For social scientists, studies of courtship usually look at the process of "mate selection." (Social scientists, among whom I number myself from time to time, will never be accused of being romantics.) For the purpose of this article the , prior to the early 20th century, courtship involved one man and one woman spending intentional time together to get to know each other with the expressed purpose of evaluating the other as a potential husband or wife.The man and the woman usually were members of the same community, and the courting usually was done in the woman's home in the presence (and under the watchful eye) of her family, most often Mom and brothers.Young men generally take the initiative in asking for and planning dates.

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So one important point to understand right up front (and about which many inside and outside the church are confused) is that we have not moved a dating system into our courtship system.

Since most young adults will marry, the process employed in finding a husband and wife is still considered courtship.

Simply put, with the onset of the widespread use of chemical and other means of birth control, the language of procreation — of having children — was separated from the language of marriage. of Chicago ethicist Leon Kass argues in his chapter on courtship in , under the old system of courtship, marriage and bringing a child into the world were inextricably linked. With the ever decreasing risk of pregnancy, having sex and being married were no longer tied together.

Fourthly, we find a change in the models and metaphors used to describe the home and family.

However, between the late 1800s and the first few decades of the 1900s the new system of "dating" added new stages to courtship.

One of the most obvious changes was that it multiplied the number of partners (from serious to casual) an individual was likely to have before marriage.

As Ken Myers says in , from the late 1930s on, young people knew, down to the percentage point, what their peers throughout the country thought and did.

They knew what was "normal." Prior to the 20th century, "normal" was determined within families and local communities, but now a "higher authority," with wide-spread circulation and readership, began to form a national consciousness. With the onset of the sexual revolution the question arose, "Why would a man court and woo a woman when he could gain a chief benefit of marriage, namely sexual gratification, for free with no commitment?

Choose to date only those who have high moral standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards.