Dating and Marriage

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Assignment Five
DATING AND MARRIAGE The history of American dating started with good old-fashioned courtship. Courtship is now a word of the past in American society. However, it played an important role in history and it has led us to where we are today. Courtship or to court has several different meanings. According to Webster’s dictionary, courtship is defined as “the social activities that occur when people are developing a romantic relationship that could lead to engagement and marriage.” The verb to court has another definition. It is defined as “to woo” and to woo means to seek the love of another with the thoughts of marriage in mind. Webster’s dictionary states courting is “socializing between unmarried men and women.” Before 1920, courtship was when young men would “court” young women in their home with parental supervision. In the 1920’s, men started asking women out on a “traditional date” several days in advance to go to dinner, dance, or movie. Courting first started in the era where marriages were arranged. Courtship was for the sole purpose of two people of marriageable age to get to know each other better in order to find out if their personalities and interests were the same before decisions were made regarding marriage. Through courting, the two people became acquaintance, formed a friendship, earned mutual respect, and would hopefully find love. Courting was not something people did merely for fun; it was more like a business proposition. Ultimately, the parents of the bride and groom were the main decision makers in the marriage process. However, the couple and their feelings did play an important role in making the final decision regarding marriage. Still, families met to discuss how the arranged marriage would benefit not just the bride and groom but also the respective union. What was once referred to as “courting” or “courtship” is now called dating. The main objective behind courtship was marriage.

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