In our society, marriage is
primarily practiced by two people who are in love and want to form a legally
recognized union. However, this wasn’t the case hundreds of years ago when the
idea of marriage had just started to expand. In the book, “Marriage, a History:
How Love Conquered Marriage,” Stephani Coontz writes, “It converted strangers
into relatives and extended cooperative relations beyond the immediate family
or small band by creating far-flung network of in-laws.” Initially, marriage
was created for financial and political purposes, as well as making
connections. “When upper class men and women married, there was an exchange of
dowry, bride wealth, or tribute, making the match a major economic investment
by the couple’s parents and other kin” (Coontz, pg. 5-6). Even the lower class
formed marriages between men and women whose families would be able to
contribute to each other’s farms and businesses. This was how marriage worked
and rarely was there any love involved as it was too vital of an economic
institution to be based on pure feelings. It wasn’t until the seventeenth
century that people became more open to the idea of marriage for love and yet
there were still concerns on whether a marriage purely based on intimacy would
last.