In light of our changing culture, perhaps the better question is, would you get married? Ever. I have a couple of friends who refuse to marry. Each lives with the man she loves, but they absolutely refuse to marry.
In today’s world where couples live together and often have children without marriage, getting married seems to have become the ultimate commitment if not the ultimate love story.Weddings are celebrated in ceremonies ranging from small, family-only events to splashy galas costing as much as a house.
Ancient People Knew What Was At Stake
It wasn’t always like this. Ancient history tells us that marriage was first a private, domestic affair.
According to Curious Customs of Sex and Marriage by George Ryley Scott (out of print but available at used book outlets), the basic function of marriage was to multiply. After all, the population was small. Disease was rampant. Under-population was the big problem. The planet needed more people. Marriages were simply a way of sponsoring procreation.
You may kiss the bride. Go forth and procreate.
Women Were Valuable–Commodities
It didn’t take men long to decide that the value of a woman–daughter, sister, or a female related in any way that gave them domination over the woman–lay in making marriage contracts that enabled them (the men) to gain more wealth and power.
Yet, marriage was a hard sell to most men. Those testosterone-fueled beings didn’t embrace the concept. They took persuading which is probably why the dowry played such a big part in landing a man who would enhance a father’s power and wealth.
Perhaps that explains why so many nations (remember, just about all society was patriarchal) experimented with Polygyny, a form of plural marriage in which a man is allowed more than one wife, and Polyandry, a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. So they could have many wives and get many dowries in order to expand their power base.
Along Came Monogamy
Eventually, in most civilized nations of the world, monogamy was accepted almost universally, at least in theory, as the perfect form of marital union.
As we all know, nothing and no one is perfect, but monogamy was probably what kept the world rocking along for a couple of millennia—dragging all of the customs and superstitions created along the way into our modern world.
Customs Transform To Fit The Times
Many marriage customs continue, with some slight alterations. Although some may still practice Marriage by Capture, that’s usually performed in an altered version called Elopement.
Betrothal in Infancy and Arranged Marriages still survive as do matchmakers. Even Marriage by Purchase survives in other countries although cynics assert that Marriage by Purchase is alive and well in western civilizations too. Just look at all the wealthy sugar daddies–and a few sugar mamas–who are always looking for sexy young sugar babies. Of course, maybe they’re all just looking for love like the rest of us.
Marriage of Convenience
Another classic tradition in the wedding arena is the Marriage of Convenience in which an unwilling man or woman is forced into a marriage. Sometimes this is because of the need for protection or for economic reasons. This is one of the most popular themes in romance novels.
I explore that theme in my romantic comedy, April Fool Bride which is on sale for only 99 cents today through April 16. (Be sure the price is 99 cents before you click Buy.) You can find April Fool Bride at: Amazon * Nook * iTunes * Kobo (U.S.) * Smashwords.
Is it a marriage of convenience or something more? Something that sizzles like steam heat between Maddie and Jake that neither can resist!
Oil heiress Madeline Quinn needs a husband by the time she turns twenty-five in order to claim her full inheritance. Mad Maddie, as the tabloids christened her, has learned the hard way that men only see dollar signs when they look at her.
Maddie decides a marriage of convenience is the only answer. She turns to the one man in the world she can trust, her housekeeper’s son who always treated her like a little sister when they were kids growing up together.
Jake Becker hasn’t seen Maddie since the night she tried to seduce him. Why should he help the woman who changed the course of his life? Simple. Revenge.
This is a wonderful love story. April Fool Bride is well plotted and beautifully told. As the story came to an end I found myself wanting to read more. I read a lot of books, but I don’t read them all to the end, and I only write a review on the ones I love. I thoroughly enjoyed April Fool Bride. 5 Stars!! ~ Mary Adair, Author
A charming novella with romance, passion, humor. Maddie needs a husband by April to be able to control her inheritance. The only man she can trusts to help her without taking advantage of the situation is Jake who was her friend when they were both teenagers. His mother used to work for Maddie’s family until the night her stepmother caught Maddie in Jake’s bed and threw him and his mother out. Now Jake is a successful businessman and doesn’t need the money or the lucrative deal Maddie is offering for him to marry her on paper for a year. Yet he accepts because…[*g*] Funny and sexy is the trademark of Joan Reeves’ books, add emotion and passion. ~ Amazon Reader Review
I wish you a Happy April Fool’s Day. Play a corny prank on your kids or your spouse. This is a day made for laughter–and romance if you work it right. *g*
Joan Reeves writes sexy–often funny–Romance Novels. Her books are available at major ebook sellers with new print editions coming this year. (Audio editions available at Audible and iTunes.) All of Joan’s books have the same underlying premise: “It’s never too late to live Happily Ever After.” Joan lives her Happily Ever After with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List/Free NL and get a free ebook. Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube.
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Joan Reeves—Keeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. From Romantic Comedy to Romantic Thriller, all of her books have the same premise: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between a book-cluttered home in Houston and a quiet house in the Texas Hill Country where they sit on the porch, stare at the big night sky, and listen to the coyotes howl. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List and be the first to know about new books and giveaways.
I love a good marriage-of-convenience story! Thanks for the entertaining article.
Thanks, Donna. Glad you enjoyed it.
Great post! I agree that our culture is changing and marriage is not a given, even when in love. My aunt married her husband on April 1st and they were married until death did him part….
I’m so pleased to finally hear about someone who married on April Fool’s Day–and lived happily ever after. Thanks, Traci.
Great post, Joan! I think nowadays some people avoid marriage because they don’t really expect forever with the same person. That, and the cost of weddings can drive you to the poorhouse, lol
Thanks, Jacquie. You may be right. I think everyone should have great expectations–about life, marriage, everything!
I’m a sucker when it comes to weddings. Love to see that wide-eyed groom welcoming his glowing bride. Music and all, flowers and friends. Mine lasted 51 years, cut short by cancer as we had hoped to celebrate 75. Marriage says you plan to stay together, no matter what life hands you. When you refuse to marry, you say you don’t trust someone else enough to give him your life.