Marriage and family life
Love and freedom of choice are important in western society. Individuals choose their own marriage partner generally by falling in love. If marriage is part of an alliance between families or groups, the elders of the family or group play a major role in arranging the marriage. The Christian view of marriage developed from Judaism and the laws of the Hebrew Old Testament. Most teaching on marriage in schools is still based on the teachings of Christianity, but in order to understand marriage in a changing, predominantly secular society it is necessary to consider it from anthropological, historical, and philosophical perspectives. In recent years the changing nature of the family has been the subject of intense debate in sociological, political, and religious circles. The expression 'one-parent family', actually meaning a one-parent household, was first formulated in the 1970s. Even more than one-parent families, stepfamilies are not homogeneous. Remarriage took place against a background of death, frequently of women in childbirth.