Courtship & Marriage in Colonial America

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by 007, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I put this here because this article points out what appears to be an ethical difference between colonial America and America today.



     
  2. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    Boy Pale.... you're on a roll.....

    Yes, the idea of marrying for love is a fairly recent development in our history.

    In many countries, still, marriages are arranged (and I actually have known people from India and China that were in arranged marriages).

    In those cases, a divorce was an insult to your family and to your parents.

    Am I advocating arranged marriages and the like? No. But marriage just for love is stupid, at best.

    After all, love is an emotion and basing a lifelong commitment on an emotion (which are oftentimes temporary and unreliable) is just plain foolish.

    Marriage is a contract. If the parties agree to it, then there should be penalties for breaking it, just like breaking a mortgage agreement (repossess your house). "No fault" divorce has helped to make marriage a joke and lawyers rich. It doesn't help the kids.

    I'll say one thing, if we were to go to the extreme and have arranged marriages in this country, you'd see kids raised in a more stable environment.... but that isn't what I'm advocating. My point is, even arranged marriage is better for society than the situation we find marriage in today....

    Here are some things that I feel we should do.....

    1. Eliminate "no fault" divorce
    2. Make adultery punishable in civil court with the "third paties" being named as co-defendants and liable for damages. Failure to pay up will be grounds for a contempt of court charge.
    3. Make wife beating, drug abuse and other crimes grounds for criminal prosecution rather than just grounds for divorce. Then divorce can follow.After all, if you allow a wife beater to go on to marry, he'll just beat his 2nd wife.
    4. In divorce court, all allegations must be proven as in criminal court. I've heard of many cases where decent people's reputations were smeared by lawyers who make up charges against the other side knowing that they are under no obligation to prove it.
    5. Marriage must be a contract, a written contract, with terms and conditions spelled out, with consequences for those who want out.

    and most of all..... society has to change its attitude towards the disposable marriage....
     
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  3. The ClayTaurus
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    The ClayTaurus Senior Member

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    Marrying for love is entirely possible and in my opinion an excellent idea. The problem is, these days, no one bothers to take the appropriate amount of time pre-marriage to test out if the love is strong enough. There is love as an emotion, and there is love as an unconditional, and many people get married before they figure out which one they have between them.
     
  4. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    Yes, but if I had to do it again, I'd ask (in addition to "do I love her?")

    1. Can I see myself married to someone like her mother? Many women become their moms as they grow older.

    2. Does she share my values? Not just things like religion, but does she have the same work ethic, keeps house the same way, handles money the same way as I do?

    3. Is she "mother material"? That is, is she someone who would raise our children the same way I would?

    4. Can I trust her? Is she someone who always keeps her word or is she someone that finds a way around it? Does she do things behing other people's backs?

    5. Can I rely on her? Is she someone that makes a lot of excuses?

    6. Do I have to watch everything I say around her, or can I at least tell her how I feel?

    7. Does she keep a grudge? Or once something is over and resolved, is she likely to move on?

    8. How committed is she to our relationship? Do I have to make all the effort or is it roughly 50/50? Is she looking for someone who is going to take care of her hand and foot or is she willing to be a partner in this and "get her hands dirty"? Does she expect to be constantly treated like royalty, is she "high maintenance"?

    9. Is she willing to compromise, does she know how to cooperate (or is she one who has to have her way?), does she know how to communicate without being abusive?

    I'm probably telling you a bit more about my marriage than I want at this point!

    I can't imagine a guy in his early 20s asking these questions under the influence of high doses of testosterone. Perhaps that arranged marriage thing wasn't such a bad idea! :) At least the parents can be more objective!
     
  5. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    My campus pastor has an interesting outlook on that. Now, in biblical times, all marriages were arranged. At some point, your parents would find the parents of a nice, young girl with a reputable family and negotiate your marriage. You might not een meet the girl until your wedding day. This seemed to work very well, as the parents, having been married, knew what made a marriage work, and while love didn't lead to the marriage, the marriage would typically lead to a loving relationship. Now, we all like to follow the Bible, but arranged marriage in a world of high speed communications and independance is a bit of an anachronism. Therefore, we comprimise. Before marrying, you must do honor to your father and mother by gaining their blessing. It's also not a bad idea to seek approval from your pastor and your friends. I have never known a successful marriage that either person's parents, pastor, or friends didn't approve of. The whole thing is a group decision. The rest of preserving marriage is treating it as permanent before even thinking about getting engaged and continuing to think about it from then on out. It's like life. You only get one life, so when it's in trouble, you try to fix it instead of just ending it.
     
  6. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    "For families of consequence, marriage was viewed as a business transaction, love not being made a part of the arrangement. Love was saved for affairs outside of the marriage contract."

    this is an interesting quote....get married have an affair....all part of the deal
     
  7. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    My main reason for posting that article was to point out how young girls were allowed to marry, "fourteen". If you were to even LOOK at a fourteen year old girl in this day and age, you'd be considered a pedofile, child molester, pervert. Why was it OK back then, and not today?

    My observations were that back then, number one, people didn't live that long. Almost half as long, so fourteen in scale was considered a lot older than what we think of it today. Second, a child back then to some was just another mouth to feed. The sooner they could get them out of the house, the better. And third, and most important I think, people "relied" on each other back then. People "had" to stick together to survive. I feel certain that marriages back then weren't any better than they are today, but the couples stuck it out anyway. Couples realized they "needed" each other.

    Yeah fourteen is quite young. But fourteen in colonial times was equal to like twenty five today in a maturity sense. People were tougher back then, and did a lot less complaining, about a profound many things.
     
  8. KarlMarx
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    KarlMarx Senior Member

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    That's true.... King Tut was married when he was 9 or 10.... of course, people lived to be about 35 back then.... 14 was considered the "prime of life"....

    When people are worried about survival, there isn't much time to worry about whether you are fulfilled in your marriage.

    I wonder what the divorce rate is in a war zone, a prison camp, or during a natural disaster.... my guess is just about zero!!!
     
  9. The ClayTaurus
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    The ClayTaurus Senior Member

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    You've done a wonderful job of illustrating the difference I was talking about. Unconditional love takes ALL of that into consideration, and if you haven't sat down and figured that out, you really have no business getting married, IMO.

    There are some guys in their young 20's who are capable of thinking about all of that... but for the majority of us... if we're too hopped up on ball juice to be able to ask an introspective question I'm suprised that marriage would even be considered in the first place, it seems completely illogical.

    I've never understood the rush to go off and get married in your young 20's... that's not to bash anyone who has, but just that it seems most of the people I know have just started to scrape the surface of what love is and isn't... and they get married thinking that discovery is one of marriage to a particular person, when in reality it's one of what it takes to be in a marriage, and there's a huge difference. Now, I'm sure there are exceptions where people have wonderfully successful marriages, but through my observations (which mean shit to some of you) the percentages aren't great.

    The fact is, people no longer understand what a marriage is about until after they've messed it up once or twice, and sometimes they still don't get it. I dunno, I get asked the question all the time "when are you guys getting married?" and it's always the same uncomfortableness when I say we don't know yet.

    Am I convinced I've found the right person for me? Based on what I know about love, absolutely. Am I convinced I know everything about what love is? The jury's still out on that one...
     
  10. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I think some people falsely conclude that you have to be in love before you marry. I think true love grows slowly. I mean yeah you might feel the connection instantly but you have to let the flame grow you have to work at it.

    If you are in an arranged marriage you can learn to love your spouse. Atleast that is what I think. I am not advocating that. I rather like having choice. But I think that regardless who I married as long as she doesnt turn out to kill people I could be happy. Because I could love her. I could respect her. and I could take care of her. Because I would choose to.
     

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