Medieval social elites had few needs of courtship, as quite all their marriages were family arranged, reflecting political and financial strategies. In lower classes courtship was an ordinary preamble for marriage.

Since the 1980s historians revealed the role of sentiment and love in courtships in the fifteenth century by the growth of socially mixed marriages. Wealthy fathers considered affection between the partners, on top of material benefits, a better insurance for a long-standing union and for the continuity of the business. Emotional courtship was idealised in the rituals of charivari and carnival.

In many wealthy, but even in modest, families children were useful pawns in strategic games to increase family power and property. Children often rebelled against that impact. Many girls fled of their own free will from the family nest with their lover. The parents used civil law to prevent the disobedience, by considering their behaviour as abduction even if in fact it was a case of seduction. Many abductions and seductions, organised together with family members, show less individual ambitions of young lovers, and more family enterprises to reinforce the family’s status.