Marriage is an almost universal act.
It is the coming together of two people to share their lives in an official way.
In many countries, it has a religious connection.
It is one of the oldest ceremonies remaining in most cultures.
Most countries and religions set a minimum age for marriage.
This will vary from country to country.
In the UK, for example, a couple may marry at 16 years old.
If a marriage is to be dissolved, we call this divorce.
Some religions do not permit divorce.
In the 20th century, some people decided to live together without getting married.
This can be called common-law marriage.
Most people do this because they want a trial marriage before the real thing.
It was thought that it was easier than going through divorce if the relationship didn’t work.
However, the law in many countries considers this, and after a few years of living together, similar laws to divorce apply.
So, marriage is still popular even though common-law marriage is still tried first, as people may eventually marry anyway.