Origin Of Marriage
All About the History and Origin of Marriage
The origin of marriage really began long before there was ceremony associated with it. During ancient times when humans still lived in small groups, stability was very important to survival. As humans evolved they developed traditions that would help to provide stability; these traditions usually involved property rights, as well as the protection of a bloodline or family. Marriage evolved out of the need to protect what belonged to a man, as far as his mate and the children that were born to that union.
From the origin of marriage until recent times it was the parents’ responsibility to arrange the marriage of their children. The couples that were to be married usually had little input into whom it was that they married. The reason for this is that people did not marry someone out of love, but for economical reasons.
Depending on the time era and culture, the origin of marriage evolved into the bride needing a dowry, which was basically money and gifts given to the groom’s family. In some cultures there was a bride price; this involved the groom or his family giving money and gifts to the bride’s family. Unfortunately these poor couples did not have the luxury of courting prior to marriage. In fact, many did not even meet their intended spouse until the wedding ceremony.
Along with the origins of marriage was the beginning of the wedding rings; this marriage tradition goes back to ancient Rome. It was believed that the circle was a symbol of something that will last for eternity, and if a couple wore wedding rings this meant that the union would last forever.
As part of the origins of marriage the union between a man and a woman was considered to be a contract, and did not really have any religious undertones. The idea that marriage was a sacrament began with St. Paul, who said the commitment of marriage was similar to Jesus’ commitment to the church.
Romance and marriage like we know it now did not begin until sometime during the middle ages. Even then, most marriages were arranged, especially among the aristocrats and royals. A couple’s consent to the marriage did not take on any significance until the ninth century when the church condemned marriage when the couple did not want the marriage. After this, most parents would get the consent of their children to a marriage contract through coercion, the threat of disinheritance, etc.
It was not until the 16th century that the church actually got involved in the marriage ceremony. During this time there were many marriages taking place without witnesses; the church worried that some of these marriages might be forced. For this reason the church then decided that it was necessary that a priest be present at the marriage, as well as two witnesses.
Although the way marriages take place has changed a lot since the origin of marriage, many things still remain the same. Today marriage is viewed as a commitment between two people that includes responsibility to each other, and the children that are born of the marriage. At the origins of marriage people viewed it virtually the same, so the basics are still the same as they always were.