Table of Contents

Let's Go Back In Time
Secret Unions
Legal Advice
Why Marry?
Special Quiz
Bridal Fashion
A Gentleman Speaks
Conduct Manual
Sacred Ceremony
Religious Disputes
Why Quarrel?
An English Bride

      The question "Why marry?” is indeed an important one to consider before you choose your future spouse. You may be especially curious to answer this question after reading some of articles that suggest that not many women of our class are likely to be lucky enough to marry for love 34 , although this notion has become more popular as our century has progressed.35  It is indeed true that is it more difficult for women of our elevated social standing to marry for love than women of the middling sort, since our parents seek to maintain and increase the family wealth and social position. 36  If we reminisce with William Hogarth's The Marriage Contractour mothers and grandmothers about the primary reasons for marriage, they would answer with the same reasons that exist today. The only difference, in the early 1700s, most women did not marry for love. This is a trend that is just beginning to influence the beautiful gentlewomen like yourself.  But we must remember that marrying simply for love and love alone does produce some practical difficulties. One is that “one has to live as well as love.” 37 In other words, 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?38  I’m sure that this is a question that has crossed your mind at least once since you have entered the marriage market.

   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. 39

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. 40 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.41 To put this as discreetly as possible, it is perhaps most appropriate to consider this idea by examining the words of Richard Baxter from the very beginning of our century: “it fareth with married men for the most part, as with those that at great charges  wall in ground and plant, who cheaper might have eaten melons elsewhere than in their own garden’s cucumber.”42 

    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 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.”43

     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 psychological and material comfort. 44 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

    Will you be lucky in love? To find out, visit the "Bridal Scopes" to read your very own horoscope!


This site was completed December 08, 2000, at the University of Michigan.

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