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Marriage and Family in Different Cultures

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    In today’s society marriage is defined by the Merriam Webster as “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife or a relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts”. Although there are many classifications and characterizations of marriages given in dictionaries and the text which was given to read, these only give a brief description of all the types and varieties of family types and marriages in the world today.

    As mentioned in the text, there are various types of family structures and different types of marriages but they would be looked at in further detail as they are somewhat different to what we know about today, but there are some pros and cons to each side of this text or chapter. Initially as stated in the text there are several types of family structures and types of marriages. The types of marriages are polyandry, monogamy, polygyny, polygamy. The types of family structures are blended, nuclear, extended, single parent, fictive kinship and family by choice.

    In the text these are well laid out for the reader to comprehend but they may seem quite intriguing, baffling and educational. First off some of these structures and types may seem offensive to some people because of their religious beliefs, culture of that village or country or even how they were raised. For example, polygamy, polygyny and polyandry would be heavily criticized and ostracized by the Christian or Pentecostal community as they see and value marriage as something that is unique and sacred to one man and one woman at that point in time.

    They may also criticize these types of marriages as it does not represent what God had planned out in the bible because they strongly believe and adhere to how the first people were and that is as husband and wife, and that marriage should represent the union of Adam and Eve. Another con of these types of marriage would be that some may find jealousy in these relationships as they may feel neglected in the relationship with two or more partners. They may also feel a sense of anger towards the other individuals with whom they are in a multiple marriage with. There are many family structures which are comprised in different ways.

    They may be blended, single parent, extended, family by choice and nuclear. Many may have exertions coming to terms with constitutions such as a family by choice or even a blended family. Because a family by choice is naturally made up of homosexuals raising children, many would say that that is taboo and should not be so for the reason that it may not be good for the children in the long run may as it may impinge on the children’s viewpoint on life as well as their sexual preference because they may imitate the culture in which they were brought up in and some will possibly reject that in certain countries and communities.

    Even though blended families most times is the norm for some people, others may see it as peculiar or outlandish because they may feel that having extra children or the common term stepchildren might cause an aperture between the husband and wife because of the tension of the children and the strain they may situate on a marriage. Contrary to what was aforementioned, sometimes these types of families and structures have their benefits divergent to what was previously mentioned.

    When looking at the family composition of types of families, different composition may benefit those individuals and their offspring just fine for example the fictive kinship group. According to the Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology text, every few years, all the girls of a kin group who were nearing puberty gathered for a large ceremony, the purpose of which was to ceremonially “marry” these girls to selected men from the linked kin groups.

    At the ceremony, each “groom” tied a gold ornament around the neck of his “bride. ” Each couple then went to a secluded place for three days, where they sometimes had sexual relations. Afterward, the “grooms” left the village, and none had any further responsibilities to his “bride. ” He might never even see her again. For her part, the “bride” and the children she would later bear had only to perform a certain ritual for her ceremonial “husband” when he died.

    The ritual tying of the ornament by a man of a linked kin group served to establish a girl as an adult, able to have sexual liaisons with other men when she matured. To this group their only obligation is to attend their husband’s funeral and mourn his death and the children she would later bear, would be raised by the members of her family and the villagers. So although some people may think that this is uncanny to those in the western world but as mentioned before it reinforces the saying that it takes a village to raise a family.

    An additional pro to the family structure and family types would be that with the blended family, there are two forces joining together and this may be a good thing if there are young males/females in the family who may have never had a father or mother around and may be ecstatic about the new male/female in his/her life who would be there to provide rules and share experiences as well as mistakes so as to not have the young boy/girl make the same mistakes in his/her life.

    With the family by choice structure there are some good measures and practices that some may find appealing to them and their lifestyle. For example Gay parents “tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents,” said Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting. Gays and lesbians rarely become parents by accident, compared with an almost 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals, Goldberg said.

    “That translates to greater commitment on average and more involvement. All points that were aforementioned were either disparaging or acceptable but they both brought some valid points from the text and what we gleaned from the chapter on marriage and family would most definitely be that in different societies there are certain regulations and rules that are acceptable to them that others may not be able to grasp or concur with but at the end of the day what may seem eerie to us may be the norm for someone else and it all boils down to the fact that every society and culture will vary and we must say to this “to each his own”.

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    Marriage and Family in Different Cultures. (2016, Oct 02). Retrieved from

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