Marriage is a contract between two people that indicates that they will come together for the production of offspring. Whilst the ideal was that a marriage was for love, frequently this did not occur amongst the nobility where arranged marriages for political or economic gain were frequent.
The promise of faithfulness was generally assumed.
Dissolving the Contract
To escape from the marriage contract generally involved one of three scenarios:
- the death of one partner
- anullment - Pope Nicholas in declared that a marriage could be annulled if the two parties did not love each other in 853.
- divorce - Early Christian leaders such as Constantine legalised divorce but by the 10th century the Catholic church abolished divorce whereever they managed to hold sway.