Elizabethan dating and marriage rules
From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today's courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry.
During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions.
Throughout the medieval period, money, class or alliance governed and regulated marriage.
As Europe modernized, however, the Puritans and others began to champion the novel idea of marriages based on mutual inclination and love.
The license and the certification of lawfulness represented significant financial outlay.
Aside from ‘Fleet marriages,’ only the well-to-do could be married in haste and it appears that Anne’s friends could afford to grease the skids of the Church’s bureaucracy.
Late that November, the two obtained a special license to marry, two of Anne’s neighbors paid £40 to certify that the wedding was lawful, the banns were read once, and the couple were officially wed less than two weeks after they received the licence.
Their first daughter, Susanna, was born a scant six months later.
If the courting progressed, the couple might advance to the front porch.
Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered.
According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey. Arranged marriages were the norm, primarily business relationships born out of the desire and/or need for property, monetary or political alliances.
Time and again Shakespeare’s plays dramatise the conflict between the old order in which fathers chose husbands for their daughters and the new order in which daughters wished to choose their own mates based on affection.
opens with Egeus demanding that his daughter Hermia either marry Demetrius, the husband he has selected for her, or be put to death; while Hermia remains steadfastly committed to Lysander, the prospective husband that Given the newfound prominence of mutual attraction, lovers began to manifest concerns about the proper ways to ‘woo’ a mate.
Juliet worries that Romeo, having overheard her protestations of love for him, will think she’s ‘too quickly won’ and offers to play hard to get if need be: ‘I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay, / So thou wilt woo.’ Indeed, since men were generally the wooers, the issue of female agency in the process was complicated, as Helena complains in Juan Luis Vives insists that, when it comes to choosing a husband, maidens should keep quiet: ‘it becometh not a maide to talke, where hir father and mother be in communicacion about hir mariage’, 1557.