Whether you are married to fulfill your God-given vocation of raising children or simply to have someone beside you, fact remains that the institution marriage has undergone some major changes recently. As debates rage on about its goal and purpose rage on, let us look at key moments in the history of marriage.
A tool for establishing diplomatic and trade ties
For the Anglo-Saxons and Britain’s early tribal groups, the act was seen as a tool to build strategic alliances. Members of these groups got married beyond personal reasons — the primary goal was peace and trade relationships.
Economic and political gain
During the 11th century, marriage was used to secure economic and political advantages. Given this purpose, the thought and consent of the couple weren’t very important. The bride was simply expected to submit to her father’s wishes and had no say at all.
For Christians, marriage has always been a sacrament. After all, Jesus performed his first public miracle at a wedding. Thanks to the Council of Trent in 1547, sacramental act became part of canon law to address conflicting religious opinions, centuries of local tradition, and other challenges.
Under state control
The passing of the Clandestine Marriage Act of 1753, more commonly known as the Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, was the start of the state’s involvement in marriages. It required couples to have a ceremony in a church or chapel, presided over by a minister. Otherwise, it would be considered void. Moreover, couples were compelled to issue a formal announcement (banns) and obtain a license.
The passing of the Marriage Act of 1836 allowed the holding of non-religious civil marriages in register offices. It was also during this time that the state started keeping track of national statistics for marriages.
Yes, marriage had very little to due with love historically.