Truk - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage took place for women a bit before and for men a bit after the age of 20. Premarital courtship was covert and included sexual relations. Residence was usually matrilocal. Divorce, common before the birth of children, was rare thereafter. It could be initiated by either spouse and was often instigated by the wife's brothers. Levirate and sororate remarriages were valued. To keep soil and trees that had been granted to the children of a lineage's men circulating back, marriage preferences with one or another kind of cousin, varying from locality to locality, were widespread.

Domestic Unit. The domestic unit was an extended Family, based on the women of a lineage or sublineage. It consisted of at least one experienced older woman and two or more younger women of childbearing age together with their husbands. Unmarried sons and brothers slept apart in their lineage's meetinghouse. Extended family households continued through the periods of foreign administration.

Inheritance. Individually owned property was inherited by the owner's children. Corporately owned property was inherited by the corporation's "children" (the children of its men) when the corporation's membership died out.

Socialization. Small children were much held, fed on demand, and never left alone. They slept on the same mat with their mothers. By age 3 they were expected to begin to look after themselves. Children were lectured on correct social behavior, but they were not held fully accountable for it until they became junior adults. Parents used switches to punish their children. Often persuaded to do what others wanted with promises that were broken afterwards, children learned to be wary of the intentions of others. They enjoyed much freedom to play, sharpening their physical skills. Transmission of special lore and knowledge became increasingly important as children grew to be young adults. The eldest son and eldest daughter were treated differently from other Children. Their persons were inviolate, their wishes were honored, and they were not liable to physical punishment.

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