How Marriage Has Changed Over Time

How Marriage Has Changed Over Time

Daniel Hall 24/05/2024
How Marriage Has Changed Over Time

Marriage is a longstanding tradition that takes place all over the world.

This enduring ritual has existed for thousands of years, so it’s no wonder that people’s perceptions of it have changed over time. Societal factors, economic factors and more have shaped what marriage looks like and how we view marriage today.

Here’s what you need to know about how marriage has changed over time.

What Did Traditional Marriage Stand For

Traditionally in Western culture, marriage represents the union of two people. It has generally been viewed as the hallmark of starting a family together. Throughout history, marriage also symbolised economic gain and financial stability, with many individuals intentionally marrying into wealthier families. 

Marriage is celebrated with a wedding ceremony, which carries many traditions within itself. Ceremonies will manifest in different ways depending on the country and religion involved.

Old-fashioned perceptions of a traditional marriage centre around the husband being the breadwinner, with the wife staying at home and raising the children. However, societal norms have evolved since then.

These days, these traditions are largely viewed as being outdated, although certain elements still exist in ceremonies. For example, many brides ask their father to walk them down the aisle in order to ‘give them away’.

How Marriage Has Changed Over Time 

Many forms of marriage have existed over time, including monogamy, polygamy, arranged marriages and same-sex marriages.

The way we view marriage today is reflective of the changes we’ve seen in society. Today, people are less dependent on marriage. The improvement of women’s rights has meant that marriage no longer demands the man to take charge. Meanwhile, unmarried women were outcasted from society throughout history. 

Marriage generally used to be a transactional process, whereas today, most people decide to get married out of love for one another. They were also reserved for heterosexual couples. In the UK, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed in 2013, which finally allowed same-sex couples to express their love through civil partnership. While it was never illegal in the UK, interracial marriages were frowned upon in times when racial divide was rife, however today, this is widely accepted.

Meanwhile, some couples aren’t as enticed by the idea of marriage, so much so that the number of people who are married has dropped below 50% in England and Wales. Some individuals are put off by the cost of indulgent ceremonies, while others simply don’t view it as a priority.

Is it Worth Getting Married?

Marriage or civil partnership is a personal decision. While it doesn’t carry the same amount of prominence in terms of social status and economic stability as it did throughout history, it can still open up financial and legal advantages.

For example, if you decide to separate or if one of you were to die, you receive more financial protection than if you weren’t married. Being married means that all assets are owned jointly. As well as this, if you are unmarried and have children, the biological mother is the one with parental responsibility.

If you need legal support regarding marriage, financial matters, cohabitation services and more, you could seek the help of reputable family law solicitors. This way, you can receive sound legal advice and a tailored service with the level of empathy required for your case.

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Daniel Hall

Business Expert

Daniel Hall is an experienced digital marketer, author and world traveller. He spends a lot of his free time flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics.

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