Bonds are a complex aspect of BruneGame, and one of the more direct Bonds in the game is that of Romance. Relationships in Brunelleschi can progress through several steps, from Secret Romance, to Openly Declared love, and then to less fickle bonds, like those of Pagan Handfasting, Traditional Marriage, or less orthodox forms of Marriage available only to the very scholarly.
The basic process of 'Bonding' in Brunelleschi is one of importance transferal, so there are many cases in which a public declaration of Love would be beneficial to both parties. Up and coming Lords and Ladies in this Romantic time period can boost one-another considerably in the eyes of the Populace by having torrid and well-publicized Affairs in the full view of an ever less restrictive, and only ostensibly Catholic, society. The 1500s are uniquely tolerant, at least in some regions, of behaviors that would've been considered Pagan or Mortally Deviant only a few years prior. The status of 'Lovers' is in constant flux, as this bond can be casually established, and severed with equal aplomb. Whirlwind Love is at the heart of the Passionate and Creative lifestyle embraced in the euphoric, Post-Plague time period, and more than a few have been tempted by the tempest of shifting romantic alliance. With such a great need for workforce, Society's even more tolerant of the occasional Bastard, though this game does not deal directly with that!
Each Character can have up to 5 Lovers, and the Bond can co-exist with other things, like Friendship or even the higher-end Romantic Bonds. The nature of Political Marriage in the time period doesn't automatically ensure any emotional connection, so the addition of Love to a Marriage or Handfasting is entirely up to the Players involved.
Handfasting is the Non-Christian option available to any Character who wishes to engage in that link. It's costly but not impossible to break a Handfast, and though they do not automatically decay after a set time, they also don't require any external intervention to dissolve, merely a decision by either party to do so.