Is Marriage Good For You? – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine
It took a Benedictine monk to bring ‘consent’ into marriage. There was a time when marriage was used to establish relationships that had nothing to do with love or romance. The consent of the parties was not even important. Marriage was strategic; it brought peace between warring factions, it helped to establish diplomatic ties between nations and if it facilitated trade and economics it was a bonus. The wishes of the married couple were of little importance. This changed in the year 1140.
The monk Gratian argued that consent between the couple ‘mattered more than their family’s approval.’ In his canon law Decretum Gratiani he argued that, ‘ couples had to give their consent and consummate the marriage to forge a marital bond. No longer was a bride or groom’s presence at a ceremony enough to signify their assent.
By 1563 marriage became one of the seven sacraments and in 1670 it took an Act of Parliament to allow Lord Roos to divorce his wife Lady Anne Pierpon. It was only in 1858 that divorce could take place legally and it took another hundred years for couples to cite marital breakdown as a cause for divorce.