In some religions at least marriage signified a bond between two people, and not merely a transfer of property. My views are shaped somewhat by the fact that in Orthodox Christianity (the type I'm most familiar with), marriage isn't a transfer of property, and the bride isn't 'given' from father to husband. It's an equal arrangement. Whereas in Islam and 'western' Christianity the bride is 'given', much like property.
I wasn't talking about women as property, though that's also a factor in some cases (which undermines the whole "traditional marriage" as a good thing argument.) I was talking about marriage being about property arrangements, not the parties being property.