17th century marriage and dating rules
The New Haven Colony's laws stated that "If any man marrying a woman fit to bear children, or needing and requiring conjugall duty, and due benevolence from her husband, it be found..satisfyingly proved, that the husband, neither at the time of marriage, nor since, hath been..to be able to perform the same..marriage shall..declared voyd, and a nullity..." The New Haven Colony laws further noted that if a husband knew when he had married that he would be unable to fulfill his marital duties, he could be fined by the court to the extent that satisfaction would be made to the woman injured by his deceitfulness.
The law firmly cautioned that if the inability of the husband to perform his marital duties arose from a disability received after the marriage had been enterred into, he would not be subject to any fine.
Since most young adults will marry, the process employed in finding a husband and wife is still considered courtship.
Keeping company in the family parlor was replaced by dining and dancing, movies, and “parking.” A second cultural force that influenced the older courtship system was the rise of “public advice” literature as well as the rise of an “expert” class of advisers — psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, etc.
In the early 1700s A New Law Dictionary was published by Giles Jacob.
The fifth edition of that book, printed in London in the year 1744, gives the following as a definition of divorce.
Andrew’s Reformed Episcopal Church in Savannah, Ga.
He has been in ministry for 16 years, serving in the inner-city of Memphis, Tenn., and as a youth, college, and singles pastor in various churches.