. This may be marriage of love, marriage of convenience, arranged
(pragmatic) marriage and sham marriage. Misalliance is usually an inequality
in marriage due to different financial and social status, or different age.
These disparities very often raise the indignation of society, and very rare
this affects the couple. Rather often the obstacles and difficulties improve
the marriage and consolidate the couple. An interesting type of marriage is
the walking marriage, which is usual in Saudi Arabia, south-west of China,
and in Beijing, when the wife and husband meet regularly but live separately.
Various forms of marriages have existed since the beginning of the
humankind, while others have appeared recently, in twentieth century. The
former ones include monogamous marriages (between a man and a woman); polygamous
marriage (usually referred to a marriage between a man and several women),
polyandry (marriage between a woman and several men), same-sex marriages
(homosexual marriages between people of the same sex). The issue of the same-sex
marriages remains to be very controversial. Despite gradual acceptance of such
marriages by some societies, religions oppose and reject the possibility of
proclaiming such marriages as legal ones. On the contrary, human rights'
advocates provide the arguments in favor of the same-sex marriages based on
the Human Rights Act 1998.
The issue of cohabitation as opposed to wedding is rather crucial
nowadays. Some people prefer to live together without legalization of
their relationships. In case of cohabitation often the birth of a child
becomes the reason for the marriage. But it is not necessarily, especially
in the light of current trend of social development in this relation:
children born out of wedlock are not stigmatized as bastards. A lot of
women today give birth to their children out of wedlock either intentionally
or under the pressure of circumstances. This fact and the ever-increasing movement
for women's rights provide social support and understanding of such situations.
For all that, people living together may be deprived of certain benefits
which marriage provides. To start with the simple example, they won't be
allowed to the hospital ward if there is such need. Therefore, official
status and documents are still very important. However, in Australia the
rights of people living together as a couple are equal to those of the married
ones. They consider it unnecessary formalization which can change their
relationships, imposing too many responsibilities and commitments. Such
type of living together is inherent in artistic environments. However, all
commitments and responsibilities can be bypassed even in the official
marriage. The already-mentioned "walking marriage" and wedding contracts
specifying particular points allow avoiding the risks of standard marriage.
Marriage is the creation of society and an important social institution. It
provides keeping of traditions and continuation of family generations. Marriage
is the pillar on which the society is based. It was claimed that children
raised in traditional families have more chances to succeed in life. Of course,
there are a lot of exceptions from this rule, but the tendency is obvious.
Marriage of love which does not change its status in the course of years is
a significant support for the moral, religious, financial and political
aspects existing in society. The members of such families are often responsible
citizens, loyal to their country.
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