Manuel II Palaiologos wrote his text on marriage and its ethical aspects between 1394 and 1397. At that time he was newly married and his wife had already given birth to their firstborn, John VIII, The text is presented in the form of a dialogue between the emperor Manuel and his mother, the dowager empress Helena Kantakouzene, wife of John V Palaiologos. An unusual case in dynastic policy, Manuel II was a bachelor until his forties. Fortunate circumstances caused him to inherit the throne after the death of his elder brother, Andronikos IV, in 1385, but he himself was not yet married and thus had no legitimate successor. His nephew, John VII, was his long-standing rival. The intention of the author of the dialogue was, without doubt, to show how important inheritance was for the imperial family. The text of the dialogue was subsequently corrected by the emperor himself; the revised version is dated to between 1417 and 1425. This article argues that the text was revised in order to encourage Manuel’s own son, John, to marry and have successors.