Over the course of many empires and periods of history marriage customs and laws have been ever changing. It seems that as time continues throughout recent history marriage laws become less strict and also presented more favorable rights to women on the issue.
When marriage first starts becoming prevalent back in ancient Greece and Rome laws and customs were highly varied. At this time arranged marriages were common and older men, sometimes in their thirties, married young teenage girls. Any healthy person was viewed with scorn. I don't particularly agree with this custom of age difference when marrying. I think that teenage years is too young for anybody to be married.
In ancient Israel, the male dominated the household and the marriage in general, which is called a Patriarchal society. In some cases, kings and officials held many wives and mistresses. I believe that a man should be entitled to have one wife is he gets married.
The influence of the church became common amongst marriages within Medieval Europe. Average marriage ages remained the same, although the social and legal status of women improved slightly in some countries. Priests began preforming marital ceremonies and doctrines began.
Within modern day Europe and North America many traditions were developed during last European events such as the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution such as divorce procedures and wedding ceremonies.