Meaning of Marriage
Just read a discussion in here about the meaning of marriage: people arguing whether gay, interracial, and consenting non-monogamous marriages were really marriages. I think they missed the point, simply because even the most widely accepted vision of what most consider a "traditional marriages" is so new and fluid. The truth is that the modern version of a marriage, one based on love, equality, shared responsibilities, monogamy, and life-long commitment are very new and novel concepts. This notion of "traditional marriage" as something passed down from generations is nothing more than a fantasy. Reality is that we are still struggling to figure out the definition of marriage.
Why is this notion of "traditional marriage" fictitious? For starters, until a few generations ago very rarely people chose their spouses based on love. Many had their spouses chosen by their parents or plain need. Potential mates were scarce and there were plenty of other more urgent considerations other than love in picking spouses. Equality among spouses was also a completely absurd concept. Men and women were expected to do very different things and their roles at home were not only very well defined but also radically different. The concept of monogamy mostly only applied to women. Men, particularly those wealthy and powerful, were not expected by anyone -including their wives- to not indulge in sexual adventures with other partners. And life-long commitments were incredibly relative as lives were usually cut very short by disease or a bad pregnancy. Reality is the average marriage lasted less only a few years. Despite our fantasies, most of our predecessors had marriages that were mostly practical, unromantic, and non-monogamous. Very much unlike what we now expect from marriage.
No wonder so many people struggle with marriage nowadays. Many people fall out of love, find themselves cheating (or being cheated on), bored, unappreciated, and just unhappy. They blame their partners and themselves. Many will blame the "media", "liberals", or just someone else. They don't realize our expectations of marriage are way beyond anything humans have faced in the past. And the reason why we struggle in defining and finding the proper rules to make it work.
My point is that there is no absolute definition of marriage or rules of right vs. wrong. We are all just trying to fit these unrealistic expectations into our lives and biological realities. Very stressful for everyone. My guess is that our definition and rules of marriage will change quite dramatically in the future. Which hopefully will happen soon.