General Question

ninjacolin's avatar

In your opinion, what is the purpose of marriage? What is a marriage? What does it mean to get married?

Asked by ninjacolin (14206points) January 24th, 2011

Go on, share your perspective. :)

Please disregard whatever anyone else told you it should mean in the past and instead contribute your very own heavily biased opinion. Imagine you were designing the idea for the very first time.

What would/should it mean between the marriage participants?
What would/should it mean in terms of legalities within a country?

(btw, “civil unions” be damned. We’ll have none of that in this discussion. This is a discussion about MARRIAGE specifically)
(btw#2, feel free to discuss/acid test eachother’s opinions)

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26 Answers

Turgid's avatar

To me, marriage is a contract between—or among—two—or more—individuals. In terms of legality within a country, it should be adjudicated by said country’s court-system.

xMissMorganx's avatar

Well.. Purpose of Marriage to me is to make your “love” legal. It puts you two together by law and by love. It is a legal document showing that you two are together financially, love wise, family wise, etc. A Marriage is simply just putting two people together legally with their love for each other. Marriage is just to keep two people who love each other together. :P

WasCy's avatar

Because you were destined to do it anyway. You have no choice.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am not religious at all. For me marrying my husband was a way for us to publicly commit to each other. It was a statement I suppose. I love him, he loves me and we wanted to tell the world. It just felt like the right thing for us to do. Our friends and family were there. It was a beautiful, special day.

What should it mean to the participants? It should be a serious promise to your partner that they are the person you want to live with and love with from that point on. Since I have been divorced, obviously sometimes, it doesn’t work out but I don’t think it should be something you walk away from easily. I think that is part of it too, for me, it means more than just moving in together.

In terms of legality within a country, I personally believe regardless of one’s marital status, if you are in a longterm committed relationship (and frankly I don’t care about what gender you or your partner are), you should be entitled to the same legal status as someone who has a marriage certificate.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Mz_Lizzy, what about numbers in your hypothetical country? Must it be restricted to just 2 participants?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Originally, marriage was designed as a way to keep the male around to insure the children were cared for.

In modern day America, marriage is usually for the convenience of the parties getting married.

The reason I got married was to publicly acknowledge my love for my wife, to insure she and I wouldn’t part over some trivial matter, and so that I could easily pass on to her my insurance and what few material possessions I have.

There are reasons beyond that, but let’s just start with those. : )

Bellatrix's avatar

Hi Ninja, yes. In Australia, polygamy is not legal.

talljasperman's avatar

means none can sleep with your wife but you…and a lifelong commitment to each other

augustlan's avatar

The ultimate expression of your love and commitment to one another, as well as a legal contract. In my perfect world, any two or more consenting adults could be legally married.

meiosis's avatar

@augustlan Would you have no upper limit on the number of parties contracted to the marriage? What about blood relatives? Could they marry each other? Would your perfect world also allow bigamy?

kess's avatar

Marriage is the two uniting to become as One for the good…..

All it requires is a genuine heart of one towards the other…

This also include some civil unions for no legal nor religious law can truly define nor legislate this union…..

For the unity is the only law unto itself….

Any who finds this to be true in themselves will know God and is known of God…

augustlan's avatar

@meiosis As long as there is no harm to anyone else, I would allow any consenting adults to marry each other, and any number of them in one marriage. Note that I have no clue how this would actually work, but that would be my default position.

john65pennington's avatar

Getting married, staying married and being married carries a whole bag of complex issues and situations.

Marriage vs. living together. I cannot comment on the living together, since I have only been married to one person for 45 years. In our time in life, marriage was considered the only way that one person could truly show their love and devotion, just to one person. Of course, this is not the case today. If I had it to do all over again, I would. It really comes down to ones personal beliefs.

Staying married is a job in itself. We have discovered that the 50–50 rule works in our marriage. It usually turns out to be 60–40, but we have learned to live with it.

Some people were born to be married and some people were not. All of us are different. Some people are truly in love with their spouse and only their spouse. For them, the marriage vows are the only way to go, to show their committed love for each other and no one else.

Marriage means many things. love, respect, trust, happiness, sharing, supporting, sacrificing, and the most important(personal) is religion. Once you have God as a partner in your marriage, every problem just seems to work itself out.

LostInParadise's avatar

To me marriage is a relationship between two people. I would not rule out relationships between more than two, but I would not designate the union as marriage.

This may be a little off topic, but I also think that all divorces should be no fault. If one of the partners is no longer interested then the marriage is not working. Certainly the interests of children should be taken into consideration, but this is something to be evaluated by the individual.

Qingu's avatar

An economic contract, powerfully recognized by society, with fractal-like similarity to pair-bonding phenomena that suffuse the universe.

ragingloli's avatar

A contract to form political and economic alliances between the families of the subjects, and as a legal basis to control your wife(s)/property.
At least that what it was designed to be in the beginning.

gorgeousgal3's avatar

I’m never getting married for my own personal reasons. But power to the people who can make a marriage work for longer than 5 years. That is a feat in itself. I would rather just live with someone then be legally bound to them if things went horribly wrong.

ninjacolin's avatar

Legally, I’m down with the idea that marriage is a formal contract between two or more people. The terms of this agreement could govern anything from social behaviors (eg. no sex with anyone else) to financial stuffs (eg. no purchases over $1000 without consulting the other) as well as some meta stuff like what constitutes just cause for divorce and what failure to comply with any terms would mean. Two or more people deciding to live together is a complicated scenario and should probably be treated with the same seriousness of any business agreement.

Hmm… yea, maybe I would be okay with separating weddings from marriages. Marriages are legally binding contractually obligations. Weddings are ceremonies for the purpose of celebrating a relationship. Weddings wouldn’t necessarily require marriage.

LostInParadise's avatar

Suppose you allowed marriages between more than two people. What happens if one person wants to leave? Is the entire marriage dissolved or do the rest of the people remain married? If the latter case then this opens the possibility that eventually the people remaining in the marriage will be completely different from the people who entered into it. Seems a bit strange, more like a business arrangement than a social one.

iamthemob's avatar

@LostInParadise

There are multiple parties to a contract in nearly all other situations. Marriage has the benefit of having more predictability in dissolution and a court system for it. One of the parties leaving wouldn’t end the relationship between the others…however, there would have to be decisions about division of property, etc. at that time.

Further, everything becomes highly predictable when we, as a society, start realizing that the loving, mature and caring thing is to draft and maintain a pre-nup outlining what happens in the event certain things occur, reflecting what the parties actually think is fair.

And people divorce and remarry, and divorce again and remarry. Does that make it a business relationship?

I think the point is that when we discuss the mechanics and purpose of it, we need to focus on the business aspects of it and treat it that way…the social aspects are important, but they’re about relationships with your friends and neighbors, declaring an intent to them and promises to them the repercussions of which are not legal in any way.

LostInParadise's avatar

I still think it would be strange to have a marriage that, after several separations, involved none of the original partners to the marriage. The marriage could conceivably outlive the original members and go on for years and years. For marriages that involve only two people, the marriage disappears as soon as there is a divorce.

mattbrowne's avatar

Ritualized long-term commitment.

iamthemob's avatar

@LostInParadise – THAT is an interesting quirk! I never thought about it lasting beyond the lives of the original parties…interesting…

You’re right. If this were the case, then there would need to be something where there was regulation regarding that to control for it. But the current system could be “gamed” in a similar way.

WasCy's avatar

@LostInParadise what a great idea: Incorporated families! Seriously great, that is.

MilkyWay's avatar

i think that marriage is the brave step taken by two people who love each other , to show the world that they do. it’s a way of saying, even, that I love you sooo much that i want everyone to know just in case i forget that i love you and so that they can remind me.
marriage is the step that really proves the depth of your love and how far your willing to take it.

peridot's avatar

I don’t know how it is for men, but for women, you’re seen as an evolved being. Married women are seen as more stable and nonthreatening than single women (which of course is not necessarily true or rational, but there you go). Years-long friendships have been strained and broken because I have yet to be married… guess I’m too unstable and scary without a big gold-and-diamond growth on my left finger. :P

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