Marriage Where Did You Come From

Hey Marriage! Where Did you Come From?


To be honest we don’t have an exact birthdate for marriage, but evidence points to the institution being around 4,350 years old.

Before “tying the knot” became a thing, it is believed that what we may loosely define as families, consisted of around 30 people with a few male leaders who shared women and children.

Eventually, as the hunter and gatherer lifestyle was set aside for agriculture, and people began to plant their roots (pun intended,) tighter relationships were needed to stabilise their family units and so partnerships were created. Love was not the catalyst for marriage at the time.

The main purpose of marriage was to ensure that a bloke’s kids were verifiably his biological heirs. That was harder to do in the roving, “share-around” hunter-gatherer communities.

So yeah, a woman would become a man’s property.

In some cultures, such as in ancient Greece, a father would pledge his daughter “for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring.”

Some cultures would allow men to take multiple wives.

Some cultures allowed their men to essentially trade in their wives if they weren’t bearing children.

Eventually religion became involved and in Europe, for a marriage to be recognised, a Roman Catholic priest would have to perform the ceremony and bless the union.  In 1563, marriage was canonised within the Roman Catholic Church.

What about falling in love as the reason for marriage?

While practicality was the main initiator for committing to a marriage, over time, within the marriage, many of the partners would fall in love and find devotion for each other.

As the motivation for marriage, love took its time but by the Middle Ages the idea began to creep into society.

As plays, literature, poetry, ballads etc. began to flourish, so did notions of romance which led to love which led to marriage. At least that’s the simplified take on it. Much had to be done to bring the world to a point where marriage was considered an equal partnership and perhaps surprisingly to some, it’s only in the last few decades where true equality in marriage, as an accepted concept, has come to exist.

Since those early years of pragmatic betrothing, marriage for the most part only exists because of the love that leads a couple to it.

Thank goodness. How uninspiring would it have been to be a Marriage Celebrant 4,000 years ago?

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