The Shiddukhin – Arranging the marriage. – The promise
Fathers were legally obligated to arrange a marriage for their children. Often, the children took the first step in marriage. They told their parents about their love and they got the ball rolling. Often, this step was taken long before the official proposal. Often the father of the groom took the first step with often was when the children were very young. Even infants. This agreement had no legal status and no money or goods were exchanged at this stage. It could easily be broken off. Formal steps were taken much later, when there was a fair degree of certainty of a marriage. This step could also be skipped. Thirteen was the legal age for marriage but most marriages occurred when the groom was between sixteen and twenty. Both bride and groom had to be sexually mature.