The fascinating origins of marriage

How old is the institution of marriage? - The earliest recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from around 2350 BCE, in Mesopotamia.

Marriage ritual -
In time, the act of marriage became a respected ritual. In fact, people who didn't marry were penalized outcasts. 

Marriage in antiquity -
Marriage during the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks had less of a basis in personal relationships and more in social responsibility.

The wedding ring -
The tradition of exchanging rings dates back 3,000 years, and it was the Egyptian pharaohs who first used rings to represent eternity. 

Arranged marriages -
Between the 6th and 11th centuries, marriages were invariably arranged. 

Man and wife -
The views of Protestants and Catholics notwithstanding, women were still treated as a piece of property possessed by their husbands.

Marriage Act of 1836 -
The Marriage Act of 1836 allowed for non-religious civil marriages to be held in register offices.

Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 -
The 1800s also witnessed the passing of another piece of landmark legislation, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857. Before 1858, divorce was rare.

The Victorian ideal of marriage - The Victorians believed marriage should be based on love or companionship. 

Family values and birth control - One of the primary reasons for getting married had always been to procreate and raise a family.

A cultural universe -
Marriage is considered a cultural universe, with numerous ways in which a couple can enter into matrimony. 

Happily ever after -
These core principles remain, where two people find in each other a soul mate, lover, possible co-parent, and best friend.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 - In 2013, The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was introduced in the United Kingdom. 

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