Especially in the past few years have people spoken up against the intrusion of the government into their personal lives. Of course there have always been unjust and unfair governments that treated their people poorly, but only in this age of technology do we notice how the government is now able to keep constant track and watch over seemingly everything we say or do. Along these lines, many have wondered why it is that we have marriage laws that dictate so many things about the arrangement itself and why persons can't just declare themselves married without government interference.
Keep in mind that marriage laws are different from country to country, and in the U.S., even from state to state. Each individual state has the right to set the legal age of marriage. Some countries have their marriage laws governed by a prevailing religious belief, while others approach marriage with more of a business-like attitude.
While many might see this as being intrusive, in many ways the marriage laws actually protect certain people. For example, in places where there is no legal marriage age it's unfortunate that sometimes children are forced into marriages arranged by their parents or by the leader of a certain religion. By having marriage laws that set a certain age for marriage, there is less of a chance of an innocent child being victimized by this type of forced arrangement.
Marriage laws are also designed to protect shared property between two people. Without a marriage contract that protects each person's equal right to their property, it would be easy for one person in a relationship to simply empty a bank account or kick out the other person and change the locks on the doors, and that person is left with nothing and no legal protection. These laws also protect a spouse in the case of the death of the person who is providing materially for the household. For instance, if the husband was the only one with a secular job and he were to die unexpectedly, his relatives could not lay claim to his bank account or home or anything else, as those marriage laws protect his widow's right to these things first and foremost.
There is also some legal protection in marriage laws when one partner gets sick or incapacitated. Rather than having legal or medical decisions made by strangers or doctors who may not recognize this person's wishes, that marriage contract gives the spouse the right to speak for this person and make sure his or her wishes and preferences are protected.
Obviously marriage laws are not perfect and certainly there are times when they may be unfair to an individual or even a couple, but for the most part they are designed as a protection for those wanting to enter into this type of relationship. You do well to become familiar with the marriage laws of your state if you are considering getting married, and making sure that you understand this legal agreement you will need to live by!