Man’s life – woman’s fate, or woman’s life –man’s fate

The difference between husband and wife is well reflected in what they called each other. The husband used the informal you addresses his wife as ‘though’, while she could not do that. For ‘Listen wife, listen woman’ addressing the reply was ‘listen my sweet lord/man. The man never shook hands with the woman. The primacy of the man is often expressed in everyday speech in expressions like‘he is the master of the house’ or ‘he wears the hat’. In many weddings only the bridegroom was wearing a hat, which did not only express the economic independence from the parents, but it also referred to his superiority to his wife.

It was generally the woman that moved to live with her husband’s family, house, wealth, his relations’ and neighbours’ environment, which had a significant effect on the husband’s special position. The husband was ensured a special father’s power over the custody of the children, while the wife did not have such a right, though in practice women had a more important role in bringing up the children.

The family was represented by the husband in public life. The exclusivity of this survived almost through the whole period of time, through their husband, women had greater and greater influence in public matters in the village from the beginning of the century.

In spite of all this, in the financial situation of man and wife, it was the law and regulations that prevailed. Namely, the couple remained independent in their married life in terms of their wealth. They could accumulate a wealth by their work, they could use it as they wished, but in case of a termination of the marriage the net earning they had accumulated had to be shared.

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Address: 1051 Budapest Október 6. utca 16-18.
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