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Alert marriage.png Marriage is the political and personal union of two characters.

It gives the following effects:

  • the wife joins her husband's court (or vice versa in the case of a matrilineal marriage)
  • can have legitimate children to get an heir and expand the dynasty.
  • gain prestige if the dynasty of the spouse is more prestigious
  • gain or lose prestige depending on the rank of the spouse (+/- 100 per difference of rank)
  • half of spouse's attributes are added to state attributes
  • half of spouse's stewardship participates to demesne size limit.
  • spouse may occupy the spymaster position

Union types[edit]

There are 5 types of unions:

Union Requirement Effect
Patrilineal marriage.png (Patrilineal) marriage Age >= 16 Children born from the union will belong to the dynasty of the father
Matrilineal marriage.png Matrilineal marriage Age >= 16 Children born from the union will belong to the dynasty of the mother
Concubinage.png Concubinage Age >= 16 Extra consorts of male rulers who are Pagan, Zoroastrian, Indian or Tribal
Betrothal.png Betrothal Age < 16 Commitment to a (patrilineal) marriage once both are over 16
Matrilineal betrothal.png Matrilineal betrothal Age < 16 Commitment to a matrilineal marriage once both are over 16

Matrilineal marriage[edit]

A matrilineal marriage allows to secure a dynasty where most heirs are female, by making the heirs part of the dynasty of the mother, and prevent game over if the succession gender law is not agnatic.

Rulers will usually not accept a matrilineal marriage with a son that is in the direct line of succession or has titles/claims. So the potential benefits are reduced compared to a normal patrilineal marriages. Matrilineal marriages are not available to Muslims and merchant republics.


A betrothal is a commitment to a future marriage once both parties are over 16. To follow through on a betrothal, you must click the alert, which you might need to re-enable if you have disabled it.

Betrothals prevent the character from going off and marrying someone else. Rulers cannot declare war on other rulers if close relatives are betrothed.

AI rulers will only arrange betrothals among themselves if the children are over 12. To be certain that you will secure a betrothal, suggest it before the AI's children turn 12.


A mother will have very good relations with her own children, but not the children from a previous pairing. As such when remarrying and having more children, the new wife might try assassinating children from the previous marriage, to pave the way for her own.

Potential spouses[edit]

There are several criteria to consider when picking spouses:


One of the goals of marriage being to produce a male heir, fertility is a fairly important factor when choosing a future spouse:

  • Women become completely infertile at age 45.
  • Celibate  trait make extremely difficult (but not impossible) to get pregnant.
  • Eunuch  traits make impossible to get pregnant.
  • Some traits reduce fertility: Chaste , Homosexual , Inbred , Weak , high end learning education traits, diseases
  • Some traits increase fertility: Lustful , Hedonist , Strong , high end stewardship and diplomacy education traits.

Congenital traits[edit]

Main article: Breeding

Congenital traits are traits that can pass down to children. The good traits are genius , quick , strong , attractive .


Main article: Attributes

Marrying someone with high stats can make a big difference in how well a realm is managed:

  • Half of the spouse's attributes are added to state attributes. Note: for Muslim rulers, only the primary spouse's attributes count.
  • Spouse's stewardship attribute contributes toward the demesne limits. (+1 with 7 stewardship, +2 if 14 stewardship, +3 if 20 stewardship)
  • Spouse can be spymasters, but her skill will only contribute once to state attributes (not 1½ times). Muslim rulers' secondary wives are exempt from this (since they don't provide stats as wives).
  • If the spouse has higher numbers in any attribute, some events will allow to ask for her help. This usually gives a positive temporary modifier to some aspect of the realm, and a 20% chance of getting 1 point in that attribute. However, there's also a 80% chance to get the content  trait.


Main article: Alliances

You are automatically allied to a ruler if you, your child, or your sibling, is married to them, their child, or their sibling. However, unless they join your dynasty either through you/your son marrying patrilineally or you(female)/your daughter marrying matrilineally, this alliance will not persist for future generations. As such, many marriages will only confer a temporary alliance, not a lasting one. As long as a member of your immediate family (your children, grandchildren, siblings, grandparents, and parents) is married to a member of their immediate family, the alliance persists.

If you want a lasting alliance, you'll have to ensure the children are of your own dynasty. The alliance will then persist forever unless a later generation leaves your dynasty.

By marrying your children to other powerful lieges, you'll be able to call these characters into your own wars and thus have them assist you. This is however a two-edged sword as they can do exactly the same with you, and if you decline the call to arms you'll get a loss to prestige and take an opinion hit.

Titles and claims[edit]

Spouses with claims (or who will receive claims upon the death of their parents) will pass their claims on to their children. This is the basic way to get claims on new land. It is even better to marry characters with titles. If the spouse dies and if the heir you made together is his/her heir too, he will inherit that county, adding it to your realm when your character dies. Female rulers who marry men of your dynasty non-matrilineally will have heirs of your dynasty inherit, giving you a permanent ally.

Prestige effects[edit]

Each spouse gains or loses prestige based on rank difference and the other's dynastic prestige. Prestige effects are pivotal in AI consideration of marriage proposals.

A character's marriage rank is the highest rank title held by {self, parents, grandparents, siblings, children?}, living or dead. For the purpose of marriage rank, patricians and doges are considered courtiers, one rank below baron.

The lower rank character gains 100 prestige per rank difference, while the higher rank character loses 100 prestige per rank difference beyond the first. For example, if a count marries a king's daughter (two ranks higher), he gains 200 prestige and she loses 100 prestige. The effects of dynastic prestige, however, are positive for both characters.

Muslims do not have prestige effects from marriage. This reflects their polygamy and strictly agnatic open succession.


A Hindu-only consideration. Both characters are highly encouraged to be of the same caste in order to wed. A marriage across castes will result in opinion penalties from other Hindus.

Arranging marriages[edit]

Clicking the arrange marriage button Marry.png below a portrait opens a list of suggested spouses, ordered by a combination of title rank and marriage rank. You can also arrange marriages from the diplomacy screen of one of the characters, or from the diplomacy screen of a courtier's liege.

Many factors affect AI acceptance of marriage proposals. If a liege won't accept a marriage proposal, try a bribe, or consider inviting the character to your court to gain full control over who they marry.


A character can have up to 7 lovers from events such as those from the seduction focus. Married lovers have increased fertility. Unmarried lovers have much lower fertility.

Children born to unmarried lovers will be bastards, unless the woman is married and fools her husband into believing he is the father. Bastards can be legitimized into the dynasty of either parent. Bastards who remain illegitimate cannot inherit and will create a cadet dynasty if they have any children of their own.


Through well thought-out marriages, you can gain powerful alliances and expand your dynasty, and ensure good heirs. Bad marriages, on the other hand, could have you end up dead or with an inbred heir.

  • Remember that matrilineal marriages are unavailable to Muslims and merchant republics. Also, if you are playing a female ruler, matrilineal marriage is the option to preserve your dynasty (apart from having legitimized bastards).
  • Avoid marrying within your dynasty
  • Marry characters with high fertility, titles or good congenital traits.
  • Marrying characters who are good at things that complement you is advised.
  • When looking for a wife, look for a younger character (below 30). Female characters lose all fertility at 45. Muslim rulers can control the number of children they have by marrying some women who are past child-bearing.
  • Try to preserve your dynasty: marry sons patrilineally and daughters matrilineally (if needed).

See also[edit]

Personal attributes