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Love, Lust, and Marriage with the Moravians 

February 13th, 2024 |

Now that it’s February, love is in the air. Everyone has varying traditions for showing affection and love to their special someone, and the Moravians were no different. They had unique practices in love, courtship, marriage and physical intimacy, many of which were informed by their faith. Below is just a glimpse into how the Moravians approached love, lust and marriage. 

blue, pink, and white ribbons next to a metal jar and two pieces of paper that read "yes" and "no"

The Lot System

In the Moravian community, people relied on God to make decisions when lacking a clear correct answer. This allowed their faith to guide important life decisions. The process began with a man’s wish to marry; he, with the church’s help, would first find a suitable woman. In order to determine if the marriage was a good fit, the Lot blindly drew a positive, negative, or “not at this time” response from a box to show the fate of the marriage. If the outcome was positive, the woman was then allowed to accept or reject the proposal, which was abnormal for the time period. Upon rejection, the man would continue his search. 

Choirs

Members of the Moravian community were divided into “choirs” and not the singing kind. Choirs were assigned based on sex, age, and marital status. There were groups for single men, single women, boys, girls, married men, married women, widows and widowers.  Each choir lived, ate, and worshipped together.  These groups were important in the organization of the community but specifically helpful for single men and single women to see who was available for marriage

Blue Cabinets

Blue Cabinets were specific to the Bethlehem Moravian settlement. This was a private room where couples could have physical and sexual intimacy. Marital intercourse was a sacred act for Moravians and had to be done without lust. Coaches prepared couples for intimacy and instructed them to make appointments for the Blue Cabinet once a week. 

This only scratches the surface of what it was like to be a married Moravian in the 18th century. To see more intimate details about Moravian love and marriage practices, be sure to take our Love, Lust and Marriage Tour this month. Booking is open now.

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