A nervous young man arrives at the door of a majestic brownstone townhouse.He carries a small wood box containing a silver bracelet and ring, and a bouquet of resplendent burgundy tulips.In Northern European Jewish culture from the Middle Ages until even the 20th century, families arranged marriages where the love of the two young people was a prominent factor.
Often following the betrothal were a few weeks to a few years of courting or dating.
In some cases, however, the first meeting of the couple might be the very day of the wedding.
Courting was rooted in the era of arranged marriages, though the couple and their feelings often played an important role.
Still, families often met to discuss how this marriage would benefit not only the bride and groom, but the respective clans.
Laughable perhaps, but several hundred years ago that was a common reality.
The dating process of today is different in structure and purpose than it was in the era when “courting” was the operative word.
To court means to woo and to woo means to seek the love of another with marriage in mind.
Imagine a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy sitting down to discuss their marriage plans.
The point is, a marriage is a joining of two families as well as two young people.
Few choices and no time to date People may assume that arranged marriages were loveless matches, with frightened young people forced into lives of emotional pain and forbidding loneliness, but such was not always the case.
Tie adjusted, box and bouquet retrieved, he clears his throat again. No, he's getting ready for the culmination of months of planning, supervised outings, amiable family dinners, walks in the park with the young lady, conversation in a parlor warmed by an autumn fire and, lastly, a brief, but serious chat with the young woman's father. Within the confines of courting, appropriate one-on-one dating played an important role; two people of marriageable age got to know one another better, their personalities, interests and so forth, before they made a more serious decision regarding marriage.