Viking Love & Marriage
The Viking culture in this day and age are popular and often portrayed as brutal warriors but there’s more to them than that. Their personal lives are fascinating to learn and were far from all the invasion, robbery and terrifying attacks. If you’re curious and want to gain more knowledge about Viking love and marriage then you’ve come to the right place.
Viking Love & Marriage
There’s no denying that family life in Norse culture was very important. Norse men aimed to marry and have their own family. This was just part of their culture’s legacy to continue their bloodline. However, not all Viking marriages were out of love. Some of them were arranged and it wasn’t uncommon practice to do that. This is the reason why courtships were not popular at that time since getting married was more about forming alliances with another Viking family instead of two compatible people falling in love with one another.
Marriages in the medieval times were also arranged as a way to end feuds and conflicts. Viking brides were offered to settle arguments and disagreements between rival families. It’s sad to say but they had no choice but to follow their parents order and marry someone they didn’t love.
Having said that, there were cases when Viking women were pursued by potential grooms but men showing advances wasn’t always enough. Taking it slow could sometimes backfire and rub the relatives of their prospective bride the wrong way. Once they got triggered, these merciless relatives would seek blood vengeance. On the other hand, they didn’t want to extend the courtship for way too long to avoid unwanted accidental pregnancies.
Sex before marriage was actually not forbidden but acceptable. There was nothing wrong to hook up as long as they were discreet about their sexual encounters. However, it was still preferable for the female population to preserve their virginities until marriage.
Once the parents had made up their minds on who they want their daughters to marry, they usually initiated what they called ‘inn matki munr’ (the mighty passion). Very complicated and detailed rituals were done during this practice to cultivate and forge the relationship of soon-to-be husband and wife.
There were a lot of problems that could arise after marriage though. Norse men didn’t have any restrictions to sexual affairs as long as they submitted to the arranged marriage in the first place. It was important in their culture to have a family, get married and have kids and if they didn’t follow the norm then they were looked down as outcasts. Unfortunately, the legal wife had to deal and put up with her husband’s infidelity because being married to someone wasn’t a hindrance and a reason for husbands not to have sexual encounters with other ladies. But girls did have the right to divorce their husbands if they were being violent towards them and guilty of committing other misconducts. It was also a pretty acceptable reason to file for divorce if they felt like their sexual expectations weren’t fulfilled. They had to be sexually satisfied with their partners in order for them to stay. If they didn't think they could give them that then they would not hesitate to seek divorce. Aside from divorce, they could also claim their original dowry and other marriage inheritances which was like a good form of revenge to their disloyal husbands.
Another issue in Viking marriages was who was allowed to have an affair. Only married Norse men were allowed to keep numerous slaves and have intercourse with several mistresses. It was not morally acceptable for wives to do the same. Guilty married Norse women were shamelessly penalized and ridiculed for something that the male population could get away with. The reason behind this unfair treatment was that females were biologically capable of conceiving another child from a different man and their male counterparts couldn’t.
There you have it. Did you enjoy reading this? Please watch out for our next blog post about Viking sexuality next week.