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The Protestant Reformation reformulated marriage as a life-long covenant.

Marriage of some kind is found in most societies, and typically married people form a nuclear household, which is often subsequently extended biologically, through children. Most non-Western societies have a broader definition of family that includes an extended family network.

The Christian West formally banned these practices.

Globally, most existing societies no longer allow polygamy as a form of marriage.

In modern times, the term marriage is generally reserved for a union that is formally recognized by the state (although some people disagree).