Does society need this legal contract? Many people think so. Some want to provide a stable background for their children, while others want to bind their partner to them physically and legally. Abused women find the bond particularly difficult to break. Same sex couples fight for the right to have equal status to a bond between man and woman.
For Britain's early tribal groups and the Anglo-Saxons, marriage was all about relationships. Marriage was a strategic tool to set up diplomatic and barter ties. They established peaceful relationships, trading bonds, and mutual obligations with others by means of marriage.
This all changed with the separation of wealth. Parents were no longer content to marry their children off to someone in a neighboring group, but rather to a figure as wealthy and powerful as themselves. At that point, marriage shifted to intrigue and betrayal. Note: the offspring had no say in the choice.
However, the Benedictine monk Gratian wanted the agreement of the couple more than their family's approval. Gratian introduced consent into formalized marriage in 1140 with his canon law textbook, Decretum Gratiani. No longer was a bride or groom's presence at a ceremony enough in the 12th Century.
I've fallen in love with and married two men in my life. Both marriages have lasted over 25 years. It's the equivalent of having two separate lives. To me, marriage shows a commitment to love, care for, and support my husband in mutual understanding. Neither partner should take more than they give, and neither should harm the other mentally or physically.
Many women nowadays are choosing to remain single. They raise their children alone and can live the lifestyle they please. However, they differ from cave-woman by lacking a man who will hunt for their food. They earn their own money to pay for their upkeep.
The way I see it, marriage represents the perfect opportunity to achieve balance. Man and woman; strong and soft; action and thought; yin and yang.
I'd love to hear your opinion about the relevance of marriage.