Dating by wed

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As the American conception of intimacy evolves, so does society’s approach to dating.

A society’s prescribed method of courtship is incredibly illuminating: As we trace the timeline of dating rituals, we can get a better sense of how Americans throughout time understood love and, by extension, the world.

Marriage during this time was less a public declaration of mutual affection and more an essential means of legally exchanging property between families.

Courtship was the ritual that would allow the families to evaluate potential matches and determine if the arrangement would be advantageous.

The Women’s Movement led to more women obtaining higher education and becoming integrated into the workforce, and more women began delaying marriage to first establish their careers.

Despite increased emphasis on a single relationship, “going steady” was still a very social label.The courting script was usually contained to “calling,” in which the man was invited into the woman’s parlor for conversations over tea and involved a large degree of supervision.Reputation was also an essential form of social currency that required intimate guarding.This new romantic character of courtship plainly took form in the forsaking of traditional highly formalized love letters in favor of letters with a more endearing and poetic tone.But despite this move towards emotionally based relationships, the compatibility of matches was still strongly emphasized.

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