World first love marriage: The concept of marriage has been around longer than humans can remember, which is why we can only theorize about its early forms.
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Probably in the earliest days of mankind there were free, changing partnerships, from which gradually developed the group marriage.
Almost every culture has developed a form of marriage, only on the subject of monogamy opinions differ.
Be that as it may, in many parts of ancient Europe, marriage was understood as a contract between two people of different sexes for the purpose of reproduction.
The Christian Influence on world first love marriage
Our conception of marriage today was largely shaped by Christianity, although Christians neither invented marriage nor have a monopoly on it.
Christianity emerged in the decades after Jesus’ death (c. 30-100 AD), with the early church (in accordance with Jesus’ wishes) not wanting to establish a religion of its own, but merely being a subset of the fragmented Judaism.
Over the years, this grouping spread throughout Israel and Roman-ruled foreign lands, but this exacerbated conflicts with the other
Jewish groups until the Christian sect finally broke away from its origins and did its best to ignore its origins over the next several millennia.
As Christians spread throughout the ancient world, causing even more conflict with the prevailing religions and rulers in the Roman Empire and Greece, they also brought with them a new concept of marriage.
Influences on Christianity’s Emergence
In Greco-Roman culture, only children born of publicly contracted marriages (between members of the same social class) were considered legitimate heirs.
This did not mean, however, that men were not allowed to have partnerships and father children outside of their marriage – sexuality was even frowned upon in marriage (except for the procreation of children) in Rome.
The (noble) man maintained relationships with at least two partners: The wife was his spiritual partner, who took care of the family and the household, and his mistress – a woman from another class, a prostitute, or a slave – was his sexual partner.
It was into this world that Christianity burrowed and – after a lot of trial and error, conversion, and several unpleasant encounters with the Circus – achieved ascendancy as the state religion under the Roman emperor Constantine.
The Interplay of Christian and Teutonic Marriage Traditions
The Christian marriage version of late antiquity and the early, early Middle Ages was a public-secular contract.
The church ceremony was optional, and during it the priest merely invoked God’s blessing down on a union already consummated.
Christianity accomplished what the Roman Empire had so spectacularly failed to do: it cautiously extended its tentacles into Germania and conquered the dark parts of the map beyond the Limes, where it had to prove itself slowly and agonizingly against the existing traditions for many years to come.
The Teutons, despite their status as simple, cultureless barbarians, had already developed their own marriage traditions, and several at that: In the Muntehe, the woman changed from her clan to that of her future husband, for which he paid a so-called Muntschatz, with which the woman could secure herself in the event of her widowhood.
During the ceremony, the woman presented her new husband with a sword to symbolize the new husband’s duty to protect her.
Through this form of marriage, two clans could unite for political and economic interests – love had nothing to do with the matter.
The two other forms of marriage, the Fiedelehe and the Kebsehe, could exist alongside the Muntehe, but offered no security for the bride, because the husband had no obligations.
After the public, solemn wedding ceremony, the marriage was not concluded until the entire company squeezed into the parlor with the newly-wed couple and the spouses stepped into the marriage bed together in front of them and spread the covers over themselves.
The Evolution of Marriage in Medieval Christianity
From the 13th century onwards, the Church asserted its position of power in the matter of marriage.
Marriage law became a spiritual matter and a sacrament: only those who were united before God by a priest were allowed to live as a married couple, otherwise the sacrilegious couple was expelled from the home and punished by the competent bishop at his discretion.
Marriages were a marriage of convenience, serving to provide financial security for the wife and children, and to ensure that foolish women inclined to sin lived decent lives under the loving fist of their husbands.
In case the married couple defied their environment and grew older than forty, they had also secured caretakers to look after them (in case the children also grew that old).
Marriage in the chaste Middle Ages was considered inferior to the desirable celibate life of priests and religious-a necessary evil that guaranteed the continued life of the unworthy reprobates on God’s green earth.
In the 16th century, Martin Luther had a whole series of problems with the Catholic Church, including the fact that as a celibate priest he was not allowed to marry his lover, a celibate nun.
So, in addition to the faith and the afterlife, he reformed marriage laws, suspended celibacy, and introduced divorce, as Henry VIII had already done with other motivations.
The Rise of Love and Civil Marriage
The concept of marriage of convenience remained, however, and marriage for love only became famous and infamous in the 18th century.
The 18th century was a time of political, economic and social upheaval and epoch of romanticism, which bears this name not without reason.
The French Revolution and Napoleon raised hopes for democracy and equality among the peoples of Europe, hopes that were dashed as quickly as they arose – in the case of the French Revolution (which brought its progressive ideals to the people by force) by Napoleon, and in the case of Napoleon (who brought his progressive ideals to the people by force, but on a larger scale) by the Congress of Vienna, which immediately reversed the state civil marriage that he had introduced in the German lands.
In the short-lived German Revolution of 1848, civil marriage reared its head once again and even allowed people of different religions to bind themselves, but was shot down shortly afterwards on the barricades by the worried Prussian military.
It was not until the unification of the German Empire that the next (successful) attempt to make marriage a matter for the state was made in this country.
Bismarck, with an impressive web of intrigue, had united most of the German states into one empire under his king, Wilhelm I.
Because the empire was not at war and there were not enough burning issues, Bismarck incited conflicts with the socialists and Catholics.
In the so-called Kulturkampf (1874/75), Bismarck proved his superiority to the infallible Mother Church by reintroducing civil marriage and severely restricting the rights of Germany’s priests and bishops. Marriage was a matter for the state in the Empire.
After its demise by World War I, the wild, wild twenties, and the plunge into fascism, new rules were imposed on marriage.
In 1935, marriage between Jews and “Aryans” was banned, and ensured that anyone considered pathological would not reproduce.
The goal was to ensure that marriages produced “purebred,” “healthy,” “German” children for the Führer so that he would always have enough soldiers to fire – which is why child-bearing marriages were rewarded accordingly.
From Patriarchy to Equality
After the end of World War II, the National Socialist laws were repealed.
The classic patriarchal marriage dominated, as in many other parts of the world, until the sexual revolution of the 1970s brought a breath of fresh air to prudish Germany: Fewer young people married, the divorce rate rose, and the birth control pill knocked the birth rate down a huge notch.
Non-marital and marital children became equal under the law and political unrest broke out across Germany, but women began to emancipate themselves again and steer marriage in the direction of a partnership between two equal adults.
In 2001, Germany allowed registered partnerships for same-sex partners, which almost looked like marriage when not viewed up close.
In reality, however, it was not equal to heterosexual marriage (joint adoption was not allowed, for example: one parent was denied rights to the joint child).
For years, to the chagrin of the conservative wing of the Bundestag, there were protests for final legal equality – until in 2017, after heated debate, the Bundestag passed marriage for all.
Marriage has come a long way to reach its current form.
Although it has caused problems for many young men and women for centuries, today (in Germany) it stands for a big step that two lovers take when they want to join their lives together.
In conclusion, the Christian influence on the world’s first love marriage has been a complex and transformative journey. As Christianity emerged and spread across cultures, it interacted with various marriage traditions, particularly the Teutonic practices. The interplay of these traditions paved the way for the evolution of marriage within medieval Christianity.
Over time, Christian teachings and societal changes contributed to the rise of love and civil marriage. The shift from arranged and patriarchal marriages towards the recognition of individual choice and affection marked a significant turning point in the history of marriage.
Christianity’s impact on marriage has also played a crucial role in moving towards greater gender equality within the institution. While it took time for societal norms to catch up with the teachings, the foundation was laid for a more egalitarian approach to marriage, where both partners have equal say and rights.
In conclusion, the Christian influence on the world’s first love marriage has been a complex and transformative process, shaping the way marriages are perceived and conducted today. It highlights the significance of cultural exchange, religious teachings, and the evolution of societal norms in shaping one of humanity’s most fundamental institutions.