A Brief History of Courtship and Matchmaking in America

A Brief History of Courtship and Dating in America, Part 2

It has all been done before. The good news about this is that history is a lot more valuable than you might think. The generations that have come before us faced the same temptations and challenges we face today. Or is it something that cherry-picks customs from the past, the way someone would select food at a buffet? If you look at the history of dating, marriage, and courtship, a very interesting story emerges.

The original outline for Courtship in Crisis called for a chapter on the history of courtship. We have since decided to cut that chapter from the book. Our concern is that the typical reader would find history boring. Some of you find history as fascinating as I do, so I want to share the whole history in one place.

I am also wanting to put this history up for public fact-checking and cross-examination. I am writing this in good faith and hope it is taken that way. This is my first time to write a history. I am a big believer that all of us are smarter than one of us. So, if you have evidence that something here is incomplete or incorrect, please kindly share it with me so I can improve this history. If you think this history should be included in the book, please let us know in the comments below.

In those days, a covenant was not considered binding without the shedding of blood. For most covenants, animal blood would be used. You see the shedding of blood in each of the covenants that God makes throughout the A brief history of courtship and dating in america Testament. The covenant of marriage was sealed in blood as well. The legal proof of a marriage was blood on the bedspread. For example, the punishment for the a man who slept with an unbetrothed woman was marriage without the possibility of divorce and the payment of a large bride price Deuteronomy She was supposed to marry a close relative of her first husband.

Her second marriage did not have the same legal weight as the first marriage. Her first son was legally the son of her first husband, the one with whom she shed blood, and not the second husband, the biological father Deuteronomy This explains why Ruth was an unattractive prospect. No one wanted the legal son of Nabal on the throne. There are a few instances in the Bible of women choosing their husbands and not being given or sold in marriage. For example, the daughters of Zelophehad came to Moses to ask if they could marry into another tribe.

Moses ultimately answered that they could marry whoever they wanted within their tribe Numbers Just because the Bible describes something does not mean we should do the same. Many of the stories in the Old Testament are of what not to do. God uses broken people and the people in the Old Testament were very broken. Many of the families we see in the Bible are unhappy or dysfunctional. Sarah demands that her husband have sex with her servant Genesis Both Leah and Rachel do the same Genesis Afterward, he chops her body into pieces and sends them around Israel Judges Hannah struggles for years and the family is never truly able to get past this rivalry.

It is in this story that we get perhaps the most delicious line of dating in cape town free egotism and cluelessness in the Bible. Why be downhearted just because you have no children? These stories are not in the Bible for us to copy their mistakes. They are there for us to learn from and avoid their mistakes. This vision could not be achieved if every culture adopted the language and cultural practices of the ancient Hebrews.

Just because a law forbids the mistreatment of slaves, it does not mean God approves of slavery. God met the children of Israel where they were and adapted laws to their culture and condition. The Romans had a different view of marriage from the Hebrews. Unlike the Israelites, the Romans were monogamous. A man could be married to only one woman at a time and vice versa. While in biblical times the groom paid the father a bride price, in Classical Roman times the father paid the groom a dowry.

Roman men would sometimes need to borrow money from their wives. Early Romans valued the sanctity of marriage during the early republic. Later, during the decadence of the late republic and empire, the Roman view a brief history of courtship and dating in america marriage fell. After a while, the Romans swapped spouses like geeks swap comic books.

Interestingly, it was about this same time that Rome began its long, slow decline. For example, Octavian forced Scriboniathe wife of Scipio, to get a divorce and to marry him, before changing his own name to A brief history of courtship and dating in america Augustus. The purpose of the marriage was to cement a political alliance. He later divorced her when the alliance was no longer needed. Many of our marriage practices and terms come from the Romans. The New Testament spoke highly of sexual purity and the sanctity of marriage 1 Corinthians 71 Thessalonians 4.

Early Christians saw marriage as a lifelong commitment and even as a holy sacrament. They saw marriage as a picture of the mystery that is Christ and the church Ephesians 5. So, priests, rather than civil a brief history of courtship and dating in america, began performing wedding ceremonies. The early church also shifted away from the emphasis on blood as what consummated the marriage. Instead, they believed that the covenant of marriage was consummated through sexual relations between the bride and groom.

This led to some awkward situations when the marriage was politically important. For example, when the marriage would seal a treaty between kingdoms, there would sometimes be a bedroom audience when the marriage was consummated to confirm that the marriage was legally binding. Marrying Prince Charming had its drawbacks back a brief history of courtship and dating in america the day.

Marriages were often arranged among the aristocracy. In fact, for royalty, marriage was sometimes forced. A prince whose family stood to gain from an alliance would likely force him to marry whichever bride could bring the kingdom the most power. So, being Prince Charming had drawbacks too. Forced Marriage was somewhat uncommon outside of the highest levels of society.

In most arranged marriages both the bride and groom had some choice. The poor had more choice. These marriages were typically a matter of convenience, as it took a family to fully work a farm.

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