The 4 aspects in marriage means the positive characteristics of all 4, not the negatives, such that could be present in any particular marriage or where there could be decrease from 4 to 3, 2 and possibly 1 only.
1. Friends in Marriage
There is sometimes difficulty in differentiating between a union where both persons are Friends or whether they are Lovers and you will only be able to mark the difference if you are let in to their sex life. These persons are not primarily bound by love making but by social and commercial reasons only and this does not mean they do not engage in intercourse.
This type of marriage is common with persons who find it convenient to be seen as married but for social status sake; they needed to be Mr. and Mrs. by every means and therefore has to marry a friend regardless of love. There are other cases where the two persons find a binding force not because of social status but because they are in love with each other’s personalities without really having emotional attachment between them. There could also be a business reason to this, where a marriage has promoted the brand of both persons collectively and letting go the relationship for any reason could have adverse effect on the fortunes of both persons. The loss here could be enormous and long lasting and therefore is not something that can even be seen as an option; they therefore stay on as friends instead of getting divorce.
2. Lovers in Marriage
This has to do with sexual compatibility between any two persons in a relationship where the binding force is both jealousy and their ability to satisfy each others hunger for love making such that they feel they cannot get outside of the marriage. Such couples are always very protective of each other and sometimes distrust creeps in with intermittent brawl and squabbles because of suspicion of cheating.
This marriage is tremendously fierce in the bedroom which is positive but domestic violence is the negative aspect where either the man or the woman is abused in the marriage by battering baring any little suspicion. These two persons may normally have big and violent fights or scandals that outsiders may think would lead to divorce but there is always the surprise of seeing them back together hand in hand grinning from ear to ear to the bewilderment of everyone. The most dangerous aspect here is that they may get so selfish with their love for each other and deprive their kids of good parental care and love which might cause various harm to the offspring.
In other cases being lovers in marriage is devoid of jealousy and distrust and this is beautiful thing for both the two persons and their kids.
3. Partners in Marriage
I otherwise refer technically to this as husband and wife aspect of marriage; they are not friends in marriage neither are they lovers in marriage. They have chosen to remain together in the marriage for the sake their kids or because the baggage of staying in the marriage outweighs the luggage of leaving the marriage.
The marriage here has only a paper value which is the marriage certificate; commitment to the marriage vow here is totally lacking. Faithfulness is a matter of choice between both persons and unfaithfulness may be a free highway to ride. Married couples who stay far apart and who do not see each other for months or more falls into partners in marriage. Polygamous marriages where the husband lives separate from the wife or wives eventually shapes into partners in marriage.
Partners in marriage are common with persons above the ages of 40 years and also working class ladies sometimes tends to maintain this status depending on the dominant tradition and culture.
4. Parents in Marriage
Father and mother is what I logically refer to as parents in marriage; it is a particular case of post-marriage situation where the two persons have been divorced but have had kids before parting ways. There is another situation where both persons had not legally or traditionally gotten married but had decided to cohabit and have kids. This is a common trend in these modern times which has been adapted to especially in the western world to overcome the financial burden of divorce should the relationship break up eventually.
This way of marriage which was common in some parts of Africa due to lack of dowry money has grown to be a convenient practice in the western world but this time due to availability of too much money so to speak. In Africa such two persons eventually get married probably after birthing kids and having means of affording the dowry without delaying procreation.
In the western world, words such as baby mama are now designated for mothers who are in a union without marriage. Some men had also fathered many kids with different baby mamas which I think is a clever way of distorting polygamy.