It’s no secret that marriage in different cultures doesn’t quite mean the same thing as it did just 100 years ago, and not the same as several hundred years ago.
It wasn’t that long ago that different types of marriage and relationships were all about security; in a world with limited opportunity, you wanted to make sure your future had some stability, and marrying was a big part of that. It’s only a recent development that people marry for love.
Since the purpose of marriages is so diverse and twisted, there are different types of marriages you should know about. Here are 25 different types of marriages you should be aware of.
Related Reading: 25 Types of Relationships That You Might Encounter
25 types of marriages
The types of marriages can differ based on the purpose of the marriage and how the relationship between two people is defined. Here are 25 different types of marriages.
1. Civil and religious marriage
These are two different types of marriages, often combined into one. Civil marriage is when the marriage is recognized by the state, while a religious marriage is when the recognition is received from a religious body, such as the church.
2. Interfaith marriage
Faith or religion makes up for a major part of ourselves and our lives. Previously, people from the same faiths would prefer to get married. However, as time progressed, people from different religions have also started to come together in a union. When people from two different religions decide to get married, it is called an interfaith marriage.
3. Common-law marriage
Common-law marriage is a type of marriage when two people have decided that they are married and live together like husband and wife but do not have a certificate of registry.
4. Monogamous marriage
Monogamous marriage is the most common type of marriage people practice all over the world. It is when two people are married to each other without getting emotionally or sexually involved with anyone else outside the marriage.
Related Reading: Monogamous Relationship – Meaning and Dynamics
5. Polygamous marriage
Polygamous marriage, though not as common now, used to be the norm several hundred years ago. It is when people have more than one official spouse.
Polygamous marriage can be of two types – polygyny marriage and polyandry marriage. Polygyny is when a man has more than one wife, while polyandry is when the woman has more than one husband.
6. Left-handed marriage
Left-handed marriage is when two people from unequal social rankings get together in a union of marriage. It is also called a morganatic marriage.
7. Secret marriage
As the name suggests, a secret marriage is when the marriage is hidden from society, friends, and family. When two people are secretly married but have not informed their family or friends about the same.
8. Shotgun marriage
Most people plan their marriage and when they want to get married. However, a shotgun marriage is when a couple decides to get married because of an unplanned pregnancy.
Many cultures and societies look down upon having kids before marriage, and therefore, some people may decide to get married to save their reputation or the embarrassment to their families.
9. Mixed marriage
A mixed marriage is also called an inter-racial marriage. A mixed marriage is another one of the marriage types that is becoming popular lately. Previously, people would only marry in their own race. Now, people from different races also come together in the union of marriage.
10. Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriages have also become common now. Though not as widely accepted as other types of marriage in sociology, same-sex marriages have been deemed legal in many parts of the world. It is when people who wish to marry people of the same sex come together to get married.
A man marries a man, and a woman marries a woman – as opposed to the societal construct that only a man and woman can get married.
11. Love marriage
Love marriages are the types of marriages where people get married because they love each other. They meet each other, fall in love, and marriage seems like the next logical step to them.
12. Arranged marriage
Arranged marriages are the opposite of love marriages. It is when the family finds a suitable match for an eligible bachelor or bachelorette, keeping in mind factors such as race, religion, caste, and any other specifics that they might have.
Also Try: Arranged Marriage or Love Marriage Quiz
13. Convenience marriage
As the name suggests, a convenience marriage is when two people get married for reasons that bring convenience to their lives, and not because of love. These reasons can be practical, or financial.
14. Zombie marriage
This is when you both are docile and nice to each other in front of other people, and to them, you are still married.
However, behind closed doors, you do not share any sort of a relationship. It has come to a point where you are not even sure if you both are really married in the essence of your relationship.
15. Group marriage
Group marriage is when one or more men are married to one or more women. It is different from a polygamous marriage because in this case, a group of people is married to each other, while in a polygamous marriage, a person just has multiple spouses.
16. Parenting marriage
Another one of the different forms of marriage that are very common these days is called parenting marriage. This is when two people decide to stay married to each other for the sake of their kids.
They wait for the children to grow up, and become independent before they separate or file for a divorce.
17. Safety marriage
Safety marriage is when a marriage occurs because something tangible, mostly materialistic, is decided to be given in return. These terms are decided before marriage.
18. Open marriage
One more type of marriage that has recently become popular is open marriage. It is when two people who are officially married are allowed to see other people outside the marriage. It is a mutual agreement between two spouses.
To understand more about open marriages, watch this video.
19. Court marriage
A court marriage is when the couple skips the traditional ceremony, and directly applies for a marriage certificate from the court.
20. Time-bound marriage
This type of marriage is when the agreement of marriage is bound by time. The couple decides that they will only stay married to each other for a specific time period.
21. The Partnership
In this type of marriage or in this form of marriage, the husband and wife act a lot like business partners. They are equals in so many ways. Most likely, they both work full-time jobs and share a lot of the household and child-rearing responsibilities equally.
In these types of marriages, the couples are interested in contributing their half in order to make a more cohesive whole. If you are in this type of relationship, you’ll feel out of balance when the other person isn’t doing the same things you are doing.
So if you feel like you need to have different roles, you’ll need to really dissect it and negotiate until you both feel you are still on equal footing. This applies to all aspects of the marriage—even the romance part. You must both be making equal efforts in this area.
22. The Independents
People who have these types of marriages want autonomy. They more or less live separate lives alongside each other. They don’t feel like they need to agree on everything because each person’s thoughts and feelings are separate from their own and valuable in their own right.
They give each other room to be who they want to be; they may even spend their free time apart. When it comes to doing things around the house, they tend to work separately in their areas of interest and on their timetables.
They may have less physical togetherness than other couples but feel just as fulfilled. People who enjoy these types of marriages will feel stifled if their spouse is too needy or wants to be together all the time.
Just know that an independent isn’t pulling away because they don’t love you—they just need to have that independent space.
Check out this video of a couple talking about maintaining individuality and independence while being married:
23. The degree seekers
A couple in this type of marriage ceremony are in it to learn something. Many times the husband and wife in this relationship are quite different—even opposites. One could be good at something, and the other not so much, and vice versa.
So they each possess skills the other would like to develop. In essence, marriage is like a school of life. They are constantly learning from each other. They find it very stimulating to watch how the other lives and handles themselves in different situations.
Over time, they begin to pick up on their spouse’s skills and feel good about that process as it unfolds.
If they ever feel like they are no longer learning anything from their spouse, they may feel disillusioned; so keep things fresh by constantly learning and growing for yourself, and so you can offer something to your degree-seeking spouse.
24. The “traditional” roles
This is the type of marriage depicted in old TV shows. The wife stays at home and takes care of the house and kids; the husband goes to work and comes home and reads the paper or watches TV.
The wife has clearly defined roles, and the husband has clearly defined roles, and they are different.
In multiple marriages, when the husband and wife find joy in their roles and are supported by the other, it works well. But when the roles aren’t fulfilled, or their roles overlap, there can be resentment or loss of self.
Also Try: There Are 4 Types Of Marriages: Which Do You Have?
25. The companionship
In this alternative marriage, the husband and wife want a life-long friend. Their relationship is familiar and loving. They are really after someone to share their life with—someone to be by their side through everything.
There is less independence in this marriage, and that’s ok. They appreciate a lot of togetherness.
The bottom line
We hope this article was able to answer the question, “What are the different types of marriages?”
While there are various other types of marriages apart from the ones mentioned here, the truth is that different marriages occur due to different reasons. Marriage types are, therefore, defined based on these reasons.
There is no definite answer to the question, “How many types of marriage do we have?” but these are the most common types of marriages.