It's fair to say that the social norms around love and sex have gotten a lot more complicated in the past few decades. If you want to go on a date these days, you'll need to spend upwards of 17 hours finding the angle from which your face looks the most attractive, and then master the fine art of responding to incoming flirtation. Respond too quickly and you look like a desperate loser, but respond too late and you look like an asshole. That said, although pursuits of romance were simpler back in the olden days, they weren't necessarily better. Not when an argument with your significant other could lead to a perfectly legal deathmatch, or when getting a divorce from your husband meant being sold at auction.
Marital Disputes Were Occasionally Settled Via Fights To The Death
There's a lot of advice about how to resolve arguments with your partner. One school of thought is that you should be like the stream and let everything but the most heinous stuff float away. Another suggests you should jack-jaw about every conflict, sitting down and talking everything through like rational adults so that resentment doesn't build over time. Of course, there's always a third option, courtesy of the 13th century: entering into a no-holds-barred battle to the death.
Throughout the Middle Ages, it wasn't unheard of for disputes to be negotiated via trial by combat. This method wasn't just restricted to royalty or the upper classes; anyone could participate and just, like, wail on whomever did them wrong. And although they weren't an everyday activity, fights between husband and wife aren't uncommon in the historical record. In 1200, for instance, there was a battle between a husband and wife in Bale, Switzerland, whilst another battle in 1228 resulted in a (literally) crushing defeat for the husband, in what must have been some extremely heavy petting.