The institution of marriage has been around for very long time about “3000 years, and history tells us that it’s changed many times over the years, but not as many times as it has the last 30 years,” according to the article, “The Evolution of Matrimony: The Changing Social Context of Marriage”, written by Stephanie Coontz. There has been a lot of diversity in the history of marriage. Just like George Santayana, a Hispanic Philosopher said, “History repeats itself…”, and that goes for marital traditions as well. Although, there is a new tradition now that hasn’t been seen before, actually they have been seen before, but separately during different times in history. These new traditions don’t mean Marriage is getting weaker or stronger, it is getting a makeover. Taking a look in the past will show how the past’s traditions have come together into today’s world.
Going back thousands of years in the history of marriage we find that marriage was used to organize people’s lives, and allow them to gain economic stability parents would arrange marriages were their children to make sure that love was not involved in the decision making. To the parents of children during that time marriage was a way of acquiring him to win join in-laws, ceiling business deals, raising capital, and expanding the family labor force. Another important reason why the parents arranged marriages was to make sure that their future was going to be taking care of by their children. And they did not when their children to be self-indulgent and marry for love.
Approximately 200 years ago is when it became acceptable to marry for love. Even though they were married for love was because it was based on “legal, economic, and reproductive subordination of women” (480), states Coontz. A law that was adopted in America from the English common law, was, “husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband” (480). “The English common law also regulated marriage relations until the early 20th century. And that was that the man had the legal right to forcibly restrained, imprison and correct his wife”, (480) and this lasted until the late 19th century. Another law, called the Head and Master laws and these laws “gave the husband the right to have the final say over family decisions, such as, could tell the wife what to do and not to do and where they could live. Perhaps it was better for them to have an arranged marriage, it’s of course America was still in the time period that women had no rights whatsoever, and men controlled everything. “It wasn’t until the 1980s”, Coontz states, “the idea of marital rape was considered a contradiction in terms, continues statement, because courts held that when a wife said I do to marriage she has said I will to sex whenever her husband wanted it”( 481).
Marriage’s primary intention was to tie women to men, and that made him more secure that the children were really his biological heirs. Through marriage, a woman became a man’s property. If any wives during that time could not have children the men would send them away, and marry someone else who could have children. Of course, some marriages for love did work out. But marriages were created more out of necessity as to people being in love. Marriages that were created more out of necessity as to people being in love appeared to work out better. Looking at these changes that have occurred in the past indicates that