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Wedding rings are worn on the third finger of the left hand because the Romans believed that a nerve led directly from there to the heart.

The Priestess of Demeter was the only married woman allowed to watch the ancient Olympic Games.

Any other married woman spectator was liable to be sentenced to death by being thrown from a cliff.

Another curious marriage law in ancient Rome specified that senators were forbidden to marry the daughter of an actor or actress.

In ancient Sparta, men who remained unmarried by the time they were 30 forfeited the right to vote.

Research in the USA has shown that more than 10,000 marriages a year now begin with romances started during coffee breaks.

Research has also shown that bachelors are three times more likely to go mad than married men.

Until 1912, it was legally impossible for a British woman to commit a crime in her husband's presence without him being considered to have coerced her into doing it.

According to research published in the British Medical Journal in 2001, men who had a low birthweight and were smaller at birth are significantly less likely to get married.

Even in old age, men who had stayed bachelors were 2.1cm shorter than their married peers.

Research on men born in England and Finland around 1930 showed that, for every extra kilogram they weighed at birth, they were 1.42 times more likely to marry.

Every extra centimetre in length at birth meant they had a 1.13 greater chance of walking down the aisle. Even after social factors such as class and income were taken into account, shorter, lighter, thinner men were still significantly less likely to marry.

In 2008, the State of Arkansas repealed a law that allowed people of any age, even babies, to get married.

The law had been passed the previous year and included a clause saying: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

The word 'not' before 'pregnant' had been included in error. Representative Will Bond, who sponsored both the botched 2007 law and its correction, apologized for the error, but said there had been no reports of young children attempting to marry under the 2007 law.

'There is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry' - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1814).

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