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Who invented Marriage? As a society, do we know that Marriage is the right way to proceed?

An Alternative Mythology

"Peace on earth, revolution, and the end of the world as we know it."

Who invented marriage? As a society, do we know that Marriage is the right way to proceed? In order to create Peace on earth, we need a different mythology.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge", Albert Einstein.

Who invented Marriage? Marriage is the central element of society. The two parent (one man,one woman) patriarchal nuclear family system, is common throughout the world. In most Marriages, a man and a women, enter into a Marriage contract. Who invented Marriage? Was it God who invented Marriage,or was it Mankind? Whose idea was it? What circumstances necessitated the creation of Marriage? What system was in place before the advent of Marriage? What language did they use to make clear the conditions of the Marriage contract? Is the patriarchal nuclear family system, with Marriage as it's central element, the best we can do for our children? Is the patriarchal nuclear family system still relevant today?
Is Marriage still relevant? Some of the worst crimes in our society (spousal rape, incest, child neglect) happen, with the greatest frequency, in the isolation of the patriarchal nuclear family system. The fears and prejudices of the Father are readily passed on to the Sons, in the isolation of the patriarchal nuclear family system. The scourge of our society is "family secrets".

Wikipedia defines "paradigm paralysis" as, the inability or refusal to see beyond the current model of thinking. It says in the Bible, for all things a season. Is the season of marriage coming to an end? Is it time to rethink the system? Who invented Marriage?

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    Jan 21 2013: You can check the book , "Origin of Family , Private Property and State" by Frederick Engels
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    Jan 22 2013: Marriage is God's idea; the right environment for a child to grow and be nurtured in love.
    For the first two: the man and the woman; marriage is a relationship based on trust and commitment. It is only those who have been faithful in a little that are given much more.
    For the child, he or she would learn mutual respect, forgiveness, love, selfless service and acceptance and other good things from a man and a woman; so that when he or she would relate with the world later, it would be easy to love, learn, live and forgive.

    This is the God idea; but sometimes marriages do not live up to its glory because of disobedience and ignorance.
    Disobedience is knowing the right way and ignoring it; Ignorance is trying to make a car to fly.
  • Jan 19 2013: I think marriage, or at least a permanent relationship with one person, probably has shown over time to prolong life, effectively propagate the species, and create a feeling of inner peace in both parties. Chances are, you will be sick or incapacitated at some point in your life, so those with a partner that cares enough to take care of you keeps you from falling victim to stronger people or nature. Children are dependent on their mother for nourishment initially, which in turn makes her dependent on someone else to provide for food and protection. After you have shared time together, you have created a bond of co-dependency that offers a measure of security and inner peace.

    All the other external influences, like nature, society, temptations, etc. have existing since man started to become a social animal. Rings, certificates, ceremonies, etc. are just societies way of formalizing an interpersonal decision. Being mature enough to understand the commitment to each other is the real age marriage should take place. You need to understand what is required to take care of yourself, realize what is required to take care of another person, and be willing to accept the responsibility of the commitment. After that decision has been made, you should grow together through life.

    Has this become a dated notion? No, I think it is still the best chance for survival, although some of the temptations are more well advertised. Selfish decisions about pursuit of lifestyle or a 'better deal' to do less work with more luxury are at the root of many problems. Child rearing needs to be the top priority of both parents.

    Crimes are determined by society, nature lets the strong make the decisions. There are natural effects of each of the crimes you mention that would reduce the perpetrator's chances for continuing the bloodline, the effects are just slow.

    Nature, not religion, should be the benchmark for is required for survival.

    We risk survival as we move away from nature.
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    Jan 19 2013: Pragmatically speaking, looking at human history are there any examples of a society where reproducing males and females were not pair-bonded in a socially recognized agreement of belonging exclusively to one another? My guess is not one single example. Shouldn't that be sufficient basis for being cautious about joining with the nay-sayers who advocate for the casting-off the institution of marriage? Also, when we consider the overall social effects of free-love (or whatever non-marriage is called) I'm guessing we see more strife and conflict than in the pair-bonding paradigm. I say marriage promotes peace, which may be part of the reason our Creator instituted it [Genesis 2:24].
    • Jan 20 2013: Hi Edward, I agree and disagree. You have made a good case for pair-bonding, and I agree with that. I do not agree that the only alternatives to modern marriage are casting it off altogether, or free-love. Marriage law is so complicated today that almost no one entering marriage knows what they are really doing. If people understood marriage law and understood the many things that can lead to divorce, everyone with any sense would set up a prenuptial contract. Ask any divorce lawyer.
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        Jan 20 2013: Well Barry the OP seems to present either marriage or the discontinuation of marriage. You have introduced a third option. I am woefully ignorant of pre-nuptial agreements so I will keep silent about that and continue to argue for the blessed happiness that comes with a lifetime of fidelity between a man and a woman. Thank you!
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    Feb 16 2013: If you guys can find him, let me know. I have some scores to settle with him.
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    Feb 16 2013: I would like to think marriage is all that I have read in this conversation. History seems not so kind. As the legend goes, when we were in caves, there were the alpha males that sort of kept up the progeny of the clan. Other males may have gotten involved, but no definitive information on that. Once we got down to farming, things changed. A young man cleared some land and found hired help too expensive. So, he took a couple sheep down to the next farm and traded for an extra daughter. The children became cheap labor. During the Roman times, young and upcoming senators found a wealthy widow to help finance his political career. They called all their family and friends to a big orgy and announced their union.
    During the middle ages, there were kingdoms all over Europe warring with each other. The Church saw this as bad behavior and it cut into Sunday collections. So they elevated marriage to one of the highest sacred services and had this kingdom's princess married to that kingdom's prince. Europe became more peaceful and collections went up.
    Commoners thought it was cool, so they took up the practice of church weddings. Which brings us to the modern day.
    To be perfectly honest, there had been spousal contracts recognized by governing authorities all through history.

    So, why are we analyzing this joyful union between people, one of the closest relationships that can be entered into,
    to this degree? Isn't there is something about looking a gifted horse in the mouth? Will marriage suffer from paradigm paralysis? Will any of these discussions make marriage better? If these questions make your marriage better, good for you. If not, join a cloistered monastery.
  • Jan 28 2013: Oh, and I just found this article that's ridiculously biased, but very funny. And has a good point.
  • Jan 25 2013: There have been a lot of studies done about the benefits to children of being raised in a nuclear family. There was a recent TED talk posted about the four metaphorical asteroids poised to hit society within 50 years. One of them was the dissolution of marriage. Most people who don't agree with marriage seem to be thinking about the couple and the messiness of divorce. I won't deny that divorce is horrible. People shouldn't get married if they don't know how to commit, love, and sacrifice. What they don't think about is raising the kids. How many single moms are raising children without their fathers? No one can deny that it's harder to raise children by yourself. I'm not saying that the legal act of marriage would fix this. The emotional act of marriage would. The emotional act is where you vow to your spouse that you will stick by them and love them no matter what happens. When they do the same, that's marriage. Without that emotional commitment, the marriage is pointless in my book.
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    Jan 20 2013: ..
    Genesis 2:23-24 (KJV)
    And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. [24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    Seems like it was there from the start.

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    Jan 20 2013: As I understand it, marriage was a way to verify that a male's progeny was his own. This was important in property inheritance - something that came about at the same time that nomads developed into settled agricultural people. I also believe the concept of virginity was vital for the marriage model to achieve these ends.

    These institutions came about after the hypothesized pre-historic transition in human sexual dimorphism to favor male primates; it's believed that our relative female primates were actually larger and more mobile than the male, forcing males to literally cling to the backs of females to ensure that no other male copulated with his lady after he had. It still remains to be seen if this flip is a causation or a correlation.

    My sources? 'You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos' by Robert Arthur and Julian Jaynes' 'The Origin of Consciousness in the Break Down of the Bicameral Mind.'
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    Jan 20 2013: I believe "marriage" is a relatively new concept, we've always had multiples partners for most of our existence on Earth.

    And we didn't go extinct, so I guess it was not a bad model, isn't?. But that doesn't mean that marriage is not a good or even better one.
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    Jan 19 2013: .
    Our ancestors invented the "marriage" in the bio-evolution.
    Today, we instinctively know it is the right way to proceed.

    • Jan 20 2013: Wrong. Definitely wrong. Marriage was invented when "society" was a tribe. Our marriage laws are still based on tribal values and tribal thinking. To say that they are out of date is like comparing a stone ax to a modern computer. Couples pairing up is instinctive, and so is parental love for children. Marriage traditions and marriage laws are just outdated claptrap.
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        Jan 23 2013: Thanks!
        Where were the "tribal values and tribal thinking" come from?
        • Jan 23 2013: What is wrong is that "we instinctively know it is the right way to proceed."

          There is nothing instinctive about our modern marriage laws (in the USA).
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        Jan 24 2013: Thanks!
        Is law based on the symbiotic rules of our ancestors' saved in our DNA (instincts) plus today's new data?
        • Jan 24 2013: Using that kind of reasoning, we could also say that our laws are based on the nuances of the big bang. Such statements may be true in some sense, but such statements are also useless.

          Your original claim,

          "Today, we instinctively know it is the right way to proceed."

          In my opinion, this is dead wrong. I could make the claim that today, we are instinctively proceeding in exactly the wrong way. Neither of these claims can be determined to be true scientifically. You have your opinion and I have my opinion.
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        Jan 24 2013: .

        Thank you very much!
        Good luck!
  • Jan 18 2013: I could probably write a book about the myth of marriage in the 21st century.

    Marriage was invented before the roots of history, so we can only speculate about its actual invention.

    The more pertinent question is, "do we know that Marriage is the right way to proceed?"

    That depends. It depends on how we define "we", "know" and "right".

    IMO, marriage, as currently defined in the law of the USA, is no longer good for society. It is clear that people like to pair up, and will continue to do so. Whether these relationships should be bound by laws is the key question. I think it would be much better to get rid of the laws and have each couple write up their own personal contract. Before the contract is enforceable each party must demonstrate that they have complete knowledge of the contract and its consequences. The one area of marriage law that is necessary is the part that protects children.

    It is good to see people questioning marriage. My opinions are largely based on divorce. I have not been divorced myself, but have witnessed a number of divorces, and they are very ugly indeed. Breaking up is never easy, but it is a profound injustice when the law makes the process exponentially worse.
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    Jan 18 2013: Not 100% sure that where there is a nuclear family there is strong isolation. Even when you grow up in a nuclear family, you are exposed to a million different people. Even in an African village, where I guess there are many nuclear families, they say it takes a village to raise a child, meaning that a child is exposed to all kinds of people who affect the child, whether the child likes it or not. I'm thinking that under raising children outside the nuclear family, you will still see some large crimes.
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    Jan 18 2013: Richard, I am not by any means a scholar or historian but have read up to reply to your question. The actual word marriage does not show up until mid CE. However the anciet greeks, hebrews and many in the BCE used terms like took a wife (or husband) or were companions. The term companion was common biblical term for wife or husband but is not accepted when used as Jesus and Mary were companions. Interesting.

    When taken as a ife, she must be faithful and perform certain duties as a "wife". However these were limits only for the wife as the husband was not required to be faithful.

    I found what I think is the reasoning behind taking a wife ( or husband ). It was required for a man to take his brothers wife as his own when he died. The woman had few right and owning property was not one of them. So being a wife gave her equal right to property. Often the man would give the wife a tent of her own or if rich a section of the house as her own to be in private from the husband.

    The "marriage" as described in the bible and in other religions was to be between a man and a woman. We have determined that it is now acceptable to have a civil union between the same sex. So in that vein yes you are correct that "marrage" is being relaced by civil union.

    The example of the father used above is also being challenged by females having sex with minors ... almost everyday a teacher is jailed for having sex with a student .... mothers and wives doing the same ... the shame is no longer isolated to males.

    It does not take a great mind to follow where our culture is evolving to. I am old and do not understand the need for these changes nor do many in my generation ... but then I missed out on the sexual revalution of the 60's also. Rats.

    I wish you well. Bob.