What good does marriage do?


Why do human beings marry? For sex or for children! But why is marriage necessary for secure and safe sex or for children? Out of all living species it is only humans who feel the need to marry. But don’t all other animals stay together, procreate and bring up offsprings? Marriage is not even essential for trust or loyalty. There are many animals that happily spend entire lives with the same mate, the one they choose in early youth. Never again do they desire for a new mate, never again do they feel the need to start afresh with the new one. They are loyal and monogamous in the most incredulous way! No matter how far they go, how many seas they cross, how old they become, they come back to the old mate of years to kiss and live in love. They never get to know the meaning of adultery, what it means to be polygamous or how does it feel to be betrayed. Albatrosses, swans, black vultures, bald eagles, turtle doves, dik-diks, bonnet-head sharks, gibbons, French angelfish, grey wolf, snow leopards – there are many such animals.

Humans marry to live happily ever after. But how many of them do end up living happily ever after? Most marriages either fail or survive without love. People hold on to loveless marriages for varied reasons – children, financial security or in fear of what the society or people would say. But should such coexistence be called a marriage. Many, who already have a husband or wife, nonchalantly indulge in extra-marital affairs. When one romantic affair ends, they start a new one. Human beings are not bald eagles, or black vultures. Humans are hardly monogamous and often polygamous. But at the same time it cannot be said with utmost certainty that humans are purely polygamous. Humans are much more complex and complicated. They could be monogamous, polygamous, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual – all at the same time and many more things. And there can be no close comparisons to human beings when it comes to embracing the new and abandoning dead, old ways.

Most religions pronounce marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. Apparently god preselects one’s partner prior to even birth. So come what may, marriages must not be broken – god warns. But as we know even the most loyal devotees of god do not care to follow this advice anymore. They utter the word talaq casually to abandon a partner who supposedly was chosen by god for someone they like. It seems god has failed badly as a ‘matchmaker’. Most religions intrude in matters of matrimony, laying out rules on what ought to be the ideal age, sex, caste, beliefs when two people marry and also the duties of the ideal husband and wife. Though marriage is a thoroughly personal matter, it is largely a social affair. Women, if not men, are certainly the property of a whole society. Did the woman have an affair before marriage? Was she a virgin? Does she have an affair outside of marriage? Who does she hang out with? What time does she return home? Does she have unknown men visit her at home? And it is not just her immediate family but the entire community that takes keen interest and follows her each and every move and action. The fathers and brothers lose honour at the drop of a hat because a woman’s life remains not only her private and personal life but a concern of the entire family, community and the society. Thus fathers and brothers are ready to even kill a woman to protect the cause of family honour.

Marriage is almost becoming extinct in progressive and liberal parts of the world. Some people still marry because marriage as an institution continues to exist and they just follow a much-treaded route without much thought. It is almost like observing the need of climbing Mount Everest because one feels its looming presence. If marriage goes out of practice many will not care to marry. People continue with traditions often out of mere habit. But very few take the initiative to renew traditions and customs that are dead. There are many lovers in liberal countries who live for years together, have children and raise a family outside of marriage. The patriarchal nature of an archaic tradition called marriage is but a joke for many such couples. Marriage is just like religion that lives on despite being proven as something that has no basis in reality. A set of irrational beliefs that have survived in the same way as some superstitions have continued for thousands of years. Yet most superstitions too meet with death. Hundreds of religions and hundreds of gods have died silent deaths. Where is the heroic Apollo now, for example? Where are Jupiter, Zeus and Hermes? Where are Thor and Odin? One day marriage too will go out of fashion just like the gods and religions of bygone eras.

There is another secret reason why some people still choose to marry in countries of northern Europe – in such places one pays less tax when married. The state also bears the expenses of raising children. A lot of people in those countries are reluctant to marry or have children. So the government tries to tempt citizens with benefits of tax rebates lest the institution of marriage completely dismantles and north Europeans become an extinct race altogether. Some actually do marry because of these social benefits but many still prefer to live either alone or with a partner without marrying. Many couples who choose not to marry and yet stay together receive the same kind of state support allotted for married couples. In the West polygyny is uncommon and the practice of polygamy too is less common than in the East. What is common in the West is known as serial monogamy.

Towards the end of 60s many people came out of the narrow confines of their homes to lead a revolution, challenge the politics of a past era and change society. Old and worn out ideas like women must protect virginity, purity and motherhood to be known as good were defied. The hippies of the era almost altogether stopped marrying. Many cohabited as a group, had multiple sexual partners among themselves and raised children as joint responsibility of everyone in the group. There was no concept of seeing a partner as one’s private property. The commune lives did not last long. Had hippies been successful, the institution of marriage by now would not have remained a living institution of the society but would have found a place in the pages of history.

Intellectuals in different countries have written flamboyantly on how marriage is utterly meaningless. “”A wedding is a funeral where you smell your own flowers.” “One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” Katherine Hepburn even in her times was not in the favour of a man and woman sharing the same house. “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” she said. She also added, “If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.” These are exceptional observations of exceptional personalities. “Marriage is a wonderful invention; but, then again, so is a bicycle repair kit.” “Marriage is a cage. Those outside are desperate to enter and those inside are desperate to leave.” Marriage is good for those who are afraid to sleep alone at night.” There are more. “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” “A husband is what is left of a lover, after the nerve has been extracted.” “Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper think she’s a householder.” French author Balzac wrote, ““The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.” However, not that all sayings are against marriage. There are some that argues in favour of it. “I’d marry again if I found a man who had fifteen million dollars, would sign over half to me, and guarantee that he’d be dead within a year.”

When the West was swayed by a hippie revolution and women’s liberation movements, women in the East wore invisible chastity belt. Many men in the East still continue to marry for primordial reasons because of which the institution of marriage originated. What is needed is a womb, a womb necessary to bear the child born out of a man. The key purpose of marriage is to protect the identity of the father. It is actually women have sustained the tradition of patriarchy for thousands of years by marrying men and protecting men’s interests. The balloon of patriarchy would have burst with a loud bang long back had women revolted.

In Bengali societies I often witness women’s wings of freedom being clipped right after marriage. Women have to leave behind everything, their home, family, friends, the familiar neighbourhood, the city of their youth and childhood, a life and a past to make the husband’s home their own. They have to add the husband’s surname to their names and call home a house that belongs to the in-laws. The husband and his family decide on behalf of adult educated women whether she should hold a job. Once it was very common and even now some people say things like women must not do professional work after marriage. Women must aspire for a life of endless sacrifice and dedication, so they must stay at home, cook, take care of the family and children. Gloria Steinem once famously said, “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.” In present times the husband and his family do not just expect educated women to look after the household but they also want women to hold a job for some extra money for the family. However, women’s earnings continue to be seen as the “extra” in ordinary Bengali homes even if they earn more than the husband. Being indoctrinated in values of patriarchy, women are happy to deposit their earnings in the hands of the husband and acquire the ‘good girl’ tag. Women in most cases have no authority on how to spend their own earnings and often it is men – no matter how unintelligent – call the shots in money matters. Even if they manage to earn well women – it is assumed – remain clueless on managing finances. Therefore, men take it upon themselves the responsibility of looking after these important matters. Most Bengali women do not know the meaning of freedom.

In Kolkata I often shivered to see married couples living on in cold and loveless marriages. “If the marriage breaks, let it break. Why take so much effort to make it last?” I often asked. I never got satisfactory answers. Women get used to living in unhappy lives. Children for whom couples often linger bad marriages grow up witnessing tensions and pains of a troubled family and that does more harm than good. It is difficult for women to live alone or raise children on their own if they are not economically independent and lack financial security. But does that mean one must compromise with abusive husbands? The thought of sharp rise in instances of violence on and homicide of women is chilling. And all this is such a brutal expression of misogyny that remains at the heart of patriarchy!

Societies that have more of educated, independent and aware women than otherwise tend to witness higher divorce rates and low marriage rates.
However, in the Indian subcontinent even educated and independent women – having imbibed the values of patriarchy – silently tolerate abusive and polygamous husbands and choose to remain married just like those who are not self-sufficient. Marriage in these societies is almost like a conquest for men and sacrifice for women. To some marriage offers a relief from loneliness and ties a heavy shackle of bondage on others. Barbaric acts are rampant in these societies. There exist caste discrimination, dowry, objectification of women, practices of treating the wife as sex object, slave or child-producing machine, want and constant pressure of having a male child, killing of female foetus, murdering or abandoning the girl child, divorcing the wife for not giving birth to a male child and remarriage.

While there are many who follow norms and traditions blindly, there are some others who break the rules. The old norms of marriage are crumbling as more and more people are becoming civilised. It is only a handful – and not teeming millions – that change society, while the majority holds on to archaic customs and traditions.Some daring women in the West no longer abide by rules like women must not work after marriage, must never disobey husbands or that widow remarriage should not be allowed.

Marriage too has evolved as an institution. The purpose of marriage has changed in some societies and so has the nature of marriage. In the West marriage is no longer seen as a way for men to have a line of descendants or to have women toil hard to raise children and a family in the West – in societies in the West there exist a long history of struggle for women’s liberation and women have come to enjoy equal rights and opportunities to a large degree. In those places it is hardly a matter of concern if there are no children in a marriage. And people realise that what is needed most for a healthy relationship and happy family life is not marriage – but mutual love and respect.

If there is love and mutual respect two people can remain faithful to each other. If marriage could ensure loyalty then adultery would not be so rampant. The couples who live together without marriage also remain faithful to each other by the same bond of love and respect.

But it is not that all couples want monogamy or commitment. Sometimes, to beat the monotony of monogamy or to add some variety to the relationship some couples – even though they love each other – invite other men or women to join them in sex. There are no hush secrets, no hide and seek – one more person or more than one, two or three can join a couple in their very own bedroom and in the very nuptial bed. Such orgy- many couples believe – add some flavour and variety to the relationship and recharge the married life. Some sociologists vociferously support the concept of group marriage. Rather than have an ugly divorce it is much more practical apparently to be in a group marriage and not disturb the lives of children. Group marriage basically means a communal relationship of some men and women who could be married to each other. There is something called group love or polyamory – the love of many. This means the love of some men and women who are each other’s lover. Polygamy has been common in many societies from time immemorial and it mostly means a man having multiple wives. And in some societies there exists a different kind of polygamy, when a woman takes many husbands – polyandry. Many such combinations have happened in the world and they continue to happen. Yet it is monogamous marriage that has remained the most common and dominant form. Of course! Because monogamous marriage offers the best form of leverage by one on the other.

Marriage is basically a license for sexual relationship – a social license that is acquired with much fanfare and hue and cry. It is merely a tradition that is archaic, patriarchal and illogical and serve no practical purpose. There are many customs that are already dead or in the process of dying – like sati or witch-burning. Many such meaningless traditions are allowed to live on by making people either too fearful or irrational so they fail to act with reason. But even then customs and traditions will have to die when they become out of practice among large communities. It has been proven over centuries that marriage has no role in making relationships last, to bring happiness in families or to help children to excel – therefore the future of marriage too does not look very bright. Our forefathers lost an extra tail to evolution because it no longer had any value. So, will evolution not banish a practice as worthless as marriage from our societies? Philosophers of the past – Nietzsche, Kant and Hegel for instance – were known to be extremely anti-women in their views. The intellectual practice of philosophy has evolved and those with extreme hateful attitude towards women would no longer be acknowledged as a philosopher.

Patriarchy was born out of extreme misogyny. Patriarchy has given rise to many anti-women traditions; marriage is one such custom. The more patriarchy is subjugated and won over, the more women will regain their independence and confidence. The more women will drive away misogynist religions and beliefs from the society. The more society will defeat barbarisms. The more society will enlightened. The more men will reform. Then more and more patriarchal traditions will perish slowly. We are already witnessing marriage becoming less and less common in liberal societies. It may still remain a prevalent practice in societies that are not enough enlightened. But even those societies will not remain uncouth forever. And what are the signs that a society has progressed? When women are no longer raped and abused, when women enjoy equal rights and opportunities, when women do not have to end up as sex slaves or menial slaves of men. But they are free to love, be in tumultuous romance and live in with a loved one and yet do not think of marriage. When marriage becomes extinct, a remnant of the past.

Marriage is nothing but a social sanction to dominate and subjugate women. Many feminist writers have been vocal against it. Andrea Dworkin thought of marriage as the other name of rape. And someone once beautifully said that marriage is but an ‘intimate colonisation.’ Many agree that women can never be liberated in the true sense in presence of a barrier like marriage. Most feminists at one point saw it as an extraordinary means of perpetuating the norms of patriarchy and some still think on those lines. Some even see heterosexual love as a form of political conspiracy, a conspiracy for which women fall and willingly agree to get married or surrender to the enemy. Had marriage not turned women into slaves, feminists would not have such objections.
At a time when educated heterosexual people in progressive societies are rejecting this institution, many homosexual groups are fighting for rights to marry. Many liberal countries have begun to recognise the marriage of same sex couples. Many progressive individuals, who otherwise do not believe in marriage, support same sex couples’ demand of rights of marriage because the majority in society does not accept and are against such rights. Supporting same sex couples’ rights of marriage translates to disobeying and challenging the rule of religion and the moral policing of conservative societies. But it also true that the possibility of equality of both partners is better in same sex marriages than in heterosexual marriages because there is no gender discrimination in the former. However, when marriage becomes a mundane and commonplace affair even in homosexual societies, then the ones who today clamour for rights of marriage will see it as unnecessary and oppose it.

One day marriage will become extinct. Archaeologists in days to come would discover the fossil of marriage, a social practice long dead and forgotten, in the relics of history and narrate the story of the past to an enlightened generation. “There was once a dark age in this world. In those days there used to be a tradition that lasted over generations. The tradition was known as marriage.” To explain the why and what of marriage, the subject of patriarchy would of course be raised. And human beings in such an unseen future would shudder imagining a horrific society of a long gone past – a horrific society that is our present.
Utopia? But, what’s wrong in utopia?
( My Bengali article translated by Suruchi Mazumdar)

Comments

  1. Pen says

    But don’t all other animals stay together, procreate and bring up offsprings?

    No. I think you cited most of the best known ones that did. It’s actually pretty unusual.

    I married because my partner was of a different nationality than myself and it was the only way to be allowed to remain together in the same country. That’s such an incredibly common situation in my family and my circle of friends, it’s hard for me to understand how common or unusual it is generally. Until we tear down all the borders, marriage is the one way to get states to recognise the right of couples to stay together. In the mean time internationally recognised same sex marriage becomes incredibly important for that reason among others.

  2. Ysanne says

    Yep, getting the “partner/family” treatment for insurance/banking/immigration/tax without having to go through a lot of paperwork every single time to prove the partnership is for me the main incentive for marrying. That, and to have a legit reason to wear a fairytale princess dress outside of a costume party. :-)

  3. says

    “Why do human beings marry? For sex or for children!”

    Actually, in many cases, there are other reasons as well.

    “But why is marriage necessary for secure and safe sex or for children? Out of all living species it is only humans who feel the need to marry. “

    As you yourself point out, some (but not most) animals mate for life. Of course it is not called marriage, but it is essentially the same thing.

    “Though marriage is a thoroughly personal matter, it is largely a social affair. Women, if not men, are certainly the property of a whole society. Did the woman have an affair before marriage? Was she a virgin? Does she have an affair outside of marriage? Who does she hang out with? What time does she return home? Does she have unknown men visit her at home? And it is not just her immediate family but the entire community that takes keen interest and follows her each and every move and action. The fathers and brothers lose honour at the drop of a hat because a woman’s life remains not only her private and personal life but a concern of the entire family, community and the society. Thus fathers and brothers are ready to even kill a woman to protect the cause of family honour. “

    This is the case in some countries, but not everywhere. You make it sound universal.

    “There is another secret reason why some people still choose to marry in countries of northern Europe – in such places one pays less tax when married. The state also bears the expenses of raising children..”

    First, it is not secret. Many people state this openly. Second, the state doesn’t cover all expenses of raising children. Third, whether expenses are covered does not depend on the people being married. (Actually, since in some countries unmarried couples pay more tax, one could argue that such couples contribute more in taxes to the state, which in turn pays for some of the child-rearing costs.)

    “A lot of people in those countries are reluctant to marry or have children. So the government tries to tempt citizens with benefits of tax rebates lest the institution of marriage completely dismantles and north Europeans become an extinct race altogether..”

    The first part is true, to some extent. But it is not the only reason. Married couples are obliged to support each other, and the lost tax revenue is to some extent offset by the fact that the state doesn’t have to pay support when someone is out of work etc. There are some types of financial support for children, but they are largely independent of marriage. In particular, tax breaks for married couples also apply for childless couples (whether or not they are voluntarily childless). I don’t see anything wrong with the state encouraging people to have more children if there are too few (or vice versa).

    “Some actually do marry because of these social benefits but many still prefer to live either alone or with a partner without marrying. Many couples who choose not to marry and yet stay together receive the same kind of state support allotted for married couples..”

    Support for children, largely yes; tax breaks, largely no. Other stuff depends on the country.

    “In the West polygyny is uncommon and the practice of polygamy too is less common than in the East. What is common in the West is known as serial monogamy.”

    Polygamy is the general term, the opposite of monogamy. Polygyny is one man, many women; polyandry is one woman, many men. I don’t even know what you want to say here.

    “Yet it is monogamous marriage that has remained the most common and dominant form. Of course! Because monogamous marriage offers the best form of leverage by one on the other.”

    Most anthropologists would claim that polygyny is the basic, natural human form from a biological point of view, but this has been replaced with monogamy because polygyny leads to many single men, which is politically and socially a very unstable situation. In other words, historically, polygyny died out mainly because it was bad for (most) men, not because it was bad for women. (Ask a woman if she would rather be the mistress of JFK or the only wife of Bozo the clown. Most, like Marilyn Monroe, would choose the former.)

  4. garrychakde says

    Marriage is purely a social arrangement for having sex and bringing up children in a disciplined social manner.The animals are living happily with one mate or many as they don’t have to think of schooling of their off springs,their secure future and of course coming full circle of their marriage with a suitable partner.These are all social pressures/measures of our social evolution which make us different from animals or in Indian typical philosophical way it is “MAYA or MOH” which traps you and keep you away From GOD.
    There are many tools which were invented to make society a better and distinctive place to live in as per experience of our fore fathers ,like marriage is foremost.It is nothing but exchange of some vows(to make it look like an heavenly affair).

    Now the issue raised by Taslima in the previous article on
    “How to stop rape”and this article on marriage of Patriarchy,Misogyny and all educated urban phrases.If she has studied deeply animal behavior then she must know that patriarchy is something which has also comes naturally to humans and not essentially a socially developed norm as marriage. Females are never expressive of their sexual desires as openly as their male counterpart due to biological differences by nature. And this trend largely applies to all of animal kingdom and not humans specifically.
    If we do not attach fears with sex and make it a taboo to talk about many a problems would be solved .We inculcate all kind of fears in females that men are not good ,their touch is not good ,their company is not good while it is not so.Touch is very arousing and soothing,sex is all fun & joy that your body gives to each other,your organs are filled with juices and takes you to ecstasy. Such a joy is attached with fears which also is one of the main cause of agony in females.A female is some time so dreadful of male person to talk to leave alone of having sex with that it drives many a wrong things in female mind.We try to keep away women from men and suddenly in one day they are in a tie(marriage) with each other and carry their socially created disbelieves /myths about each other and pass on to next generation.
    To my mind it is only education given to both male and female that can change the mindsets : what they are naturally to each other and how they should behave socially keeping a healthy way of living in society will solve maximum problems of the relations in the society.

  5. Jayesh says

    Christians Muslims only marry because their respective religions state it to find the purpose of marriage it’s logic you need to go to Hindu Vedic texts. The very concept of male female purpose of the term MAN is set out these 3000 year plus old customs came to the west. The west has no logical reason for marriage it was lost when the Pagans who’s custom it was became Christian. So when you say “tied the knot” it is done in a Hindu ceremony when a ring is given it is from a Hindu Epice Ramayan where am evil king kidnaps a good kings wife and tries to marry her but she resists and whike in captivity she sends a ring to her husband to tell him she is still his wife. the term husband is from Sanskrit Hath Bandh means to join hands. The ore roman Greek ancient Hindus started civilisation by inventing the alphabet of Sanskrit it’s purpose was to connect with the Divine. So the terms’, Man (manus )Me(Maru) Mine etc are defined it is not a coincidence they all begin with M . Before liberating women there was the small problem of contraception so marrige became vital social tool to allow a mothers natural maternal instincts to develop. Similarly seculars are list to all thus and we have leftist dementia tidy ideology of rebellion against without (nothing wrong in that ) but no civil structure to replace it . The rishis who gave rise to Vedic Aryan concepts also gave us days of the week and maths they are all connected . The pagan Romans and Greeks cultures where destroyed by the Xians but Hindu pagans have a continuious 5000+ years connection where all concepts are logically defined charity love sex marriage male female father brother son mother …… Etc

    • UJJAL says

      The amount of torture, slavery and sex abuse that happened in Indian epics, highly recommended by hindus, is example of only misogyny at its best. One of the 33 crores of hindu gods (?) is one called brahma. Brahma gave birth to the 11 forefathers of the human race called ‘Prajapatis’ and the seven great sages or the ‘Saptarishi’. These children or mind-sons of Brahma, who were born out of his mind called ‘Manashputras’. So brahma was a female ?! who gave birth out of the mind and not the body ? Or the vagina was on the mind ? the 11 forefathers and seven sages were all MEN. Then how did the human race come into existence. Where were the women with whom these males had sex to create the human race ? Were the sages and forefathers homosexuals ? There was no other choice also in this situation, but then can homosexual activity give birth to other human ? What does veda says here ? Hindu marriages are purely an oppression tool to make the woman a slave of the man, even however more qualified the woman is than the man. ( the marriage prayers chanted during marriage ceremony says and means that ). Right from the begining to the very end in a hindu marriage there is not even ONE event where the hindu religion treats the woman as a human.

  6. UJJAL says

    Didi, one very important point I would like to add as to why the institution of marriage still continues.

    In the Indian context ( globally also in majority cases ) a marriage is an outright BUSINESS transaction. Among the rich the basis of a marriage is how much is the girls side investing for the marriage dowry, marriage jewelry, marriage ceremony, new property for the marriage and so on and so on and so on. The boy and the girl has ZERO or negligible say in this business transaction. The rich boy and the rich girl are now free and allowed to find another similar or more rich partner is what the parents and family would allow and accept. That’s ALL.

    For the middle class and poor also it is FIRST a business transaction and then a relation. It is an opportunity for the groom ( please consider the qualified also surely ) to multiply his wealth by virtue of a business called marriage and along with that also gets a license to have sex with the woman in his terms. For the rest of his life this marriage acts as a dividend. However unsuccessful in life the groom stands the bride’s family continues to prey to the groom literally as a lord offering wealth gift at his every visit and desire.

  7. Jay says

    So you want everyone to live “freely” ? If that was the case every man and women will be free and intermingle with each other even though they are co-habiting. Its called “co-habiting”. Then there wouldn’t be wife-swapping, unfaithfulness and adultery and everyone would have sex with each other left, right and centre, who cares whos wife is who ? then there would be no reason why we wouldnt want to look at another mans woman or even take her and say she is now mine.

    Is that the life you want ?

  8. Vivek says

    I think marriage should be more a ‘legal’ thing. I see no difference in a truly committed and faithful couple living without marriage, a gay couple spending a whole life together, a few years romantic love affair and two happily married lovers.

    When the question of ‘why do we need a ceremony marriage’ arises, I can’t avoid thinking of all the underprivileged, suppressed, traditional and economically dependent, rural Indian women who were forced into a traditional arrange marriage. Government provides economic and social protection to partners under law, so the underprivileged partner can opt for alimony, cases of domestic violence etc. I think when two people chose to live together, for more than a year as a couple; government needs to know about it. So it can enforce the laws regarding it. There should not be any traditional/religious aspects to the marriage except love and faithfulness.

  9. UJJAL says

    Jay – It is interesting the way you are thinking of how people will find various kinds of sexual partners. If you read Dr Taslima’s essay you will find that she has not anywhere suggested the way you described. You are obviously free to imagine any wild. If you have interest please surf the internet where you will find a lot many people living happily in may countries all over the world, and in India with a monogamous partner and WITHOUT marrying. ( Though personally I do not think poygamy is a wrong way to live. )

    Vivek – All marriages are a business transaction. Business transaction is naturally legal. So that the couple inherit each others property and wealth is the PRIME agenda of marriage. To also get a sexual partner is the secondary agenda. After everything is arranged if any one partner confirms that his / her property and wealth will not belong to the other partner that marriage will NOT happen. Simple and period. Partners know that they will find a sexual partner again and will be ready to loose the partner but not the wealth. Marriage is purely a business transaction.
    People sign and register on marriage with the partner which is considered the better half they would live there lives with. The same partners have nowhere felt the need to register with the parents, maternal uncles / aunts, paternal uncle / aunts, cousins, grandparents and in fact anyone else in the family or friend. How strange, they keep a legal wife and husband.

  10. Vivek says

    Jay- If you read the very second sentence of my comment, you will realize that I am in support of monogamous live in WITHOUT a marriage.
    But I am suggesting the need of a legal bound of marriage to those 70% population of India who live in villages, where women are oppressed, female literacy rate is below 50%, women don’t have any say in household decisions and not even in their own marriage.
    Legal marriage is obviously beneficial and supportive for most of women in India for their financial security in an oppressive patriarchal society. If the man leaves a woman who is economically and socially dependant on him, she’ll not have any source of subsistence. Neither in most of the cases she is in position to act by her free will and get an employment and take decisions on her own.
    Women who are economically independent, living in a liberal city will always have a choice of live in.
    Internet discussions must not be regarding the lives of only 5% elite class having access to Internet with knowledge of English. They should be more realistic, sticking to the ground reality of the masses.

  11. UJJAL says

    The idea of becoming a rightful owner of husbands property by deal called marriage is not what will rise women to honor or from the patriarchal oppression. Since women are illiterate, financially weak or without finance, etc so they should get the right of husbands property through a legal deal is half the dishonor. The rest half is when they will be assured that through a legal deal they will be acquiring a share of husbands property they will not care the need to be literate themselves or become financially independent, etc. It will be and is already been a vicious cycle for the weaker section of the women.

    Belonging to any section of the society the male and the female should be free to choose their sexual and / or lifetime partner, surely with full consent of the other partner.

  12. smrnda says

    The best case for marriage is that it gets you some benefits, but I don’t exactly know why we don’t allow a group of people who aren’t currently related and aren’t having sex to declare themselves some kind of family unit and get similar benefits. The other thing is in many cases, a more robust welfare state would erase the need. If the US, for example, had real health care access for all, there would be no need to marry someone for the benefits.

    I also don’t think the idea of serial monogamy or polyamory are really anything to be shocked by. In a sense, people are already *doing* those things, even often when they are married, it’s just that as a society the message is that a long-term monogamous marriage is superior.

    I’m also hesitant to say what’s ‘natural’ for humans since I wasn’t here for the paleolithic, and we see a lot of variation in hunter-gatherer societies, and I think we’re capable of consciously adapting our social conventions when needed. Monogamy probably had survival or economic value for a long time, but if we’re living under conditions unlike the ones we evolved under, the same benefits may not be there.

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  14. says

    Thank you so much for your article. It is no doubt an very important and valuable article. You have correctly raised some common and real problems of the conjugal life. Yes, marriage is not at all a holy union between a man and a woman as it is propagated by the religions. Marriage can give us a little good or positive things, rather it gives us a lot of evils. The practice of marriage was started once to dominate, control and make slave the woman. But it did not made the woman slave only, the man themselves got into a trap of it. Not only the females, but also most of the males are extremely unhappy in their conjugal life. And they (male persons) want to break the marriage,but they can not do so in the fear of the society There are more genuine problems you have correctly raised . I support your views that it is not necessary to marry for sex or children. It is nothing but a unscientific and primordial rule and custom that a man and a woman should marry for sexual relationship or to live together. I think firmly that a man and a woman need not marry to live together and bring up their children. I also agree with you that marriage will become some day extinct and the archaeologists then would be engaged to discover the fossil of marriage.

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