One of the functions of marriage is to provide happiness. Happiness is, however, illusive and elusive as well. It cannot be easily generated by pulling a switch or opening a valve; nor can it result from a simple determination on the part of one of the partners to be happy regardless of what happens. Happiness is the by-product of when the other functions of marriage are properly carried out.
Marriage is intended to provide security, both financial and emotional. However, of the two, emotional security is of greater importance to the integrity of the home. The craving for emotional security impels young men and women toward marriage. To find someone you can count on constantly – someone who is devoted to you and who will be consistent in that devotion is not very easy. Caring for each other is very important in marriage.
Many young people would prefer to avoid the obligations and responsibilities involved in marriage were it not for the realization of the need of emotional security that comes from being able to confide in the partner and expects that this partner to be impartial and unprejudiced as he or she shares and assists to solve the problems and anxieties of the moment. Marriage provides a complementary person which serves as an emotional buffer. But some people get married mainly to be cared for, not to care for their spouse. The healthy contract between two persons who make agreements of marriage is mutual care.
Emotional immaturity is responsible for many difficult marriage adjustments. One cannot judge by external appearances alone whether the young individual has reached emotional maturity. It is the emotional responses, observed over a period of time that will indicate whether the emotional patterns are operating on the acceptable adult level. Married couples should encourage, support their partners in achieving their goals in life.
Emotional immaturity is usually the result of unfortunate childhood experience such as parental over –pampering. This may bring about circumstances by which the child is deprived of an opportunity to make progress according to the normal schedule of emotional development. The two factors on which the correction of emotional immaturity in a young married person depends are: Firstly, insight into the problem by the individual himself and secondly, sympathetic patience on the part of his partner while the adjustment is being made. The proper cure for this condition is for a concerted effort to be made by the individual to develop unselfishness. Unselfishness in action takes the form of a lot of consideration for others.
Apart from the couples, marriage should also provide emotional and financial security for the children who come into the home. When a child feels secure within the home his character and personality will develop well in spite of unfortunate external milieu. If this security is lacking, his development will be in great danger and may end up being distorted. The high incidence of delinquency among children who come from broken marriage is enough evidence of this need of security.
Another very crucial function of marriage is to provide security in the time of old age. Marriage provides a sympathetic spouse in period of ill health. The children who are products of the marriage also give a helping hand to take care of aged and feeble parents.
Marriage is supposed also to provide for spiritual and cultural growth of the members of the family. The spiritual and cultural developments of the individual members of a family are a reflection of the influences existing within the family. Compromise, deception, or temporizing in matters pertaining to the sacredness of marriage tends to undermine the foundation of society. Marriage provides the setting for determining the attitudes and the standards of the future generation.
The parents should demonstrate to their children the desirability and the necessity of loyalty to others and proper respect for law and order. The basic responsibility for maintaining the standards and ideals of society rests, therefore, on the parents and, thus, within the realm of marriage relations.
Perpetuation of the next generation is a major function of marriage. Very often this function is regarded as the outstanding function of marriage. From the biological standpoint the function of giving birth to children is primary. But from the standpoint of maintaining peace within the home, this function is so intimately bound up with the other functions that it cannot properly be treated independently. Were the bringing children into the world, the sole function of marriage, the marriage relation would fail woefully. On the other hand, many people regard a home without children is incomplete.