How is marriage defined by the law?

Marriage is a civil contract or union between two persons (in nearly all U.S. jurisdictions between one man and one woman) who live together and share their lives together (at least until a dissolution). Ideally, the two people share deep emotional and physical bonds that allow them to survive and even thrive during the hardships 271 of life. Unfortunately, we know that a large number of marriages dissolve and end up in divorce.