Did you know that there was a time when promises actually meant something?
I came across this exceedingly rare, handwritten “engagement of marriage agreement” in an enormous letter archive from the mid-19th century.
The agreement was penned by then 18 year-old, Edith Durer. She was born in 1852 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was well-educated and her family quite prominent.
Her suitor, Charles A. Martin, also of Baltimore, was 19 years of age at the time. Like the Durer family, the Martin family was also of means.
The witness, Eugenie Martin, was 17 years old and worked as a servant for a wealthy family in Baltimore.
Notice the precious remnants of the personalized wax seals next to each of their bold signatures. Incredible given today’s moral climate or complete lack thereof.
The point is, back then, commitment and promises when it came to marriage meant a whole lot more than they do today.
Have we as a society gone off the rails when it comes to commitment and marriage ideology?
The evidence here suggests that we have.