For the Catholic Church, in order to fulfill life and to follow what Christ wants, Catholic believers must accomplish or acquire the seven sacraments, or the religious signs which are believed to be outlets of spiritual power and divine grace. Marriage is one of the seven sacred sacraments; it is the binding of two individuals and is commonly held with religious or legal interventions. Traditionally, marriage is characterized by the union of two individuals particularly a man and a woman often referred to as husband and wife.
In Western nations, marriage is the manner of stabilizing patterns of norms and roles attributed with the mutual relationship between two persons. It links together a man and a woman in a special kind of social and legal arrangement which provides several purposes in the society (“Definition of Marriage”). Its ultimate and general functions in a society have two forms; the first is to control sexual activity or reproduction, and the second is as a means of forming socioeconomic ties between social groups (Hallakarva).
Marriage is for the maintenance of population; if a couple has already bore children, marriage requires them to give their children their basic needs in life including clothing, food, shelter, education and medicines. Marriage is an institution that also has its own rules depending on which country the couple belongs to. “In the United States, marriage is a legal contract, with the state regulating the economic and sexual exchanges between two heterosexual adults” (qtd. “Definition of Marriage”).
Other states in U. S have laws such as obliging the people to obtain a marriage license, requiring a specific age, confining it to the opposite sex only, and prohibiting the people to marry others with whom they hold particular kinships (“Definition of Marriage”). Since 1981, China has set the minimum age for a man to get married at 22 and 20 for a woman. There are also standards for choosing a partner. In accordance to a survey conducted in 1983, a man or a woman has to be of good character and has social, political, intellectual and physical considerations (“Marriage in China”).
On the other hand, in France, the law only acknowledges civil marriage and which should be performed by a French Civil Authority, comprised of the mayor, the deputy mayor or a city councilor. Religious rites and celebration is optional; however, the couple will not possess legal status. The legal status can only be acquired if a civil ceremony has taken place (“Getting Married in France”). The union with other person is not always confined to the bonding element and rule called love. In some parts of the world particularly in Korea, Japan, Iran and India, marriages are arranged. The matchmaking is done by the parents to secure family wealth.
In times when arranged marriage occurs, the couple involved hopes for love to develop after the ceremony (qtd. “Definition of Marriage”) or after a brief amount of time, when the couple has already spent long moments together. Arranged marriage happens when individuals are informed at an early age that their spouse will be chosen for them. To reject an arranged marriage is a symbol of contempt against the family (Savage). In Korea, marriage symbolizes union of two families. It is long and detailed celebration which commences from the pairing of the couple to the rituals and traditions executed after the celebration (“Traditional Marriage”).
On the other hand, in Japan, if a woman is already 25 years old, she and her parents would compile all the information about her, consisting of a photograph in kimono and details of family background. Her parents would then ask her friends if anyone of them knows a man suitable to become her husband (Savage). Marriage is not just confined to heterosexuals. Other countries are already open for same sex marriages such as Netherlands, the first country to recognize same sex union (“Marriage and Partnership Rights for Same-Sex Partners: Country by Country”), Canada, Belgium and Czech Republic.
However, other countries still have no legal acknowledgement of same-sex marriage. Marriage is the union of two individuals having mutual feelings and understanding. It can be done with religious and/or legal interventions. It materializes because of love or because of family and social arrangement. Each procedure and tradition, as well as recognition of same sex marriage, varies from different countries. And as such, its root is anchored on the country’s culture and history.