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Dating and courtship

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In America, in the 1820s, the phrase "date" was most closely associated with prostitution.

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Forbidding experimental and serial courtship and sanctioning only arranged matches is partly a means of guarding the chastity of young people and partly a matter of furthering family interests, which, in such cultures, may be considered more important than individual romantic preferences.Unlike what is regularly seen in other societies, it takes a far more subdued and indirect approach.It is complex in that it involves stages, and it is considered normal for courtship to last a year or longer.Throughout history, courtship has often included traditions such as exchanging valentines, written correspondence (which was facilitated by the creation of the postal service in the nineteenth century), and similar communication-based courting.Over recent decades, though, the concept of arranged marriage has changed or simply been mixed with other forms of dating, including Eastern and Indian ones; potential couples have the opportunity to meet and date each other before one decides on whether or not to continue the relationship.In the earlier 1800s, young adults were expected to court with the intention of finding a marriage partner, rather than for social reasons.

In more traditional forms of Christianity, this concept of courtship has been retained, with John Piper defining courtship and distinguishing this concept from dating, stating that: Courtship ordinarily begins when a single man approaches a single woman by going through the woman's father, and then conducts his relationship with the woman under the authority of her father, family, or church, whichever is most appropriate.

The matchmaker and parents will often exert pressure on the couple to decide whether they want to marry or not after a few dates.

Courtship in the Philippines is one known complex form of courtship.

A courtship may be an informal and private matter between two people or may be a public affair, or a formal arrangement with family approval.

Traditionally, in the case of a formal engagement, it has been perceived that it is the role of a male to actively "court" or "woo" a female, thus encouraging her to understand him and her receptiveness to a proposal of marriage.

Ivory French casket with scenes of romances – possibly a courtship gift.