What is marriage?

What is marriage?The term “marriage” comes from the word matrimonium, a Latin expression that originates from the words monium, whose meaning is quality of, and matrem, whose meaning is mother. This term talks about the union that two people .

Today, this pact is celebrated by millions of people around the world. Two individuals find reasons to make a bond of love, and in honor of this, they create a covenant that commits them for life to love each other through thick and thin, which is known as marriage.

Under this premise, the meaning of the word marriage does not seem to be complicated. However, we can find multiple contexts, in which, although we will not find substantially different definitions, we will observe significant differences. Marriage can thus be defined from a variety of perspectives, and such definitions will be presented below.

In law

In law, marriage is recognized as the union that a woman and a man make under a declaration and contract. The so-called parties undertake to constitute themselves as a solemn family project, which will become a legitimate society before the law, formed by two people for perpetual existence.

The conceptualization of marriage, from the point of view of law, must be characterized as extremely liquid, that is, a conceptualization that has taken many forms. This is mainly due to the fact that the clauses that define the marriage society are determined by the principles of each country.

It is about the moral bases that, according to the regulations of a nation or state, can recognize marriage made up of same-sex couples. Certain clauses will warn that marriage is a solemn act performed by a woman and a man, while others are not. Therefore, the concept of marriage in law will depend on each legal margin.

It consists of the legitimate union

Faced with these evaluations, the idea of a legitimate union, of representation before the law as a couple that decides to establish itself before the State, is not lost sight of. An institution known as the family, legitimized through marriage.

It is in this way that marriage is described from the law, which, despite its different clauses, does not lose the essence of a union that is made between two people before the State.

According to the Bible

In the bible we will not find a description per se of marriage. However, much has been said about this formality, since marriage is part of one of the most important elements for the offspring and the preservation of the family. To understand this context, it is necessary to quote different verses from the Bible.

In Matthew (19: 4-6) we will find the following reading:

Have you not read, “Jesus replied,” that in the beginning the creator “made them male and female” and said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, and be united to his wife,” “The two will come to be one body ”So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined, man must not separate.

The bases of the union in marriage are not based on the search for a formal and legitimate act before the State. It is a bond that is conducive to union and to create society through the family, a model that only recognizes a man and a woman as members of that institution.

On the other hand, the Genesis reading (2:18) quotes:

Then Jehovah God said: “It is not good for the man to go on alone. I’m going to make him an assistant to complement him ”.

This verse from Genesis speaks of the creation of woman, recognizing her as the complement of man, who observed himself alone. In turn, the reading of Genesis (1:28) supports the following scriptures:

In addition, God blessed them and told them: “Have many children, multiply, fill the earth and take control of it, and have authority over the fish of the sea, the flying animals of the heavens and all the living beings that move on the earth. Earth”.

The principle of the union between man and woman, in the bible, is not directed to the lines of the holy marriage. Therefore, there is no specific concept of marriage in the Bible. This does not exclude the explanation and orientation to the union between man and woman, as observed in the previous reading.

The bible does not define, but rather describes marriage. That is, it advises the way in which spouses should recognize each other and, in this way, unite in honor of the miracle that God has given to man and woman to reproduce.


Marriage is an act recognized by both the church and the state. For the recognition of the second, the so-called civil marriage is required.

Civil marriage is a conjugal pact in which two people declare their union before the State. Said union will conceive obligations and rights to the spouses, which will be watched over by the aforementioned body, and processed in different types of public institutions depending on the case of the country (municipal entities, civil registry, judges, etc.).

It could be said that civil marriage is a legal implication that is constituted at the moment in which two people declare their union before the law. In this way, a couple becomes part of a universe of conjugal relationships registered in a country, which must correspond to certain duties with each other.

Civil marriage is one in which the spouses administer the matrimonial property, which will be the object of succession in the event of a divorce, a legal remedy in which the spouses, given the impossibility of sustaining their relationship, decide to separate and stop be a couple in the eyes of the law.


Christian marriage is a pact that two people belonging to the Christian faith make before the eyes of Jesus and his church, where they agree to fulfill all the mandates dictated by the so-called messiah, now united in marriage.

Only baptized Christians can celebrate a Christian marriage, and in this way, be recognized before their church as a legitimate union respectively. This covenant does not recognize the possibility of a divorce (as it would be in the case of a civil marriage), and it is normally valued by Christians with more importance than any civil contract.

The christian wedding

For the realization of a Christian marriage, a wedding must take place. It is a celebration attended by guests, typically family members or close friends of the couple, church members, the couple, and the pastor. At the beginning of the wedding, different praises are performed, and then, we proceed to the adoration of Jesus.

Later, the couple will read or pronounce the so-called vows of love, which consist of promises or messages that the bride and groom wish to communicate in honor of the occasion. This, as part of his declarations before his sacred marriage. Now, we proceed to the exchange of rings, a symbol that will immortalize the pact of love between the spouses by the church.

Christian weddings, unlike Catholic weddings, do not require to be strictly celebrated in a municipal church authorized by the State. These can be carried out in the home of one of the spouses, or also, in a space agreed by the pastor and the members of the church.

Catholic marriage

Catholic marriage is defined, according to the Catholic Church, as the celebration of conjugal love that God and his kings have requested. The spouses will celebrate it from the intimate coexistence and love. Its purpose is the education of descendants and procreation, obeying the divine mandate to populate the world according to Matthew (19: 4-6).

For the celebration of the Catholic marriage, it is necessary that the spouses have successfully fulfilled the sacraments of baptism, communion and confirmation, being the sacred marriage the last and corresponding sacrament to be performed in order to constitute themselves before the Catholic Church as firm actors of the word of God.

Likewise, it is established that there cannot be any kinship between the spouses and they must not be very young, unlike Christian marriage, where it is customary to celebrate marriages between young couples. In this same way, it has been stressed that they can only be celebrated in Catholic municipal churches.

What is marriage? meaning
What is marriage? 3

The catholic wedding

While in Christian marriage the celebration is orchestrated by the pastor, the Catholic Church makes use of the figure of the priest to celebrate the Catholic marriage respectively. At the wedding, the bride and groom’s relatives attend church, where the bride’s family will be observed in the chairs on the left and, in the chairs on the right, the groom’s family.

The groom must wait together with his mother for the arrival of the bride, who, upon entering the church, will be accompanied by her father to the altar in order to deliver her to her groom. This process symbolizes the surrender that the father makes of his daughter to his son-in-law, in honor of his now marriage pact.

The priest will be in charge of welcoming the bride and groom, explaining the most important concepts of Catholic marriage. Later, he will reflect on the new union that is about to be agreed in the eyes of God. The priest will ask the future spouses a series of questions, where they will swear their marriage through their answers.

Later, this will give consent of the marriage of the spouses before the law of God, and in this way, will give permission to the bride and groom to deliver the wedding rings. Once the rings are in place, there will be readings on the bible and then the offerings of bread and wine, glorifying and thanking God for the union of the spouses.

The bride and groom, godparents and witnesses will sign the marriage certificates, and to approach the final step, the bride and groom must kneel to receive the blessings. Once this culminates, the couple will be allowed to stand up, and they will be presented by the priest as the lord and the lady, to end by authorizing the kiss of the groom to the bride.


Equal marriage is a pact in which an institution recognizes that two people of the same sex can enter into marriage, thus enjoying the same rights as a traditional marriage and, in this sense, be recognized by law as a legitimate pact and with the state backing.

Same-sex marriage is currently a subject of debate in many countries that still have discussions about the validity that this institution deserves. Therefore, not all countries allow two people of the same sex to marry.

Multiple social movements in protests demand the approval of this institution, as it is one of the most important human rights such as the right to non-discrimination.

The objective of these movements known as LGBTI, consists of guaranteeing equality in the identity rights of the entire population without evaluating their orientation or gender identity.

Currently, there are more than 30 countries in the world that still have bans on same-sex marriage. However, it is expected that eventually they can reform the regulatory laws before the celebration of the also demonized homosexual marriage or marriage between people of the same sex.

The matter becomes complex due to the possibility of regulations that do not depend strictly on the State, but on religious authorities.

Institutions that have been characterized by having a rigid thinking, and, therefore, a complex situation, given the idea of legitimizing equal marriage in certain countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Poland, Paraguay, Bolivia, etc.


An ecclesiastical marriage is any union under the concept of marriage that two people perform before their church. We could say that the previously defined Christian and Catholic marriages have been considered as ecclesiastical.

The celebration of an ecclesiastical marriage has no effect under the law, therefore, they are considered as legitimate only within their church, where the betrothal effects (dependent according to religion) that the spouses assume once they carry out the marriage are recognized. marriage covenant.

Each church or body will recognize its marriage as a unique process, so it will consider its own unique characteristics. For example, the Code of Canon Law recognizes Catholic marriages as a sacrament and covenant made only by baptized Catholics.


Canonical marriage is one celebrated according to the canons established by the Catholic Church itself. In this sense, it is possible to speak of canonical marriage as a synonym for Catholic marriage, where the same procedure is carried out and the same oaths are satisfied according to the mandate of the Catholic Church.

In turn, the prior celebration of the sacraments of baptism, communion and confirmation is valued as an indispensable requirement. Similarly, it is not feasible to carry out this marriage in people who have not been baptized, people of the same sex, and people who already have a marital relationship (polygamy).

What is an illicit marriage?

An illicit marriage is one that is celebrated according to foreign interests to those agreed in the marriage. In other words, it is a contract that is made to obtain benefits resulting from the conjugal union, which are not related to love or family interests.

This type of marriages is characterized by being agreed under a price or prior agreement between the parties, who contemplate a joint benefit once they can legitimize their union. This type of marriages are usually carried out to obtain immigration benefits, resolution in the distribution of assets, inheritances, etc.

Fixed up

Arranged marriage is a socio-cultural institution in which the family (usually the parents) offers or chooses a spouse for a single person. Therefore, the marriage can take place with or without the consent of the latter (in the latter case we speak of forced marriage).

While this type of marriage suffers from a negative view in Western countries, this is not necessarily the case in most of humanity.

In general, economic reasons come into play, so if in the working classes it is usually simply the need to find a spouse who allows one of their children to live with dignity, patrimonial interests predominate among the artisans and members of the wealthy classes. . Depending on the case, a bridal or dowry pricing system may be associated with the arrangement.

Open marriage

What exactly is open marriage? It is a marriage in which husband and wife do not have an exclusive relationship in terms of sex: that is, it is possible to make love with people outside of marriage.

There are those who say that open marriage is a way to make the couple last longer, but it is certainly not easy to handle and it is not for everyone. Indeed, there are those who consider it an excuse to be able to do their own business, a kind of legalized treason, let’s say.

Buddhist marriage

As you already know, Buddhism is a religion (a philosophy that the Western view) whose back to India dates from V th century BC origins. It is an individual path whose objective is to awaken by making egoic desire and illusion disappear.

Therefore, marriage in Buddhism is based on an established relationship between man and woman. As it has no legal or religious character, this sacrament therefore arises from the need of a couple (as well as their families) to formalize their relationship. And this in a fairly simple way.

But it is still a wedding rich in symbols and preparations. In fact, to unite the bride and groom you must first obtain the blessing of their respective parents. Only then do the couple decide, if they wish, to organize a party or a ceremony to celebrate their union.

If you want to legalize the union, the corresponding civil protocol is made.

Hindu Marriage

The customs and traditions of Hindu marriage are passed down from generation to generation. The wedding ceremony is part of the ancient traditions of Indian culture.

Hinduism considers marriage sacred, it is the union of a man and a woman to found a family and the alliance between two families. Unlike in the West, Hindu marriage is still an arranged marriage between two families. Today, it affects 90% of Hindu marriages.

The religious ceremony lasts one day or even several days (from 1 to 12 days). The more sumptuous the Hindu marriage, the more families are formed in society. The ceremony generates a considerable expense.

How is a Hindu wedding going? Parents often use their network of friends, family, or matchmakers to find the perfect match. Once the couple chooses, a meeting will take place between the two families. The alleged couple will be chosen from the same caste.

Jewish marriage

Jewish marriage is one of the most codified ceremonies. It can only take place when all conditions are met. Jewish marriage can only be celebrated when both spouses are of Jewish faith. This first condition is irrevocable and exceptions are not tolerated.

If one of the spouses is not of Jewish faith, he must convert. To do this, he must follow a defined procedure with a view to retraining him. This rule is valid for both men and women. Several steps are required to complete the conversion.

Once the rule is respected, it is possible to prepare for the ceremony. The rituals begin the day before the ceremony where the woman must take a cleansing bath. It is the mikveh. During the wedding day, lovers must also fast.

Of course, the civil marriage must take place before the religious marriage. This is a second condition of the Jewish wedding ceremony. It is possible to celebrate the Jewish wedding every day, except Saturdays, Shabbat days, holidays and during the period of the Omer.

What are the fundamentals of Jewish marriage?

The main objective of religious marriage according to the Judaic tradition is to allow the creation of a home, based on the principle of fidelity and happiness.

Muslim marriage

What Islam says. Marriage, in Islam, is considered a social contract with a divine blessing (sura XXV, 54). This does not exclude love between bride and groom: sura XXX, 21 thus explains that marriage is one of the signs of Allah’s solicitude for humanity and that Allah “has put love and goodness” between husband and wife.

Muslim marriage (or “Islamic marriage” is the same thing) requires certain conditions to be met. Therefore, if a man of Muslim faith can marry a Christian or Jewish woman (but not an atheist), a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man.

If the groom is not of Muslim faith, he must convert before marriage. And the children of the marriage must be brought up in the Muslim faith. Namely.

It should be noted that Muslim men can marry “without shame or reproach” to a divorced woman; Unsurprisingly, Islamic law prohibits marrying close relatives. Furthermore (according to Sura IV, 4), the groom must give a gift to his bride before marriage; this is a form of dowry called “mahr”.

This gift then belongs to the wife: it is often a sum of money destined to furnish the house. In the 21st century, this gift is generally symbolic: Muslim tradition reports that Mahommet once gave approval of it to very simple gifts: a pair of sandals or a handful of flour.

Read also: What is culture?;What is psychology?; How I save my marriage after cheating on my husband; Marriage in California; Marriage in Texas; Marriage in ancient Greece and Rome; Marriage in Florida


(2021). Marriage. Wikipedia. Recovered from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage

Adam, A. (2021). Marriage. Britannica. Recovered from: https://www.britannica.com/topic/marriage

(S / F). Catholic Marriage FAQs. For Your Marriage. Recovered from: https://www.foryourmarriage.org/catholic-marriage-faqs/

(S/F). What is a Christian Marriage?. St. John the Evangelist. Recuperado de: https://stjohnbaytown.org/what-is-a-christian-marriage

(2021). Marriage in the Catholic Church. Wikipedia. Recovered from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_the_Catholic_Churchhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_the_Catholic_Church

Editions 2021-22

This post is also available in: English Français (French) Deutsch (German) Español (Spanish) Dansk (Danish) Nederlands (Dutch) Svenska (Swedish) Italiano (Italian) Português (Portuguese (Portugal))