ABSTRACT

Especially in contemporary contexts, marriage is a multilayered, complex set of practices. Marriage is a social and cultural institution, a way a community chooses to conceptualize partnership and family life. Marriage is also a legal entity, embedded in a system that accords specific legal rights and obligations to the married. Marriage is also highly personal, involving an intimate commitment to care for and love the other person. These different meanings of marriage fit awkwardly with one another, and there are also questions arising within each conceptualization.