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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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(p.255) Conclusion
Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300

Elisabeth van Houts

Oxford University Press

The conclusion centres on the four main thematic threads that run through the book. There was a marked move away from parental arrangements and frequent parental coercion to unions resulting from a couple’s consent and their own choice. Women especially at elite level probably were persuasive enough to make their fathers, brothers, and sons see the advantages in allowing the young to express their opinion and if necessary block their parents’ plans. The couple’s consent as a validating principle for marriage gives the clergy a supporting and enabling role rather than a creative one which should be attributed to the laity. Married clergy (and their wives) stressed the good of marriage for those who provided pastoral care. The lived experience of married life suggests that compatibility, a measure of sexual attraction, affection, and love better ensured a lasting relationship than an arbitrary property transaction arranged by parents between two families.

Keywords:   marriage consent, medieval marriage, clerical marriage, dowry, arranged marriage

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