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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.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.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. Navy and is also a trained musician, having worked as a recording engineer in Memphis, Tenn.

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  1. The better you are at asking questions, the more you’ll learn about someone you meet online and the better you’ll be able to gauge whether this person might be a good fit for you (and vice versa).