Wife in the news

Entwistle: Scatter my ashes over wife's grave 

CNN.com - 2 hours, 34 minutes ago
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- The British man charged with fatally shooting his wife and infant daughter has been returned to jail after a psychiatric evaluation determined that he is not suicidal, a sheriff said.
Hoosier Soldier, Wife Have Mixed Reaction To Bush's Troops Plan 
WRTV TheIndyChannel.com via Yahoo! News - Jan 11 4:15 AM
A National Guard soldier from Indianapolis who recently got home from Iraq and his wife had mixed reaction to President George W. Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

Malawian polygamist jailed for attempting to sell second wife 
AFP via Yahoo! News - Jan 11 2:24 AM
A Malawian polygamist has been jailed for four years and three months for attempting to sell his second wife, court officials said.

Lawyer for Kidd's wife counters abuse claims 
Sports Illustrated - Jan 10 7:36 PM
A day after Jason Kidd claimed in divorce papers to be a victim of spousal abuse, his wife's attorney said the New Jersey Nets point guard had no reason to fear the diminutive woman.

- Beatiful Wife

Here is an article on Wife.

Family Beautful Wife law
Entering into marriage
Prenuptial agreement  · Marriage
Common-law marriage
Same-sex marriage
Legal states similar to marriage
Cohabitation  · Beauitful Wife Civil union
Domestic partnership
Registered partnership
Dissolution of marriage
Annulment  · Divorce  · Alimony
Issues affecting children
Paternity  · Legitimacy Beatuiful Wife  · Adoption
Legal guardian  · Ward
Emancipation of minors
Parental responsibility
Contact (including Beuatiful Wife Visitation)
Residence in English law
Custody  · Child support
Areas of possible legal concern
Spousal abuse  · Beauiful Wife Child abuse
Child abduction
Adultery  · Bigamy  · Incest
Conflict of Beautifu Wife Laws Issues
Marriage  · Nullity  · Divorce

"Traditional Marriage" redirects here. See Beautuful Wife traditional marriage movement for this social movement.

Marriage is a socially, religiously, or legally recognized union between two or Beautifil Wife more people, for the purposes of the formation Beautiul Wife of a family unit; legitimizing sexual relations and procreation; social stability; education and development of offspring; Baeutiful Wife transfer of property[1]; security; and companionship, or any of such combinations. [2] A marriage can be Beaitiful Wife declared by a wedding ceremony.[3] The Beauttiful Wife precise nature and characteristics of marriage have varied widely over time, and across cultures.

Marriage as an institution traces back into antiquity and is found in nearly every culture. Until the late twentieth century, marriage was commonly understood as the joining of a man and woman in a bond of sexual fidelity. In their marital roles, the terms "husband" and "wife," respectively, are used; generically, both are called "spouses". Polygamous marriage, in which one person takes more than one spouse, is ancient, but is now common only in certain cultures in Africa and Asia; polygyny is the typical form of polygamy, while polyandry is rare. Since 2001, the legal concept of marriage has been expanded to include same-sex unions, now officially recognized by a number of countries. Same-sex unions are also performed and recognized by certain religious denominations.

Marriage may be mediated by religious or political institutions and is generally bound by conventions which establish rights and privileges, and which establish limits of consanguinity and other restrictions. It is a binding contract, which may be formally ended through divorce or annulled if improperly formed.


  • 1 Definitions throughout history
  • 2 Recognition
  • 3 Types of marriages
  • 4 Marriage restrictions
  • 5 Weddings
  • 6 Termination
  • 7 Rights and obligations relating to marriage
  • 8 Marriage and religion
  • 9 Marriage and economics
  • 10 Arranged marriage
  • 11 Same-sex marriage
  • 12 Criticisms of the institution of marriage
  • 13 See also
    • 13.1 Types
    • 13.2 Lists and statistics
    • 13.3 Related concepts
  • 14 Sources and notes
  • 15 Further reading

Definitions throughout history

Marriage of some kind is found in most societies, and typically married people form a household, which is normally subsequently extended biologically, through children. In the West the nuclear family emerged after 1100 ADcitation needed]. Most non-Western societies have a broader definition of family that includes an extended family network. Childbearing is not necessarily a requisite, and some married couples remain childless by choice or due to infertility, age, or other factors preventing reproduction.

Precise definitions vary historically and between and within cultures: modern understanding emphasizes the legitimacy of sexual relations in marriage, yet the universal and unique attribute of marriage is the creation of affinal ties (in-laws). Traditionally, societies encourage one to marry "out" far enough to strengthen the ties, but "close" enough so that the in-laws are "one of us" or "our kind". Exception to this rule has been found in the marriages whose aim is to strengthen concentration of wealth and power rather than to create affinal ties. Even in this case, the individual was often encouraged to marry "within" close family limits. (Further discussion and reference: Marvin Harris, late Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University)

Marriage remains important as the socially sanctioned bond in a sexual relationship. Marriage is sometimes understood as a relationship designed to produce children and successfully socialize them. Children born outside of marriage have been legally known as bastards. Historically, many societies have allowed some form of polygamy. Europe, the United States and Canada have, for the most part, defined themselves as monogamous cultures. This partially stemmed from Germanic cultural traditions, Christianity, and mandate of the Roman Law. However it is important to note that Roman Law permitted prostitution, concubinage, and sexual access to slaves. The Christian West formally banned these practices with laws against adultery, fornication and other relationships outside a monogamous lifelong covenant.

Many present-day societies, even those with a cultural tradition of polygamy, recognize monogamy as the only valid form of marriage. For example, China shifted from allowing polygamy to supporting only monogamy in the Marriage Act of 1953 after the Communist revolution. Polygamy is practised illegally by some groups in the United States and Canada, primarily by Mormon fundamentalists sects that separated from the mainstream Latter Day Saints movement after the practice was renounced in 1890. While many peoples in African and Islamic societies do allow polygyny (around 2.0 billion people), perhaps less than 3% of all Muslim marriages are polygynous.citation needed]

Since the later decades of the 20th century many ideas about the nature and purpose of marriage and family have been challenged in some countries, in particular by LGBT social movements, which argue that marriage should not be exclusively heterosexual. Some people also argue that marriage may be an unnecessary legal fiction.citation needed] This follows from an overall shift in Western ideas and practices of family; since WWII, the West has seen a dramatic increase in divorce (6% to over 40% of first marriages), cohabitation without marriage, a growing unmarried population, children born outside of marriage (5% to over 33% of births), and an increase in adultery (8% to over 40%)citation needed]. A de facto system of serial monogamy has emerged. On the other hand, demands for same-sex marriage have led to its legalization in some Western countries.

Today, the term marriage is generally reserved for a union that is formally recognized by the state (although some people disagree). The phrase legally married can be used to emphasize this point. In the United States there are two methods of receiving state recognition of a marriage: common law marriage and obtaining a marriage license. The majority of US states do not recognize common law marriage. Many localities do support various types of domestic partnerships.

Marriage was a civil institution in nations until about the mid 5th century AD.citation needed] Around that time Augustine and others theosophised about marriage and the Christian Church started taking an interest in co-opting it.citation needed] Christians began to have their marriages conducted by ministers in Christian gatherings. It was in the 12th century that the Roman Catholic Church, as well as other orthodoxies, formally defined marriage as a sacrament. (In Roman Catholicism the Sacrament of Matrimony is between God, the man and the woman.citation needed] The Protestant Reformation reformulated marriage as a life-long covenant; Protestant leaders like Martin Luther and Calvin denied that marriage was a sacrament.

The historian John Boswell's book Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe lends complexity to the debate concerning whether marriage has been exclusively a heterosexual institution until recently. The book's cover has an icon (that predates the twentieth century) depicting a union between two male saints, with Jesus behind them in the middle providing the blessing. The existence of the berdache in some Native American cultures also complicates the issue; it was even a mark of distinction for a man to marry a berdache.

The term wedlock is a synonym for marriage, and is mainly used in the phrase "out of wedlock" to describe a child born of parents who were not married.


The participants in a marriage usually seek social recognition for their relationship, and many societies require official approval of a religious or civil body. Sociologists thus distinguish between a marriage ceremony (wedding) conducted under the auspices of a religion and a state-authorized civil marriage.

In the Protestant tradition, Calvin and his colleagues reformulated marriage through enactment of The Marriage Ordinance of Geneva imposing, "The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage."[4]

In many jurisdictions the civil marriage ceremony may take place during the religious marriage ceremony, although they are theoretically distinct. In most American states, the marriage may be officiated by a Priest, Minister, Rabbi or other religious authority, and in such a case the religious authority acts simultaneously as an agent of the state. In some countries such as France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Argentina and Russia, it is necessary to be married by the state before having a religious ceremony. Some states allow civil marriages in circumstances which are not allowed by many religions, such as same-sex marriages or civil unions, and marriage may also be created by the operation of the law alone as in common-law marriage, which is a judicial recognition that two people living as domestic partners are entitled to the effects of marriage. Conversely, there are examples of people who have a religious ceremony that is not recognized by the civil authorities. Examples include widows who stand to lose a pension if they remarry and so undergo a marriage only in the eyes of God and the community, homosexual couples (where same-sex marriage is not legally recognized), some sects which recognize polygamy, retired couples who would lose pension benefits if legally married, Muslim men who wish to engage in polygamy that is condoned in some situations under Islam, and immigrants who do not wish to alert the immigration authorities that they are married either to a spouse they are leaving behind or because the complexity of immigration laws may make it difficult for spouses to visit on a tourist visa.

In Europe it has traditionally been the churches' office to make marriages official by registering them. Hence, it was a significant step towards a clear separation of church and state and also an intended and sufficient weakening of the Christian churches' role in Germany, when Chancellor Otto von Bismarck introduced the Zivilehe (civil marriage) in 1875. This law made the declaration of the marriage before an official clerk of the civil administration (both spouses affirming their will to marry) the procedure to make a marriage legally valid and effective, and reduced the clerical marriage to a private ceremony.

Types of marriages

Main article: Types of marriages

Marriage restrictions

Most countries restrict marriage to two persons, one of each sex. A few nations have however authorized same-sex marriages: the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, and South Africa. Massachusetts is the only state in the United States to recognize same-sex marriage under the name marriage. The states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, and Vermont recognize similar same-sex unions under the name civil union. Some other states have adopted referendums or laws that generally restrict marriage recognition to heterosexual couples.

Many countries regulate the age at which one can get married. Societies have always placed restrictions on marriage to relatives, though the degree of prohibited relationship varies widely. In almost all societies, marriage between brothers and sisters is forbidden, with Ancient Egyptian, Hawaiian, and Inca royalty being the rare exceptions. In many societies, marriage between some first cousins is preferred, while at the other extreme, the medieval Catholic church prohibited marriage even between distant cousins. The present day Catholic Church still maintains a standard of required distance (in both consanguinity and affinity) for marriage.

In the Indian Hindu community, especially in the Brahmin caste, marrying a person of the same Gotra was prohibited, since persons belonging to the same Gotra are said to have identical patrilineal descent. In ancient India when Gurukul was in existence, the shishyas (the pupils) were advised against marrying any of Guru's children as shishyas were considered Guru's children and it would be considered marriage among siblings (though there were exceptions like Arjuna's son Abhimanyu marrying Uttra, the dance student of Arjuna in Mahabharata). The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, brought reforms in the area of same gotra marriages. Before this act, the Indian constitution banned same gotra marriages. Now the Indian constitution guarantees any two consenting adults (women 18 or older and men 21 or older) from any race, religion, caste or creed to engage in the institution of marriage.

Many societies have also adopted other restrictions on whom one can marry, such as prohibitions on marrying persons with the same surname, or persons with the same sacred animal. One example is South Korea. Even today, it is generally considered taboo for a man to marry a woman if they both have the same family name. The most common surname in South Korea is "Kim" (almost 20%), however, there are several branches (or clans) in the "Kim" surname. (Korean family names are divided into one or more clans.) Only intra-clan marriages are prohibited, as they are considered one type of exogamy. Thus, many "Kim-Kim" couples can be found.

Anthropologists refer to these sorts of restrictions as exogamy. One exception to this pattern is in ancient Egypt, where marriage between brothers and sisters was permitted in the royal family -- as it was also permitted in Hawaii and among the Inca; this privilege was denied commoners and may have served to concentrate wealth and power in one family. The consequence of the incest-taboo is exogamy, the requirement to marry someone from another group. Anthropologists have thus pointed out that the incest taboo may serve to promote social solidarity.

Societies have also at times required marriage from within a certain group. Anthropologists refer to these restrictions as endogamy. An example of such restrictions would be a requirement to marry someone from the same tribe. Racist laws adopted by some societies in the past, such as Nazi-era Germany, apartheid-era South Africa and most of the United States in the first half of the 20th century, which prohibited marriage between persons of different races could also be considered examples of endogamy. In the U.S. these laws were largely repealed between 1940 and 1960. The U.S. Supreme Court declared all such laws unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

Cultures that practiced slavery might admit that slave marriages formed but grant them no legal status. This was the practice under the Roman empire, so that in the Acts of Perpetua and Felicitas, the freewoman Perpetua could be described as "a married matron" but Felicitas as the "fellow-servant" of Revocatus -- even though the Christians regarded, religiously, such marriages as binding. Likewise, slave marriages in the United States were not binding, so that many contrabands escaping slavery during the American Civil War sought official status for their marriages. Among the rights distinguishing serfdom from slavery was the right to enter a legally recognizable marriage.


Main article: Wedding

The ceremony in which a marriage is enacted and announced to the community is called a wedding. A wedding in which a couple marry in the "eyes of the law" is called a civil marriage. Religions also facilitate weddings, in the "eyes of God". In many European and some Latin American countries, when someone chooses a religious ceremony, they must hold that ceremony separate from the civil ceremony. Certain countries, like Belgium, Bulgaria and the Netherlands, demand that the civil marriage take place before any religious marriage. In some countries — notably the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Norway and Spain — both ceremonies can be held together; the officiant at the religious and community ceremony also serving as an agent of the state to enact the civil marriage. That does not mean that the state is "recognizing" religious marriages — the "civil" ceremony just takes place at the same time as the religious ceremony. Often this involves simply signing a register during the religious ceremony. If that civil element of the full ceremony is left out for any reason, in the eyes of the law no marriage took place, irrespective of the holding of the religious ceremony.

While some countries, such as Australia, permit marriages to be held in private and at any location, others, including England, require that the civil ceremony be conducted in a place specially sanctioned by law (i.e., a church or registry office), and be open to the public. An exception can be made in the case of marriage by special emergency license, which is normally granted only when one of the parties is terminally ill. Rules about where and when persons can marry vary from place to place. Some regulations require that one of the parties reside in the locality of the registry office. Because of Australia's very relaxed rules on marriage, some celebrities (such as Michael Jackson) have opted to marry in Australia, so as to have a private ceremony.

The way in which a marriage is enacted has changed over time, as has the institution of marriage itself. In Europe during the Middle Ages, marriage was enacted by the couple promising verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or other witnesses was not required. This promise was known as the "verbum". If made in the present tense (e.g. "I marry you"), it was unquestionably binding; if made in the future tense ("I will marry you"), it would, by itself constitute a betrothal, but if the couple proceeded to have sexual relations, the union was a marriage. As part of the Reformation, the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state; by the 1600s many of the Protestant European countries had heavy state involvement in marriage. As part of the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church added a requirement of witnesses to the promise, which under normal circumstances had to include the priest.


In most societies, marriages end at the death of one of the partners, and in monogamous societies this allows the other partner to remarry. A spouse that outlives the other is referred to as a widow (female) or widower (male). Many societies also provide for the termination of marriage through divorce. Marriages can also be annulled or cancelled through a proceeding that establishes that a marriage was invalid from its beginning.

Several cultures have practiced temporary and conditional marriages. Examples include the Celtic practice of handfasting and fixed-term marriages in the Muslim community. Pre-Islamic Arabs practiced a form of temporary marriage that carries on today in the practice of Nikah Mut'ah, a fixed-term marriage contract. Muslim controversies related to Nikah Mut'ah have resulted in the practice being mostly confined to Shi'ite communities.

Rights and obligations relating to marriage

Marriage is an institution which can join together people's lives in emotional and economic ways. Marriage can also lead to the formation of a new household, but among some people (e.g. the Minangkabau of West Sumatra) residency after marriage is matrilocal, with the husband moving into the pre-existing household of his wife's mother.[5] Marriage often confers rights and obligations with respect to raising children, holding property, sexual behavior, kinship ties, tribal membership, relationship to society, inheritance, emotional intimacy, health care, and love.

Marriage sometimes establishes the legal father of a woman's child; establishes the legal mother of a man's child; gives the husband or his family control over the wife's sexual services, labor, and/or property; gives the wife or her family control over the husband's sexual services, labor, and/or property; establishes a joint fund of property for the benefit of children; establishes a relationship between the families of the husband and wife. No society does all of these; no one of these is universal (see Edmund Leach's article in "Marriage, Family, and Residence," edited by Paul Bohannan and John Middleton).

Marriage has traditionally been a prerequisite for having children, which many believe serves as the building block of a community and society. Thus, marriage not only serves the interests of the two individuals, but also the interests of their children and the society of which they are a part. Marriage has never[6] been a prerequisite for having children, and in the U.S., the National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 1992 30.1 percent of births were to unmarried women.[7] But in some cultures marriage imposes upon women the obligation to bear children. In northern Ghana, for example, payment of bridewealth signifies a woman's requirement to bear children, and women using birth control face substantial threats of physical abuse and reprisals.[8]

In most of the world's major religions, marriage is a prerequisite for sexual intercourse: unmarried people are not supposed to have sex, which is referred to as fornication and is socially discouraged or even criminalized. Sex with a married person other than one's spouse, called adultery, is even less acceptable and has also often been criminalized, especially in the case of a person who is a representative of the government (e.g. president, prime minister, political representative, public-school teacher, military officer). It is against the governing law of the U.S. military. Conversely, a marriage is commonly held to require a sexual relationship, and non-consummation (that is, failure to engage in sex) may be held grounds for an annulment (as for instance in the of John Ruskin's abortive marriage).

See also: Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States

Marriage and religion

Main article: Religious aspects of marriage

Many religions have extensive teachings regarding marriage. Most Christian churches give some form of blessing to a marriage; the wedding ceremony typically includes some sort of pledge by the community to support the couple's relationship. Religious communities widely hold marriage as a relationship uniquely allegorical to God's relationship with "His people;" the husband representing God and the bride representing the whole of God's chosen people.

Liturgical Christian communions, notably Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy, consider marriage (sometimes termed holy matrimony) to be an expression of grace, termed a sacrament or mystery. In Western ritual, the sacrament is bestowed upon a husband and wife by the spouses themselves as ministers, with a bishop, priest or deacon normally witnessing the union on behalf of the church. In Eastern ritual churches, the clergyman functions as the minister. Western Christians commonly term marriage a vocation, while Eastern Christians term it an ordination and a martyrdom, though the theological emphases indicated by the various appellations are not excluded by the catechetical teachings of either tradition. Marriage is commonly celebrated in the context of a Eucharistic service (a nuptial Mass or Divine Liturgy). The sacrament of marriage is iconic of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Ethnic Hakka people in a wedding in East Timor, 2006

While most Reformed Christians would deny the elevation of marriage to the status of a sacrament, nonetheless it is considered a covenant between spouses before God.

In Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God (Deuteronomy 24:1) in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship, under the guidance of the Torah and Halakha, in which God is directly involved. This relationship is also expected to fulfill the commandment to have children (Genesis 1:28). Despite the fact that children are not the singular goal of marriage, the rearing of children is an important aspect of it. The main focus centers around the relationship between the husband and wife. Kabbalistically, marriage is understood to mean that the husband and wife are merging together into a single soul. This is why a man is considered "incomplete" if he is not married as his soul is only one part of a larger whole that remains to be unified.

Islam also recommends marriage highly; among other things, it helps in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. The Bahá'í Faith sees marriage as a foundation of the structure of society, and considers it both a physical and spiritual bond that endures into the afterlife. Buddhism does not encourage or discourage marriage, although it does teach how one might live a happily married life.

Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. Old Hinduism literature in Sanskrit gives many different types of marriages and their categorization ranging from "Gandharva Vivaha" (instant marriage by mutual concent of participants only, without any need for even a single third person as witness) to normal (present day) marriages, to "Rakshasa Vivaha" (marriage performed by abduction of one participant by the other participant, usually, but not always, with the help of other persons). There are elaborate laws in Manusmriti sacred book directing which castes and which varnas can marry which castes, and the penalties for breaking these nuptial laws.

Different religions have different beliefs regarding the breakup of marriage.

For example, the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize divorce, because in its eyes, a marriage is forged by God. The Church states that what God joins together, humans cannot sunder. As a result, although acknowledging civil divorce may be required to protect one spouse or the children, people who get a civil divorce are still considered married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, which does not allow them to remarry, even if the state they live in allows a civil re-marriage. The Catholic Church recognizes marriages between non-baptized people as "good and natural marriages" and even if only one partner is baptized, does not permit them to divorce if the non-baptized person is willing to live peaceably with the Christian. However, if the non-baptized person refuses to live with the Christian, or to do so peaceably -- if, for instance, they interfere with the Christian's practice of religion -- the marriage can be broken. Catholicism teaches that both parties entering into a marriage must have the appropriate intentions: to remain married until death ends the marriage, to be faithful in marriage and to be open to the gift of children. Because of the necessity of the proper intentions being present, a nullity may be declared where it may be shown that one of the parties did not have at least one of the proper intentions. With a nullity, religions and the state often apply different rules, meaning that a couple, for example, could receive an annulment from the state and not have their marriage annulled by the Catholic Church because the state disagrees with the church over whether an annulment could be granted in a particular case. This produces a situation of Catholics getting Church annulments simultaneously with state divorces, allowing the ex-partners to marry other people in the eyes of both the Church and the State.

Islam does allow divorce; however, there is a verse stated in the Qur'an describing divorce as the least desirable act allowed between people. The general rule is for a man to allow his wife to stay until the end of her menstrual period or for 3 months if she so wishes after the divorce. During this period they would be divorced in that they would simply be living under the same roof but not functioning as husband and wife. Scholars of the Qur'an suggest that the main point is to prevent any decisions by the woman from being affected by hormonal fluctuations as well as to allow any heated arguments or differences to be resolved in a civil manner before the marriage is completely terminated. However, there is no obligation on the woman to stay, if she so wishes she may leave. The man is also obliged to give his wife a gift or monetary sum equivalent to at least half her mahr (gift or monetary sum which is given to the wife at the commencement of the marriage). Specific conditions as to how a divorce is conducted also apply if a woman is pregnant, or has given birth just prior to the divorce.

refer Qur'an 2:228-232, 236, 237, 241 and 65:1-7. See also 4:35.

Marriages are typically entered into with a vow that explicitly limits the duration of the marriage with the statement "till death do you part". However, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have a distinctive view of marriage called celestial marriage, wherein they believe that individuals that are worthy can enter into a marriage relationship that can endure beyond death. This is documented in their Proclamation On The Family.

Marriage and economics

The economics of marriage have changed over time. Historically, in many cultures the family of the bride had to provide a dowry to pay a man for marrying their daughter. In other cultures, the family of the groom had to pay a bride price to the bride's family for the right to marry the daughter. In some cultures, dowries and bride prices are still demanded today. In both cases, the financial transaction takes place between the groom (or his family) and the bride's family; the bride has no part in the transaction and often no choice in whether to participate in the marriage.

In some cultures, dowries were not unconditional gifts; if the groom had other children, they could not inherit the dowry, which had to go to the bride's children, and which, in the event of her childlessness, had to return to her family -- sometimes not until the groom's death, or his remarriage; often the bride was entitled to inherit at least as much as her dowry from her husband's estate.

Morning gifts, which might also be arranged by the bride's father rather than the bride, were given to the bride herself; the name derives from the Germanic tribal custom of giving them the morning after the wedding night. She might or might not have control of this morning gift during the lifetime of her husband, but is entitled to it when widowed. If the amount of her inheritance is settled by law rather than agreement, it may be called dower. Depending on legal systems and the exact arrangement, she may not be entitled to dispose of it after her death, and may lose the property if she remarries.

Morning gifts were preserved for many centuries in morganatic marriage, a union where the wife's inferior social status was held to prohibit her children from inheriting a noble's titles or estates. The morning gift would be to support the wife and children.

Another legal provision for widowhood was jointure, in which property, often land, would be held in joint tenancy, so that it would automatically go to the widow on her husband's death.

In many modern legal systems, two people who marry have the choice between keeping their property separate or combining their property. In the latter case, called community property, when the marriage ends by divorce each owns half; if one partner dies the surviving partner owns half and for the other half inheritance rules apply. In many legal jurisdictions, laws related to property and inheritance, provide by default for property to pass upon the death of one party in a marriage to the spouse first and secondarily to the children. Wills and trusts can be recorded to make alternative provisions for property succession.

In some legal systems, the partners in a marriage are "jointly liable" for the debts of the marriage. This has a basis in a traditional legal notion called the "Doctrine of Necessities" whereby a husband was responsible to provide necessary things for his wife. Where this is the case, one partner may be sued to collect a debt for which they did not expressly contract. Critics of this practice note that debt collection agencies can abuse this claiming an unreasonably wide range of debts to be expenses of the marriage. The cost of defence and the burden of proof is then placed on the non-contracting party to prove that the expense is not a debt of the family.

The respective maintenance obligations, during and eventually after a marriage, are regulated in most jurisdictions; see alimony.

Some have attempted to analyse the institution of marriage using economic theory; for example, anarcho-capitalist economist David Friedman has written a lengthy and controversial study of marriage as a market transaction (the market for husbands and wives).[9]

In some cultures, woman are expected to marry a spouse more powerful economically, socially, or politically. Called hypergyny, this practice is common in India.citation needed] Though an expected social norm in America, hypergyny is slowly being replaced by Isogamy, marriage between equals, and the marrying 'down' of woman.citation needed] Many anthropologists ascribe this to increased gender equality between women and men.citation needed]

Arranged marriage

Main article: Arranged marriage

A pragmatic (or 'arranged') marriage that is facilitated by formal procedures of family or group politics. A responsible authority sets up or encourages the marriage; they may, indeed, engage a professional matchmaker to find a suitable spouse for an unmarried person. The authority could be parents, family, a religious figure or a consensus. The former two often start the process with informal pressure, social pressure, whilst the latter two often start the process with a formal system or statement. In both cases, the authority has a compelling veto over the marriage, and this system is socially supported by the rest of community so that to deny it is extreme and drastic. Once declared, an engagement is implicit, which follows through with a formal marriage ceremony.citation needed]

Arranged and 'pragmatic' marriages are typical of dowry-based inheritance systems. Women in these societies inherit male wealth at the time of marriage, causing the parents to have a particular interest in their daughters' marriages. These same societies demanded pre-marital chastity and kept a high degree of separation of the sexes until marriage. Modern Western marriage expectations and traditions are derived from this system of dowry-based marriage.citation needed]

Same-sex marriage

Main article: Same-sex marriage

Same-sex unions have been recorded in the history of a number of cultures, but marriages between same-sex partners are rare or nonexistentcitation needed] in many societies. Civil unions, however, are recognized and accepted in over 30 countries on four continents. Same-sex marriage remains statistically infrequent worldwide, as it is not legally recognized in most countries. However, in countries where it has been adopted, applications for marriage licenses have far exceeded government estimates of demand.[10] As tolerance or approval of homosexuality has become more widespread in Western cultures, more governments are allowing and/or sanctioning marriage of same-sex couples.

These developments have created a political and religious backlash, most notably in the United Kingdom, where the Church of England has, after long debate, officially banned blessings of gay couples by Church of England clergy[11], and in the United States, where several states have specifically defined marriage as distinct from same-sex marriage, often by popular referendacitation needed]. The state of Mississippi passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman and refusing to recognize same gender marriages from other states. [1] The measure passed with 86% of the vote, the highest percentage seen on a statewide levelcitation needed]. Conversely, several states have sanctioned some form of same-sex unions, such as California and Massachusetts. In addition, Lutheran churches in Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and some Lutheran churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany allow blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples. In other countries (such as Finland) such ceremonies are discouraged and rarely performed by the churchcitation needed].

Criticisms of the institution of marriage

Main article: Criticisms of the institution of marriage

Some commentators have been critical of marriage, sometimes condemning individual local practices and sometimes even the entire institution. A good many of the criticisms are developed from a feminist viewpoint that claims marriage can be particularly disadvantageous to women. However, there are other viewpoints from which marriage in its usual forms is problematic. Father's Rights advocates claim that no fault divorce and a family courts bias toward giving women custody of children encourages divorce. Sacred marriage vows that are often entered into as an indissovable sacred contract of fidelity often turns into a unilateral debt instrument by men that women may 'cash in' at any time, although the courts are increasingly dealing with cases where the ex-husband receives payment from the higher earning ex-wife. Criticisms from same-sex rights movements of the institution focus on its general exclusion of homosexuals, likening this to old prohibitions on cross racial marriages.citation needed]

See also

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:


Main article: Types of marriages
  • Arranged marriage - marital partners are chosen by others.
  • Boston marriage - marriage-like relationship between two women, not necessarily sexual.
  • Chinese marriage - arrangement between families.
  • Common-law marriage - class of interpersonal status.
  • Covenant marriage - in some U.S. states, a form of marriage where divorce is made more difficult.
  • Digital marriage - two people who have no connection outside their gaming lives come together within a virtual community.
  • Fleet Marriage - Clandestine marriage in 18th century England in the vicinity of Fleet Prison.
  • Group marriage
  • Levirate marriage
  • Marriage of convenience
  • Mut'ah (temporary Islamic marriage)
  • Morganatic marriage
  • Open marriage
  • Proxy marriage - Ceremony in which the bride, the groom, or both are not physically present and use stand-ins
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Sororate marriage

Lists and statistics

Marital Status in the U.S.
  • Age at first marriage - average ages of people when they first marry
  • List of people with longest marriages
  • List of people with multiple marriages

Related concepts

  • Adultery - consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse.
  • Alimony - obligation of support.
  • Annulment - legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void.
  • Betrothal - formal state of engagement to be married.
  • Brideservice
  • Covenant Marriage
  • Divorce - ending of a marriage.
  • Engagement
  • Family
  • Free love - a social movement opposed to marriage
  • Frequency of sexual activity
  • Inheritance
  • Separation - ending of a marriage.
  • Marriage (conflict)
  • Marriage strike - Increasing ambivalence toward marriage in American men.
  • Marriageable age
  • Mail-order bride
  • Monogamy
  • Nikah urfi
  • Polyamory
  • Polygamy
  • Rights and obligations of spouses in Islam
  • Vow
  • Wedding
  • Wedding ring
  • Category:Marriage
  • Category:Marriage and religion
  • Category:Marriage, unions and partnerships by country

Sources and notes

  1. ^ Krier, James E.; Gregory S. Alexander, Michael H. Schill, Jesse Dukeminier (2006). Property. Aspen Publishers. ISBN 0735557926.  Excerpt - page 335: '... at the wedding; hence the importance of including in the marriage ceremony the words, "With all my worldly goods I thee endow." ...'
  2. ^ GALLAGHER, MAGGIE (2002). What is Marriage For? The Public Purposes of Marriage Law. LOUISIANA LAW REVIEW. Retrieved on 2007-01-08.
  3. ^ Eleanor, Schick (1999). Navajo Wedding Day: A Dine Marriage Ceremony. Cavendish Children's Books. ISBN 0761450319. 
  4. ^ Witte Jr., John (1997). From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. Westminster John Knox Press, page 91. ISBN 0664255434. 
  5. ^ Sanday, Peggy Reeves (2002). Women at the center : life in a modern matriarchy. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8906-7. 
  6. ^ Jones, Richard E.; Kristin H. Lopez (2006). Human Reproductive Biology, Third Edition. Academic Press. ISBN 0120884658. 
  7. ^ Ventura, SJ. (1995). Births to unmarried mothers: United States, 1980–92.. National Center for Health Statistics. ISBN 0-8406-0507-2. 
  8. ^ Bawah, AA.; Akweongo P, Simmons R, Phillips JF. (1999). "Women's fears and men's anxieties: the impact of family planning on gender relations in northern Ghana.". Studies in Family Planning 30 (1): 54–66. ISSN: 0039-3665.
  9. ^ The Economics of Love and Marriage
  10. ^ "Gay men are in much more of a hurry to 'wed' their partners", Times Online, 2006-12-05. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  11. ^ House of Bishops issues pastoral statement on Civil Partnerships. Church of England press release (2005-07-25). Retrieved on 2006-12-05.

Further reading

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • The National Marriage Project at Rutgers University
  • John Boswell's Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe
  • The Alternatives to Marriage Project
Search Term: "Marriage"