Define Marriage

1865 words 8 pages
Name: Chunxian Huang
How might we usefully define marriage in universal cross cultural terms?
Marriage, which is one of the most vital relationships of human beings, is a bewildering subject in people’s lives because it is hard to define, especially in the cross cultural terms. Cross cultural, according to the fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), is defined as “the interaction of differing cultures, or a comparison”. This means that people in cross cultural terms may need to find ways to respect other cultures. In such case, people have chances to understand the other civilization, to make acquaintances with people from multifarious
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Evans (1990) points out that, marriage and childbearing are the prominent purposes of the sexual functions for the Nuer. In accordance with the point of George (2006:19), “marriage has a function, which is to ensure social reproduction, the socializing of children and the passing on of social capital.” In other words, marriage signifies the stability of family and social reproduction thus marriage can be defined with stability.
Generally speaking, two or more families are involved in marriage. From the point of Lucile’s view (1977:154), “marriage means a new relationship with each other’s family”. Stable relationship between families, particularly in cross cultural terms, is very important. Askham (1984) states that, normally the couple’s relatives know that they are married or living together in spite of their marriage is legal or not. “Remarriages accompanying lone parents, step-parents and step-children are not uncommon” (Oppenheimer, 1990). In such circumstances, people tend to need to resolve conflicts between extended families. Also, cross-cultural marriage may cause different understanding of marriage and responsibilities of family by the couples and create troubles between family members and relatives (Breger and Hill, 1998). Consequently, stability of the relationship between families and family turns into more


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