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In some areas, child marriages and polygamy may occur in spite of national laws against the practice.Since the late twentieth century, major social changes in Western countries have led to changes in the demographics of marriage, with the age of first marriage increasing, fewer people marrying, and more couples choosing to cohabit rather than marry.Civil marriage recognizes and creates the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony before the state.

The adjective marīt-us -a, -um meaning matrimonial or nuptial could also be used in the masculine form as a noun for "husband" and in the feminine form for "wife".

The related word "matrimony" derives from the Old French word matremoine, which appears around 1300 CE and ultimately derives from Latin mātrimōnium, which combines the two concepts: mater meaning "mother" and the suffix -monium signifying "action, state, or condition".

Over the twentieth century, a growing number of countries and other jurisdictions have lifted bans on and have established legal recognition for interracial marriage, interfaith marriage, and most recently, gender-neutral marriage.

Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment.

Whom they marry may be influenced by socially determined rules of incest, prescriptive marriage rules, parental choice and individual desire.

In some areas of the world, arranged marriage, child marriage, polygamy, and sometimes forced marriage, may be practiced as a cultural tradition.

The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved, and any offspring they may produce or adopt.

In terms of legal recognition, most sovereign states and other jurisdictions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and a diminishing number of these permit polygyny, child marriages, and forced marriages.

The word "marriage" derives from Middle English mariage, which first appears in 1250–1300 CE.

This in turn is derived from Old French, marier (to marry), and ultimately Latin, marītāre, meaning to provide with a husband or wife and marītāri meaning to get married.

Most of us have always wanted to have a few extra-marital affairs every now and then.

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