Motivations For Marriage — History and Reasons
I begin this discussion standing on a sidewalk in an unremembered location in Montpelier, Vermont. I was considering living there and went to stay in a B&B a few days. There were two exceptionally large homes side by side and I learned that two men wanted the hand of this fabulous beauty in marriage. She told them, “I’ll marry the one that builds the bigger house,” and so she did. And well she might. In those days most “doctors” knew nothing of bacteria and generally made patients sicker. Over a third of women giving birth in London hospitals died soon after because these imaginary “doctors” were spreading diseases from one to the next and the next and might even have been reluctant to lower themselves to washing their hands.
Many never married. Many lived together. Some married by taking vows privately outside of any church. And most did not spend a lot of money on a wedding. The bride dressed in what she had and expected that dress to be used many more years before discarding it.
Today Americans imagine they must marry for romance, for “Love” but ask them if they can define “love” and they run into trouble. So why marry? Because The Bible implies we should after Jesus gave a woman a lecture while she drew water for him at a well. Because God made a covenant with a mass of people he called “My People” and said this was a marriage for all time. Even when His people were wayward, he invited them back, and in time He says they who love Him will marry again as His church to The Christ Jesus, who is God in the flesh.
But, what of the marriage that is hopelessly incompatible after years of trying to make it right? What then? If “we” have done everything we could to make peace and be happy together and still it is misery, is it better to end the relationship and live alone or try again years later with someone else?
Here are excerpts from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/6243761/A-history-of-the-English-marriage.html
A history of the English marriage 30 Sep 2009
Marriage: Ignore wisdom at peril
Newspaper headlines scream that marriage is in crisis and on the way out. Yet the idea that in the past the English were all respectably married could not be further from the truth. The English marriage has lurched from crisis to crisis through the centuries, not least in ‘respectable’ Victorian times when shortly after the introduction of divorce – three centuries after Scotland and the rest of Protestant Europe – the question of “Is Marriage a Failure?” prompted 27,000 letters to the Editor of The Daily Telegraph.
Budget-blowing expense on the actual wedding itself is a relatively new phenomenon. Princess Michael of Kent, mother of recent groom Lord Frederick Windsor, may have dismissed £40,000 as a risible amount to spend on the nuptials, while the latest celebrity extravaganza, the Ben Caring-Elle Perfect wedding, brought the Bolshoi from Russia to perform part of Swan Lake and had guests consuming Beluga caviar on individual plates of ice.
But society weddings used to be quiet, private affairs and all classes considered expensive weddings vulgar and unnecessary. How refreshing, then, that Ken Livingstone travelled to his wedding this week by tube and wore a seven-year-old suit.
It is surprising perhaps that the white wedding is still in vogue. There is nothing truly traditional about it. It was invented by the Victorians to show that the lady was rich enough to have a dress that was used only once. Victorian fathers “gave” their daughters away wearing virginal white and a veil as a substitute for her long hair worn loose, originally the symbol of virginity.
This begs the question why the modern independent woman feels obliged to wear the same attire. Before the Victorians, English brides were more pragmatic; they simply wore their best gown, which was unlikely to be white and was expected to do many years’ service.
When the state started taxing marriage in the 1690s, the vicar of Tetbury in Gloucestershire carried out a survey of his parishioners to find out how many had been married in church. He was covering his back – clergymen who failed to ensure that their parishioners were officially married were penalised. He discovered that half of them had not been married in church, but clandestinely, making private vows to each other, or married in a private dwelling by some roving clergyman. They were living in stable, but irregular unions.
Given the choice, those unencumbered by property preferred to avoid the expense and rigmarole of an official church wedding and spent their money on drinking to celebrate the new partnership.
As long as a couple considered themselves “married in the sight of God” and was “reputed lawful man and wife amongst their neighbours” the forms of ceremony mattered little to them.
Since then living together in such unions, at least among the poor, has been more common than we think. It was only during the First World War when “common law wives” applied for their partner’s pay and pensions that the question of official marriage became an issue.
The original purpose of being married at the door of the church and later in the church porch was so that the marriage could be as public as possible in order to forestall any future questioning as to its validity.
Well into the eighteenth century thousands of couples had no idea whether or not they were legally married. Nor did it particularly matter, as long as property and inheritance were not involved.
Upper-class marriages involved property and meant that an unmarried girl’s chastity had to be guarded at all costs. But chastity mattered less to others. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, when Victorian notions of respectability filtered down to the labouring class, a surprisingly high proportion of English brides were pregnant on their wedding day. Pre-marital sex was a sort of fertility test and pregnancy did not so much precipitate as anticipate the wedding; or, as a Norfolk farmer explained to his vicar, “You would not buy a horse without trying it first”.
In the 1950s, a Royal Commission identified as the single most important factor in marital breakdown — the idealisation of the individual pursuit of sexual gratification and personal pleasure at the expense of a sense of reciprocal obligations and duties towards spouses, children and society as a whole.
So at last we were at the top of the love mountain defining the problem. The problem has for centuries been that few have any idea what “love” is. They marry for lust and when the lust fades they trade partners. In our modern days many change partners every two to three years! If government will provide health care, food and shelter, one partner might leave the other with no feelings of guilt!
Not only did our ancestors know that they had to work at their marriage because there was no easy escape, but they saw the family as a microcosm of society, whose good order would contribute to the whole. Adulterers were severely and publicly punished – theoretically by death during the Commonwealth in the 1650s – because they had brought down God’s wrath on the whole of society.
Adultery, nevertheless, was rife in a society where arranged marriages between couples who had barely met were the norm among the propertied class and divorce was impossible, except for the tiny elite who could afford a parliamentary divorce. Today, adultery often leads to divorce and remarriage, but in the past there was no such option. Marriage was for life, but then how long was life?
Most marriages were cut short by death with the average marriage lasting eleven years, roughly the same figure as today when it is more likely to be terminated by divorce than death.
Multiple marriages were common, with men routinely marrying two or three times, rather like some of our modern counterparts. Extended families with step children and half siblings were as common as they are today.
Fortuitously, the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 coincided with a rise in life expectancy, just at the time when a new emphasis on the importance of love within marriage was placing a greater strain on it.
Our ancestors’ priorities were different to ours and their expectations from marriage lower and more realistic. The idea of marriage being based on romantic love or sexual passion would have baffled and appalled them. A good marriage had to be laid on firm, practical foundations.
The diarist Samuel Pepys was exceptional for his time and class in that he married spontaneously, for love, a girl without money. Others weighed up the pros and cons of a marriage very carefully.
Compatibility was the priority; love, or at least a deep affection, might, and often did, come later.
Touchingly, it is very often in their diaries that men who have been bereaved reveal what their wives meant to them. One refers to his other half as his “only friend … the centre of my worldly happiness”, while another mourned his wife who was “for ever my friend, my long cherished companion in all my various changes of life, she who had my entire confidence, she who gave me hers, and had loved me most sincerely for thirty-seven years”.
Now more than ever, when couples are still trying to adjust to women’s new-found equality, and when marriage is easier to enter and to end than ever before, we should not ignore the collective wisdom of the past.
* The English Marriage: Tales of Love, Money and Adultery by Maureen Waller (John Murray) is available from Telegraph Books for £23.00 plus £1.25 postage and packing. To order, please call 0844 871 1515 or go to books.telegraph.co.uk
What’s wrong about marrying for the man’s ability
to provide for his family?
(Newdell goes off on another tirade here, but sometimes you need advice from an “old horror” like me.)
Actually, Nothing is wrong about it and I advocate it most strenuously. In the modern liberal 2015 and after era, young beauties chase around from one lover to another, and seldom seek to find a stable man who will stay, be faithful to her and their presumed children, and make a decent life together.
The development in The Western World particularly of “free love” and (ghastly) abortion for convenience, and the thoughtless expectation that all sexually transmissible diseases can be cured instantly with a pill (not true) leaves many college-age people getting little to no education. They’re very busy trading bed partners like dogs trade fleas! This leads to a society falling apart, and to young people believing they can drop out of a relationship anytime it seems convenient to do so. No one is happy. They have learned to be immoral about sex, and about communication (they can’t bring themselves to speak the truth about anything) and about money matters. As they say in Hong Kong, “One honest guy will ruin the whole system.” No one can operate safely in such an environment!
Parenting modern style; most, if raising children do a superficial job of it at best, over 80% of young people now are raised by mother or grandparents! Father is out seeding more single-mother families…. “and the cycle of poverty continues.” Worse, both parents are so lost in the results of their drug abuse the children would be dead in the street were it not the girl’s parents took the infant in. Many don’t marry, think they don’t want to, and see no benefit in it. The government is no help often taxing a married couple more than unwed single tax filers!
This will come as a shock. Women who want a stable marriage should understand the culture from which the man comes. Jews generally are very hard working, stable, conservative, quiet men who are reliable. Most, if even slightly devout to Bible edicts, follow God’s way and maintain an honest marriage.
Eastern Europeans and Russians, and many South Americans were known for, (some still presently) drinking themselves half to death on weekends. Germans were known for ruling their home with an iron fist. Korean and Chinese men also treat women like animals. Many Arab/Muslim men and many men of India are no better. If you’re going to marry and be intimate before marriage, get to know this man before stating your ring size!
Some women want to be single mothers. That’s easy enough but also almost as stupid as taking a winter walk on thin ice. Some men know they don’t want to raise their own children. They should get a vasectomy.
Men Should Be More Discerning
I’m not going to belabor this, though perhaps I should. Too many men marry because she’s physically attractive and then they find out they have The Terrorist From Elm Street sleeping with them every night. If life were only about our biological urges we could live like wild dogs and be happy. No? Wild dogs are filthy and sickly and don’t appear to be happy to me! Truly, life is much more than the icing on the cake.
These days the girls spend hours with YouTube experts learning to make themselves look like idolized dolls. When they wash all of that color off, and step out of the shower, (surprise!!!) they’re just human females with all the problems other human females have. Too many guys admit they were “thinking with their lustful mind. It’s time to use the brains God gave you.
And…. If you are sure God is just a myth, do yourself and everyone else a favor, get that issue completely proven out one way or another before considering any sort of wedding because without God’s advice and help most weddings are destined for failure from before the wedding day.
I defy anyone to use science and PROVE that God doesn’t exist. Rather, I wish you would use science and prove that a single strand of DNA and RNA can come from nothing but mud, form around itself a cell membrane, develop organelles, feed itself, and reproduce and survive. I’ve heard a few childhood tall tales in my life, but nothing matches this! Next the tellers of these tales insist my greatest great grand mama had a long stripped tail and dropped out of a tree on Madagascar.
I’m willing to admit that the Adam and Eve story (told twice in different versions you may have noticed) is more an allegory (a teaching story) than a literal truth. But I’m not accepting the Evolutionary Fantasy. Further, if I went to a university that insisted I had to regurgitate that nonsense on final exams and believe it, I’d tell them I would be requesting my transcript because I’d be looking for a different college! They are motivated by money. If enough truth demanders leave with their money, the colleges will be forced to teach truth again.
So this girl says she says she wants you, she desperately wants you, she can’t stop fighting with you but she desperately, but I mean DESPERATELY wants you. It’s likely she has psychological co-dependency tendencies and will be expecting you to entertain her constantly. She is the little girl who can’t grow up. She has Peter Pan Syndrome for girls. Maybe that’s “Tinkerbell Syndrome.” In any event, don’t marry her!
My advice; avoid this person entirely. Just tell her, “We are not long-term compatible, I’m the wrong one for you,” and find someone else, or even better, while you’re young, be busy about your career and getting yourself settled.
On the island Jamaica the men have a saying. “First you get the cage, then you get the bird.” They mean, get your home built and your career life in order and then you are prepared to think about marriage and the expenses of the woman and children! It’s wise advice.
Women tend to have more health problems than men do, and children seem to be visiting doctors at least 6 times each year. How will you pay for this?
Most women marry because they want to raise a family. Have you looked at the monetary cost of raising children lately? Have you considered the physical demands placed upon yourself raising children under age 5? It’s going to be tough. I hope you have the temperament for it. I don’t.
One Woman tells her Why you should marry for money
Her viewpoint notes and my editing
Marriage is difficult enough as it is without adding poverty to the mix. Yes, you love him now but when children, work and the mundanity of actual life start entering the equation, you will start to realise how a lack of money can turn a fairy-tale into a nightmare.
Here are my top reasons why you should marry a wealthier man.
Love and marriage go together like divorce and sadness
Sorry ladies, but all sorts of research has come out over the last decade linking high divorce rates with romantic love. In Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert postulates that Western culture places too much emphasis on romantic love. “A recent survey of young American women found that what women are seeking these days in a husband – more than anything else – a man who will ‘inspire’ them, which is, by any measure, a tall order. As a point of comparison, young women of the same age, surveyed back in the 1920s, were more likely to choose a partner based on qualities such as ‘decency,’ ‘honesty,’ or his ability to provide for a family.”
Here are the right reasons to marry
Perhaps this emphasis on finding a man who will “complete us” is why the divorce rate is so high. “Anything that the heart has chosen for its own mysterious reasons it can always unchoose later – again, for its own mysterious reasons. A shared private heaven can quickly turn into a failed private hell,” writes Gilbert.
As Gilbert points out in her book, marriage in the Middle Ages was a “highly efficient form of wealth management and social order… it became the single most important business arrangement people would ever make in their lives.” The transformation of marriage from this into a badge of emotional affection has weakened the institution considerably over time – because marriages based on love are just as fragmented as love itself.
The notion of romantic love resulting in long-lasting marriages is a relatively new idea.
Social commentators since the 1800’s have noted “if people marry for love, when they’re not in love anymore, they’ll leave. The family will be an unstable unit.” They were right. They predicted that the divorce rate would go up to around 50 percent and in America it has. Actually many have married and divorced two and three times (at vast cost I should add.) Now in the modern 21st Century many avoid the entire wedding idea entirely.
It might be better to take a memory study. Learn how to memorize faces with names because your friends will introduce new partners rather regularly and you’ll be required to remember them.
“Money doesn’t buy happiness, but at least you can be miserable in comfort.”
According to research, money problems are the leading cause of divorce. A study by Sonya Britt (Examining the Relationship between Financial Issues and Divorce) published in 2012 concluded (unsurprisingly) that arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce.
This is NOT news. The same problem has been extant at least since my birth in 1950 and it’s not getting solved with today’s “funny money banksters” loaning out 30-times as much money as they have on hand. Fractional banking has been destroying the United States and that does not apply only to politics, it applies to your home and your personal life. Any man who says, “politics doesn’t affect me” is quite frankly a blind idiot.
The author whose notes I’m basing this portion upon wrote, “I love my husband dearly, but the fact he is a qualified agricultural economist with earning potential makes life easier, trust me.”
Men were the bigger money earners.
Women tend to earn less than men (a 2015 United Nations report states that globally, women earn 24% less than men). This is/was because of job availability (companies hire men over women), time taken off work (maternity leave, leaving work to take care of children) and gender discrimination (women are just paid less).
Society is changing fast and there are lots of people analyzing why young American men are spending more time goofing off than seeking work or creating work, but the obvious notation is, more women are taking technical and executive management positions, and sales positions. They are working. The men are wasting their lives away!
I did say I’m older. I’m not a very nice guy about this issue and I should not reprimand my reader but the issue is, there IS a demand for services, and many men make up one excuse or another about why they can’t find work when the demand for their help is nearly clawing their door down!
I lived in Florida before I moved to spend most of my last years in South East Asia. Florida has many uneducated Spanish speakers who didn’t take “no” for an answer. They fix the roofs, pump the septic tanks and grease traps, pick up the garbage, mow the laws, repair cars, cut hair, run Cuban and Colombian cafes, sell clothing, run night clubs in Miami, and exchange dollars. They make a living because they had to and didn’t care about all the modern excuses. The work is hard and sometimes hot and filthy but they claw their way up from nothing but a borrowed lawnmower (some of them) and I see them later with big trucks, long trailers, a crew of three with more equipment, doing more and earning more.
What I’m saying here is excuses are equal to laziness and there is no more opening for such luxuries. The US economy is in trouble and welfare payments will eventually reduce to nothing. If you’re not working and making your own living, you will not survive. Get your act together and do some honest work. Forget the get-rich-quick schemes and internet big money businesses.
If you are observant you will note that the people showing off their big money are selling lectures, advice, books and courses about how to get rich quick to everyone else! They’re not really producing anything unique or of great value. Let’s go back to the subject of marriage.
Society has developed a social normative whereby men have and still do earn more money than women (based on the simple fact that they are men), and women need to take time off work to take care of children. Based upon that recognition, it is not a bad idea to ensure that you hitch your wagon to a man who can provide. Rather, the basis of society always was that mother stayed home with children and father worked in the farm fields. They each had too much work to do every day, but their roles were understood and they made lives together in some modicum of happiness.
This is not a course in “happiness” and I can honestly tell you, the best answers to how to have a successful, happy life are in The Ten Commandments, Psalms and Proverbs. The more you learn about what they mean the more successful your life becomes. Resent me for saying so if you wish, but my observation has been, those who follow these teachings have good lives, and those who go whichever way their emotional winds blow, are sickly, filthy, impoverished and miserable.
There are many choices, including remaining alone for a while
When I chose my husband, part of that choice was based on his education and his earning potential. I truly love him, but I knew that I couldn’t marry a poor man (more specifically, someone likely to remain permanently poor). I knew I could get on with various people, and I chose to continue with our courting based on factors more than just passion and love.
Of course, a man might be poor now but that may be because he is launching a new business, or studying to become an engineer. I’m not saying you should discount these men. Discount the men who will never rise above living from pay check to pay check. Trust me, your fairy tale will soon turn into a nightmare.
This ends “the sista’s” advice, shortened considerably.
What can history teach us?
The British Marriage was often considered related to “Class.”
Marriage was encouraged only within one’s class. To aspire higher was in bad social taste and to marry some of lesser social status was considered also to be marrying beneath oneself.
There was the dowry to entice the man to marry. A man was expected to maintain her in the style to which she had been accustomed. Her family could protect the property she had as an heiress, thus the man could never possess that property.
Did they marry “in love?” A few did, most did not, and over time we would like to hope, they developed an enduring friendship that finally caused one to release the statement, “I can’t imagine life without you.”
The question “Why marry?” was an important one to consider. “Doctors” before 1850 knew nothing about infection. In “hospitals” they passed diseases from one patient to the next, consequently about a third of all women giving birth died then or soon afterward. Getting married and pregnant might be a death sentence, so why marry?
(I’m taking notes from a letter written by an upper class gentle lady to her friend in the early 1700’s.)
Marriage for love’s sake was unusual and often looked upon as a bit childish and odd. People of education and land holdings married to maintain and enlarge the family’s assets! Only a lowlife fool would marry a girl because she was pretty and had a figure that could turn heads.
It was true that young women of elevated social standing “found it difficult to marry for love than women of the middling sort, since” their parents sought to maintain and increase the family wealth and social position.
In the early 1700s, most women did not marry for love. This trend began later and wiser women were then asking the same questions women ask today. What if you marry a respectable poor man because you are passionately in love with him, but you cannot afford to live comfortably and support your children? Another problem presented by this idea of marrying for love is: how are we supposed to know how to choose the right man? How do we know when we are really in love?
With this in mind, it is now appropriate to consider some other very attractive reasons to marry. These reasons will probably be read to you in some form at your own wedding service.
1) the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and praise of God.
2) “A remedy to prevent sin, and to avoid fornication”
3) “for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have for the other”
Let’s consider each of these very good reasons in closer detail. Just think what a wonderful opportunity we could have as married women, to bear children, and raise them into the type of citizens that will further strengthen both England’s moral strength and economic prosperity. Another important reason to bear children in marriage is that they will carry on their father’s prestigious name
Just as raising God-fearing children strengthens our nation’s moral character, marriage itself is widely thought to have the ability to make our nation more morally sound, as it encourages men to avoid certain illicit sexual activities.
The third reason listed above is especially important to consider, as an alternative for marrying for passionate love alone. A very personally fulfilling union can be formed by a man and a woman that simply enjoy one another’s company, and can provide comfort and support for one another through both the happy and difficult times in life. God provided us with this model of companionate marriage in the story of Adam and Eve: “it is not good that man should be alone. I will make an help meet for him.
My fellow gentlewomen, keeping these reasons in mind, we can conclude with saying that while our emotional attachment to our future spouse is indeed important, we should consider the practical difficulties involved in such a union, and remember that a companionate marriage is at least as emotionally fulfilling than a marriage based on passionate love, and probably even more so. We need to look for a spouse that we can imagine ourselves living with in both emotional and material comfort.
We must also remember that marriage is a necessity for us upper-class women. Without a proper marriage with which both sets of parents agree, your family relationship could suffer to some degree. Please take precaution as you enter marriage. Hopefully you can now begin to answer that important question: “Why marry,” and can feel more relaxed and confident about choosing the spouse who is right for you.
(SN) Have you learned anything from this? I certainly hope so. Consider today’s “liberal” society. If you are wed to a wild man you’ll have to spend a bit more effort requesting, and sharing with him time to hear the worlds of pastors on video and elsewhere giving us marital advice. This website has many articles about this issue, but firstly we need a man willing and able to read, and then there are an endless selection of books and articles on the subject.
I suggest seeking after Christian and Jewish writers, rather than people who first tell you they have a PhD in psychology. The PhD’s can say anything they want. The Bible Believers say what they understand God told them. Choose now which source you will follow and stay with it!
We’re back to something I said earlier. Follow God’s Righteous Way and you’ll have a successful marriage and a successful life.
As I close this something more comes to mind you should consider for your own life.
You’ll notice my writing style brings in discussions of God’s Ways and this is my speaking style and my thinking style.
God is not a nebulous dream nor a circulating nothing in a cloud somewhere, created by you to make yourself feel more comfortable while alone. You are NOT alone! You are God’s child and He is watching and concerned for you. The issue is, are you concerned about what He thinks?
God is a personage, as real as the chair you’re sitting on. He is not a theoretical mythos separate from your life. He IS your life, and if He is NOT woven through your life all the time, you don’t know him and you’re in danger of hearing him say, “I never knew you.”
Do not study theology just to be erudite, or better cultured. Do not separate this subject away from your life as you might if studying the history of great master’s paintings. Draw this into your life as the constant guide that directs your thinking, and work, and planning, and daily decisions. It’s the only way to make Judeo-Christianity successful and make your life truly successful. It’s the only real way to develop Godly Wisdom.