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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?

" (Friendship "with benefits" is a contemporary example.) Closely related to this is the invention of birth control.

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.

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

It's one of those words with which most people are familiar, but have vastly differing opinions of what it means. It summons visions of men women with small tokens of affection and asking their hand in marriage on bended knee.

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.

You've promised to be there for them through more than just sickness and health, but until death.

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.Why even get married if you're just going to be cruising around the dark online world of married dating sites?Related: 10 Valid Reasons You Should Get Married In Your 30s, Not Your 20s Cheating was never OK, but this seems a little too out the box — even for a social-media based society. Ashley Madison isn't the only site where you can get your cheating on, as evidenced by these successful dating sites for married people.Fourthly, we find a change in the models and metaphors used to describe the home and family.Prior to the 20th century, when we talked about courtship we used language and metaphors of home and family: system of courtship that played itself out in the entertainment culture and public square largely was understood and described by the advice and "expert" class with metaphors taken from modern industrial capitalism.

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Bailey observes that by the 1930s and '40s, with the advent of the "date" (which we will look at more fully in the next installment) courtship increasingly took place in public spaces such as movie theaters and dance halls, removed by distance and by anonymity from the sheltering and controlling contexts of the home and local community.