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For instance, during the lifetime of Jesus, there was a strong social disapproval among Romans of polygamy.

This made its way into Judaism and early Christianity, despite the Old Testament portraying examples of this behaviour among patriarchs and kings.

The betrothal was held to be enough of a marriage that a divorce would be needed if the couple split up between betrothal and contract." New Testament scholar N. Wright asserts that Paul absolutely forbade fornication, irrespective of a new Christian's former cultural practices.

Wright notes "If a Corinthian were to say, 'Because I'm a Corinthian, I have always had a string of girl-friends I sleep with, that's part of our culture,' Paul would respond, 'Not now you're a Christian you don't.'...

There is no place in the Christian fellowship for such practices and for such a person." The early Church's statements on marital affairs mainly concerned acceptable reasons for divorce and remarriage.