The Essay “Marriage as a Social Institution” by Stephen L. Nock Exercise: Questions & Answers Class 12 English


 Understanding the text 

Answer the following questions.

a. According to the author, what is marriage?

According to the author, Marriage is the union of spouses who are tied by legal, moral, and traditional assumptions and have a variety of close personal relationships and associations.


b. How is marriage an institution?

➜ Marriage is an institution because the relationship between the couples is recognised by law as a means of meeting social, economic, physical, and family requirements, and it is linked to other institutions such as education, the economy, and politics.


c. What are the rules that a marriage has?

➜ Marriage has a large set of well-understood rules that help in the planning and maintenance of the spouses’ life.


d. Why does marriage matter to men?

➜ Marriage matters to men because it provides structure to their lives and organizes their goals and ambitions. 


e. What is one of the central problems in modern society?

➜ One of the central problems in modern society is putting various legitimate boundaries around modern individuals’ seemingly limitless desires for well-being, comfort, luxury, and prestige.


f. What does social capital consist of?

➜ Social capital consists of a large network of people who are linked by a bond of trustworthiness and trust.


g. What is normative marriage? Explain.

➜ A normative marriage is one that is built on pre-established standards and values. For example, in the United States, the six elements that characterise normative marriage are: marriages are entered willingly by mature, heterosexual adults, husbands as primary earners, sexual faithfulness of partners, and parenthood.


 Reference to the Context 


a. Discuss six dimensions that define normative marriage in America.

➜ 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 and patterns, and the same is true in the United States. In America, the structured marriage known as normative marriage has six dimensions. The first point to mention is that marriage is entirely voluntary. Nobody is putting any pressure on you to marry. It is up to individuals to make their own decisions. Adults are capable of managing their marriages. The marriage must be heterosexual (opposite sexes). The husband will be the primary earner after marriage. They must support their families. Both spouses must be faithful to one another, especially when it comes to sexual behaviour. And it is only after they marry that they become parents to their children.


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

➜ Marriage practices differ from culture to culture as well as from one place to another. Not only are there disparities across the country, but there are also variations within a country. Even within our country, the marriage practises of one geographic place differ from those of others. However, the Hindu religion is practised by the vast majority of Nepalese people. 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 practises differing from those in the United States because we adhere to Hindu tradition, whereas the United States adheres to Christian tradition. The wedding ceremony is held in a religious place known as a church, and it is officiated by a religious leader. The bride and groom exchange church-provided vows declaring their love and commitment to one another. The officiant asks the attendees if they have any suggestions for why the couple should not be married. If no one objections, the couple swaps rings to represent their unending love and devotion to one another. With their first kiss, the pair declares themselves husband and wife in public for the first time.


 Reference beyond the text 



a. Write an essay on the marriage practice in your own culture.

Marriage Practice in My Culture: An Essay

Marriage is much more than two adult people of different sexes binding their sexual desires. Marriage is evolving on a daily basis. Gelation, which was once considered taboo, is now widely tolerated. Transgender marriage, for example, is already legal in our society. In our societies, different types of marriages exist, such as monogamy, which allows one person to have only one spouse; serial monogamy, which allows one spouse to remarry another after the death/divorce of the first spouse; polygamy, which allows one individual to have many spouses; polyandry, which allows one wife to have many husbands; polygyny, which allows one husband to have many wives; endogamy, which allows marriage within a group; and exogamy, marriage in another group.

I practise Hinduism, and we have our own set of marriage regulations. It is regarded as a religious sacrament rather than a social contract. It is a socially sanctioned union of a developed man and a woman for the sake of procreation, pleasure, and the fulfilment of certain social obligations. The pre-marriage event known as engagement is performed by a girl’s and a boy’s parties. Rings and garlands are exchanged by the would-be partners. A family priest performs rites and recites mantras to authorise this ceremony. The wedding date is set on that day.

On the day of the wedding, the bridegroom, along with his family, relatives, and neighbours, orates in the bridegroom’s costume and departs for the groom’s residence. The “Janti” party, which follows the bridegroom, is accompanied by a band of musicians. Janti is headed by a procession of ladies carrying trays filled with various food items and gifts known as ‘Saipata.’ On that day, the wedding ceremony is held at the bride’s home with the assistance of family priests. The groom’s residence is transformed into a Mandap or Jagey, where the entire procession takes place. The most essential individual who performs the rites is the Pandit or Priest. A lavish feast is being planned for Janti and his neighbours.

Several actions are carried out according to the priest’s instructions around the sacred fire in the centre of the Mandap: The primary actions include the bridegroom and groom circle the sacred fire seven times, the bridegroom applying vermillion powder to the bride’s head, and putting a holy necklace around the bride’s neck. The principal sign of a married woman is a vermillion powder called ‘Sindur’ and a sacred necklace called ‘Pote.’ The bride’s father washes the bride and groom’s feet, and all the family and friends wish them a happy married life. The bride’s departure from her family home is scheduled for the end of the day. This is the most heartfelt scene. The majority of the bride’s family members cry as they wish her farewell. Following welcoming culture, the newlywed couple is welcomed at the bridegroom’s home. People assembled at the bridegroom’s residence stopped singing and dancing to see the new bridegroom’s face. As a result, the pair begins their newlywed life.


b. Is marriage a social institution? Discuss.

➜ The concept of marriage varies depending on the individual, his philosophy and his way of thinking. Marriage is often defined as a legal partnership between two persons of different sexes who have a personal relationship, residential cohabitation, economic cooperation, the development of a nuclear family, the birth of children, and the satisfaction of sexual needs. It is considered an institution because it adheres to established law; customs, patterns, and norms that are significant to society. People establish such institutions to lawfully satisfy their wants from various people, places, and objects. People of all sexes fulfil their needs and goals through being accepted into society and adhering to social norms and values. Marriage is a worldwide occurrence. It has been practised in every country, society, and tribe since the dawn of human civilisation. It is eternal and will exist till the end of human civilization. Marriage is a dynamic term since the marriage system of the past is not the same as the marriage system of today. Child marriage was once lawful, but it is no longer; widow marriage is now legal, and transgender marriage is also legal. It grants legal privileges such as birth certificates and citizenship to children born outside of a married couple, and it is recognised by religion, government, and other social organisations.