Courtship Period Before Marriage
Courtship is the period in a couple’s relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. During courtship, a couple get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement or other such agreement. 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.
Courtship in the Philippine’s one known complex form of courtship. Unlike what is regularly seen in other societies. It is common to see the male showing off by sending love letters and love poems, singing romantic songs and buying gifts for the female. The parents are also seen as part of the courtship practice, as their approval is commonly needed before courtship may begin, or before the female gives the male an answer to his advances.
In more closed societies, courtship is virtually eliminated altogether by the practice of arrange marriage, where partners are chosen for young people, typically by their parents. 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.
Commercial dating services
Though most people meet their dates at social organizations, in their daily life, or are introduced through friends or relatives, commercial dating agencies emerged strongly, but discreetly, in the dating.
From the early 2000s, mate-finding and courtship have seen changes due to online dating services telecommunications and computer technologies have developed rapidly since around 2000, allowing daters the use of home telephones with answering machines, mobile phones, and web-based systems to find prospective partners.
“Pre-dates” can take place by telephone or online via instant messaging, e-mail, or even video communication. A disadvantage is that, with no initial personal interview by a traditional dating agency head, Internet daters are free to exaggerate or lie about their characteristics.
While the growing popularity of the Internet took some time, now one in five singles is said to look for love on the Web, which has led to a dramatic shift in dating patterns.
Traditionally, in many societies (including Western societies), men are expected to fill the role of the pursuer. However, the anonymity of the Internet (as well as other factors) has allowed women to take on that role online. A recent study indicated that “women pay to contact men as often as the reverse, which is quite different from behavior in telephone-based dating system[s]”
Dating companies teaching men how to pursue women has increased over the years.
There is also some academic evidence that the 18–25 age group has significantly taken up online dating. This growing trend is reflected in the surging popularity of online communities such as, Twitter, Facebook, Faceparty, MySpace and Nexopia sites which are not directly geared toward dating, but many users nonetheless use to find potential dates or research a new acquaintance to check for availability and compatibility.
Mobile dating websites are too gaining popularity.
Time and Space
This one applies to cases like mine where a short courtship also coincides with being young. Say you’re in your early 20s — you may be legally an adult now, but let’s face it, there’s still a lot of growing up to do. So why rush into marriage before you’ve fully explored your own tastes, beliefs and values? This is the one phase of life I really think I missed out on, going from my parent’s home to management school hostel and straight into married life. You’ll have the rest of your lives to argue about which colour sofa to buy with your spouse. Indulge your own tastes, set up your home the way you want to and allow yourself the time and space of self-discovery and self-awareness is likely to stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.
Time for the two of you
In a long courtship period, the two of you get enough time to be with each other and there’s no pressure from your families. And as lovely and angelic the families may be, they do tend to bring with them at least some pressures and complications to deal with. If you are lucky enough to live in the same cities as your families, numerous aunts on either side may insist on both of you going to visit them at the same time. However most people that I’ve interacted with who’ve had long courtships were able to immediately and rather wistfully, recall some special fond memories. Even more importantly, you’re building a special bond with each other before you get married. As a good friend of mine put it, rather eloquently, ‘This way, your relationship is already strong, right at the beginning of your marriage and you’re only a new entrant into the lives of the relatives, not in the life of your spouse’. Twice a week for a movie, outing, coffee etc. strengthen their bond.
The freedom to change your mind
If you do discover, somewhere along the way, that you weren’t really meant to be, you’d rather end your relationship during the courtship period than after jumping into the whole marriage gig. Of course, there is no guarantee that a long courtship will prevent irreconcilable differences that may arise later in life. So either you will get an idea of what you’re getting into and can go in with your eyes open, or you can choose to say that you’ve change your mind. It may still be painful and complicated to part ways after so much time, but at least it won’t actually involve other people — like several distraught family members, and a judge. A long courtship offers you that choice even after years of trying to make it work. So if you examine the issue of a courtship for a good duration of time in its entirety, you find that there’s not only perhaps an extension of the romance and excitement involved, but it works out to be practical and sensible as a decision too. And that’s a unique mix worth considering.
The flip side
A long courtship period is not ideal for those who are madly in love with each other and cannot wait to get married, or for those who feel that their biological clock is ticking away. Most people I came across went blank or managed to come up with, ‘Well, why wait, really?’ or ‘We didn’t think all that much about it’ or ‘Anyway, you get to know the person only after marriage, right?’ I wasn’t too convinced.
Someone else said, ‘But you’re anyway going to get married someday, right? What’s the point of putting it off?’ For me, this was the equivalent of ‘You’re going to get old and die someday, right?’