It's a bond willingly shared between two loving people who promise to share each other's joys, pains, successes, failures, and lives. They compliment one another, meaning they fit and work well together.
I think it's a fairly weak institution these days as almost no one marries smart and well informed anymore (that is, they lack proper experience with the person and foresight).
I think marriage is awesome and a wonderful blessing. I have a very loving husband who loves me more then anything and I him and we take care of each other and are each other's best friends. I plan on being with him forever and wouldn't have it any other way.
Going to take devil's advocate on this...because I have differing opinions.
Marriage, as a religious decision, as marriage originally was, is great.
If you aren't religious, then there is absolutely NO reason for a man to get married. None.
Everything marriage offers, a man can get without being married. And in the case that you are one of those 50+% of marriages that fail, it is much cheaper not to get married, and instead hire a maid, a cook, etc.
Aside from the tax breaks, it is my belief that the ceremony is a formal union to present your love to your family members and god so there is no confusion. If you don't truly believe in god, then I could see how one would consider it meaningless.
I think its not meant for everyone. In my honest opinion out of all the personal choices out there... Marriage is the Absolute #1 choice that is controlled by Peer Pressure.
As a young kid we see the Princess being married off to Mr Right in all the disney flicks. We grow up seeing and hearing about "Nuclear Households" the Mother - Father - Son - & Daughter situations which is generally perceived as "The ideal situation" even though less than a quarter of all families in the US are true to this scheme.
I believe that marriage has been blown out of proportion. I feel that the State recognizing and offering tax breaks to "Married Couples" is complete and utter contradiction to the beloved idea of "Separation of Church and State".
When I say that I dont believe Marriage is for everyone, I am referring to the fact that not everyone is programmed in their heads to be Monogamous. There are tons and tons of people out there who want to spend the rest of their lives with one person, including myself. However I feel there is a bigger percentage of people who would rather have many relationships. "Spread their seed" so to speak. They are the people who get married at young ages, usually out of high school... then within 5 years are divorced.
To me, marriage is a contract of trust. I dont need marriage to prove I love my significant other with all of my heart. But then again... I wasnt raised in a religious home