Marriage in the Victorian Era
The rules were very strongly enforced. It was unethical for a man to pay serious attention to a woman unless he was financially ready to get married to her at some predictable date. Also, it was unethical and dangerous for a woman to let herself fall in love with a man that showed no interest in her for she might be committing her heart too man that she will not be able to marry. (Daily Life In Victorian England) Engagements usually lasted from six months to two years. Once It was “official” the couple was allowed to be more Intimate with each other.
Back then, getting more intimate meant that they were allowed to hold hands In public, take walks together, take private carriage rides (but the carriage had to be open), and even spend time behind closed doors, as long as they were separated by nightfall. The failure for a woman to follow these rules would usually result in a ruined reputation. During the engagement of a working class couple, they usually brought along a little sibling along as a chaperone. Because a little kid was more likely to tell anyone if anything had happened and what all was going on.
The child’s presence probably ensured hat even a kiss would be reported to the parents. Life in Victorian England) Men were required to ask the woman’s father for permission to marry If there was a large sum of money Involved. Otherwise, If there wasn’t, a woman could accept on her own but the man was still required to volt the father for a “personal Interview”. The father”s job was to inquire about the men’s goals and what he would be doing with his life. He was also to know when the marriage was to take place.
Once the father accepted his future son-in-law was the couple allowed to exchange gifts. The engagement rings were set with turquoise, pearls, or other stones. Sometimes it could also be Just a plain gold band with engraving on it. Diamonds weren’t all that common back then to be used on engagement rings. The woman also generally gave the man an engagement ring. They would also exchange lockets that contained a lock of hair from the other. The woman’s locket was worn around her neck while his was hung from his watch chain.
Once a couple was engaged, the rules of being chaperoned were relaxed In the house. Although, outside In public a chaperone was always required. (Dally Life In Victorian England) All of these rules were so much different for the working class. They had more independence even though they still felt it was necessary to maintain respectability. Just simply married. They didn’t ask permission from their parents. (Daily Life in Most marriages happened between people of the same occupation or social set. Victorian couples married at a much later age than people do now.
The average age that woman married laid around twenty-five. The average age at which men married as around twenty-seven or twenty-eight. People from the working class usually married at a younger age than that. In the middle class, both men and women were often older than thirty, because the man wanted to be financially stable before he took the responsibility of taking care of a family. The age at which people married grew increasingly with passing time. More than 10 percent of the population remained single and unmarried.
In the professional or middle-class, about one-third of women remained unmarried. (Daily Life in Victorian England) The view of marriage and women was seen more as a women’s duty to get married. It was a woman’s “natural and expected role”. In the middle class, although the woman had to always be obedient to her husband and stay economically dependent of her husband, she was still somehow required to rule the house. Women were expected to stay at home. That’s basically the only place that they belonged in for it was a way to protect them from the dangers of the rude and competitive world.
In the boundary and safety of her home, she could freely express err finer instincts such as her sensitivity and natural purity. They had to be kept safe at home because people could easily take advantage of their purity, innocence, and refinement. Marriage determined too much oaf woman. It established her rank, role, duties, social status, and way of life. If their marriage didn’t work out then it would be hard and almost impossible for the woman to get a divorce. Getting married today doesn’t require all those rules and regulations, but one thing still stays the same. It is still a sacred bond between two people.