Marriage in the Victorian Era
Nowadays a woman for the most part can marry whomever they wish, while in the Victorian Ages, marriage was a more complicated issue that one just didn’t step into. Women these days have a lot more control in their marriage than they used to. It is amazing how much things have changed from a time when men were the head of the house and had so much control over the household to a period where the couple now works together to make decisions.
Back in the days of the Victorian Ages, women weren’t allowed to date whomever they wanted. The rules were very strongly enforced. It was unethical for a man to pay serious attention to a woman unless he was financially ready to get married to her at some predictable date. Also, it was unethical and dangerous for a woman to let herself fall in love with a man that showed no interest in her for she might be committing her heart to a man that she will not be able to marry. (Daily Life in Victorian England)
Engagements usually lasted from six months to two years. Once it was “official” the couple was allowed to be more intimate with each other. Back then, getting more intimate meant that they were allowed to hold hands in public, take walks together, take private carriage rides (but the carriage had to be open), and even spend time behind closed doors, as long as they were separated by nightfall. The failure for a woman to follow these rules would usually result in a ruined reputation. During the engagement of a working class couple, they usually brought along a little sibling along as a chaperone. Because a little kid was more likely to tell anyone if anything had happened and what all was going on. The child’s presence probably ensured that even a kiss would be reported to the parents. (clas.ufl.edu)(Daily Life in Victorian England)
Men were required to ask the woman’s father for permission to marry if there was a large sum of money involved. Otherwise, if there wasn’t, a woman...
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