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Marriage as a Social Institution: Summary & Exercise by Steven L. Nock

‘Marriage as a Social Institution’ is written by Stephen L. Nock. In this essay, the author examines the national marriage debate by reviewing the soc
    Marriage as a Social Institution: Summary & Exercise by Steven L. Nock
     Marriage as a Social Institution by Steven L. Nock

    Summary of Marriage as A Social Institution

    The Summary of the essay ‘Marriage as a Social Institution’ is written by Stephen L. Nock. In this essay, the author examines the national marriage debate by reviewing the social and demographic trends that have changed the role of marriage and the family. He views that marriage and parenthood are private matters, relevant only to the individuals directly involved. He points out the programs that have strengthened marital relationships, lowered divorce rates, reduced out-of-wedlock births, and encouraged responsible fatherhood.  A marriage is much more than the sum of two spouses. It is also a relationship defined by legal, moral, and conventional assumptions and has a variety of close personal relationships and associations. 

    The spouses are united are legally, morally, and socially by various personal and societal connections. Marriage as a social institution is examined carefully as a major social structure that impacts males. In this essay, the writer asserts that the position of the spouse has a special significance in men's life. The institution of traditional marriage helps men develop their Marriage as a Social Institution manhood as they get older. In a marriage, a gay grows, maintains, and shows his masculine identity. After marriage, the husbands are turned into the household's leader. 

    Fidelity and parenting are the characteristics of a normal marriage. Couples react to each other, culture society and the rules and values that define them as a unit since they are life partners. Married males, in particular, had greater physical and mental health than married women. The essayist cites French sociologist Emile Durkheim to support his view. Emile believes that marriage benefits men because it is an organ of society. Two people get the chance to enjoy a harmonious and happy life. Marriage improves men's civic virtues and helps them discover their life’s purpose. 

    People who are married are less likely to commit suicide than those who are single. Marriage is an effective way to rein in one's irrational longings(desires) and wants. Marriage binds a man to the same woman for the rest of his life in order to satisfy his desire for love, which provides moral balance to his life. It is crucial for males to get married because it gives them direction in life and helps them achieve their goals. Nowadays unmarried cohabitation (living together) is in a fashion that is not generally and legally recognized since they do not follow normal beliefs, have limitations in conduct, have no responsibility to each other, have no identity and have no institutional relationship. Cohabitation without marriage is living together without marriage. 

    They don't boldly identify themselves as husband and wife. A married pair conforms to patterns, conventions, and rules as husband and wife and receives acceptance from everyone. There are laws, religions, and customs protecting their relationship. Americans generally agree about six dimensions of marriage. Together, these constitute a normative definition of marriage.

    They are: 

    1. Marriage is a free personal choice, based on love. 

    2. Maturity is a presumed requirement for marriage. 

    3. Marriage is a heterosexual relationship. 

    4. The husband is the head, and principal earner, in a marriage. 

    5. Sexual fidelity (faithfulness) and monogamy are expectations for marriage. 

    6. Marriage typically involves children.

    Marriage establishes a connection based on reliability and trust. Social capital has advantages for the individuals who possess it. The couple meets new blood relatives. The institution of marriage is a personal asset but it is more difficult to maintain since it only exists through relationships with others. There is an obligation to assist and support one another when we are in need. The foundation of the new partnership is built on mutual trust and belief.  

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    Who is the writer of Marriage as a Social Institution

    Steven L. Nock (March 11, 1950 – January 26, 2008) was a researcher, author, and the Commonwealth Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. He wrote extensively on the role of marriage in society and worked in the Federal Department of Health and Human Services as a consultant on American family policy. He authored textbooks and articles about the causes and consequences of change in the American family. He investigated issues of privacy, unmarried fatherhood, cohabitation, commitment, divorce, and marriage. 

    His book, Marriage in Men's Lives won the William J. Good Book Award from the American Sociological Association for the most outstanding contribution to family scholarship in 1999. In this essay, the author examines the national marriage debate by reviewing the social and demographic trends that have changed the role of marriage and the family. He views that marriage and parenthood are private matters, relevant only to the individuals directly involved. He points out the programs that have strengthened marital relationships, lowered divorce rates, reduced out-of-wedlock births, and encouraged responsible fatherhood.

    Exercise

    Understanding The Text

    According to the author, what is marriage? 

    Answer: According to the author, marriage is the union of two people who are legally, morally, and culturally tied and have a variety of close personal relationships and associations. 

    How is marriage an institution? 

    Answer: Marriage is an institution because the relationship between the couples is recognised by social and legal law as a means of meeting social, economic, physical, and family requirements, and it serves many functions for a community like other institutions. 

    What are the rules that marriage has? 

    Answer: Marriage has a large set of rules that help in the planning and maintaining the spouses' life. 

    Why does marriage matter to men? 

    Answer: Marriage matters to men because it provides structure to their lives and organizes their goals and ambitions. They become responsible for social, economic, physical, and family requirements. 

    What is one of the central problems in modern society?

    Answer: One of the central problems in modern society is putting various legitimate boundaries around modern individuals' limitless desires for their well-being, recreation and prestige. 

    What does social capital consist of? 

    Answer: Social capital consists of a large network of people who are connected by a bond of reliability and trustworthiness. 

    What is normative marriage? Explain. 

    Answer: A normative marriage is a marriage that follows social norms and values or one which is built on pre-established norms and values. For example, in the United States, the six dimensions define normative marriage.

    Reference To The Context 

    Discuss six dimensions that define normative marriage in America.

    Answer: Marriage exists everywhere, although the concept of marriage varies by location. Every civilization has its own set of marital traditions and values. Whatever it is, it allows two adults of opposite sexes the legal right to live as life partners, satisfying each other's desires. Every marriage, in every area, follows norms, values and patterns, and the same is true in the United States. In America, the structured marriage known as normative marriage has six dimensions.  They are: 

    1. Marriage is a free personal choice, based on love. 

    2. Maturity is a presumed requirement for marriage. 

    3. Marriage is a heterosexual relationship. 

    4. The husband is the head, and principal earner, in a marriage. 

    5. Sexual fidelity (faithfulness) and monogamy are expectations for marriage. 

    6. Marriage typically involves children.

    Do marriages differ according to culture? How is your marriage practice different from marriage in America? 

    Answer: Marriages differ according to culture. We find different types of marriages in different cultures and locations. Even within our country, the marriages of one geographical region is different from another geographical region. For example, the marriage tradition of the Terai region is different from the marriage tradition of the mountainous region. Similarly, the marriage practices of Hindu people are different from the practices of Buddhist people. However, the Hindu religion is followed by the majority of Nepalese people. 

    So, it is mostly guided by the Hindu religion. Marriage, in our opinion, is a social, spiritual, cultural, and legal connection between a man and a woman as husband and wife. It is also the beginning of a relationship between two families. Our marriage practices are different from those in the United States because our practices are guided by Hindu tradition, whereas the practices of the United States are guided by Christian tradition. They follow different trends for the wedding ceremony. 

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