Types of marriages

The ultimate guide to types of marriages

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Marriage is an equal partnership among two individuals and this social ritual has been there since the ages quietly flying under the radar for the longest time, totally averse to any change. However, as we enter in a more dynamic society where the attention span have reduced to seconds and where there are countless distractions and choices for an individual, the institution and type of marriages has also evolved into various types and forms. After all marriage does not mean that an individual loses the right to be happy or excited. The key tenet here still remains to know what you want out of a marriage in all its practicality for years to come.

As couples both married and unmarried are effected by their experiences together and in life, they have given certain tweaks to the traditional set up of marriage. These modifications have been broadly categorized into various types of marriages below:

Monogamy: This is the oldest form of marriage and the ones that is widely accepted across all cultures. Under this type, one male is married to one female at a time. This remains the same until either one dies or they file for divorce. There are situations when after divorce either partner remarries someone. In that case the marriage type becomes Serial Monogamy, but the key tenet of having one spouse at a an time remains constant. If an individual is not allowed to remarry after divorce, then the marriage is termed as Straight monogamy.

Polygamy: Under Polygamy, a partner is allowed to have more then one wife or husband. This form has lost is popularity in modern civilization but was common practice in ancient times. It is still prevalent across tribes and civilizations which have detached themselves from the modern world.

Polygamy is further divided in the three types:

(a) Polygyny: In situations where a man has many wives at the same time, it is refereed to as polygyny marriage. Some cultures of the ancient kings were very similar where keeping many wives was a common practice and was seen as a mark of prestige and family strengthening.

(b) Polyandry: In marriages where a woman can have several husbands or two or more husbands simultaneously. It is very rare form of marriage. Wherever it is practised, the co-husbands are usually brothers, either blood brothers or clan brothers and are of the same generation.

(C) Group Marriages: When several male members marry several fame members, it is termed as group marriage. The numbers can vary on either side and does not have to be constant. In this set up the husbands are common husbands and wives are common wives to the group.

The above however are traditional methodologies of classifying marriages. As times have progressed marriages have transformed into various other types which are more in sync with the human expectations. In a book bySusan Pease Gadoua , the authors have taken a different perspective one that is centered around the couple and their expectations from each other to define their marriage. The types are defined as:

Time bound : In this marriage, the couple sign a legal document specifying the time for which they want to stay married and if all goes well, there is a provision to renew the marriage for another set time. This way, the couples hope to understand each other and measure the overall compatibility, without a lifelong commitment.

Companionship Marriage: This marriage is born out of friendship, where 2 individuals stick together more from companionship and socialization aspect. A major factor in this marriage is the attempt to balance the partners’ serious emotional investment in the workplace with their emotional investment in the relationship. The spouses often call themselves best friends.

Parenting marriage: This marriage is centered around raising kids together and staying married till the kids are independent and are able to find their feet in life. Romance is not part of the marriage and so is not the forever after. Ofcourse couples can keep staying together if over the years they have started liking each other beyond just parents.

Safety Marriage: This marriage is more on the lines of getting something tangible in return. For instance, it could be wealth for specific passion or rights to pursue special interests. All such scenarios are pre-discussed and agreed before things get official.

Living alone together marriage: In this marriage, even though the spouses are married , they still need their space and some sort of autonomy to do their own thing. They are committed to the relationship and the expectations to have their space is mutual and respected.

Open Marriage: In this marriage, both partners are open to seek other partners and the arrangement is pre-agreed and there is no behind the back stuff. This is a distinct diversion from the conventional monogamy one where the couples are still committed to a stable marriage otherwise.

Covenant marriage: This marriage is only offered in the states of Louisiana, Arizona, and Arkansas and are harder to get into) and harder to get out of (there are few legitimate grounds for divorce and couples who do not meet those criteria but still want to divorce have to wait two years to do so).

We also see relationships where their is a desire among the couple to know each other more and spend the rest of their lives together. Such marriages are centered around love and the feeling to make it last as long as humanly possible. With this perspective below are more types of marriages:

Emotionally Strong marriage: Couples are deeply intimate with each other and freely confide into each other of their feelings. There is a strong base of mutual trust which allows each spouse to open up and non judgmental view of the other person. Their is also a sense of acceptance of the other person which leads to heart to heart conversation which fortifies the marriage.

Humble Marriage: In this marriage both the spouse practice humility and for a good reason. Just like any individual, the ones in a relationship also have their strengths and their weaknesses for which they are not proud. As a humble spouse, one partner should remember that they themselves are also not perfect and also have their own set of weaknesses The humility in such cases help the spouse to remember to treat the other partner with respect and not be judgmental or disrespectful of their weaknesses.

Forgiving marriage: In this marriage both partner practice patience and forgiveness and some of the strongest marriages which survive the test of time are where both partners show limitless patience of their spouse. They do not highlight past errors of their partner and always encourage them to be a better person.

Selfless marriage: In this marriage the selflessness plays a vital role to the overall success of the relationship. When the individuals in a marriage are free of their egoes and put the need of the other person before himself, it becomes a selfless marriage. The most successful couples are the ones that are willing to give their hopes, dreams and life to each other.

Another way to describe type of marriages is through the lens of law and society. Check it out to know what we are talking about:

Civil Marriage: Civil marriage mostly requires a a government official who is recognized to solemnize the marriage. This can be followed by the religious ceremony but the couple can chose to stay away from it as well. in Lot of cases young couples of modern society opt for this route rather then that of pomp and show.

Court Marriage: Marriages under special marriage act of 1954 which is free form any caste, creed, colour or religion obligations and does not involve any traditional or religious mandates fall under court marriage type. The couple then applies directly to the magistrate for the certificate which becomes a proof of their solemnized marriage.

Another way to classify the types of marriages are through the culture and region of an individual. They are centrist to the rituals of the original place of the partner. Like the Bengali marriage, Punjabi marriage, Marwari marriage, Jain Marriage, Kashmiri marriage and Tamil Marriages. One thing consistent about all these marriages is that most of then run for 3 – 4 days which includes all the small and big rituals in addition to the actual marriage ceremony. Also there is lot of colours involved in each ritual base don the decorations and dresses of the couple as well as the attending guest.


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