David Murray

Marriage is the very basis of society because it creates kinsmen out of strangers; it turns hostile outsiders into ‘in-laws.’ The Zulus have a saying, ‘They are our enemies, and so we marry them.’ By uniting with outsiders, marriage helps families multiply their economic capital and, perhaps even more important, their social capital. You and your wife’s uncle may not like each other very much, but marriage imposes a set of reciprocal obligations on you; you are at least partly responsible for looking out for each other’s well-being.

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