If the average age of first marriages was dropping (around age 18 for women and 20 for men) then the preparation for marriage — the shopping around, if you will — had to begin much earlier than that.One sociologist wrote in a July 1953 article that each boy and girl ideally should date 25 to 50 eligible marriage partners before making his or her final decision.Due primarily to this scarcity of men, two things happened in the United States after World War II pertaining to marriage: Marriage rates climbed, and the average age of those marrying went down.However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.You had to rate in order to date, to date in order to rate.By successfully maintaining this cycle, you became popular. So, that is the system in place prior to World War II.* * * Note: If this discussion has piqued your interest and you would like to delve further into the history of courtship and dating, I recommend any of the works by Ken Myers, Beth Bailey, Alan Carlson or Leon Kass cited throughout the article.Perhaps a good place to start would be with the Mars Hill Audio Report, If you’ve enjoyed this article, will you consider giving a tax-deductible gift to Boundless right now?
Few steady couples expected to marry each other, but for the duration of the relationship, acted ) had completely supplanted the former dating system based on popularity. Out of necessity, this cultural confusion has forced Christians to re-evaluate from where we are taking our cues — from the secular culture at-large or from a wise contemporary application of what is taught in Scripture.By the early 1950s, going steady had acquired a totally different meaning.It was no longer the way a marriageable couple signaled their deepening intentions.The article went on to say that if, for some reason, you did not have a date on a particular night, you should keep the lights off in your dorm room so no one would know you were home.Beth Bailey comments, "Popularity was clearly the key — and popularity defined in a very specific way.Men's popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc.Women's popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the "right" places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.The courtship experience and ideals of those who grew up before World War II were profoundly different from those of teenagers in the postwar years, and the differences created much intergenerational conflict.Beth Bailey and Ken Myers explain in the Mars Hill Audio Report, , demonstrated through the number and variety of dates a young adult could command, sometimes even on the same night.After World War II the norms within the dating system began to change.By the late 1940s and early 1950s demographic realities began to sink in: There was a shortage of men.