How Long Has the Institution of Marriage Existed For?

Most ancient societies needed a secure environment for the perpetuation of the species, a system of rules to handle the granting of property rights, and the protection of bloodlines. The institution of ple, in ancient Hebrew, the law required a man to become the husband of a deceased brother’s widow.

How Long Marriage Existed For

Marriage comes from Middle English which was first seen in 1250-1300 CE. However, the ancient institution likely predates this date. The main goal of marriage, earlier on, was to act as an alliance between families. Throughout history, and even today, families arranged marriages for couples. Most couples didn’t marry because they were in love, but for economic liaisons. The people involved didn’t have much to say about the decision then, and often don’t today, either.

Women and Brides

In our modern world, some marriages are by proxy, some involve a dowry (the bride’s family giving money or presents to the groom or his family,) and some require a bride price (the groom or his family giving money or a present to the bride’s family). Few may have any courtship or dating, but most have deep-rooted traditions.

Different periods of time and various cultures have very dissimilar histories when it comes to women. Ancient Egypt, in theory, gave women equal rights, but it wasn’t always practiced. Medieval women, on the other hand, faced dual responsibilities to religion and marriage.

Cultural Customs

One nearly universal marriage tradition is that of the engagement ring. This custom can be dated back to the ancient Romans and Egyptians. It is believed that the roundness of the ring represents eternity. Thus, the wearing of wedding rings symbolizes a union that is to last forever. In fact, it was once thought that a vein or nerve ran directly from the “ring” finger of the left hand to the heart.

  • Common Law Marriage: An informal marriage and legal network that makes people married due to living together for a period of time.