Ah, connubial bliss!
Oh, that reminds me, did you know that in order for Romans to marry they had to have the right to marry? A marriage was a ‘matrimonium’. In that word you can see ‘matri’ or mother. It was a situation in which a male partnered with a female in order to have children by her.
Makes sense right?
Roman males were allowed to marry certain groups of women. Like a man who wasn’t a slave couldn’t marry a slave. She could be a concubine,but certainly not a wife. Additionally there were some family relationships that wouldn’t work, like you could marry a blood relative but only with a certain legally proscribed distance between such people. My point is that marriages didn’t happen without there being a legal acceptance of the parties preparing to marry and that right to marry was the “connubium”.
It’s getting a little confusing, but we can see what they were up to right?
What they were up to was joining two disparate families into one. There were situations where the wife became the property of the husband, but that wasn’t all, there were situations where she retained her own father as her, shall we say “owner”, and then there were other marriages in which if the wife left for three days a year she was her own person entirely subject to her own authority.
My point is if we look to our ancestors from way back we see that there were alternatives to creating a traditional marriage, and there were varying methods of identifying oneself inside the bonds of marriage. I’ll assume most marriages were about the wife sort of transferring into her husbands household and thus she became his.
I think it would be fair to say that those ancient Romans had a different perspective on what marriage was than we do these days. All we can know is they got married then and we still marry today.
I believe it would be fair to say that we have supported marriage throughout history because it gave some legal power to wives and to the children that were born within the marital contract.
Funny isn’t it to imagine a world where women had no automatic rights to any kind of personal power unless they were subject to a father or father figure or a spouse? And then their power came from their relationships to other people who were generally male?
It’s hard to wrap my head around that . As a woman I can confidently say that ” I think therefore I am”. I think I have what I’ll call agency. I am someone in my own right. I was someone before I was married and I am the same someone since after I married. I can think that way and I do, but just because I think it, doesn’t mean the world acknowledges it. A man on the other hand is himself. His authority once he’s reached a particular age and once he shows that he’s capable of handling his own affairs is considered his own person. He is allowed his own volition. Now let’s look at women… despite my own opinion, I think we have to admit that women have been seen as a little more common. Thus a woman can be casually be inserted into an entirely new life situation with nothing more than a simple religious or civil ceremony.
How weird is that when you think about it!??!
Laws don’t just appear out of nowhere. They are derived from our past. I think it would be fair to say that many of our marriage laws have been created with an eye toward protecting women and children. I suppose in fact they have also been designed with an eye toward protecting men. But the question for me is why would we need laws to protect men who are marrying other men? Who in a male/male relationship would qualify as the “weaker sex”? Which male would need the “fatherly” protection of the law?
I am sure that people can read what I’ve written and come up with plenty of arguments about marriage and whether I’ve got it right, or whether I’m off the mark. But that is part of why I’m writing about this. There aren’t any hard and fast rules! We should start considering this stuff before someone else decides for us.
If we can just make things up as we go along- then why do we object so strongly to women not marrying at all? Why do we worry about whose child belongs to whom?
It’s a muddle.