This book explores the history of marriage and marriage-like relationships across five continents from the seventeenth century to the present day. Across fourteen chapters, leading marriage scholars examine how the methodologies from the new history of emotions contribute to our understanding of marriage, seeking to uncover not only personal feeling but also the political and social implications of emotion. They highlight how marriage as an institution has been shaped not just by law and society but also by individual and community choices, desires and emotional values. Importantly, they also emphasize how the history of non-traditional and same-sex relationships and their emotions have long played an important role in determining the nature of marriage as an institution and emotional union. In doing so, this collection allows us to rethink both the past and present of marriage, destabilizing a story of a stable institution and opening it up as a site of contest, debate and feeling.

chapter 1|16 pages

Marriage and emotion in historical context

ByKatie Barclay, Jeffrey Meek, Andrea Thomson

chapter 2|16 pages

Affection and passion in early modern Spanish separations

ByEdward Behrend-Martínez

chapter 3|15 pages

‘He asked her why she was crying’

Young people’s intimate relationships, emotions and the making of marriage in early modern France
ByJulie Hardwick

chapter 4|18 pages

Illicit relations in a multi-ethnic city

Emotions, fidelity, and economic obligations in colonial Mexico
ByMargarita R. Ochoa

chapter 5|15 pages

Mobile emotions

Bigamy and community in Scotland, 1660–1830
ByKatie Barclay

chapter 6|15 pages

‘Companions in Labor’

Same-sex marriage and the romantic ideal in the early United States
ByRachel Hope Cleves

chapter 8|16 pages

From foreign bride to ‘Korean’ mother

Managing feelings in modern South Korean marriages
ByAmalya Layla Ashman

chapter 10|16 pages

‘He isn’t affectionate at all’

African-American wives in the 1940s and the problem of ‘cool’
ByChristina Simmons

chapter 11|15 pages

Trust, authenticity and bigamy in twentieth-century England

ByClaire Langhamer

chapter 12|16 pages

‘It seemed the right thing to do!’

Mixed-orientation marriages and emotions in post-war Scotland
ByJeffrey Meek

chapter 13|16 pages

Marriage in India

A web of intimacies
ByRuth Vanita

chapter 14|15 pages

To have and to hold?

The relationality of emotions and couples’ relationships in twenty-first-century Britain
ByJanet Fink, Jacqui Gabb