Definition for marriage

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The modern concept of family is far more encompassing than in past decades.

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What do you think constitutes a family? Marriage and family are key structures in most societies. While the two institutions have historically been closely linked in U. The relationship between marriage and family is an interesting topic of study to sociologists.

What is marriage? Different people define it in different ways. Not even sociologists are able to agree on a single meaning. Other variations on the definition of marriage might include whether spouses are of opposite sexes or the same sex and how one of the traditional expectations of marriage to produce children is understood today. Sociologists are interested in the relationship between the Definition for marriage of marriage and the institution of family because, historically, marriages are what create a family, and families are the most basic social unit upon which society is built.

Both marriage and family create status roles that are sanctioned by society. So what is a family?

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A husband, a wife, and two children—maybe even a pet—has served as the model for the traditional U. But what about families that deviate from this model, such as a single-parent household or a homosexual couple without children? Should they be considered families as well? The question of what constitutes a family is a prime area of debate in family sociology, as well as in Definition for marriage and religion. Social conservatives tend to define Definition for marriage family in Definition for marriage of structure with each family member filling a certain role like father, mother, or.

Sociologists, on the other hand, tend to define family more in terms of the manner in which members relate to one another than on a strict configuration of status roles. Sociologists identify different types of families based on how one enters into them. A family of orientation refers to the family into which a person is born.

A family of procreation describes one that is formed through marriage. These distinctions have cultural ificance related to issues of lineage. Drawing on two sociological paradigms, the sociological understanding of what constitutes a family can be explained by symbolic interactionism as well as functionalism. These two theories indicate that families are groups in which participants view themselves as family members and act accordingly.

In other words, families are groups in which people come together to form a strong primary group connection and maintain emotional ties to one another over a long period of time. Such families may include groups of close friends or teammates. In addition, the functionalist perspective views families as groups that perform vital roles for society—both internally for the family itself and externally for society as a whole.

Parents care for and socialize children. Definition for marriage in life, adult children often care for elderly parents. We will go into more detail about how Definition for marriage theories apply to family in. People in the United States as a whole are somewhat divided when it comes to determining what does and what does not constitute a family. In a survey conducted by professors at the University of Indiana, nearly all participants Ninety-two percent stated that a husband and a wife without children still constitute a family.

The s drop for less traditional structures: unmarried couples with children 83 percentunmarried couples without children The study also revealed that 60 percent of U. Census Bureau While this structured definition can be used as a means to consistently track family-related patterns over several years, it excludes individuals such as cohabitating unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples. Legality aside, sociologists would argue that the general concept of family is more Definition for marriage and less structured than in years past.

Society has given more leeway to the de of a family making room for what works for its members Jayson It is also very important to society. While the de of the family may have changed in recent years, the fundamentals of emotional closeness and support are still present.

Most responders to the Pew survey stated that their family today is at least as close 45 percent or closer 40 percent than the family with which they grew up Pew Research Center Alongside the debate surrounding what constitutes a family is the question of what people in the United States believe constitutes a Definition for marriage. Many religious and social conservatives believe that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman, citing religious scripture and the basics of human reproduction as support. Social liberals and progressives, on the other hand, believe that marriage can exist between two consenting adults—be they a man and a woman, or a woman and a woman—and that it would be discriminatory to deny such a couple the civil, social, and economic benefits of marriage.

With single parenting and cohabitation when a couple shares a residence but not a marriage becoming more acceptable in recent years, people may be less motivated to get married. The institution of marriage is likely to continue, but some patterns of marriage will become outdated as new patterns emerge. In this context, cohabitation contributes to the phenomenon of people getting married for the first time at a later age than was typical in earlier generations Glezer People in the United States typically equate marriage with monogamywhen someone is married to only one person at a time.

In many countries and cultures around the world, however, having one spouse is not the only form of marriage. In a majority of cultures 78 percentpolygamyor being married to more than one person at a time, is accepted Murdockwith most polygamous societies existing in northern Africa and east Asia Altman and Ginat Instances of polygamy are almost exclusively in the form of polygyny. Polygyny refers to a man being married to more than one woman at the same time. The reverse, when a woman is married to more than one man at the same time, is called polyandry.

The reasons for the overwhelming prevalence of polygamous societies are varied but they often include issues of population growth, religious ideologies, and social status. Joseph Smith, Jr. While the majority of societies accept polygyny, the majority of people do not practice it. Often fewer than Definition for marriage percent and no more than 25—35 percent of men in polygamous cultures have Definition for marriage than one wife; these husbands are often older, wealthy, high-status men Altman and Ginat The average plural marriage involves no more than three wives.

Negev Bedouin men in Israel, for example, typically have two wives, although it is acceptable to have up to four Griver As urbanization increases in these cultures, polygamy is likely to decrease as a result of greater access to mass media, technology, and education Altman and Ginat In the United States, polygamy is considered by most to be socially unacceptable and it is illegal. The act of entering into marriage while still married to another person is referred to as bigamy and is considered a felony in most states.

Polygamy in the United States is often associated with those of the Mormon faith, although in the Mormon Church officially renounced polygamy. It is estimated that there are about 37, fundamentalist Mormons involved in polygamy in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, but that has shown a steady decrease in the last Definition for marriage Useem Muslims, however, are an emerging group with an estimated 20, practicing polygamy. Again, polygamy among U. Muslims is uncommon and occurs only in approximately 1 percent of the population Useem For now polygamy among U. This pattern of tracing kinship is called bilateral descent.

Sixty percent of societies, mostly modernized nations, follow a bilateral descent pattern. In partrilineal societies, such as those in rural China and India, only males carry on the family surname. This gives males the prestige of permanent family membership while females are seen as only temporary members Harrell In matrilineal societies, inheritance and family ties are traced to women.

Matrilineal descent is common in Native American societies, notably the Crow and Cherokee tribes. In ambilineal societies, which are most common in Southeast Asian countries, parents may choose to associate their children with the kinship of either the mother or the father. In many cultures, newly married couples move in with, or near to, family members. Patrilocal systems can be traced back thousands of years. In a DNA analysis of 4,year-old bones found in Germany, scientists found indicators of patrilocal living arrangements Haak et al Patrilocal residence is thought to be disadvantageous to women because it makes them outsiders in the home and community; it also keeps them disconnected from their own blood Definition for marriage.

The Minangkabau people, a matrilocal society that is indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra in Indonesia, believe that home is the place of women and they give men little power in issues relating to the home or family Joseph and Najmabadi Most societies that use patrilocal and patrilineal systems are patriarchal, but very few societies that use matrilocal and matrilineal systems are matriarchal, as family life is often considered an important part of the culture for women, regardless of their power relative to men.

Historically, it was often thought that many families evolved through a series of predictable stages. Today, however, these models have been criticized for their linear and conventional assumptions as well as for their failure to capture the diversity of family forms. While reviewing some of these once-popular theories, it is important to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The set of predictable steps and patterns families experience over time is referred to as the family life cycle. One of the first des of the family life cycle was developed by Paul Glick in This cycle will then continue with each subsequent generation Glick The family life cycle Definition for marriage used to explain the different processes that occur in families over time.

Sociologists view each stage as having its own structure with different challenges, achievements, and accomplishments that transition the family from one stage to the next. For example, the problems and challenges that a family experiences in Stage 1 as a married couple with no children are likely much different than those experienced in Stage 5 as a married couple with teenagers.

The success of a family can be measured by how well they adapt to these challenges and transition into each stage. While sociologists use the family life cycle to study the dynamics of family overtime, consumer and marketing researchers have used it to determine what goods and services families need as they progress through each stage Murphy and Staples One example is the family life coursewhich recognizes the events that occur in the lives of families but views them as parting terms of a fluid course rather than in consecutive stages Strong and DeVault It also Definition for marriage light on other shifts in the way family life is practiced.

Whether you grew up watching the Cleavers, the Waltons, the Huxtables, or the Simpsons, most of the iconic families you saw in television sitcoms included a father, a mother, and children cavorting under the same roof while comedy ensued. The s was the height of the suburban U. While some shows of this era portrayed single parents My Three Sons and Bonanzafor instancethe single status almost always resulted from being widowed—not divorced or unwed. Although family dynamics in real U. The late s and the s saw the introduction of the dysfunctional family. Shows such as RoseanneMarried with Childrenand The Simpsons portrayed traditional nuclear families, but in a much less flattering light than those from the s did Museum of Broadcast Communications Over the past ten years, the nontraditional family has become somewhat of a tradition in television.

While most situation comedies focus on single men and women without children, those that do portray families often stray from the classic structure: they include unmarried and divorced parents, adopted children, gay couples, and multigenerational households.

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