Few would claim today that love is not the cornerstone of modern marriage. The easiest argument in favor of any marriage today, no matter how star-crossed the individuals, is that the couple is deeply and hopelessly in love with one another. But that was not always so clear. Before the eighteenth century very few couples united simply because they shared a mutual attraction and affection for one another. Yet only a century later most people would come to believe that mutual love and even attraction were necessary for any marriage to succeed. A Cultural History of Marriage in the Age of Enlightenment explores the ways that new ideas, cultural ideals, and economic changes, big and small, reshaped matrimony into the institution that it is today, allowing love to become the ultimate essential ingredient for modern marriages.
A Cultural History of Marriage in the Age of Enlightenment presents an overview of the period with essays on Courtship and Ritual; Religion, State and Law; Kinship and Social Networks; the Family Economy; Love and Sex; the Breaking of Vows; and Representations of Marriage.