Marriage. Until the 1960s polygyny was an indicator of social and economic worth, and about 15 percent of married men had two or more wives; nowadays monogamy is becoming more common. The levirate is the only marriage prescription, and most of the numerous prohibitions are phrased in terms of agnatic descent-group affiliation. The most important are that a man should not wed within his own patrician or within the subclans of his mother or his current wives. Parents, especially fathers, generally choose the spouses when their children first marry. Postmarital residence ideally is patrivirilocal. Because marriage unites the clans of both bride and groom in valued long-term exchange relations, divorce is difficult to achieve, even by husbands. Adultery is deplored, and the few erring wives are brutally punished. All of these norms and constraints have eroded noticeably of late due to the influence of secular education and Christian missions, wage earning and mobility of young adults, and the growing consumption of alcohol.
Domestic Unit. Because men regard female sexual characteristics, especially menstruation, as potentially dangerous, women may never enter men's houses and men, although they visit their wives' houses to discuss family matters, do not sleep there. Nevertheless, the elementary family of husband, wife, and unwed children constitutes the basic unit of Domestic production and reproduction. A polygynous man directs the pig tending and cultivation done separately by his wives in their individual households, and he coordinates their activities to meet the public demands of his clan or its component segments.
Inheritance. Men bequeath rights to socially significant property such as land, trees, crops, houses, pigs, and cassowaries more or less equally to their sons as these sons marry. Daughters at marriage receive domestic equipment from their mothers.
Socialization. Women train their daughters in domestic and gardening skills from infancy until adolescence, when they marry and join their husbands' clan parishes. At about age 6 or 7, boys enter the men's house of their father and his close agnates, all of whom share in the boys' economic, Political, and ritual education.