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Have you ever known a girl who went out with a guy who was a complete dolt but who could help her get ahead socially?(And not to pick on women, it just as easily happens in reverse.) Those decisions are based more on economic theory of the 19th and 20th centuries than on any sort of biblical notion of desire for the opposite sex.There is too much that could be said here, so I'll be brief.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.Since most young adults will marry, the process employed in finding a husband and wife is still considered courtship.However, an extra layer, what we call "dating," has been added to the process of courting.So these are four important cultural forces in the early part of the 20th century that assisted in moving our culture from the older courtship system that existed prior to the late 19th century, to a courtship system that includes "dating," which, I will argue in the next article, is much more ambiguous and confusing.I will also talk about dating itself (including the origination of the word If you’ve enjoyed this article, will you consider giving a tax-deductible gift to Boundless right now?

Over the course of this two-part article, I would like to trace how this change occurred, especially concentrating on the origin of this dating "subroutine." Let me begin by briefly suggesting four cultural forces that assisted in moving from, as Alan Carlson puts it, the more predictable cultural script that existed for several centuries, to the multi-layered system and (I think most would agree) the more ambiguous courtship system that includes "the date." The first, and probably most important change we find in courtship practices in the West occurred in the early 20th century when courtship moved from public acts conducted in private spaces (for instance, the family porch or parlor) to private or individual acts conducted in public spaces, located primarily in the entertainment world, as Beth Bailey argues in her book, .

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.

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.

At the same time that the public entertainment culture was on the rise in the early 20th century, a proliferation of magazine articles and books began offering advice about courtship, marriage and the relationship between the sexes.

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.

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  1. He is also interested in exploring how close relationships research can inform evolutionary psychological approaches (and vice versa), especially with respect to the way that relationships grow and develop over time (see a brief description of the Re CAST model here and here).