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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume

Consensual union n

Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English vol.
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Consensual union n  (CONSENSUAL union N)

In some countries a legal union can be established only through a civil marriage 1 performed by an official of the state; in other countries a religious marriage 2 in accordance with the regulations of a church is recognized as having legal force. Social or legal recognition may be given under various conditions in different countries to stable unions which have not been solemnized by a legal or religious ceremony, for instance to customary marriages 3 or to common law marriages 3 conforming to local traditions. Different types of relationships and degrees of social acceptance are implied in terms applied to various unions but their significance varies widely in different countries. The term consensual union 4 implies a socially recognized stable union, the term companionate marriage 4 has a similar connotation. The terms free union 5 and temporary union 6 both imply a less stable union that may or may not include cohabitation 7. Two persons of opposite sexes living in a stable union, whether legal or not, are called a couple 8. The term conjugal union 8 has been used by demographers to include both legal unions and more or less stable illegal unions.

  • 3. Concubinage, n.: a type of illegal union. A concubine in the restricted sense is a woman with an accepted conjugal status inferior to that of a legally recognized wife, particularly in polygynous societies. In other societies, the word concubine is sometimes used loosely to denote any woman other than a wife living in conjugal union with a man. Today such terms as companion or mate are preferred.
  • 7. Cohabitation, n.- cohabit, v.