Who invented marriage?

by doublelife 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • doublelife

    I made another thread that had nothing to do with this but other people's comments lead me to think about it so I made a new thread.

    The comment was from magwitch about sex without marriage not being wrong and I agree. I know that those who believe in the bible will say Adam and Eve were the first married couple but I no longer believe in the bible. I'm beginning to lean toward deism. And since I don't believe that there is any holy book from a creator, it made me wonder how marriage started. Humans are the only species that marry. Who invented it and why? Was it religion? Was it government with or without a religious agenda?

    It seems that the only people who still feel pre-marital sex is wrong are those who have a religion to base that belief on. So what came first? Marriage or religion? If it was religion, did it create marriage for the purpose of controlling when people can have sex? For the purpose of condemning people who have pre-marital sex and telling them they're sinners?

    Btw, I don't think marriage is bad. I don't want anyone to get that assumption from this post.

  • What-A-Coincidence

    This is an EXCELLENT question. The answer is... nobody. Marriage is not an invention. It is very literally, a discovery. It is ancient, going back beyond recorded history to all groups of people living continents apart and unable to communicate with each other. Like fire, they discovered it seperately. Marriage is the english word for "the human mating pair".

    It is that simple.

    Human intellectual ability has made it possible to recognise how life works (to some extent) in our species, and all species. Some form mating pairs extending beyond random sexual interactions.

    Ours is simply one of them.

  • believingxjw

    Marriage was invented by men who wanted to keep their mate from mating with other men. It's that simple.

  • OnTheWayOut

    This is a great subject, I understand "mating pairs" as WAC mentions but it doesn't really answer the question. Mating pairs might have been the way to go for primative humans ancestors for the protection of the little ones and therefore bred into us, but somewhere it became marriage. Marriage, by my understanding without research, is a religious institution. That's part of why religious people object so strongly to gay marriage.

    Marriage became recognized by society and government, but across the world in various belief systems. So I imagine someone could do quite a thesis on that.

  • doublelife

    I agree with OTWO, "mating pairs" doesn't answer the question of how it turned into marriage. There are other species that mate for life but without the marriage institution.

  • believingxjw

    Human marriage is the human edition of what is found in many mammals where the male of the species picks and protects his females from other males. Ancient marriage was not monogamous for the men, but closer to what is found among many mammals; multiple female partners and one male partner. Human marriage is very much a part of the territorial male tendency.

    It is monogamous marriage that has a religious basis not marriage itself.

  • doublelife

    Found this at Wikipedia


    Various cultures have had their own theories on the origin of marriage. One example may lie in a man's need for assurance as to paternity of his children. He might therefore be willing to pay a bride price or provide for a woman in exchange for exclusive sexual access.

    This would explain why woman have often been viewed as a possession.

  • rebel8

    I think the practice of wedding ceremonies evolved during the time when humans were still primitive, symbolic, inventing rituals in an attempt to control the unpredictable/dangerous enviroment they didn't understand (rain dances and such).

    Mating for life had (has) its benefits, such as security, safety, teamwork when it comes to obtaining food and raising a family. The book The Descent of Woman discusses the author's theory, and IMO it makes a lot of sense.

  • Perry

    Probably hardwired in to some degree. Most hookbills (parrots) mate for life.

  • WTWizard

    It is just a system to lock people into one partner. Which would not be so bad if it wasn't for the regulations and stagnation that is so widespread in society. But, when one or both partners becomes trapped in a rut, they take marriage for granted. Pretty soon, it becomes boring--which is the root cause of "infidelity". Lose the boredom, lose the stagnation, and you will probably lose much of the infidelity as well.

    The same regulations that create these problems also creates the need to "marry". That way, they can figure out who is supposed to get the benefits, how to dole out the taxes, and which children are supposed to get which rights and responsibilities. It also allows them to punish people for infidelity (in fact, many states and countries have laws against adultery still on the books, some with the death penalty attached). And, it also allows them to make the consequences of stagnation too difficult to bear--divorce is always a messy business and can get pretty expensive.

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