Marriage Throughout Different Cultures
ANT 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Instructor: James Turner
September 29, 2013
Marriage is a personal accomplishment for me. Having a wife then to create a family with her and providing for them, is a rite a passage for most African American males. Most African Americans get married but chances of the marriage lasting are slim. My parents were together for 15 years before they divorced but before the split I was able to witness the idea of a family. I thought marriage was the same everywhere until I traveled to different regions of the world. I always knew that marriage was between a man and a woman. I also knew that all cultures had similar rules of engagement when it came to marriage practices. I was sadly mistaken with what I thought of this world when the topic of marriage was expressed.
Throughout my military career I was fortunate to witness marriages in different parts of the world. While in Sri Lanka I was a part of a wedding that practiced Hindu traditions, in Kuwait I seen a wedding with Muslim traditions and while in the United States I have been part of many weddings that practice Christian traditions.
The tradition of marriage carries many social implications that determine quality of life depending upon the social construct of the couple. Learning to create bonds with others begins at a young age, and in so doing, forms many of the decisions that adults have in marriage ceremonies. Along with the bond, mate selection, cultural similarities and social attitudes help
construct the institution of marriage. Ideas into the process of marriage and types of ceremonies shape the creation of the joining of individuals. Being with the right person, determining if family and friends would be accepting of the choice made, and cultural similarities that can affect child rearing are a few questions that can be generated when the union of two individuals join together to solidify their bond into matrimony.
In essence, typical marriages deal with the course of two individuals who gain emotional ties that become strong enough to believe that to complete the final choice in true commitment is to undergo the process of making an outward proclamation of togetherness. Many view this sort of ceremony to be sacred, and in fact, include various religious infusions that in many cases are culturally influenced. Primary decisions that influence marriage do not always include the idea of love, or even emotional bonds. The idea of being loneliness, feeling of the need to belong and the poignant view of social rejection can rush the person into proceeding in this type of arrangement.
“No segment of society is immune from loneliness, but some people are at greater risk than others…emotional loneliness is loneliness due to lack of an attachment figure whereas social loneliness is due to lack of friends and associates,” (Taylor, Peplau & Sears, 2006). In this case, the need of belonging outweighs the choice of partners. This can be true of someone who believes that the individual’s stability depends upon attention and presence of others.
At an early age, we form attachments that shape our adulthood. These attachments define our choices in who we believe our partners should be. Primarily, the “attachment theory perspective is useful in understanding the social relationships of adults,” (Taylor, Peplau & Sears, 2006). Adolescence is the foundation of learning to become attached and the implications of this type of attachment, being subtle, are very important to the structure of that child’s life
choices. In many social circles, the child is bombarded with inferences as to who he or she must align themselves in. Socialization plays an important role in the “tradition” of the marriage ceremony. Depending upon the society, the child may grow the develop ideas or guidelines that serves to help shape viewpoints...
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VorJack. (2009, June). Christian and the Traditions of Marriage. Patheos. Retrieved from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/06/christianity-and-the-tradition- of-marriage/
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