A husband is a male in a marital relationship. The rights and obligations of a husband regarding his spouse and others, and his status in the community and in law, vary between cultures and have varied over time.
In monogamous cultures, there are only two parties to a marriage. This is enforced by legal codes that outlaw two (bigamy) or more (polygamy) female spouses. Similarly, polyandry, marriage of one female partner with more than one male partner at the same time is not permitted. In polygamous and polyandrous cultures, there may be more than two parties to a marriage.
In marriages where both spouses are men, both may be referred to as husband.
In heterosexual marriages, the husband was traditionally regarded as the head of the household and was expected to be the sole provider or breadwinner, a role that is still maintained in some cultures (sometimes described as paternalistic).
The term continues to be applied to such a man who has separated from his spouse and ceases to be applied to him only when his marriage has come to an end following a legally recognized divorce or the death of his spouse. On the death of his spouse, a husband is referred to as a widower; after a divorce a man may be referred to as the "ex-husband" of his former spouse.
In today's society a husband is not necessarily considered the breadwinner of the family, especially if his spouse has a more financially rewarding occupation or career. In such cases, it is not uncommon for a husband to be considered a stay-at-home father if the married couple have children.
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