Elizabethan dating and marriage rules

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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.

In either case, the behest needs to be seen in the somewhat complicated context of the legal doctrine of , which declared that a property-holding woman who married became ‘covered’ by her new husband.

Her identity would be merged with his, and her property would become his.

He explores the tension, in Shakespeare’s plays, between the old order, in which fathers chose their daughters’ husbands, and the new order based on mutual love, but still plagued by the threat of infidelity.

In the early modern period, customs of courtship and marriage were undergoing significant shifts.

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She would notify the lucky gentleman by giving him her own card requesting that he escort her home.Famously, Shakespeare left his ‘second best bed’ to his wife in his will.It’s not clear whether this bequest was an insult, implying Anne’s subordinate place in his affections, or a tender reminder of matrimonial bliss.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.

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