Last Updated on 31/08/2020 by Brooke Potduang
Last Updated on 28/01/2021 by Ammika Saisuwan
Your True Meaning of ‘Marriage’
On one particular afternoon, you may find yourself sauntering on the beach with your significant other. A warm breeze blows his or her hair, gently, as he or she turns to you, their eyes on yours, and smiles. Within a split second, the concept of ‘marriage’ inflates inside of your mind like a balloon.
You may have thought of this word because of the relationship that you have had – the one with your significant other, the one that is filled with considerable tears and smiles.
But in another split second, your chest feels void; your feet become so heavy that you cannot continue walking. ‘Marriage’ is an important choice in your life, yet you are not even sure what it actually is or what it actually means.
You may have seen your father and mother live their lives in a marriage, but still, you are not sure if your married life will be the same as theirs. Is the person you are next to actually the one? Do they mean so much to you that you actually want to get married?
These questions that are floating around in your head, have brought you to this article. In this article, I want you to ponder upon the question of ‘What is the true meaning of marriage?’.
In this article, I would like you to acquaint yourself with the meaning of ‘marriage’ that happened in the past time periods. It may help you feel lucky that in our time, marriage is a choice we can make with love, respect, and equality.
Before We Married for Love
If we were to wind back time for thousands of years to the prehistoric period, we would see that there were no marriages. Humankind just lived together as a group of around 30 with little distinction from animals. There is no clear boundary of families, the children who are born could be anyone’s child.
Conclusive evidence shows us that humans started marrying each other around 2,350 B.C. in Mesopotamia, where there is a ceremony between a man and a woman. This ceremony evolved for hundreds of years in Greek, Roman, and Hebrew cultures.
In the past, marriage was made to ‘reserve’ and to tell who the parents of a child were and of their lineage. Worse than that, marriage was made to show ownership of the woman, who were just objects possessed by the men of that age.
Marriage recently became sacred around the 8th century, when the Roman Catholic Church played a bigger role in Europe in setting laws in marriages.
The sacred nature of Christian marriage helped elevate the status of women, gaining them more respect. It is mandated that there shall be no divorce in this sect of Christianity, to create a standard of honesty and faithfulness as well as monogamy.
Marrying for love had just begun in Medieval times. French legend says that a knight had a love that cannot be. He fell in love with another man’s wife. After that, the values of marrying for love began to grow, with many written works on the subject of love from the 12th century and 13th century.
And in a book called ‘A History of the Wife’ by Marilyn Yalom, it was said that – back then people married for resources and manpower, when that changed and we started marrying for love, it elevated the status of women with more respect being given to the relationship.
This shows us that ‘love’ makes us equal, regardless of our gender. Marrying for love evolved until our time where you and your partner can give your vows, promising that you will love and respect each other with equality. Marriage is no longer a process of one-sided ownership like it once was.
Before Modern Thai Marriages Came To Be
As for Thailand, many hundreds of years ago, a man can have many wives. In King Rama 5’s times, because of Western influence, a change was made so that a man can only have one wife. This change was made to block the threat of imperialism in Thailand. The change was difficult because the people were not ready.
And back then, a marriage can only happen if the parents of the bride allow it, otherwise, the marriage would be considered illegal. The groom and the bride can fall in love before they agree to ask the parents of the bride. The groom must also move into the bride’s house to help them lessen their workload.
Arranged marriages were also happening in Thailand for the upper classes. These marriages were often made for status, wealth, and renown for the family – the bride and groom have no idea who their partners were until the day of the ceremony.
Evidence shows that Thailand began the system of monogamous marriages in Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram’s times, in the year 1934 when commercial and civil laws had added details that you can only have one partner in a marriage.
And in Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram’s times, when he was the Prime Minister between the year 1938 – 1944, another detail has been added to the marriage ceremony. It was considered one of the ‘cultures to improve the nation’ – that includes the attire of the groom, the bride’s wedding gown, the format of the ceremony, the location, and the marriage certificate. This has all been improved upon until it has evolved to the marriage traditions in Thailand today.
In present times, the value of marrying for love has spread and become the norm in Thailand. Thai people can now choose how to organize their wedding and whether or not they would like to follow the traditions and the relationship after marriage.
In Thai culture, importance is given to the marriage ceremony, and their importances are:
- Marriage is a sign of maturity. The couples have grown into adults and are ready to live in their own house.
- Marriage shows gratefulness to the parents – to give thanks to the parents for raising them.
- Marriage is a promise of a life together. The guests of the ceremony are there to witness the promise and to celebrate.
- Marriage is an announcement to close ones and their respective social circles of this commitment.
And because tradition is an ever-changing and evolving thing, you can choose to arrange your ceremony according to the traditions, or not. I believe that everyone has a right to marry for ‘reason and results’ in the way that they choose to accept.
It took a long time for marriage to evolve to what it is now; a commitment of equal love. The meaning of marriage changes from one time period to the next. Marriage for survival and stability; marriage for righteousness and holiness of the religion.
I want to repeat that ‘marriage’ does not just end right after the ceremony. Married life begins after the ceremony, the legalities or the vows are finished. That is why the meaning of marriage can greatly differ from one person to the next, depending on their experiences.
And I also believe that your definition of marriage will probably greatly differ from those of times past. In this case, what could marriage mean for you? Let us ponder on this in our next topic.
Nurturing the Meaning of Marriage
Even though the core of marriage is you and your significant other spending your lives together, sharing your resources – wealth, manpower, and other stabilities in life. It is long-term insurance. That does not sound romantic at all, does it? If you were to marry solely because of those reasons, married life would probably be dull.
But underneath these serious matters, there is something special you and your partner have created. It is the very thing that nurtures the meaning of marriage to be special, almost sacred. Something that makes you want to spend your life with someone for as long as you can.
These things are not far from us, not at all. But they are different from one couple to the next. It could be the smallest of things in your daily life that you have never spent a moment thinking about it. For example, laughing so hard your stomach aches while you talk to your lover in your kitchen or watching your partner fall asleep in front of the TV.
Or it could be the fire and motivation you have at work so that you can reach your shared monetary goals. It could be when you feel that you cannot wait for the day to end before you rush your way back home. Or it could even be the tense atmosphere you have with each other when you argue.
And of course, in our life, whether we are married or not – we will have to face both the good and the bad. Marriage will bring you to these things as well, only that, you will have someone next to you, holding your hand through all of it.
Laughs, tears, and all special moments are a part of something much larger that makes you and your partner grow together. This could be the reason why many chose to marry someone who means something to them.
At this point, you may ask yourself if you want to live your life and grow with him or her.
‘Samantha : So what was it like being married?
Theodore : Well, it’s hard, for sure. But there’s something that feels so good about sharing your life with somebody.’
Film Her (2013)
Directed by Spike Jonze
What Is a ‘Marriage’? You Decide.
In our current society, there are still expectations from others on the subject of traditional marriage: There is an expectation that the marriage ceremony must be a big one, once you are married – you must be stable and have a forever peaceful and stable love life, once you are married – you must soon have children or that marriage is only for male-female relationships.
These noises of outside expectations are not as important as the ones inside you and your partner’s heart. What does your heart say on how you want your married life to turn out? I believe that the following ‘marriages’ are not ‘wrong’:
- Elopement: Where you and your partner choose not to organize a wedding. You may only sign a marriage certificate or exchange vows with only one witness present. You may have chosen this way because you do not like the chaos that comes with organizing a wedding or the obstacles of the wedding budget. Just you and your partner deciding to share the rest of your lives is already a marriage.
- Getting Married Without Building a Family: Not having children and breaking others’ expectations is not wrong. Nowadays, we do not need to have more relatives to use as manpower as we once did. The concept of lineage and legacy has also diluted and dwindled. If you want to have a child, you could try to use the same philosophy of this article to decide the ‘shared experiences in life’ of your partner and child.
- Getting Married Without a Marriage License: This is not wrong either. You may see more flexibility in not being legally involved with someone you love in the long run but this may come with a cost of some legal privileges as well.
- LGBTQI+ Marriages: This has never been wrong. Sex and gender do not dictate our rights to love someone. Legal marriages should not be limited to just men and women. Thai marriage laws do not support this type of marriage. This is selfish and against human rights.
Above Diamond sees this important issue and we fully support love between all genders and encourage that there is a push towards an ‘Equal Marriage’ law that is truly written for all genders.
- Divorce: It does not matter how many times you get a divorce, it should not be a stigma in your life. We can all make mistakes. It could also be that your love for someone was only suitable for a period of time. Marriage does not need to be of a love that is eternal and forever, if it were like that, you will only get disappointed and expect that your married life will be so perfect that you forget the actual time you spend with each other.
Even though you have never been married, do not fear that there is a chance of divorce. You only need to hold the love that you have and care for it as best you can – what happens after now is in the future which no one can predict. Do not worry.
And lastly ‘Choosing not to get married’ is also not wrong and there should be no rule that tells us when we must get married. It does not whether you are in a relationship or not because we all have different wants from life. Many can fulfill their life with the things they like or by spending time with their friends and family without adding on the burden of marriage which may complicate things in life.
Or some may be unready to marry because of a number of reasons. Career, status, wealth, social circumstances, or mental readiness. It is not wrong to be single or to make sure if you really want to get married to your partner.
It does not matter which one you choose, the important thing is that – if you are in a relationship, you should be upfront with your partner so that you can both calibrate your expectations early on.
When Are You ‘Ready To Marry’?
If you are someone who is approaching 30 or have already passed it, you may face these questions often, ‘When are you getting married?’ or ‘When will you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?’, and you probably cannot forbid them from asking these questions as they come from an old societal value that you ‘Must Marry before 30’.
But it still depends on you to answer these questions without placing any standards of the society, which may not fit you, on yourself. Your readiness to marry is your and your partner’s personal affair. This includes you sharing the same meaning of marriage with your partner and having the necessary resources you deem appropriate.
Many may worry about not finding ‘the one’ to the point that they are afraid of commitment and marriage. But I have never seen someone on Earth who is truly perfect and I have never seen anyone live a married life that is smooth sailing 100% of the time. Life is life, it likes to throw obstacles and misunderstandings at you – that is something you can be certain of.
What I can say is that, when your dream of the future has your partner in it and that partner agrees with having the same goals, every time you argue with each other – you will be able to understand each other even more so than before by having a shared goal.
And once your heart is ready for an adventure in which your partner will also be tagging along (Being ‘ready’ is not the same for all. It could start with stability, maturity, and emotional readiness, for example). This makes it so that, regardless of whether or not they are perfect, you will be able to talk about the future of marriage and life together.
An Important Step in Life…with That Someone
Let us rewind to when you were walking on the beach, he or she smiles at you once more. Now it is up to you whether or not you are ready to take the next step with him or her in this new chapter of your adventures which is filled with unique misery and joy, that is designed by both you and your partner. Will you take the next step? Only you can answer.
Above Diamond wishes all couples to find the courage in themselves to share their lives with love and respect, just like how they want to.
And because your marriage has a special meaning, unique only to you and your partner, our experts will gladly service you by giving consultation and designing a diamond wedding ring that is most like you and your partner. You can contact us right here.
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