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The Meaning of Marriage
Different Types of Marriages
Defining Marriage
Defining the Family
Functions of Marriages and Families
Contemporary View
• The history of marriage includes three
general types to choosing a mate or partner.
• marriage by capture, marriage by
arrangement and free-choice selection.
Marriage by Capture
• Marriage by capture has typically occurred
in patriarchal societies where women were
considered property.
• Patriarchal societies are an institution in
which both power and authority are vested
in the hands of the males, with the male
wielding the greatest power.
Marriage by Arrangement
• The most common method of mate
selection has been by arrangement. The
parents, often with the aid of certain
relatives or professional matchmakers, have
chosen the spouse for their child.
• Essentially, marriage is seen as of group,
rather than individual importance, and
economics is often the driving force rather
than love between the two individuals.
• There are four major reasons that determine
mate choice in societies in which marriages
are arranged. The first is price. The
groom’s family may need to pay for the
bride, either in money or labor.
• The second consideration is social status.
That is, the reputation of the family from
which the spouse for one’s child will come
is very important.
• A third determinant is any continuous
marriage arrangement. This refers to a set
pattern for mate selection, which is carried
on from generation of generation.
• The final criteria for mate choice are
sororate and levirate arrangements, which
refer to second marriages and tend to be
based on brideprice obligations.
• Brideprice—260 societies
• Bride service—75 societies
• Dowry—24 societies
• Gift or exchange—31 societies
• No marriage payment—152 societies
• The dowry appears to be an inducement for
a man to marry a particular woman and
therefore relieve her family of the financial
burden of caring for her.
Sororate and Levirate
• These terms refer to marriage practices
designed to control remarriages after the
death of the first spouse. In cultures that
practice the sororate, a sister replaces a
deceased wife.
• Under this system(levirate), it is the
husband who dies, and his wife must be
married to a brother of the deceased man.
• The chief reason that the Hindus and
Hebrews practiced the levirate was religious
and had to do with the importance of having
a son in the family.
• Matchmakers might act as intermediaries
between the families or suggest potential
Free-Choice Mate Selection
• Free-mate selection is not the most common
type of marriage around the world. In a
survey of forty societies Researchers found
only five in which completely free mate
choice is permitted.
• The rule of exogamy declares that a person
must marry outside his/her group.
• The rule of endogamy declares that a
person must marry within his/her group.
• A final factor is propinquity (geographical
Defining Marriage
• monogamy, in which there are two spouses,
the husband and wife. But monogamy is a
minority preference among world cultures,
exhibited by only 24 percent of the known
• polygamy, the practice of having more than
one wife or husband.
• polygny, the practice of having two or more
• Polandry, the practice of having two or
more husbands, is quite rare. Where is does
exist, it coexists with polygny.
Defining Family
• affiliated kin, unrelated individuals who
feel and are treated as if they were relatives.
• compadres (godparents) are considered
family members.
• clan, a group of related families
• nuclear family is the family type consisting
of mother, father, and children.
• traditional family is the middle-class
nuclear family in which women’s primary
roles are wife and mother, and men’s
primary roles are husband and bread winner.
Functions of Marriages and Families
• First it provides a source of intimate
• Second, it acts as a unit of economic
cooperation and consumption.
• Third, it may produce and socialize
• Fourth, it assigns social roles and status to
Intimate Relationships
• Intimacy is a primary human need.
• In our families we generally find our
strongest bonds.
Economic Cooperation
• The family is also a unit of economic
cooperation that traditionally divides its
lines between male and female roles.
Reproduction and Socialization
• Teaching the child how to fit into his or her
particular culture is one of the family’s most
important tasks.
• The socialization function, however, is
dramatically shifting away from the family.
Assignment of Social Role Status
• The family of orientation or origin is the
family in which we grow up, the family that
orients us to the world.
• The family of procreation is the family we
form through marriage and childbearing.
• The family of cohabitation refers to the
form through living or cohabitation,
whether married or unmarried.
Why Live in Families
• First families off continuity as a result of
emotional attachments, rights, and
• Second families offer close proximity.
• Conversation and relationships can be found
in one’s house or very near by.
• Third, families offer is an abiding
familiarity with others. The family knows
each other very well, we show sides of our
personality to members of our family that is
not shown to other people.
• Fourth, families provide us with many
economic benefits. They offer us economies
of scale. Doing jobs such as cooking and
laundry are just as easy to do for one as it is
for several. Much of the time tasks are
shared by family members.
Contemporary American Marriages
and Families
• Cohabitation refers to individuals sharing
living arrangements in an intimate
• Marriage is a combination of factors,
including the women’s movement, shifting
demographics, family policy, and changing
values, as they relate to sexuality.
• Family the recent model of the family has
been considered to be the nuclear family.
However the older model is wider and
defines the family to include the extended