Совместная жизнь (жениться/пожениться)

by Don  

Russian has several verbs that mean "to get married." To deal with them properly we have to make some distinctions:

  • if we specify the couple that is getting married, then the most common verb pair is жениться/пожениться;
  • if we specify the man who is getting married, then the most common verb is жениться, which can be interpreted as either imperfective or perfective;
  • if we specify the woman who is getting married, then the most common verb pair is выходить/выйти used in conjunction with the adverb замуж; and
  • if we want to use the most colorless, boring, adminisтrative and bureaucratic way to discuss marriage, we say вступать/вступить в брак or заключать/заключить брак.

We'll discuss each one of those phrases separately, starting today with the pair that deals with couples. When we discuss couples or people in general getting married, the verb pair to use is жениться/пожениться:

Иосиф Виссарионович и Надежда Сергеевна поженились в 1919-ом году. Joseph Vissarionovich and Nadezhda Sergeevna got married in 1919.¹
В США люди типично женятся в двадцать шесть лет. In the USA people typically get married at the age of twenty-six.
Мы поженимся в июне. We'll get married in June.
Моя невеста хочет, чтобы мы женились в церкви, а я хочу, чтобы мы женились в пещере, населённой летучими мышами. My fiancée wants us to get married in a church, but I want us to get married in a cave inhabited by bats.

¹ You get an extra point if you are an American and recognize who these people are. Russians, of course, will recognize the first person right away.

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