Amending the Marriage Contract

  • Lisa McClain
Part of the Histories of the Sacred and Secular, 1700-2000 book series (HISASE)


Catholics dealt with conflicts between religion and gender in relationship with one another, most frequently within marriage. They sifted through competing priorities and dealt with the interpersonal, religious, and societal tensions they caused. Both husbands and wives questioned boundaries of marital and gendered authority, obligation, and obedience. They tested a variety of options and compromises. Some spouses valued their faith but upheld traditional marital roles and priorities rather than rock the boat and challenge social expectations. Other husbands and wives prioritized the demands of faith over gender and began to share authority within marriage in new ways to meet religious needs. Some spouses deceived, argued with, or abandoned one another, especially in situations where gendered social norms were pitted against the health of souls. These models existed side by side, revealing how marital, gendered, and religious relationships can evolve as a largely unintentional by-product of religious conflict.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa McClain
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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