Many anthropologists and social historians have expressed their views that early humans practiced polygamy (one man with several women in the marriage union) or polyandry (several men with one woman).
In either case, quite likely the women involved in the union probably had been captives before they were wives.
Even after the establishment of Christianity had abolished marriage by capture throughout all of Europe, the Anglo-Saxons persisted in simulating the capture of the bride.
Among the Arabs of the Sinai peninsula, a girl acquires a permanent reputation of chastity and modesty in proportion to her tears and her struggles of resistance on her marriage day.
In those tribes or societies where women were in short supply, a man would want to be assured of at least one woman whom he would not have to share.
Some social historians argue that children presented the greatest incentive toward monogamy.
The conscious or unconscious simulation of capture as retained in later systems of marriage appears to be due to a much earlier concept of modesty and delicacy.
In the traditions of a wide variety of peoples from the nomadic Jews and Arabs to the Native American tribes, a beautiful daughter became a valuable asset.
In later years, a variation on marriage by purchase united the feudal kingdoms of Europe.
In Japan, it was the custom of a suitor to send certain previously stipulated gifts to the parents of the young woman whom he wished to marry.
If the initial gifts were accepted, negotiations would begin to discuss the marriage agreement.