husband
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A husband is a
male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sexually ...

male
in a
marital relationship in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially us ...

marital relationship
, who may also be referred to as a
spouse A spouse is a significant other in a marriage (in certain contexts, it can also apply to a civil union or common-law marriage). Although a spouse is a form of significant other, the latter term also includes non-marital partners who play a socia ...
. The rights and obligations of a husband regarding his spouse and others, and his status in the community and in law, vary between societies and cultures, and have varied over time. In
monogamous Monogamy ( ) is a form of dyadic relationship Relationship most often refers to: * Interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more peo ...
cultures, there are only two parties to a marriage, which is enforced by laws against
bigamy In cultures where is mandated, bigamy is the act of entering into a with one person while still legally married to another. A of the couple does not alter their marital status as married persons. In the case of a person in the process of th ...
and
polygamy Polygamy (from Late Greek Late Greek means writings in the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family o ...
. Traditionally, the husband was regarded as the
head of the household
head of the household
and was expected to be the sole provider or
breadwinner The breadwinner model is a paradigm of family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social terr ...
, a role that continues in some cultures (sometimes described as
paternalistic Paternalism is action that limits a person's or group's liberty or autonomy and is intended to promote their own good. Paternalism can also imply that the behavior is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behavior express ...
). Today, a husband is not necessarily considered the
breadwinner The breadwinner model is a paradigm of family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social terr ...
of the family, especially if his spouse has a more financially rewarding occupation or career. In such cases, it is not uncommon for a husband to be considered a stay-at-home father if the married couple have children. The term continues to be applied to such a man who has separated from his spouse and ceases to be applied to him only when his marriage has come to an end following a legally recognized
divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminating a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people calle ...

divorce
or the death of his spouse. On the death of his spouse, a husband is referred to as a
widower A widow is a woman whose spouse has Death, died; a widower is a man whose spouse has died. Terminology The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed ''widowhood''. An archaic term for a widow is "relict," literally “someone left ov ...
; after a divorce a man may be referred to as the "ex-husband" of his former spouse.


Origin and etymology

The term ''husband'' refers to
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
, from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
, from
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
(, "house" + , , present participle of , "to dwell", so, etymologically, "a householder"). See also torp


Related terms

At the conclusion of a valid wedding, the marrying parties acquire the
status Status (Latin plural: ''statūs''), is a state, condition, or situation, and may refer to: * Status (law) Legal status is the position held by something or someone with regard to law. It is a set of privileges, obligations, powers or restricti ...
of married persons and, while the marriage persists, a man is called a husband. In heterosexual marriages the woman is called a
wife A wife is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ...

wife
; in same-sex marriages between males, each male is called a husband. Although "husband" is a close term to
groom A bridegroom (often shortened to groom) is a man who is about to be married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligatio ...

groom
, the latter is a male participant in a wedding ceremony, while a husband is a married man after the wedding and for the duration of the marriage. The term husband refers to the institutionalized role of the married male, while the term father refers to the male in context of his offspring, a state which may or may not indicate that a marriage ceremony has taken place. In some cases of heterosexual marriage, before the marriage, the forthcoming husband or his family may have received a
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money ...
, or have had to pay a
bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a Bridegroom, groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared ...

bride price
, or both were exchanged. The dowry not only supported the establishment of a household, but also served as a condition that if the husband committed grave offenses upon his wife, he had to return the dowry to the wife or her family. For the time of the marriage, they were made inalienable by the husband. He might leave his wife (or wives), then widow (or widows), a dower (often a third or a half of his estate) to support her as
dowager A dowager is a widow A widow is a woman whose spouse has Death, died; a widower is a man whose spouse has died. The treatment of widows and widowers around the world varies. Terminology The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed ' ...
. As an external symbol of the fact that they are married, each spouse commonly wears a
wedding ring A wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring A ring is a round band, usually of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or ...

wedding ring
on the ring finger; whether this is on the left or right hand depends on the country's tradition. "Husband" further refers to the institutionalized form in relation to the spouse and offspring, unlike father, a term that puts a man into the context of his children. Also compare the similar
husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of ...
, which in the 14th century referred to the care of the household, but today means the "control or judicious use of resources", conservation, and in agriculture, the cultivation of plants and animals, and the science about its
profession A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from r ...

profession
.


Western culture


Historical status

In premodern heterosexual unions (
ancient Roman In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
,
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
, and early modern history), a husband was obliged to protect and support not only his wife and children, but servants and animals of his domain. The father (as the "
patron Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists su ...

patron
") was awarded with much
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
, differing from that of his wife (in these cultures, no polygamy existed). In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
and
Early Modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. Humanity's written history was preceded by its , beginning with ...
European history, it was unusual to marry out of love, but then doing so became an influential ideal. During this period, a husband in a heterosexual marriage had more opportunities in society than his wife, who was not recognized as legally independent.


Contemporary status

In contemporary
secularized In sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empirical method, empi ...
Western culture, the rights of the spouses have been made equal. The
civil marriage A civil marriage is a performed, recorded and recognised by a government official. Such a marriage may be performed by a body and recognised by the state, or it may be entirely . History Every country maintaining a of its residents keeps trac ...
generally forces the wealthier spouse "''breadwinner''" to provide
alimony Alimony (also called aliment Aliment, in Scots law and in other civil systems, is the sum of money paid, or allowance given in respect of the reciprocal Obligation (law), obligation of parents and children, husband and wife, grandparents and g ...

alimony
to the former spouse, even after separation and also after a divorce (see also Law and divorce around the world). The legal status of marriage allows each spouse to speak on the other's behalf when one is incapacitated (e.g., in a coma); a husband is also responsible for his spouse's child(ren) in states where he is automatically assumed to be the
biological father A father is the male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sexu ...
.


Religion


Islam

In
Islamic marital jurisprudence In Sharia, Islamic law (''sharia''), marriage (''nikāḥ'' نکاح) is a legal and social contract between two individuals. Marriage is an act of Islam and is strongly recommended.http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-about-islam/ethics-and-values/mu ...
, husbands are considered protectors of the household and their wives. As protector, the husband has various rights and obligations that he is expected to fulfill and thus is offered opportunities different from that of his wife or wives, not only in legal and economical affairs of the family but within the family as well. As in most cases in Islam law and culture, everything is being related to the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, God (''Allah''). It is widely rega ...

Qur'an
. Many Muslims may agree on a perfectly equal relationship. Islam is the only major religion that puts a cap on
polygamy Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marriage, marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this poly ...
, limiting the number of a man's wives to four—provided the husband can do justice to all of them. Although some religions, such as Catholicism for instance, puts a cap on polygamy all together, or even serial monogamy, allowing one spouse until death does them apart, not even accepting divorce. According to the teachings of Islam a Muslim man should have a valid reason and have to get permission from his existing wife (without any force) if he requires to marry again. Islam vehemently abhors any intimate relationship outside the bond of marriage. There is no external sign to show his status as a husband, unless he adopted the tradition of wearing a wedding ring.


Hinduism

A Hindu husband traditionally takes his wife to his home. He is expected to provide for her and to prove his abilities to do so. The marriage in Hinduism is a relationship for Seven births (सात जन्मों का रिश्ता). Before 1951 there was no divorce allowed in Hindu marriage. In modern times once again after 1951, equal rights for women through society and law jurisdiction is given. In Hinduism, based on the different regions, marriage process is observed differently with the same Saat Pheras around agni kund (light pyre) to be taken to become a husband and wife. The ''
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
'' mentions that "In Hindu law, the male members of a joint family, together with their wives, widows, and children, are entitled to support out of the joint property."


Buddhism and Chinese folk religions

China's family laws were changed by the Communist revolution; and in 1950, the People's Republic of China enacted a comprehensive marriage law including provisions giving the spouses equal rights with regard to ownership and management of marital property.


Christianity

In Christianity, according to the Bible, a husband in a heterosexual marriage has a number of duties: * To present his bride to God throughout their lives as perfectly holy and virtuous as can be. * To protect his wife with his own life, physically, emotionally and "spiritually". * To "lay down" his life, counting her more important than himself. * To lead his wife and his family into the best things for them. * To be the best that he can be in God's power. * To not withhold his body from her.


Other cultures

In Japan, before enactment of the
MeijiMeiji, the Romanization of Japanese, romanization of the Japanese language, Japanese Japanese writing system, characters wiktionary:明, 明 wiktionary:治, 治 , may refer to: Japanese emperor and era * Emperor Meiji, the Emperor of Japan between ...
Civil Code of 1898, all of the woman's property such as land or money passed to her husband except for personal clothing and a mirror stand.


Expectation of fidelity

Although there is generally an expectation for a spouse not to have
sexual relation Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their Human sexuality, sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts, ranging from activities done alone (e.g., ...
s with anyone other than his spouse(s), historically, in most cultures, this expectation was not as strong as in the case of wives, a situation which was evident in legal codes which prohibited adultery, with male adultery often being criminalized only if "aggravating" circumstances existed, such as if he brought his mistress in the conjugal home, or if there was public scandal. The double standard was also evident in divorce laws of many countries, such as the UK or Australia, which differentiated between female adultery, which was a ground of adultery by itself, and male adultery, which was a ground only under certain circumstances. This double standard continues to be seen today in many parts of the world. For instance, in the Philippines, a wife can be charged with the crime of a''dultery'' (for merely having one act of sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband), while a husband can only be charged with the related crime of c''oncubinage'', which is more loosely defined (it requires either keeping the mistress in the family home, or cohabiting with her, or having sexual relations under scandalous circumstances). A breach of this expectation of
fidelity Fidelity is the quality of faithfulness Eugene Santos or Faithfulness is the concept of unfailingly remaining loyal to someone or something, and putting that loyalty into consistent practice regardless of extenuating circumstances. It may be ex ...

fidelity
is commonly referred to as
adultery Adultery (from Latin ''adulterium'') is extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Although the Human sexual activity, sexual activities that constitute adultery vary, as well as the social ...

adultery
or
extramarital sex Extramarital sex occurs when a married Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between t ...
. Historically, adultery has been considered a serious offense, sometimes a crime. Even if that is not so, it may still have legal consequences, particularly a divorce. Adultery may be a factor to consider in a
property settlement Division of property, also known as equitable distribution, is a judicial division of property rights and obligations between spouses during divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminati ...
, it may affect the status of children, the
custody of children Child custody is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is de ...
, etc.


See also

*
Wife A wife is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ...

Wife
* Husband-selling *
Hypergamy Hypergamy (colloquially referred to as "marrying up") is a term used in social science for the act or practice of a person marrying a spouse of higher caste or social status than themselves. The antonym "hypogamy" refers to the inverse: marrying ...
* Polygamy in Christianity *
Polyandry Polyandry (; from grc-gre, πολυ- ''poly-'', "many" and ἀνήρ ''anēr'', "man") is a form of polygamy Polygamy (from Late Greek Late Greek means writings in the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient ...
*
Female husband Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells). Barring rare medical conditions, most female mammals, including female humans, have two X chromosomes. Female characterist ...


References


Further reading

* {{Authority control Terms for men