While the current concept of marriage is moonstruck partners promising everlasting love, this dreamy image has relatively recent roots. Though marriage has ancient origins, love had nothing to do with it until recently. For much of history, the most common marriage type was one man and many women, rather than one man and one woman.
This was practiced throughout the majority of cultures in the world and it’s the one most referred to in the first five books of the bible. So the idea of marrying for love would have seemed silly to the people back then.
Origin of marriage
During the period of 1.8 million to 23,000 years ago, survival was hard and the offsprings that had the best chance to reach adulthood were those that were raised by two parents who worked together for their child’s survival and protection. The first marriages were born as a result of this survival strategy. These relationships were not at all like the ones we have now.
Couples used to remain together for 3-4 years until one of them wandered off to start a new family. Perhaps this is why, in modern couples, divorce rates peak between 3 and 4 years. Later, when humans started to cultivate their own food, relationship dynamics changed dramatically. Agriculture made humans inextricably linked to the soil.
The most efficient household arrangements were those in which men and women shared duties. This was the time when marriage was accepted as a lifelong commitment between two individuals by their society. Agriculture anchored people to their soil, putting an end to the practice of emigrating to a new life.
Marriage as a civil arrangement between men and women evolved over time as societies became more settled and monogamous relationships became a requirement for long life. As a result, the true origins of marriage can be traced back to both men’s and women’s biological desires to see their children thrive. Although marriage has evolved from a survival tactic to a means of gaining and controlling power in the last few thousand years. It became a method for fortifying relationships, preserving money, and fulfilling religious obligations.
Until the mid-twentieth century, arranged marriages were the norm in most of the world. However, in today’s society, we have enough. We no longer have to protect ourselves against animals or work as farmers in the countryside. Our parents are no longer arranging us, and we are no longer have to form kingdom alliances. We no longer need the institution of marriage to ensure our survival.
Millennials today perceive marriage as an outdated restricting institution that is simply not worth it, leading to a steady decline in new marriages each year. The world is witnessing a growing subculture of people who would avoid marriage altogether.
BY JAYA CHOUDHARY