Romantic love and marriage. A study of age homogamy in 19th century Leuven.

The aim of this article is to explore the relation between age homogamy and the increasing importance of romantic love, using the certificates of first marriages in nineteenth century Leuven. Alternative explanations of age homogamy are evaluated. Also the methodological consequences of the historical decline of the age-at-marriage are taken into account. The results of the analysis show that especially the cultural middle class has an increasing preference for same age partners, which can be linked with the growing importance of romantic love during the second half of the nineteenth century.