Friday, April 18, 2014

Harder Divorce = More Marriage

The insane thing is, marriage as we think of it as an institution didn't exist until quite recently.  Marriage proper was for the upper classes.  There was land, money and titles involved, so of course you involved the church but mostly the church was there as proctor and Fair Witness.  Family members were in fact actually required to watch the...OH GROSS!!!

In America, if you were poor there was no legal contract at all.  Jump'in the Sword was the extent of your personal and legal commitments.

Jump Thief! Jump Whore!
And be man and wife forever more!

Your verbal contract (simple as it was) was recognized by your community at large.  They all knew about it. Hell, they'd got drunk at your wedding and stayed up half the night at your shiv·a·ree.  The community kept you together.

If you parted company before death. It was usually acknowledged that there were extenuating circumstances. Andrew Jackson swore he would cut the ears off of his wife's first husband, if he went near her again.  I am seventy percent percent certain that my mother's first husband did not walk away from his, "little talk," with my grandfather.*

If a proper woman was forced to abandon her husband and take her children with her, she would become a burden upon the community. The community would accept her but make they would make their feelings known to her ex-husband in no uncertain terms and sometimes in unspeakable ways.  A woman turned out of her house by her husband for her inability to remember who her husband actually was.  Became something of an asset to the community, as every town needs a town whore.

 These little things were all understood by the small towns of America at large.

And then came America's aristocracy, the lawyers...

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