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Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300$
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Elisabeth van Houts

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798897.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 October 2021

Authority and Collaboration

Authority and Collaboration

(p.123) 4 Authority and Collaboration
Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300

Elisabeth van Houts

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses topics such as husbands’ authority and wifely advice, marital violence and collaboration, and shared responsibilities. Once married the husband became the head of the household and the wife fell under his authority. Patriarchal society was based on this inbuilt inequality that consisted often in a precarious balance between the husband, having to show that he was up to his authoritarian role, and the wife understanding her submissive position. A mutual sense of responsibility for their life together was often the glue that kept a couple together. This sense of mutual responsibility was naturally stronger the more affective the relationship was. Both men and women had a role in marriage, and increasingly society recognized that durable indissoluble unions had more chance of success if the couple were compatible, attracted to each other, and prepared to give the relationship a chance.

Keywords:   male authority, female submission, married couple, marital violence, marital affection, female advisory strategies

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