The burgeoning middle class of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in England attempted to prescribe and endorse moral values for managing the emotional and sexual life of young women through numerous matrimonial conduct books written mostly by Puritan clerics. One of the characteristics of the conduct books is that they promoted harmony, balance, and a relative emotional equilibrium between man and woman. In A Preparative for Marriage (1591), Henry Smith voiced the idea of matrimonial equilibrium and says: ‘‘The man [and] wife are partners, like two oares in a boate, therefore hee must diuide offices and affaires, and goods with her, causing her to be feared and reuerenced, and obeyed of her children and seruants like himselfe’’ (1591: 49). Yet conduct books also prescribed an opposite view, requesting subservience to the man, subservience that is the basis for peace in the small commonwealth of marriage. Thus according to another Puritan cleric, in such an apparently harmonious marriage, bodies of both men and women, and the desire that is supposed to bring them together, are subject to the strict control of god. ‘‘This is to bee remembered,’’ writes Robert Cleaver,

that Matrimonie or Wedlocke, must not onely be a coupling together, but also it must be such a coupling together, as commeth of god, and is not contrarie to his word and will. For there be some marriages made, whom God coupleth not together, but carnal lust, beautie, riches, goods, and landes, flatterie, and friendshippe: in such marriages God is not thought vpon, and therefore they sin the more against him. These and such like marriages be condemned in the Scripture: Genes. 6. 1, 2; Ezech. 10, 1 & C. Math. 24, 28, 38.