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Medieval Marriages

Uploaded by GothicPhilos05 on Dec 14, 2003

As human beings, we often spend our entire lives looking for our "soul mate." This being the unfortunate plight of our human nature, we live to be loved. In response to this need for love and companionship, the insitution of marriage was brought into existence. The idea of a "perfect" wedding has drastically changed over the years. However, if we examine history, we will find that no other era was as influential towards marriage as the Middle Ages. One might say the Medieval marriages were the building blocks to what marriage is today.

The appropriate age to get married in the Middle Ages was much younger than what we see today. "Grooms, on the average, were much older than their brides. Noble women sometimes didn't marry until the age of twenty-four, but this was rare. More that three-fourths were married before they reached nineteen" (Medieval Weddings). Couples married as soon as they reached maturity or were able to have children. Love, however important to many couples, was not seen as a necessity as it is today. This is a result of the Medieval belief that the sole purpose of marriage was to reproduce. Most couples weren't married by choice, rather the majority of marriages were arranged. In fact, most marriages were arranged between families (Gies 14). Perhaps the marriage arrangements were merely a way to keep the Medieval marriage traditions alive. This custom allowed families control over who their children spent the rest of their lives with.

Marriage laws in the Middle Ages were very strict, yet to the point. Each marriage custom had laws to go along with it; if these laws were not upheld, legal action could be taken. "The council of Westminister decreed in 1076 that no man should give his daughter or female relative to anyone without priestly blessing. Later councils would decree that marriage should not be secret but held in the open" (Medieval Weddings). Here we see how marriage became a public confession of two people's love for one another. Today, as in the Middle Ages, witnesses are always presnt at a wedding to ensure that it's valid.

Many of the wedding customs followed by medieval couples are still carried out today. Even in Medieval marriage vows, the couple's promise to each other was sealed...

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Uploaded by:   GothicPhilos05

Date:   12/14/2003

Category:   History

Length:   5 pages (1,187 words)

Views:   2576

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