Marriage is one of the universal social institution. Marriage
for the procreation of children and satisfaction of sexual urges and it is one
of the oldest socially recognized institution. The aim of this research article
is to analyse the changing trends in the institution of marriage and factors affecting
There is drastic change in marriage all over the world over the last
generation or two according to recent surveys and studies. The
process of change in the social structure is an ineluctable universal social
reality. The changes in the last few decades are very prompt. The processes of
industrialisation, urbanisation and secularisation have brought about many
socio-psychological changes in the attitudes and values of the people.
What is Marriage?
a close union and equal relationship of a man and a woman. Marriage is defined
as legalized union between a man and a woman. Marriage is a socially identified
and approved relationship. Marriage is considered to be a highly sacred
institution which allow for meeting of the minds between the spouses for
material as well as psychological, i.e. mental satisfaction. Marriage is relationship
not only between both the spouses but it’s a bonding between two families. The
real meaning of marriage is the approval of a new status, with a new set of
privileges and obligations, and the recognition of this new status by others. A
legal marriage validate a social status and creates a set of legally recognized
rights and duties as well as responsibilities.
Definition of Marriage by different Thinkers
Edward Westermarck in his “History of Human Marriage”
defines marriage as “the more or less durable connection between male and
female lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of
that marriage is a “contract for the production and maintenance of children.”
According to Robert H.Lowie, “Marriage is a relatively
permanent bond between permissible mates.”
According to Lundberg, Marriage consists of the “rules and
regulations which define the rights, duties and privileges of husband and wife,
with respect to each other.”
According to Horton and Hunt, “Marriage is the approved
social pattern whereby two or more persons establish a family.”
According to Anderson and Parker, “Marriage is the
sanctioning by a society of a durable bond between one or more males and one or
more females established to permit sexual intercourse for the implied purpose
of the parenthood.”
2. LEGAL PERSPECTIVE OF MARRIAGE
The right to marry is an element
of Right to Life under art. 21 of the constitution of India which says, ‘No
person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to
the procedure established by law’. This right has been acknowledged under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. Art. 16 of the same states:
Men and Women of full age without any
limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry
and to find a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage,
during marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage shall be entered only with the free
and full consent of the intending spouses.
The family is the natural and fundamental
group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the
FORMS OF MARRIAGE
It is a form of marriage
which involves one husband & many wives. In this one man has two or more
wives at a time. Polygyny is found among Eskimo tribes, Crow & Hfdatsa of
North America & African Negroes. In India till today it exists among Muslims
& also among some Hindus. It is more frequent than polyandry.
Polygyny may take two forms:
Sororal Polygyny: In
this a man has two or more wives at a time. Here the wives are sisters or
closely related to each other.
Polygyny: In this a man has two or more wives at a time. Here the
wives are neither sisters nor they are closely related to each other.
It is a form of marriage
which involves one wife & many husbands. In this one woman marries more
than one man at a given time. It is thought to be widespread in Tibet where the
conditions of social life are harsh & where perhaps the efforts of two or
more men are needed to support the family. Some tribes like Namib Bushmen, the
Yaruro of Venezuela, the Lengua of El Chaco, the Singhalese, the Mundas etc.
are some of the tribes where Polyandry is said to exist.
Polyandry may take two
Fraternal Polyandry: In
this one woman marries more than one man at a given time. Here
the husbands are brothers or closely related to each other.
Non-fraternal Polyandry: In
this one woman marries more than one man at a given time. Here
the husbands are neither brothers nor they are closely related to each other.
Monogamy is the form of marriage in which one man marries one
woman at a given time. This is the most widespread form of marriage found among
the primitives as well as the civilised people and is the leading form of
marriage. It produces the highest type of affection and sincere devotion.
According to Malinowski “Monogamy is, has been, and will remain the only true
type of marriage.” It is practised among the tribals such as the Kadars,
the Santals, the Khasis, the Canella, the Hopi, the Iroquois, the Andaman
Islanders and few others.
3.4 Companionate Marriage
This is “the marriage of two persons on the understanding that as long
as there are no children the marriage may be dissolved simply by mutual
consent.” The root basis of this marriage is companionship. Additional duties
like care taking of child is not involved.
3.5 Experimental Marriage or Live-in Relationship
Experimental marriages are to find out the compatibility of the two
people before they settle down to a life of permanent union. Before getting
settled to a permanently in matrimonial relations, couples are allowed to lead
marital life temporarily in order to find out compatibility between them.
4. CHANGING SCENERIO IN THE INSTITUTION
is considered to be an enduring bond, that’s why it is considered to be an
institution because institution is permanent. But nowadays due to increasing
rates of divorce, marriage is losing its essence of being an institution. There’s
a saying that everything changes with time. Looking at the past and the present
is a good example of that. The way things were done then and the way they are
done now has been changed dramatically so that they can fit into society. Just
as things have been changed to fit into the society we live in today, we, as
individuals have also been changed to adapt to these changes occurring in our
society. An example of this is clearly evident in the change in our values,
especially towards marriage. Today, couples do not value the sanctity of
marriage as in the past. This is clearly reflected through the lessening of
religious influence in marriages, the increase in cohabitation and divorce. In
the past, marriages were seen as a covenant before God to bring two people
together. Today, however, the religious aspect is largely missing in the
institution of marriages and this is simply why it is not valued as much as it
was in the past.
Factors Responsible for these Changes
Marriage has always been obligatory and
unavoidable for an average Indian. Marriages in India enjoy a broad consensus
and play a pivotal role as a means of procreation and carrying forward lineage.
Of late it has been observed that the institution
of marriage in India is undergoing a drastic change. This change is mainly due to economic prosperity and the internet
revolution. The internet has exposed people to the different social trends
prevalent across the world and has revolutionized the institution in an
otherwise conservative Indian society.
these changes are due to
Increasing Rate of Divorce
Divorce has increased steadily over the 20th
century. The biggest increases were during the 1960s-1970s. Conflict is bad for
kids, because kids are the one who suffers a lot in the process & after
divorce. They go through mental trauma, start feeling depressed & the
feeling of loneliness comes to their mind.
Lessening of Religious Influence in Marriages
the religious aspect is largely missing in the institution of marriages and
this is simply why it is not valued as much as it was in the past. That’s why
in today, couples do not value the sanctity of marriage as in the past. This is
clearly reflected through the lessening of religious influence in marriages,
the increase in cohabitation and divorce.
While more is expected of marriage, couples today are
less tolerant about its challenges and less willing to sacrifice. Most don’t
see marriages as an institution centred on mutual responsibilities but rather,
it is now based on the pursuit of happiness, fulfilment, and companionship.
Nowadays in marriage, both the spouses have access to money as both the
partners are working, so there is no shortage of money in the family. But parents
don’t have time for their children. They even don’t have time to give basic or
informal education to their children. So mutual responsibilities between both
the spouses is missing.
Thus, today more is demanded of marriage in terms of
personal satisfaction, which clearly reflects how much marriage is valued
because it’s more about “me” now rather than “us”. In
conclusion, I would just say that the main reason couples today don’t value
marriages as much is simply because they don’t see it as a permanent commitment
since it can be ended anytime with things such as divorce etc. Though having
divorce as an option is good for people to escape abusive relationships, I
don’t think couples should see it as the solution to a failing marriage. In the
same sense, though cohabitation offers a good opportunity for people to have a
trial marriage, so that they can see if both are suitable for each other, I
don’t think people should perceive it as the same as marriage. Lastly, having
equality is good but people should start focusing on their marriage rather
their rights in the marriage.