Marriage has been defined in two ways. First, as “The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife” Secondly, it is defined as “A relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts”.
Looking at the above definitions, a number of questions can be asked. First, does it mean that same sex marriage is not ‘marriage’? Mind you marriage has already occurred between woman and woman? And man with man? May be the definition of marriage needs to be revised on account of the current happenings.
Second, why should marriage be formal? Is it possible for man and woman to become married informally? Why should marriage be recognized by law? Whose law?
Fourth, marriage is also taken to involve relationship. What is a relationship? Relate to what? Is there anything common in marriage between man and woman to be called a relationship? Just because the word “union” is included in the definition? Some may say so. However, most human beings look at themselves as “separate’ individuals! Yet surprisingly, the word “individual” means indivisible!
Last, what is “…period for which it lasts?”This relates to the last bit of the second definition of marriage. Does this imply that marriage ends with time? May be so particularly when we hear marriage couples make wedding vows like “until death do part…” Something like this!
But in reality, marriage involves so many things. It involves bearing children or no children. It can involve organizing wedding parties. Cutting wedding cakes, inviting friends, relatives and in-laws and also organizing dance functions for the invited. This may mean hiring DJs, for live music.
Marriage usually also involves spending large sums of money. In some cultures, it involves sending in money to the in-laws, commonly called dowry. Marriage may also involve going to church and walking the aisle.
So with all the above, what is really marriage? Apart from the activities and so forth can the above definitions of marriage be sustainable currently and for the future?