Perspectives of Marriage as a Social Institution

 
 
 
 
Marriage is a fundamental social institution, and "The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society" (Spalding and Loconte, 2003). This was the definition given by Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court when the question of gay marriage came before the court. She went on to add that, "For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In turn, it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations."

Ideally, the institution of marriage is used to regulate heterosexual behavior and the resulting procreation, ensuring a stable family structure in which children will be reared, educated and socialized (Dulle, 2004). The partners in marriage are expected to engage in exclusive sexual relations, most likely resulting in children, and with their paternity presumed to be that of the husband. Children learn their place in the world from the family who raised them and learn about the world and how to interact with it. The institution of marriage is supposed to encourage parents to remain committed to each other and to their children as they grow, encouraging a stable venue for the education and socialization of the children.

Functionalism is the oldest and most dominant theoretical perspective on sociology, and its main proponents were Emile Durkhe

     
 
 
 
    

 

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