What Is The Real Value Of Marriage?

Marriage is what you make of it.

Last updated on May 05, 2023

couple getting married PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock

Who is marriage for? The short, idealistic answer is it's for anyone who decides they want to get married. 

Historically, the actual answer to this question was based on cultural values. These have shifted dramatically over the past 20-plus years as legal, same-sex marriage has become the law of the land. 

Values are typically one of the most difficult issues to change, negotiate or compromise on because they are our essence, our foundation and our belief in the working of the world around us. And no matter how well-established a cultural shift might seem, the work to maintain any progress never seems to end.


On an individual level, our values regarding the institution of marriage are often hard to specifically define and are often part of our family background, world experience and our relationship with others.

Let's take a closer look at what values the word or the concept of marriage entails. By clarifying your perceptions around the values and beliefs that you have about marriage you can then find common ground with others as well as identify areas where you have differences.

RELATED: 4 Reasons Why People Still Get Married

RELATED: 12 Reasons Marriage Is Important For Your Overall Well-Being


Here are three values that most marriages have in common

1. Commitment

People of all backgrounds and beliefs value the concept of commitment between marriage partners. This goes beyond a spiritual and emotional commitment and extends to staying monogamous throughout the relationship.

2. Structure

Through the structure of marriage support for children, extended family members and the family unit is maintained. This allows for long-term planning, growth and financial security. Non-traditional types of relationships, including same-sex couples, still have the same structure as well as the same sense of the other two values.

3. Companionship and love

Humans are social animals and not intended to live solitary lives away from others. Through marriage, strong emotional bonds are formed that allow for love, companionship and friendship to develop. These are different feelings than companionship with individuals that are not partners, although sometimes friendships may be lifelong and incredibly meaningful.

There may be other values, including religious and personally defined moral issues, that are a big factor for some individuals. However, there are at least these three values in any group of people that consider marriage as an important institution in their lives.


In essence, there are always values in marriage, regardless of the gender of the couple, and they are important ones for all people. Although times may have changed and society may be reflecting those changes, the values inherent in marriage are consistent and lasting regardless of what the partnership looks like.

RELATED: Do Not Marry Someone Until You Can Honestly Answer These 20 Qs

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach who helps people cope with codependency, love addiction, toxic relationships, and mental health issues. She is also the author of Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency To Find Everlasting Love.