Human beings, at the top of the evolutionary scale, require the most time of all species to reach maturity.
This imposes increased duties on human parents for the care of their children, and marriage traditionally has been seen as the institution best suited to fulfill these parental duties and responsibilities.
and a woman, that is regulated by laws, rules, customs, beliefs, and attitudes that prescribe the rights and duties of the partners and accords status to their offspring (if any).
The universality of marriage within different societies and cultures is attributed to the many basic social and personal functions for which it provides structure, such as sexual gratification and , division of labour between the sexes, economic production and consumption, and satisfaction of personal needs for affection, status, and companionship.
Until the late 20th century, marriage was rarely a matter of free choice.
In Western societies love between spouses came to be associated with marriage, but even in Western cultures (as the novels of writers such as or group, is the oldest social regulation of marriage.
However, all the elements in marriage rituals vary greatly among different societies, and components such as time, place, and the social importance of the event are fixed by tradition and habit.
These traditions are, to a certain extent, shaped by the religious beliefs and practices found in societies throughout the world.
Perhaps its strongest function concerns procreation, the care of children and their came into force on April 1, 2001.
Belgium passed a similar law in 2003, except that it limited marriageable partners to those whose national laws allowed such marriages (i.e., Belgians could only marry Belgians or Netherlanders).
Marriage ceremonies include symbolic rites, often sanctified by a religious order, which are thought to confer good fortune on the couple.