“A woman was created for a man, not a man for a woman” - such a postulate was implanted by the Russian Orthodox Church. This gave rise to distrust of both sexes to each other, so marriages were concluded not for love, but at the will of their parents. In such families, the spouses treated each other with hostility, did not value each other - therefore, betrayal often accompanied such relationships, despite the censure of society.
The earliest document that mentions marital infidelity is the Charter of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. It says that a man was considered an adulterer if he had not only a mistress, but also children from her. For betrayal of his wife, a man had to pay a fine to the church, and the amount of the fine was determined by the prince. There is a record in the annals that Mstislav Vladimirovich (the son of Vladimir Monomakh) “didn’t be stingy with his wives, and she (the princess), knowing that, was not in the least offended … Now,” he continued (according to the chronicle), “the princess is like a young man, wants to have fun, and can, at the same time, do something obscene, it is already inconvenient for me to guard against, but it is enough when no one knows about it, and does not speak."
Any relationship between a woman and a stranger was considered a betrayal of a woman. Her husband needed to punish his wife's frivolity. If he forgave the traitor and continued to live with her, then he was entitled to punishment. To avoid punishment, a man had to divorce his unfaithful wife, and not delay this moment: "Is the wife still from her husband with another, the husband is to blame for letting her in …"
XVII and XVIII century
In the 17th and 18th centuries, adultery was a pretext for divorce. In pre-Petrine times, a husband could get off with a year of penance and a fine; a woman always suffered a heavier punishment than a man. If a woman was convicted of treason, then after the divorce she had to enter the spinning yard, and she was forbidden to remarry. To prove his wife's betrayal, the husband had to bring witnesses. This is reflected in the proverb of Vladimir Dahl: "not caught - not a thief, not raised - not fucking".
The nobles were tolerant of treason. The peasants were much more harsh about treason and condemned it. However, punishment did not become an obstacle to adultery. This is reflected in the sayings: "How the girl falls in love with a matchmaker - it is not to blame for anyone", "It was not her mother who told her to - she wanted to" and especially: "Someone else's husband is sweet - but not a century to live with him, but his own hate - to drag with him."
There were many cases when the husband “did not seek a divorce” from the traitor. Often the spouse agreed to the punishment of his wife - with whips, whips or correctional labor. A wife who was caught cheating was forbidden to bear her husband's surname. Penance for wives was long-term (up to 15 years), or she was sent to a monastery.
The appeal of husbands with the demand to separate him from the "unfaithful" was always satisfied. This led to the fact that if a man “no longer needed a wife,” then it was a convenient excuse to get a divorce and start a new family. However, there were many cases when divorced at the request of his wife.
If the husband was "caught" in adultery, then his punishment consisted in a shameful conversation with the "spiritual father."
XIX - early XX century
In the 19th century, as in previous centuries, a wife's infidelity was treated more severely than her husband's infidelity. The man was entitled to moral punishment. There was a nuance: in society, a divorced man was tacitly placed restrictions on promotion, they could not be given the desired position. This situation is described by Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina. Among the common people, "shameful punishments" were used. The women treated the betrayal strictly "Such women sin doubly - they violate purity, and corrupt the law … growing up, non-people."
Men used the "betrayal" of their wife as an excuse to divorce her, so there are hundreds of petitions of this kind in the archives.In this case, the volost courts imposed a formal punishment on the woman “traitor” - arrest, community service.
The husband could punish his wife on his own - kick her out of the house, taking her dowry from her.
Wives could not divorce their husbands. The men did not give their consent to divorce, "and without the consent of her husband they will not give her a passport." But a woman could take revenge on a homeless woman for the humiliation she suffered - in the Yaroslavl province, for example, wives could break windows, smear the house with soot and tarry gates.
In the Yaroslavl province and in the Volga region, a husband could beat his traitorous wife, and in the Volga region it was considered correct to beat her "in public." In the Russian North, in the Tver and Kostroma provinces, they preferred "not to wash dirty linen in public," and there old men acted as judges of unfaithful wives and husbands. A common form of female punishment was "harnessing" her to a cart. Her husband forced her to take him, and he himself beat her with a whip.
In the 20th century, the punishments for treason were transformed. Divorce became difficult, and the Soviet government pursued a policy of "strengthening the family." A person's private life has ceased to be private, personal relationships and intimate connections have become part of party and Komsomol meetings. Throughout the existence of the USSR, the tradition of discussing family crises at meetings was preserved, the state policy of the "strong Soviet family" was actively implanted in the minds of citizens.