For centuries marriages in England were strictly religious - between one man and one woman before God. This changed only in the 20th Century with the advent of civil ceremonies, when God was removed from the union.
And if we look at traditional marriage as outlined by Biblical law we can see the institution has changed many times. Men could have more than one wife (but of course women could not have more than one husband). Marriages were almost always arranged, and fathers could sell their daughters into marriage as slavers could sell their slaves. If a woman's husband died she was required to marry his brother (Deut 25:5). And if an unmarried, un-betrothed young woman was raped she was required to marry her rapist (Deut 22:28-29). Luckily marriage, like other institutions, has been reformed by superior moral standards. So marriage has been redefined many times, and for the better.