4 Major Factors Affecting To Marriage (Explained)

Major Factors Affecting Marriage

Marriage as a social institution is affected by various factors. The factors affecting marriage can be both internal and external to the individuals.

  • Industrialization
  • Urbanization
  • Education
  • Marriage Legislation

Let’s explain these factors affecting marriage in detail.


Industrialization is the process of moving from an agrarian-based economy in which the primary product is food to an industrial economy in which the primary product is goods, services, and information. The process of changing from a manual labor force to a technology-driven labor force in which machines play a large role is known as industrialization.

Also Read: What is Socialization? Definition, Features, Functions, & Stages

Before industrialization and during its early phase, the choice of partners for marriage was determined by economic considerations leaving little or no room for romantic love. The aim of marriage in pre-industrial society was determined as follows;

  • Among the upper classes, marriages were done to increase landholdings through dowries and patrimony (ancestral property) or consolidate political power by tying knots with the powerful social class and with the aim of preserving bloodlines.
  • But among the lower classes, marriage was necessary as a survival method and therefore, men often chose wives on the basis of their potential skills as well as their reproductive capacities. For e.g., farmers needed strong women who could help with labor in the field and in households and sell products in the local market. Artisans needed partners who could help with their craft and often chose wives from families of the same occupation.
  • There might have been romantic love to choose a partner but parents and other kin actually would not support this form of marriage because of its negative effects on the economic part of life.
  • Because marriage involved so many economic and familial considerations, couples wedding at a late age through the beginning of the 19th Century. On average men married at about age twenty-nine, and women at about twenty-six. Many couples married only after one or both of their parents had died.

Gradually with the development of industrialization and capitalism in the 19 century, the restrictions on marriage started to loosen despite economic concerns still existing. The effect, factors of industrialization affecting marriage could be observed as follows;

  • In certain circumstances, industrial wage labor encouraged early marriage because the contributions of a wife and children could increase chances for survival or a higher standard of living. But in other circumstances, low wages made marriage impossible as they could never afford to marry or have a family.
  • Some united and had children without a wedding.
  • Migration resulting from the industrial change also disrupted marriage patterns. Studies have shown that young people rarely migrated alone which means that they migrated with their spouses.
  • Marital endogamy prevails to a large extent as people marry (married) those who were from similar occupations or similar origins, whether they are geographically displaced or not. So, marriage continues to be the product of survival more than the result of romantic love.


Urbanization is also one of the factors affecting the marriage. It is the societal trend where the proportion of people living in cities increases due to the population shift from rural to urban residency and also the gradual increase in the population of cities through other forms of migration. Urbanization incorporates social, political, and economic change as well.

Marriage as an institution has traditionally been embedded and linked with the institution of caste in both rural and urban areas of Nepal. Marriages have been contracted to keep the caste or jati endogamy in mind. Each caste and community from different religions follow different rules and regulations. However, the impacts (Effects) of urbanization have deterred the rules and patterns of marriage to a great extent as follows:

  • A ‘new concept of wifehood’ (i.e. emphasis on ‘conjugal relationship’) has emerged where males and females live together without legally being married. This is also called a ‘living relationship.
  • Age at marriage has increased as in urban context both men and women prefer late marriage due to career building and/or economic constraints.
  • The endogamy has been disrupted and exogamy is increasing.
  • In some cities of developed countries, gay and lesbian marriages have taken place.
  • The consequence of urbanization is also seen in the fertility rate as married couples tend to reproduce fewer children due to economic burden and lack of time.
  • The individualism in cities and the growing economic independence of women have also promoted divorce rates.
  • The practice of love (romantic affairs) marriage has exceeded traditional arranged marriages.
  • Marriage types such as court marriage are also common in city areas.
  • The influence of various technologies and networking sites has made it easier of finding mates.


Education is a social institution through which a society’s children are taught basic academic knowledge, learning skills, and cultural norms. Education as an institution has also one of the factors affecting marriage patterns.

Also Read: What Is Education? Definition, Types, & Functions

The effects of education on marriage can be discussed below;

  • With higher education achievement, the males and females are less concerned about endogamy (marriage within one’s own caste group) and therefore engage in exogamy. The reasons include the advantage of healthy hybrids and affection (love) over caste.
  • The economic independency accompanying education has made the new generations less concerned on the family’s duty of finding a mate. So, self-decision is more prominent regarding the choice and finding a mate.
  • If the wealth and status of the partner is good enough, then the parents also give their consent and cooperation to marriage, ignoring caste differences.
  • Highly educated women are more likely to delay marriage.
  • Studies show that there is an inverse relationship between the level of education and fertility. Couples who were more educated tend to have fewer children.

Marriage Legislation

Legislation is a law or set of laws that are made to fulfill the social needs of the people.

Also Read: What Is Marriage? Definition, Features, Functions, And Types

What one must know is that as social needs change, so must the legislation. The legislation gives legal recognition to any institution (such as marriage, family, or kinship).

Regarding marriage, the legislation in many societies and nations has changed over time and consequently led to changes in marriage patterns. The laws enacted on various aspects of marriage according to the Nepal Marriage Act 1971 include;

  • Restriction on Bigamy.
  • Restriction on Child marriage.
  • Provision on widow marriage and rights of inheritance. The constitution of Nepal 2072/2015 ensures the widows’ rights to inheritance and their entitlement to social security.
  • Restriction on illegal Marriage.
  • The age of marriage has been legalized for 20 years for both of sexes.
  • Restriction on Daijo, Bride groom’s side shall neither compel the bride side to give cash, goods, daijo, donation, gifts, farewell gifts, etc.

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