For the Love or For the Money In our culture marriage is a union between two people, we wed for love, commitment, family, and in many instances money. That is may not be the case for many other cultures. From a man and a woman, to a man and 5 women, the people involved in a marriage varies with each culture. Marriage as a result of love, or marriage arranged by one’s parents, marriage to gain wealth, and livestock, marriage as a way to keep the line of descent viable, reasons for marriage and what is an acceptable marriage go from one extreme to the other.
You may start to ask yourself, what exactly is marriage? This week’s film “Sex and Marriage” deemed marriage as an institution in which functional roles, and sexual roles are established. There are many different types of marriages, all with varying reasons and factors. For example, in America, an ideal marriage is a man and a woman committing because they are in love, this is known as monogamy. In Bottles of Madagascar, men marry multiple women, each woman living in a different village. This is known as polygon, or the act of a man having more than one wife at a time.
Polygon is practiced for many different reasons. In Bottles, multiple wives shows a great status, and indicates wealth. Polyandry is the opposite, it is the act of a woman possessing many husbands. A woman may marry many husbands to make sure there is always a male to take care of her family. She may also marry many men to help restrict the number of heirs her family has to distribute land to. In Sudan, a Inure woman may marry another woman, and take on the title of a father, known as a Pater. This is done not for any sexual reason, but more so for a reason of status.
The Oman known as the Pater may want to carry on her family name, or to show her family has wealth. Americans have a very closed mindset when it comes to marriage, the thought of a man with multiple wives does not sit well with many, yet in other countries it may be the norm. As Americans we marry for love, or for money. Either way, when looking for potential significant others we tend to look for a person with characteristics similar to our own. This is known as homogony. Many societies practice the same Idea but to a larger scale, it is called endogamy or marriage of people from the same group.
For example, royal endogamy occurs when members of a royal family marry either a sibling or a cousin. This keeps the royal descent in the family. On the opposite hand you have exogamy. Exogamy is the practice of marrying outside one’s group. Exogamy is beneficial because it can form new relationships with other kin groups or just people in general. While examining these two attributes of marriage one must consider incest. Incest is a forbidden sexual relationship with a close relative. The definition is very broad because each society has a different view on who is family and who isn’t.
For example, in a matrilineal descent group it would be incest to be involved in a sexual relationship with my cousin on my mother’s side. At the same time it would not matter if had sex with a cousin on my fathers side because they are not considered my kin. While practicing either endogamy or exogamy is important that the people of a certain society under who is their kin and who is not. Many cultures marry for different reasons, love is often very low on that list of reasons. In most Nan-industrial societies, marriages are not only a bond of two people, but the union of either their families, their oratories, or their livestock.
In some societies, families are required to pay a bride wealth. This is a gift of livestock, land or money to the bricks family from the groom’s kin. The groom needs to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of her labor, and her potential offspring. Bride wealth is more common in societies where foraging and farming are the main means of food and income. On the contrary, some societies require the bride’s group to pay dowry. Dowry is a gift the family gives to the groom to compensate for the burden they must now take care of. The payment of dowry was mostly reactive in societies where women were not thought very highly of.
Because dowry and bride wealth are like payments, under certain circumstances the family may be required to pay part of the payment back, or make up for the loss if something goes wrong in the marriage. This often causes marriages to be a bit more stable. In many Asian cultures, a bride and groom’s parents may arrange marriage. This is often done when the children are young. Making sure your daughter or son marries into a well respected family stabilizes their future, and keeps the family name in high status. Arranged irrigate is a practice focused on your family and their status. The article, “Who needs love? Mrs.. Uremia states, “l haven’t lived for myself, but for my kids, and for my family, and for society. ” The film also showed a couple whose parents arranged their marriage. They talked of how they got married for their parents, to make them proud. Spending your life with someone for the benefit and sake of someone else seems like an inevitable to end up with a divorce. Divorce rates are at an all time high in America with more than half of first time marriages ending in divorce. Every society has a different outlook n divorce, in our country it is becoming increasingly acceptable.
But, in many societies divorce is not an option. In ‘M/ho needs Love? ” the couples talked about divorce and the shame it would bring upon one’s family. In some societies where bride wealth is paid, divorce may require the bride’s family to return whatever gifts were originally given. In some societies where decent and aniline decent groups are followed, a bride or groom may be required to marry the brother or sister of their previous spouse.