Marriage (or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony.
People marry for many reasons, including one or more of the following: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved. In some societies these obligations also extend to certain family members of the married persons. Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment.
Marriage is usually recognized by the state, a religious authority, or both. It is often viewed as a contract. Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution irrespective of religious affiliation, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction.