The purpose of coming up with such a write-up is purely for curiosity sake, but it also has been educative to read around the various theorems and histories that surround the issue of courtship and dating. I share the same belief with many people out there that, “Man can learn a lot from history.” As well as, “Value comes when reflecting on the good/bad examples set before us and how we learn from them.”
The approach is disorganised as I will be appealing and dealing with each matter and its relevance in various period of history and time. The argument are therefore not set chronologically, but rather ambiguous as to my taste and manner of writing. So it will be a mixture of History, Biblical reference, WMB reference and the like. I hope it will make sense.
At this point I want to quickly put a disclaimer: Since it’s a Facebook Post, not purely scholarly, I exercised limited citation of scholars or individuals whom I have borrowed ideas from. Thus some of the statements aren’t entirely mine, but a good reader can manage to read my point as the post progresses. That done, Let me delve into the Subject:
For the purpose of this piece I have shared the definition of courtship as “the preparation for and proposal of marriage”. From the definition it’s evident, that courtship is a process and therefore embodies some stages even processes within itself. The main goal of courtship was and to some extent still is marriage. Back then when the Protestants arrived in the “New World”, they were a close knit group of people with a similar purpose. Probably then can I safely say America was a Christian Nation, hence their society was largely influence by Biblical teachings.
In the 1840s, “Children grew up knowing each other very well (church; other local activities)”. This meant that general behaviour of individuals was a public paper, read of all men. A girl and boy would probably grow up together, and I believe then, “most childhood friends” married each other. But the setting is a true resemblance of our own, were we are strongly encouraged to marry from amongst our own. In Shona culture they had the saying “rooranai vematongo”. In our local assemblies we are encouraged (note: encouraged) NOT obligated to marry from the same local assemblies. I know of other places that go to those extremes of saying, Judah should marry only in Judah, why go to Rueben etc, but I’m not discussing that. Point is CHILDREN GREW UP KNOWING EACH OTHER VERY WELL.
According to Cate & Lloyd (1992), “Much of the customs of courtship during the Colonial times revolved around rational needs and not lust. A man was only able to marry when he could support a family with his income and possessions. Many believed that love developed only after a marriage progressed and not before”. Now this is interesting in that if a family of a girl considered Gentleman X to be appropriate, they would make an effort that he notices their child and consider her for marriage. I guess this is what led to class marriages whilst the feelings of the 2 parties not considered in anyway. As long as Gentleman X can support family they can court and marry, don’t worry about Love, it will catch up when they have children together. Point being ABILITY OF THE MALE TO SUSTAIN A FAMILY.
Nevertheless, this quickly changed during the 1800s when love started to become important. The love referred to, however, was not romantic love for romantic love was seen as childish. Instead, couples sought openness and sincerity in a mate (Cate & Lloyd, 1992).” It is at this period and stage of courting that the lady would do all tricks to prove if the man really cared for her. The importance of romance spurned from the need of the woman to ensure her financial security since women relied almost entirely on their husbands economically. Women would even test their new suitors to see if their suitors would remain loyal to them, regardless of the circumstances. These tests included feigning illness, family disapproval, and possibly even breaking off the relationship. Romantic love began to be central in the courtship leading to marriage. Point is OPENNESS AND SINCERITY.