Types of Marriages

You probably grew up thinking about finding the man or woman of your dreams. Maybe you would daydream and wonder who you would marry one day.

How would you meet this special person who you might spend the rest of your life with? What would your marriage be like and what type of arrangement would you have with each other?

In the olden days, marriage could be pretty simple. A man would marry a woman and that was that. Usually, she would do all of the household work and he would go out and provide for his wife and family. Often, they would have kids if it was possible.

In a traditional marriage, the man would often have the final say in everything and the wife was there to obey and serve him. These days, not every marriage is like that.

There are many people out there that are still in traditional marriages today. In this case, the wife will stay at home with the kids and she is the one who will take care of the house.

A traditional wife cooks and cleans. The husband works and provides for the family. He is the provider while the wife is the caretaker.

These days, marriage can mean many things. If you have seen one marriage, then you have just seen one type of marriage. The dynamics and roles in each marriage can differ from household to household.

Nowadays, the world is a lot bigger to us and we have more options to choose from. Instead of marrying out of necessity, many people now marry for love. There are a lot of marriages out there that many people would consider to be non-traditional.

Different Types of Marriages

1. Civil marriage and religious marriage

When it comes to marriage, there are two broad types of marriage: civil marriage and religious marriage.

A civil marriage is a marriage that is licensed and recognized by the state, while a religious marriage is a marriage that is recognized within a certain religion. A marriage can also combine these two types of marriages.

2. Interfaith marriage 

It is common for two people of the same religious faith to marry each other. But as the years have gone by, society has become more and more diverse.

There are times when two people will get married while being from different religious backgrounds. This kind of marriage is referred to as interfaith marriage.

In an interfaith marriage, two people of the same religion will get married, while in a marital conversion, one person will convert to the religion of the other person in order to get married.

If you and the person you want to marry are of different religious faiths, then you will have to decide if you want to have an interfaith marriage or if one of you wants to convert.

This decision is not a simple one. One of you might be more religious while the other one does not mind converting.

Or maybe both of you like your respective religions. If you want to have kids you will also want to discuss how the children will be raised in regard to religious beliefs.

3. Common-law marriage 

There is also a type of union that is called a common-law marriage. In this case, the two people have entered into an agreement that they are married without formally going into a civil marriage or a religious marriage.

In a common-law marriage, the two people involved are living together as if they were husband and wife. But there is no marriage certificate or religious ceremony involved.

4. Monogamous marriage 

We are all familiar with the idea of a monogamous marriage. That is when two people marry. In this case, you only have one spouse and that is the end of the story.

When you are in a monogamous marriage, you have dedicated yourself to living out the rest of your life with this one person unless you end up divorcing or one of you ends up dying first.

While marriage, in general, is a bit commitment, monogamy is a huge part of that commitment to your spouse.

5. Polygamous marriage 

The opposite of the monogamous marriage is the polygamous marriage. This is the type of marriage where you have more than one spouse. It can also be referred to by some people as a plural marriage.

Even though polygamy might seem like a thing of the past, there are still some cultures out there where polygamy is considered the norm or it is even expected. In many cultures today, however, polygamy is against the law.

To get even more specific, polygyny is when one man is married to more than one woman. In these marriages, the women are referred to as sister wives, even though they are not sisters by blood.

These women are all bound by their marriage to the same guy and they learn how to live side by side as sister wives.

Polyandry, on the other hand, is when one woman is married to more than one man. While is it is relatively unheard of, it is practiced in some parts of the world.

If you are a member of the church of Latter Day Saints, then you might have heard of a celestial marriage. While it might sound like a marriage between two stars, a celestial marriage is not that at all.

There is the old saying, “until death do us part.” But in a celestial marriage, there is the belief that the marriage of two people can least forever in heaven.

6. Left-handed marriage

Even though it might sound like a marriage between two lefties, that is not at all what a left-handed marriage. A left-handed marriage also called a morganatic marriage, is a union between two people of unequal social ranking.

It has been common in the olden days, for the nobility to only marry other people that were nobility as well. But as more and more people began to marry for love, marriages were taking place in which the two people did not come from the same social status.

This type of marriage can be an issue for people if one person is of noble rank and the other person is of lesser ranking. In this kind of marriage, the person of lower rank will not inherit the titles and privileges of the higher-ranking individual.

This is a reminder that the lower ranking spouse, along with any children they might have, are lesser than the person of higher rank.

When two people in a left-handed marriage get married, they will have to get used to the differences that they have in how they were brought up.

7. Secret marriage 

A secret marriage is a marriage that is hidden from the family members and friends. Usually, this is done as a civil marriage, but there are also religious figures who will perform this type of marriage as well.

There are many reasons why a couple might choose to have a secret marriage. This might be done for legal reasons including issues with immigration. The couple might also want their privacy.

Sometimes the family and friends will not agree with a union, and so the couple will choose to marry in secret in order to avoid drama. That way, you will not have to worry about your parents trying to convince you to change your mind about getting married.

There are also times when a couple will have a secret marriage and then celebrate later on with their family and friends. This can make sense for a couple who just want their special moment for themselves.

For people who enter a secret marriage, doing so might even be a last-minute decision. Two people might decide to quickly and quietly get married and then they will wait to share the big news with their families.

Planning a wedding can be very stressful. For some couples, a secret wedding makes a lot of sense because you will have a lot less to worry about when it comes for planning and preparing for the big day.

In a secret wedding, the focus on the wedding day is going to be solely on the happy couple instead of having to worry about flower arrangements, wedding invitations, the catering, and a million other little details.

A secret wedding can also save you a lot of money. If you do not have a big wedding, then you can be sure that you will save a lot of money and if you choose to do so, you can spend it on something else like your dream honeymoon or your first house together instead.

8. Shotgun marriage 

Marriages are typically thought of as a huge milestone in your life. It is one that is usually well-thought-out and a lot of planning goes into this big event in your life.

If you ever dreamed about getting married, it was probably for someone that you love. You might have fantasized about meeting “the one” and tying the knot with him or her. For those in a shotgun marriage, the circumstances are a little different.

In a shotgun marriage, a wedding takes place because the bride and groom are unexpectedly having a baby. The marriage is done in order to preserve the reputation of the people involved and is not necessarily done out of romance or a strong love between the bride and groom.

While not all unmarried couples with an unplanned pregnancy will get married before the baby is born, some people choose to do so. They do this out of a desire for their child to be born into a home where the mom and dad are married.

If you are thinking about having a shotgun marriage, ask yourself the following question: would you still marry this person even if you were not having a baby together?

9. Mixed marriage 

A mixed marriage is also called an interracial marriage. In this kind of marriage, two people who are of different races get married.

Historically, people of different races could not marry each other and there would be laws that would prohibit such marriages from occurring. Even today, mixed couples might find it hard to be together because their family and friends or even strangers do not approve of the relationship.

Because two people in a mixed marriage will be coming from different backgrounds, there can be difficulties when it comes to understanding the cultures that they come from.

If you are in a mixed marriage or relationship, try to learn more about the other spouse’s culture. Make sure that you communicate with each other and be openminded and willing to try new things.

10. Same-sex marriage 

A same-sex marriage is when two people of the same gender get married. While many countries still do not allow this kind of union, in recent years there are countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

11. Love marriage 

In some societies, it is common or expected for people to marry out of love. This is what you call a love marriage.

12. Convenience marriage 

A convenience marriage is when two people marry for reasons other than love. This type of marriage is usually done for practical or financial reason.

If you belong to a noble family, you might even marry for political reasons. It was common for royals from different royal households to marry each other in order to form political alliances.

13. Arranged marriage 

While many people will marry for love, sometimes a person can have trouble finding the right person to settle down with. In some cultures around the world, people will enter into an arranged marriage.

An arranged marriage is a marriage that is planned between the families of the bride and groom. In this kind of marriage, the bride and groom often do not know each other and they do not really choose who they get to marry.

There are many reasons for an arranged marriage. Many times, an arranged marriage is done to benefit the families involved for any number of reasons.

Sometimes a professional matchmaker is used to help find appropriate matches. There are even dating websites and apps that provide the service of matchmaking as well.

In some cases, the parents or family members might even introduce prospective brides and grooms to each other to see if there is a possible match there. If the interest is not there, then the match does not go forward.

An arranged marriage is not necessarily the same thing as a forced marriage. While they might seem similar, they are actually two different things.

In an arranged marriage, either person involved has the right to refuse to get married, while in a forced marriage, the people involved are given no choice in the matter.

Besides having many different types of marriages, there are also many different kinds of dynamics within a marriage.

When it comes to marriage, monogamy is usually a given. But sometimes, people will make the decision to have an open marriage.

This means that the husband and wife have agreed to stay together while also dating other people at the same time. In a true open marriage, both spouses should be on board with this, otherwise it will not end well.

People tend to romanticize the idea of marriage, especially if they have not been married yet. What we often imagine is happily cuddling in bed together every night and greeting each other in the morning with a kiss as you both lovingly start your day together.

As you settle more into your marriage, you will see what kind of dynamic you and your spouse have together. Each couple is different and they will have their own unique qualities to bring to the marriage.

Besides thinking about what kind of marriage you want to enter into, you have also probably given some thought to what kind of person you want to marry.

When it comes to the man or woman that you settle down with, what kind of dynamic are you hoping to have with them? There are so many dynamics that a marriage can have. Which one will you have?

14. The lovebirds

If you and your spouse never left the honeymoon stage, then you are just a pair of lovebirds. You rarely fight and when you do, you make up right away.

The two of you are very affectionate with each other and love to cuddle and hold hands. You can never get enough of each other.

What you will want to be careful of is that you do not smother each other. It can be good to give each other some space sometimes.

15. The always together couple 

In this kind of marriage, you and your husband or wife do everything together. Your interests become your spouse’s interests and vice versa.

In fact, most of your friends are not sure that they have ever seen the two of you apart. You are so in tune to each other that you barely miss a beat with each other.

The one downside to this kind of marriage is that you might lose yourself and your sense of identity. It can be healthy to have your own separate interests and activities aside from what you and your spouse do together as a couple.

 16. The one with the boss 

Some marriages are very balanced, but in most of them there is clearly a person who wears the pants. That means that they are usually the boss in this relationship.

From figuring out your schedules to what needs to be done around the house and who needs to do what, the boss in your marriage keeps it all together.

He or she will see what needs to be done and will let you know what you need to accomplish whether it is the laundry or reminding you that a bill needs to be paid.

Sometimes this kind of dynamic can be frustrating. It is good for you to also have your own voice. If you find yourself in this kind of relationship, do not be afraid to take charge once in a while.

17. The hot and cold marriage 

Some marriages are very passionate and explosive. One day you love each other, the next day you are fighting like cats and dogs.

In this kind of marriage, it is good to communicate and to be careful about what you say and do. You should feel comfortable expressing yourself but consider the feelings of your spouse as well.

 18. The living together separately marriage 

If you are in this kind of marriage, then you and your husband or wife are very independent. You both have your own set of friends and hobbies that do not necessarily overlap.

You might even have different working schedules and you might not get a lot of downtime together. When you do have free time to spend together, make sure that it counts.

Try to make time for each other, even if you have very different schedules and interests.

19. Zombie marriage 

In a zombie marriage, you and your spouse are just going through the motions. You might be nice to each other and keep up appearances to family and friends, but the truth is that the spark is long gone and you might even wonder sometimes why you are still married to this person.

You might not even really fight or have huge disagreements. But you know that something is stagnant in the relationship. One of you or both of you might feel this way about the relationship.

Maybe you feel apathetic to your spouse. You are both stuck in the same old routine. Sometimes it is not too late to try to resuscitate your marriage.

If you want to try to work on this marriage, then there are a few things you can try. Show your affection and appreciation for one another.

Look back on your relationship together to see what used to make it so great. Find old photos and reminisce together and then think about how you can use these good memories to help rejuvenate your marriage.

These are just a number of the many types of marriage that exist all around the world. Every marriage is a little bit different and no two stories are quite the same.


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