From time immemorial, social practices have been the hallmark of human existence. Man has often been referred to as a “social creature” and evidence of this notion is widespread among societies that populate the globe. However, out of all known social practices, none is as widespread as marriage. The need for companionship has often been thought to be the main motivation for individuals to pursue this particular course in their lives. The union between these persons is socially recognized and with it comes a wide range of rights and responsibilities. Parties entering this union now have to accept a new set of rules and compromises that are aimed at ensuring that they live a harmonious life devoid of any altercations. The manner in which this social construct is defined and how it functions may vary from one culture to the next but with a common denominator. Interpersonal relationships are sanctioned with each member expected to play a particular role in ensuring that their marriage is a success and devoid of any hiccups detrimental to either party (Sussman & Steinmetz, 2013, p. 53). Initially, marriage constituted a partnership between heterosexual couples but changes in attitude have to lead to a wider definition of the term. Persons who identify as either gay or lesbian can now hold marriages that are legally protected under the law of certain jurisdictions. For many, marriage is viewed as a step towards completion where the said individuals now have an opportunity to start a family of their own. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the meaning of marriage and the family that results from this union.
Marriage is an integral phase in the lives of many individuals. In this particular instance, two individuals decide to come together and commit to being together for eternity. The general idea behind this institution is to come together as one, completing each other and giving life meaning. Oneness, therefore, plays a central role in marriage and is the reason why many seek to consummate this union owing to the benefits that often accrue from it. Searching for meaning in life has been the hallmark of human existence. Connecting with another individual at a spiritual level has been found to be one of the reasons why individuals decide on getting married. It is vital to acknowledge that this type of fulfillment can only be found in marriage since both parties are aware of the commitments that have been made to better their lives (Strong & Cohen, 2017). Marriage can also be viewed as a tender merger where those coming together in matrimony promise to trust each other with their lives while also committing to always understanding the other party for who they are. These individuals become a single unit that is dependent on the other to function and responsible for allowing them to make plans for the future. A sense of purpose is deeply ingrained in any marriage with participants claiming that it was only through marriage that they were able to understand what life was all about. Moreover, this coming together is expected to bolster the bond that existed between these two individuals during the courtship period, making them even more powerful when together.
From a psychological standpoint, marriage offers a perfect opportunity for love to be nurtured. It goes without saying that love is an important aspect of life. It improves an individual’s state of well-being and has been heralded as a motivation for many of the feats undertaken in human history. Love is vital for any individual primarily because it leads to personal growth and aids when morphing into an ideal version (Sussman & Steinmetz, 2013). A marriage setting allows a couple to learn how to love each other in a way that they had been unfamiliar with before. A marriage entails connections in mind, body, and soul which are only improved when unconditional love is added to the equation. A marriage setting functions in the same way a farmer and his garden function. The garden has to be attended to on a regular basis and the farmer has to ensure that they are committed to ensuring that the plants survive. It is only in a marriage setting where two individuals come together to ostensibly function as one and learn how to love each other unconditionally. Those in this arrangement acknowledge their vows and therefore strive to cultivate love in their marriage. Unconditional love is shared between these two individuals, with each party being aware of the others commitment to never forsake them. Decisions are now made jointly, with each party accorded an opportunity to voice their opinion on a particular matter to make certain that any decision made is for the best interest of those involved. It is this type of love that contributes to their wellbeing allowing them to lead fuller and healthier lives.
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The meaning of marriage is often from a wider scope that also encapsulates benefits it would have on other people other than the married couple. Firstly, a marriage is a beneficial stage that allows a couple to build more wealth together. Pooling together of the available resources allows them to be better off economically and while also having enough for contingency purposes. Married couples end up developing habits that are geared towards benefitting them in the long run. Having a kitty with emergency funds have been one of the positive attributes of marriage and has been lauded for enabling couples to save money for posterity. In addition to this, marriage also fosters pro-social behavior necessary for harmonious living within any community. A marriage setting allows a couple to engage with those around them since they now have an active role to play in the community. They assume roles that are integral in ensuring that the welfare of all in that particular community are taken care of and attended to whenever in need. The extended family also plays an important role in the lives of a married couple and particularly in maneuvering various relationships that they would now have with their in-laws (Strong & Devault, n.d., p. 56). Marriage is therefore supposed to allow such individuals understand the bigger picture which is them being in a position where they can serve others in the best way possible. Furthermore, marriage aids a couple in the creation of social capital that comes in handy when the individuals in question have to attend to the needs of the larger society. In essence, marriage benefits a wide range of individuals and hence becomes more meaningful for those who would opt for it.
Marriage also serves to prepare a couple to start a family. Most family units are often set up after a marriage is consummated and often viewed as the best environment to raise children. The love that is shared between married individuals is also shared with the children that will come out of such a marriage, with the intention being to raise complete individuals capable of coping in life. The presence of both parents in a child’s life, especially when they are most impressionable, is an added advantage. They have an opportunity to learn from their parents, who also serve as their guides when dealing with various issues that they may be confronted with in life. Economic security becomes a reality for a child raised in such an environment since both parents contribute financially whenever they are in need. Such a child enjoys the luxury of a stable household where they are accorded with all they may require in addition to having fewer behavioral issues that may see them get into trouble or even drop out of school. Children in a stable marriage have an easier time dealing with any of the problems that they may face. A steady communication channel established by their parents allows them to communicate any issues that they may be facing therefore avoiding serious cases of emotional illness that may result in suicide attempts or bouts of perennial depression. Marriage has more meaning to children as junior members of the family especially since they are more likely to develop positive attitudes towards this institution and are more likely to pursue it later on in life.
In finality, marriage marks an integral phase in individual’s lives as a stage that gives meaning to their lives. It is here where unconditional love is shared between husband and wife allowing both individuals to grow. Marriage serves to prepare a married couple to start a family that would provide a child with an environment suitable for them to thrive.