Will Marriage Become Extinct in the Future?

Uma Shankari By Uma Shankari, 12th Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

Will marriage upgrade from being an endangered species to becoming extinct?

Why Marriage?

"The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds - they mature slowly." — Peter De Vries

Marriage is the foundation on which a family is built. The marriage is a dynamic structure that evolves in response to the needs of the community which changes with the changes in its environment. A family provides a balanced, well-functioning unit conducive to the raising of children. Marriage protects the weak and the vulnerable — the children, women, the old and the infirm. The commitment embedded in a marriage binds people in a social and cultural network and is the bulwark, however weak, against exploitation.

Different Forms of Marriages in the History

Anthroplogists would tell you marriages have existed in several forms and have served varying purposes since ancient times. A warring community sought to increase its sovereignty by forging alliances through marriage, which in turn made way for military coalitions and peace treaties. Marriage alliances turned strangers into relatives, creating interdependencies among communities. Marriage was used by upper classes in every society to consolidate wealth. Because of marriage’s vital economic and political functions, few societies throughout history believed that individuals should freely choose their own marriage partners, especially on such fragile grounds as love. Matrimonial relations themselves have existed in several forms through the ages — monogamy and three types of polygamy — polygyny (one man – several women), polyandry (one woman - several men) and polygynandry (several women – several men).

Is Marriage Necessary?

Is marriage necessary? If you were in India (may be, I can say 'Asia') and you were a girl from a traditional family, the answer would be obvious. The culture rules that womanhood finds completion when she becomes a mother, and that parenthood finds completion when the parents discharge their duties, which means getting their children married. That's a hand-down from centuries of wisdom, or more relevantly, hundreds of hours of family soaps and serials on the television.

Of course, the television serials in India don't always reflect ground realities correctly. The volatile, melting pot of today's globalized world holds the aspirations of a modern woman to whom working outside home is no longer a debatable issue, and to whom choosing to work is a form of self expression and not merely a way to ease any financial strangleholds.

Today's global companies' requirements of night shifts make no distinction between the sexes, and even traditional families have now conceded that girls can return back home well after 3 am. The world around the urban girl no longer pokes a cautioning finger – "You're a woman!!"

But this magnanimous attitude of society doesn't always spring from a very enlightened view about women's independence. Strangely, it comes from parents' incessant worry to get their daughters married and well settled. Marriages are celebrated in great style and are becoming more and more expensive. So parents do not mind their daughters bringing in cash to make the dream of a grand marriage a reality.

Whatever the cause, the job and the money it brings have given a tremendous boost to their self worth and confidence. Marriage had always made more demands on her, so she now starts questioning – why marry, and why now. Many of them wait till they find a firm foothold on a career of their choice. They do not want to get into marriage where the husband or his family threaten to curtail their freedom.

The echoes from other parts of the world reach her through the visual medium sitting in her drawing room. Live-in and cohabitation are no longer a shocker. The adventurous and the bolder women want to 'experiment' before committing into a marriage.

Marriages Still Stand a Chance!

Does all this indicate that marriage may upgrade from being an endangered species to becoming extinct?

I don't think so. I believe in the cyclicity of nature and of evolution. The external world around us changes, the inner world remains the same. We are still plagued by the same need to seek identity and fulfillment, the same need to love and be loved. We are still moved by spiritual thought, despite (or because of) being steeped in materialism. We crave permanence despite being caught up in the vortex of change. We find our hearts and souls caught up elsewhere despite being ruled by the head.

I smile when somebody says they want the institution of marriage scrapped. They are not talking of celibacy; they would simply like to enjoy sex without the accompanying encumbrances in the form of commitments or responsibilities. For those of us who think marriage is a struggle, think again. Struggle in a marriage is similar to what you might find in any other relationship. The challenges in most relationships is about striking a balance between establishing one's own identity, respecting those of others and honoring the common good. If you were on a job, should you speak your mind even if it is hurtful to others, and take care of your benefits before thinking of the team? How to react when your best friend acts against you, knowingly or otherwise? As a parent, how far can you go in laying down rules? How far is too far? How to be friendly with your pesky neighbor, and still rap him for his nasty habit of throwing garbage near your gate? It goes without saying one must face the challenges; one cannot run away from them.

Forget the religious or the moral standpoint, but think of the repercussions. Such a Bohemian attitude can only lead to self-centered, cynical and paranoid society, broken homes and orphaned and destitute children. That's when the cyclicity of nature would perhaps usher in the institution of marriage.

Read Also

Embracing Change

Changing Patterns of Marriages in India – Part 1

Indian Marriages in the Urban Setting: Changing Patterns of Marriages in India–Part 2


Commitment, Life, Live-In Relationships, Marriage, Relationships, Responsibilities, Types Of Marriages

Meet the author

author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
Join Wikinut/Triond: http://www.wikinut.com/in/zjjjd/

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author avatar jkalwaye
12th Aug 2012 (#)

nice thoughts but silent on dowry.thank you for sharing .jk

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
12th Aug 2012 (#)

Marriages based on personal life, have become a mockery of society wherein people are tied together using lawful contractual obligations although they are unwilling to remain with the person on a longterm basis.
While there are countries that uphold the contract of matrimony it ultimately boils down to the best fit that takes place creating an allusion to those vows.
Unfortunately the culture of the society are not taken into consideration and that is when alternative methods of the law are taken in to create a better platform that would help build a better foundation.
I went through a Civil Wedding, a Hindu Wedding and a Christian Wedding all with the same man who finally denied his wife and son a roof over their head by non-payment of his dues and bills. It finally revealed the fact that he had an alternative family along with boyfriends to help me get through things.
Yet, there are many other people who live in with each other and have never married and have given the best or better than the best to their family and kids. Its not all about the contract to have conjugal relations but more about the mindful acceptance of being with the person whom you love and cherish and making a home with that person based on the heart and the feelings deep within you.
If those feelings and the love within you are a compromise, there is nothing called a marriage except a signature paper signifying that there is a union of marriage which is upheld by the court of law.
Without trust there is no marriage and to be able to trust, you have to be able to love.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
12th Aug 2012 (#)

Indian wedding BTW and I lost my roof over my head on the 8th of August 2012. Thanks to the legally wed husbands' double life.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
12th Aug 2012 (#)

Indian wedding BTW and I lost my roof over my head on the 8th of August 2012. Thanks to the legally wed husbands' double life.

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author avatar Teila
30th Aug 2012 (#)

There will be those of us who will always believe in the romance and sanctity that surround the marriage vow. Thanks for sharing.

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