The institution of marriage: terminable or interminable?

Am J Psychother. 2007;61(1):1-16. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2007.61.1.1.


The institution of marriage has received renewed interest and even appreciation in the context of the controversy regarding same-sex marriage. Paradoxically, though, as marriage has become more valued, it has become, in the minds of some, just another life-style choice. This paper presents an overview of marriage and explores the complexities of the institution from historical, anthropological, legal, and sociological perspectives. Marriage has many practical implications, including psychological and physical benefits for men and for women, and particularly for children and adolescents, as well as direct benefits to society itself. It is incumbent on clinicians to be sensitive to the many dimensions of this extraordinary institution as it relates to their patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Rearing
  • Divorce* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Therapy*
  • Marriage* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Single Parent
  • Social Values
  • Socialization