Marriage is a custom practiced in every nation around the world . Many today view a wedding as a time of joy and happiness. A partnership within which people can build a life , create and extend the family , join in pursuits that satisfy the needs of one's emotional , intellectual , and physical well being .
Customs vary greatly under different cultures but inevitably most are preceded  with a large gathering of family and friends which can be elaborately celebrated or done with a simple ceremony. The hope for many is that a fully satisfied life and a cheerful contentment be acquired and for one to be loved in perpetuity. Of course this is "the ideal".
As we become more educated , this is still the ideal, but we find the  institution itself is fraught with difficulty not because of the institution, but of our own expectations and limitations. Our own characters, a true lack of insight on the fullness of how a "good marriage" should operate , as well as
the baggage of "fairy tales" , traditions , lack of education in how to navigate the inevitable obstacles that present themselves as time and intimacy expose both our own personal weaknesses and the ability or inability to communicate effectively with each other . Reality sets in , you find differences that appear irreconcilable , distance due to conflict and challenges creating disappointments and anxieties about own's own , or the others competence and the possible failure of the union . 
 Having been married once (far far too young ) having been literally cajoled  into it , having a father who appeared neither to care whether the man would make a responsible or happy match , or whether I would land on the street  homeless and hungry.(yes the subservience of women is still an attitude held and ingrained in the West and can still be quite demeaning) Since then I have spent considerably time in educating myself on some of the necessary parameters that may increase, though not insure but will certainly strengthen the ability to have a long and lasting marriage. Of course this presentation might itself be only for those whose minds are flexible enough to mold a more competent ideology into one's own perspectives . 
Our own humanity can be at once relatively simple and extremely complex , but most will agree that Love is a requirement to succeed in any union be it family or marriage . Defining what that entails can be more difficult . Attraction , chemistry , sexuality are often mistaken for a far more reaching and encompassing definition , whose height , breadth , and depth are at times  elusive and seemingly indefinable . Love itself covers a full spectrum of behaviors and character that is to be displayed in all of our relationships and no marriage can be considered as successful without them (even if the time endurance is lengthy), But without these qualities being given attention and development , a marriage can exist but one will have to question it's benevolence  to those within the union . 
Those of us with deeply a held belief as said in ancient writings that "God is Love" are required to put on the character or cloth ourselves with these traits. Among them are gentleness , goodness , patience , kindness , generosity, faith tenderness , loyalty , fidelity , peacefulness , forgiveness (cause you know he, as well you darlin' are gonna need that one badly), mercy, endurance , maturity, protectiveness , humility , understanding and consideration and every other enlightened virtue we could here discuss. And while I could wax and write endlessly about how these are displayed in one's life and a great amount of examples in how they interact both in the physical and ethereal realm. I must for lack of time and space allow all of you to dig in , research , meditate, refine and incorporate these into your own families and loved ones. To create, to build , to mold lives that contain the best of that which we can perceive and practice. 
Yet these can be construed a mere preparation to the full fledged engagement of them required to make a sound and prosperous marriage. A mere knowing or learning of these qualities does not ensure one's ability to put them into practice, in truth only an ardent effort to enforce them into our everyday ACTIONS can assure that they have the positive influence for which they are intended. Indeed both parties will have to continue to grow and enact these as essential to acquire the success desired. They are as fundamental to the building of a solid marriage as a blueprint is to an architect. Without the application of a loving character that builds the relationship , an uneasy alliance that will quickly fail when the trials of our own nature's , attacks from outside sources , financial and health difficulties beset the house you are endeavoring to build. 
All to often (presently in too many nations) in different cultures we have mere children forced into unions whose only relevance is her mind and body, a vessel of usury and lust by the one to whom she has become an indentured slave. Where verbal and physical abuse is the norm and her person has no apparent meaningful existence within this arrangement except to satisfy the wants and desires of a single person and to produce children or heirs. Much more could be detailed in a discussion regarding the failures of mankind to protect their own progeny. Ultimately the destructive behavior of those who still hold to some kind of misogyny with regard to a partnership in a marriage still employ behaviors such as violence , selfishness , hatred , neglect , rage , verbal and physical abuse , adultery , dishonesty , disloyalty and any number of other negative character traits  that will produce a realm of pain that drive many to seek to damage those around them .(Sorry ladies some of you fall under the same condemnation). Children have not had the time or the experience to develop a fully competent character to succeed in a marriage ,and a good portion of us consider men who wish to have sex with children to be the most depraved on the planet. This is not to say the same conditions don't occur with regard to persons married at a later age. I am to this day horrified by what occurs both here and abroad that passes for marriage and is anything but slavery.
In the Western World many have become victims of a travesty, a world view by corporate media , of Booze , Bands , Broads , Bacchanal's , the HOT date , eye candy , that easy bed , a face to die for , and the throw away society of discarded people in the pursuit of pleasure and a life so devoid of value one wonders why some bother to marry except to satisfy self's ego . 
 Frequently repeated is "Men give love to get sex , Women give sex to get Love" and that is a poor analysis of what could be construed as the least likely avenue to build a lifetime of mutual appreciation and growth into a depth of connection unlikely to be destroyed. It all to frequently encompasses the relationships now budding rapidly in the nations , as many are far too immature and uneducated in how to choose a mate outside of sexual attraction. Chemistry may be a necessary factor , but a lack of cohesiveness in ideological , morality and education will severely limit the satisfaction many are looking to obtain. Anyone marrying someone who hold's to the above perspectives will find a marriage which is one sided and lacking desirability .  
While man has dominated man and woman to the point of tyranny we do not find it to produce anything but more of the same. We observe thousands of years  where power over others has lead to a continued war of pain ,oppression and  formidable suffering that continues to erode societies and nations and families. We do find however that a full co-operation with the intent to provide every positive interaction can produce a family environment where every member is of equal value with much more security, affection, growth and an increased intelligence and ability to carry the same values forward in the community and the future. A marriage that is self serving will ultimately fail to produce children who will become the builders of the future. While I digress that a bad environment will drive many to seek the excellence they have lacked , a positive marriage is more likely to produce the desirable traits in the following generation.  

My personal preference in my pursuit on the subject is that which should help build a marriage and not destroy those within it's realm . So I won't go into a diatribe of the pluses and pitfalls of the traditional patriarchal perspective. It is evident that the sheer magnitude of energy and strength in the male equips him with the ability to abundantly perform tasks that require a more principal role in providing for a families physical needs and well as others as required. Where we find the complementary sensitivity in the female in her flexibility to both attend, nurture and build an environment where affection and learning are free to grow. While many are ready to jump ship and cry "equal" , truly the gift of life and love are equal to all , but every functioning unit, be it business , farming , education whatever field of pursuit existing , someone must have a role to take up , and it should be one suited to the station. The diversity of skill , intelligence , education , religion , and philosophy and maturity will affect just how each can function within the framework of the family. The demands are equal to everyone for the dispensing of affection , teaching , physical needs and a variety of disciplines to be worked out to  cover any thought of being left out of the "work load" (ask any family just how much will be required to carry out one's "duties" )  

Since I am writing from a woman's perspective I might add that many studies have attempted to figure the monetary value on a woman's activities in the home. The amounts for an hourly wage have proved that the average man could not possibly afford to have separately , a chef , a maid , a teacher, a psychologist , a household manager , a purchasing agent , a gardener , accountant and any other fields of service regarding care of home and family. While these studies have generated a great deal of levity , the truth is while in my years of attending "Sunday public talks" there is one I am not likely to ever forget . The minister covered not just these studies but his own perspectives that portrayed such a deep appreciation and immense affection for all his wife's capabilities and how highly he valued her. I came away with the greatest pleasure of knowing just one man who could so put to words his  love for another and all that person meant to him and brought into the union. Indeed it is unlikely I would ever marry someone who could not express both privately and openly such a love ...
In retrospect a marriage is both a promise and a Contract. A promise to  Love , cherish , and contribute all the best one has to give until one's own demise from this world. The marriage contract is the open vow to the giving up of a solitary existence to become a partner in life and through it has resolved openly and publicly to Love , care and seek the welfare of his partner and family .  



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