Marriage, an outdated institution?

by John Colagioia

Frankly speaking, marriage has never been necessary, at least not for most people.

I mean, in the broadest sense of it, marriage is one or both of two things:

  1. A declaration of love and commitment to somebody
  2. A set of rules of inheritance

The first (declaration of love) doesn’t need any official recognition. Even formal commitments get broken, so it’s not a protection and people who are committed to each other will generally stay committed.

The second (rules of inheritance) doesn’t matter unless you’re rich or powerful and are (therefore) worried about some other man’s child (with your wife) inheriting some of your stuff.

And it doesn’t really even matter if you are rich and powerful, because they won’t inherit any of your things until you’re dead.

In a lot of ways, I think of marriage as a kind of Cargo cult mentality.

Kings worry about their wives and princes to ensure continuity of the crown, so other people assume it’s important.

The overwhelming majority of people could not be bothered to care about inheritance and never even notice the difference in their lives.

Of course, the question being asked might not be abstract and philosophical, and instead a logical and social one.

In that case, marriage matters just as much as it matters to your community.

It’s nice to celebrate a working relationship and that is still expected in most cultures.

And most governments assume marriage to be important too, rigging the laws to encourage it in ways that go beyond (but still include) inheritance.

However, whether or not it is absolutely necessary, marriage still certainly is useful and can also be potentially pleasurable.


John Colagioia is a software expert and programmer.

Check his website.

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