Courtship is the period in a couples relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind. During courtship, a couple get to 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 an affair, or a formal arrangement with family approval. The average duration of courtship varies considerably throughout the world, furthermore, there is vast individual variation between couples. Courtship may be omitted, as in cases of some arranged marriages where the couple do not meet before the wedding. Regarding duration between proposal and wedding, the UK poll above gave an average of 2 years and 3 months, while the date is fairly casual in most European-influenced cultures, in some traditional societies, courtship is a highly structured activity, with very specific formal rules. In some societies, the parents or community propose potential partners, in Japan, there is a such type of courtship called Omiai, with similar practices called Xiangqin in the Greater China Area. Parents will hire a matchmaker to provide pictures and résumés of potential mates, 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 form of courtship. Unlike what is seen in other societies, it takes a far more subdued. It is complex in that it involves stages, and it is considered normal for courtship to last a year or longer and 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 seen as part of the courtship practice, as their approval is commonly needed before courtship may begin. In more closed societies, courtship is virtually eliminated altogether by the practice of arranged marriages, in the earlier 1800s, young adults were expected to court with the intention of finding a marriage partner, rather than for social reasons. She further states that with courtship, commitment happens before intimacy, in America, in the 1820s, the phrase date was most closely associated with prostitution. However, by the Jazz Age of the 1920s, dating for fun was becoming a cultural expectation and this form of dating, though, was usually more chaste than is seen today, since premarital sex was not considered the norm. The concept of dating was initially seen as frustrating and mocked the moralistic values of traditional courtship. One of the reasons there was this disagreement was that they did not want their children growing up doing what many did during the revolution in the 60’s. The act of dating is seen to be temporary, with such acts seeming as if they are “on one day”
Ivory French casket with scenes of romances – possibly a courtship gift. Courtship is the systematic process that one undergoes in order to ensure compatibility with a lifelong partner.Walters Art Museum
Youth conversing with suitors from the Haft Awrang of Jami, in the story A Father Advises his Son About Love.