Whats In A Word Marriage
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Whats in a Word?
The definition of marriage can be interpreted in many different ways. The words root, “marry,” means to join as spouses by exchanging vows. The suffix, “age,” is defined as a condition or state. By combining these two, the Oxford English Dictionary defines marriage as “the condition between husband or wife, spousehood, and wedlock.” It is also defined as a particular matrimonial alliance and an intimate union. Although in general terms, marriage has kept its broad definition, throughout the centuries the words meaning has altered along with social mores.
One would have had a different definition of marriage hundreds of years ago. In the past, marriage was not singly an expression of love and commitment between two people, but took place for other reasons such as raising family status, expanding family property and complying with social pressures. In 1297 Glouc refers to the value of marriage: ” to be in such a marriage alied to the emperour.” These words imply that marriage was used as a tool to gain relationships with prestige individuals. Besides marrying to further ones status, couples married to acquire land for their families. The Oxford Dictionary can be quoted in saying, “lands are conveyed to the use of A and B after marriage shall be had between them (1766).” Women were looked down upon if they were not married and were viewed as a burden to their fathers. Men were expected to marry in order to preserve the family name by having children (preferably males). According to Oxford, divorce wasnt common like it is today. It is made evident of past opinions surrounding the subject by comments that, “no man nor woman should break her marriage.”
Today the word marriage can be interpreted differently than its definition in the past centuries. In present day, marriage is not commonly carried out for the same reasons in the past. Today, couples marry to