Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Marriage in Western Civilization

      My reaction to this history was found quite surprising. I didn’t know there were so many forms of marriages which have transitioned through today’s time. Marriage is based on many ancient cultures. It has been created by the doctrines and policies of religion.
       In Ancient Greece, marriage was already arranged by the father signing a contract and providing a ceremony with the couple consisting of a girl in her teens and a male in his thirties. After the wedding ceremony they were both escorted to bed. The women were stuck at home while the men were able to tend to the house hold and hold public affairs. Men were able to have more control then women were allowed.
     My reaction to this is very hard to see a world like that actually happening. Having an arranged marriage with someone you don’t even know is hard enough as it is. I find it very weird how their ritual after the ceremony is being walked to the bed by other people. I find that ever more disgusting then being married to someone you don’t know.  I also find it unfair to women because men were easily capable of getting a divorce but if a woman tried it would be most likely pointless because she wouldn’t get a divorce granted.
    In Early Rome, men were encouraged to have sex with other males and were tolerant of prostitution and concubines. After messing around with men were meant to have a wife and create children. Men could do anything with their wives and family. They could sell, punish, or even kill them. Soon that capability was abolished, and women began having control over themselves and their belongings. It was very easy to get a divorce without depending on the government or church, the two partners could get a divorce with a mutual agreement. Being married was quite simple. There were three ways. A couple living together for one year was considered being married. Getting married with no ceremony was also valid. A formal marriage consists of having a ceremony in front of witnesses. Then they began making it required to have a ceremony to get a divorce.
     I think it’s kind of strange how they encourage men to have sex with other men before they get married. I think it should just viewed as either your gay or you’re not and not be encouraged to do things like that only do them if  they may want to have sexual relations with other men. They shouldn’t feel pressured to have sexual relations with the same sex. I don’t understand why they would even let any man be capable of doing anything with their families like that it is just found very unethical. After they began abolishing that kind of immoral act and started creating new forms of marriage, things ran more smoothly. I personally believe the only reason why they did that is because there wasn’t enough people getting married or having babies and needed a bigger population. That’s why they made it so easy to get married. I also believe that they didn’t want to force people not to get a divorce but was frowned upon.
     In Ancient Israel, it’s based on a patriarchal structure of the family. Women were either their father’s or husband’s property. Marriage was only to preserve a man’s name and to make babies.  Men basically ruled everything and could have as many wives and concubines as they wanted. Normally the groom’s father paid for this betrothal marriage. Women were incapable of making a divorce happen. Later, monogamy was the new trend for Israel.  Levirate was sometimes forced and other times not allowed.
    Wow I find that being married in your early teens is ridiculous. You’re barely hitting puberty and people are already forcing you to have a betrothal marriage. A man’s ego was the “big thing” in Ancient Israel. I find that injustice to define women as property and women were not able to do anything without their father’s or husband’s consent. Knowing what kind of diseases are out now from sexual relationships make me question how it was back then because of the large amount of wives and concubines they had sexual relationships with. Did they ever have diseases like HIV and AIDS, that long ago? If so how severe would it be?
   In Medieval Europe, religion became very involved with marriages. Both partners had to have consent to get married. The only 2 problems were that they wouldn’t grant divorces and created marriage prohibitions. No blood relation, closeness to husband or wife, and affinity between godparents and godchildren with their family. Only exception of divorce was when found that they are related. Couples, who wanted a divorce, deliberately took a closer look to see any ancestry between the two.  Later, it became approved that marriage could be secret, even for young couples. Normally though people got married in their mid-twenties.
   I think religion kind of pushed it a little too far.  Everyone should be granted a divorce if reasonable. I do agree with the no related marriages policy. I find incest is very nasty and can cause future health problems towards children, even though they didn’t know that back then. I don’t think children should have the opportunity to choose wither they want to be married or not because they are too young to understand the responsibilities of marriage especially considering the concept of them not granting divorces.
    In Modern Europe and America, they created a law where only the justice of peace had the authority to perform a marriage. Soon that was abolished. Afterwards the law demanded that a priest should marry a couple with two other witnesses. It was based on a mutual agreement between both partners the, “common law marriage”. This law gave away eventually. Now marriage is constructed before some magistrate or government official. Now that is the only way it is considered valid. Divorce could now be made by women or men. Most people didn’t because it was so expensive and cumbersome.

Knowing this history in western civilization makes me think that today’s traditions are most reasonable considering today’s time. There are so many divorces happening in the US today, if it wasn’t for the expenses and hassle of getting a divorce more people would try being granted one. The history of how marriages and divorces worked seemed very unfair and sexist. Women in most of the history weren’t allowed to do anything but care for the children and the home; some were even treated like slaves. Men were capable of even murdering their wives without even being questioned.   It makes me appreciate how our tradition of marriage and divorce is set up because we, women, have the freedom to do what we please. We could be granted a divorce without it becoming impossible and woman here aren’t known as property but as an individual. Men also don’t control their women; marriage is based upon mutual agreement for both partners. Women also get a say in what they want in their life not by how their husbands want them to live. 

1 comment:

  1. This is more of a report on what the article said than your reaction to it. Try to make future blogs focus on your opinions on the topic, rather than just laying out the content of the article.