What is a Marriage?

What is a Marriage?

I remember my first day of family law class. The Professor asked us for a definition of marriage. Eager to impress we all provided a nugget of wisdom. She wrote each nugget on the board. It went something like this:

MARRIAGE IS… when two people… who are in love… and sexually attracted to each other… agree to love each other… and be faithful… forever… in front of society… in a religious and/or civil ceremony… for the purpose of living together… and procreating… etc.

The Professor then proceeded to shred our romantic notions. She asked us if the following were legitimate marriages:

  • Ugly couple who is not sexually attracted to each other but want to start a family like everyone else;
  • Bride and groom who know that he will be unfaithful but nonetheless choose to marry;
  • Couple who signs a prenup;
  • Infertile couple;
  • Couple in arranged marriage;
  • A secret marriage;
  • …etc

By the end of class, we had narrowed it down to:

MARRIAGE IS…a contract between two people to take care of each other for an undefined period of time.

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