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Marriage and courtship essays therefore away from parental influence. Young men of higher classes had to choose a partner who would not degrade the family name. Choosing a wife had become an easier task because by the time the young men and women were ready to declare marriage, one, if not both parents had been deceased. Parents were often deceased by the time their children got married, this occurred because of the old marriage age which was 25-26 for women and men 27-28 for men (Cressy, 1997). England courtship was known for being very long, usually lasting anywhere from nine months to two years. Courtship was very long because men wanted to be sure that they my antonia essay antonia and jim found the perfect mate. Divorce was extremely difficult to get, in order to obtain a divorce the couple must first request permission to part, often these wishes were not granted. Divorce was also extremely expensive, only the higher classes were able my antonia essay antonia and jim afford them. Instead of the typical divorce, “private separations” were used. Private separation was a written agreement between the man and the women stating that they no longer my antonia essay antonia and jim to be together. In the written statement, it would explain where the woman would live and how much money and assets the man would leave her. Men of upper class who were unhappy would often abandon the wife. When a man abandoned his wife, he left her with no money and the woman would have to rely on her family for income support. When a man and woman of lower class wanted to separate they would use something called “wife sale” (Stone, 1990). The husband and wife would have to agree that there was no salvaging the marriage. The wife would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. If ideas on writing an essay about yourself was going to be a wife sale the husband would try to find a mate for his wife before the auction began, this was to insure the woman that the new husband would not be abusive (Bermudez, 1997). Young men and woman met each other during work, at dances, alehouses and during church. .