Ancient Rome: Roman marriages were monogamous and equal partnerships for the wealthy. Households were located near the husband's family.
Early Middle Ages: Common-law marriages were widespread and legal. The Catholic church did not regulate marriages.
Twelfth Century: Marriage was seen as a public event and a sacrament of the Catholic Church. A reading of marriage banns occurred three weeks prior to ceremony to ensure both parties were entering the contract willingly and no reason to invalidate the marriage.
16th-18th Century: European settlers married aboriginal women because European women were in short supply. Marriage would only occur if they had a child. In 1821 HBC introduced marriage contracts that declared that employees must support their aboriginal wife and child, even if they went back to Europe.
Great Depression: Canadians postponed marriage until late twenties due to economic hardships.
Contemporary Marriages: Marriage has been delayed for many reasons including post-secondary education, to give time to find jobs in chosen career, to wait until man's employment is secure and they can afford to marry. Many couples cohabit until they have a child and many women won't have a child until they establish a career.