The History of Marriage

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The history of marriage seems to be as old as human beings. Historically, they have been based on political alliances, financial security, and convenience. In certain cultures and eras, unions took place within families to keep the bloodlines pure and to keep assets within the family. According to biblical history, Abraham married his half-sister while Jacob and Issac married their cousins. According to legend, the Egyptian God Osiris was married to his sister Isis. Pharaohs sometimes married their own daughters to keep the bloodline pure. Back in the day, these relationships were actually encouraged! Social inbreeding is still practiced in lesser degrees among royalty.

Fast forward a couple thousand years and arranged marriages became common practice for many generations. Unions were typically arranged by parents or grandparents and were influenced by both cultural and economic factors. Arranged nuptials could be used strategically to foster alliances between warring tribes and to bolster trade for a stronger economy. Think Game of Thrones, when the two families decide to marry Joffrey and Sansa.

A little later, in the Victorian era, arranged unions were seen more as a  means to secure financial independence. Parents looked down on relationships with poor suitors and would take it upon themselves to secure a match for their daughter with wealthy men or sons of influential families. Such a union would secure financial prosperity not only for the daughter but also for her mother if she were to become a widow. Many of these mothers were more concerned about their own financial welfare than their daughter’s happiness and would often coerce their daughters into less than desirable relationships. Daughters could protest that they did not love their intended, but were often reminded that financial security was more important than love and that they would grow to love their husband in time. In some cases, spouses of arranged weddings did grow to love each other. But in general, love had nothing to do with marriage.

So, what does love have to do with it? According to various sources, love has only been a determining factor in weddings for the last 50 to 100 years, which is pretty amazing if you really consider the brevity of that time frame. While it does seem that most people marry for love these days, there are still unions that take place for security and convenience. Whatever the reason you’re considering marriage, there’s no judgement, here, folks.

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