100 Years Ago – Married Women and the Law

This is another installment in the 100 Years Ago series based on writings in a home reference manual published in 1902.

100 year old book

It’s been a busy few weeks in our household. Only one more week until Daughter’s wedding! I’ve been devoting way more time to wedding shopping and planning and crafting than I’ve been devoting to my blogging. But that’s not a complaint. I feel so blessed and excited for this event that will celebrate a new beginning.

At the end of these busy days, I’ve still been browsing through my 100 year old book to unwind a little bit. Hmmmmm . . that makes me sound like a bit of a nerd, doesn’t it. To make it even worse, instead of reading the cooking and homemaking section this week, I decided to read the “Every Day Law” section. My “day job” is working as a legal assistant – that’s my excuse for sitting around reading law. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I guess because I’ve had marriage and weddings on the brain these last few weeks, this one particular passage of old time law caught my eye:

“Infants, married women, lunatics, idiots, aliens, belligerents, and persons incapable of making legal contracts, cannot act as principals . . .”

Oh my! Did I see that right? The married women are listed right between the babies and the lunatics as incapable of making a legal contract!

Was it that different for married women 100 years ago?

I’ve never considered myself a feminist, and I also believe in the Christian model that the man is the head of the household. BUT – I must say it doesn’t sit quite right with me either to think that married women were once denied a basic legal right such as being able to sign a contract. In that sense I believe things have changed for the better. And I think that change in how we perceive women gives couples going into marriage these days a real sense of partnership and equal contribution.

And after all, that’s what marriage really is, isn’t it? A partnership. For better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do you part. It’s give and take, and learning and loving and before long you know your partner as well as you know yourself.

I wish for Darling Daughter and New Son-in-Law many happy years as they begin their marriage partnership together. May they enjoy the journey and may God’s blessings be upon them.

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  1. Hilarious. I guess since we are nurturers that makes us nutty.

    May it be a memorable day for your daughter and your new son and their future be sweet.