The Institution of Marriage

By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs everything . . . . Upon this principle, of a
union of person in husband and wife, depend almost all the legal rights, duties, and disabilities, that either one of them acquire by the marriage.

-Blackstone’s Commentaries (1765)

At common law the husband and wife are under obligation to each other to perform certain duties. The husband to bring home the bacon, so to speak, and to furnish a home, while on the wife devolved the duty to keep said home in a habitable condition. Following this it has been held that an agreement by the
husband to pay his wife for performing the ordinary household duties was not only without consideration, but against public policy.

-Lewis v. Lewis (Ky. 1922)


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