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.
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