Relationships, Marriage, & Family Life in Bolivia
Dating, marriage, and family life in Bolivia vary significantly.
Among some people marriage and family are closely linked to the Catholic Church
as it is a highly religious ceremony, dating prior to marriage is kept at a minimum,
and pre-marital sex is considered inappropriate. For others, including many of the
Aymara and Quechua, couples are expected to live together and start a family prior
to marriage; today this is the norm in Bolivia.
After living together for some time (up to three years) and often times having a
child or two a couple will marry. Many Bolivians will spend
this time living together in the home of the groom's parents and on average
they marry at about age 22-25. After some time living together the couple will formally
marry in the eyes of the government and the church. The first of these ceremonies
is the civil ceremony, which legally marries the couple. The church ceremony then
takes place as does a large celebration that often lasts three days. More than just
a party, this celebration also signifies the end of the courtship and the introduction
of the young couple as adult members of the community. If they have not already,
most couples will move into their own house at this time.