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If the average age of first marriages was dropping (around age 18 for women and 20 for men) then the preparation for marriage — the shopping around, if you will — had to begin much earlier than that.

One sociologist wrote in a July 1953 article that each boy and girl ideally should date 25 to 50 eligible marriage partners before making his or her final decision.

Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down.

However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.

The courtship experience and ideals of those who grew up before World War II were profoundly different from those of teenagers in the postwar years, and the differences created much intergenerational conflict.

For instance, there had to be some visible token (class ring, letterman's sweater or jacket) given to the one with whom you were couple "breaks up," something like a mini divorce occurs, complete with a divorce settlement and custody dispute — a dividing up of the assets, property and other persons involved. How do I talk to the other person about our relationship — in modern language? New types of courtship systems where family, friends and church communities are involved in the relationship provide support and godly counsel to individuals in a relationship.It was not earned directly through talent, looks, personality or importance and involvement in organizations, but by the way these attributes translated into the number and frequency of dates.These dates had to be highly visible, and with many different people, or they didn't count." Ken Myers summarizes this system, " catchwords hammered home, reinforced from all sides until they became the natural vocabulary.Each party must return (or negotiate custody of) jackets, T-shirts, jewelry, CDs, etc. When do we have the DTR (defining the relationship) talk? Realizing how spiritually, psychologically and physically destructive sexual relations are outside of the bond and vow of marriage, many teens and young adults, both men and women, are committing (or re-committing) themselves to chastity. It was my aim in these articles briefly to explain from where our modern courtship and dating practices have come.I hope this historical review has helped you to understand the courtship practices you have inherited, and can assist you in living more wisely, which is the goal of all Christians.

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