By: Muhammad Imran
Family is a cultural universal because it is a significant social institution in all countries. Similarly, attitudes and traditions around marriage may be found in every culture around the world, making marriage and family cultural universals. Societies construct and sanction statuses (for example, wife, husband, partner, mother, father, brother, sister, and so on). While marriage and family have traditionally been strongly linked in American culture, with marriages forming new families, their relationship is becoming more complicated, as the introductory anecdote and subsequent discussion of cohabitation demonstrate.
Because families are the most basic social unit upon which society is founded, sociologists are interested in the relationship between marriage and family. Marriage and family are also linked to other social institutions such as the economy, government, and religion. So, what exactly is a family?
A socially recognised group (typically linked by blood, marriage, cohabitation, or adoption) that develops an emotional bond and functions as a societal economic unit. Sociologists classify families into several categories based on how one joins them. A person’s birth family is referred to as their family of orientation. A procreative family is one that has been produced through marriage.
These disparities have historical and cultural significance. Marriage is a legal agreement between two persons, generally based on the mutual ideology to live together. Marriage is a cultural universal, and it takes numerous forms, much like family. Within and between societies, who gets married, what marriage means to the couple and society, why people get married (economic, political, or for love), and how it happens (wedding or other ceremony) differ greatly.
We should also analyse if a legal union is required (think of “common law” marriage and its counterparts) or whether more than two persons can be engaged while adopting cultural relativism (consider polygamy).
Other differences in the definition of marriage could include whether the couples are of opposing genders. The sociological paradigms of symbolic interactionism and functionalism can both explain the social understanding of what defines a family. These two views suggest that families are groupings of people who see themselves as family members and act as such. To put it another way, families are groups of people who get together to develop a strong primary group bond and preserve emotional relationships. These families could be made up of close friends or teammates.
Furthermore, the functionalist perspective sees families as groupings that play critical roles in society, both internally (inside the family) and outwardly (within society) (for society as a whole). Families look after one other’s bodily, emotional, and social needs. Children are cared for and socialized by their parents. Adult children frequently look after their elderly parents later in life. While interactionism clarifies the subjective feeling of belonging to a “family,” functionalism clarifies the multiple functions of families and their contributions to the maintenance of a balanced society. So, it wouldn’t to say wrong that Marriage is the first unit of a Family. Without marriage, families can’t be formed and without families, survival on this planet would become suffering. Marriages are the actual foundation of family. Marriage limits the relations and these relations become units for a family.