Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Youthful Brides

Reading the Past is Sarah Johnson's blog about historical fiction. Sarah discusses current trends in mainstream literature as well as novels from decades ago. It is always an interesting blog to visit. Authors of good historical novels not only have to be able to write well enough to tell a story, but have to be familiar with historical details in order to make the work authentic.

Here is a post about young brides. As anyone who reads history at all should know, in the past women were married in adolescence, sometimes at age fourteen or fifteen. Some people find this terribly shocking, but in other times and other cultures girls were carefully prepared for the duties of marriage at an earlier age.

In the novel I am working on about my great-great grandparents, the bride was fifteen and the groom was thirty-four when they were married, which was common in the 1830's. Men could not marry until they were able to support a family, and sometimes that did not happen until they were past thirty, unless they were independently wealthy. As for the bride, the sooner as she was established in a secure home after reaching a certain age, the better off she was considered to be. Also, getting married young assured more children, which most people then thought was a good thing. My great-great grandmother had nine children, the first when she was sixteen and the last when she was forty-five. By the standards of the time, they were considered highly blessed.

Considering the kinds of things our young girls are exposed to now, we should not be horrified at the people in the past who sought honorable wedlock and a stable home life for their daughters, even when they were still teenagers. Perhaps for many it was too young, but times were different then, and life was simpler. Share


Vara said...

There is a sad reason for the need for many children. There was much more childhood disease, then, and little graves were not uncommon.

Life was more precarious, so as many children as possible had to born to ensure that there would be enough the replace the current generation.

Even though life was hard and it was no cakewalk, the music, art, songs, and writing of our forefathers shows that the harshness of the world did not quench their spirit.

We have it easy, and create no lasting and beautiful art. They were "acquainted with sorrows and grief", yet they produced the most heart-stopping and beautiful artifacts that man has ever produced. Does anyone besides myself see a moral here?


elena maria vidal said...

Very true observations!

Anonymous said...

It is rather telling how nowadays parents freak out at the mention of their children "marrying young", but allow them to attend schools with pornographic sex indoctrination programs that freely hand out condoms.

So they'd rather their children have multiple sexual partners, broken hearts and diseases? Okaaayyy then.....

I realize that parents want their children to not make mistakes and 'marry in haste and repent at leisure'. But if they were shepherding their children properly, they would be working to preserve their children's purity while ALSO teaching them what Christian marriage is, how to prepare for it and lifting it up as a high, worthy and holy calling.