One of the most obvious changes was that it multiplied the number of partners (from serious to casual) an individual was likely to have before marriage.
So one important point to understand right up front (and about which many inside and outside the church are confused) is that we have not moved a dating system into our courtship system.
Over the course of this two-part article, I would like to trace how this change occurred, especially concentrating on the origin of this dating "subroutine." Let me begin by briefly suggesting four cultural forces that assisted in moving from, as Alan Carlson puts it, the more predictable cultural script that existed for several centuries, to the multi-layered system and (I think most would agree) the more ambiguous courtship system that includes "the date." The first, and probably most important change we find in courtship practices in the West occurred in the early 20th century when courtship moved from public acts conducted in private spaces (for instance, the family porch or parlor) to private or individual acts conducted in public spaces, located primarily in the entertainment world, as Beth Bailey argues in her book, .
How did your grandparents and great-grandparents court and fall in love?
These days, couples in Western countries usually date casually — though online matchmaking has recently changed the face of dating and courtship dramatically — but traditionally, there were formal courtship rituals that evolved over the ages.
Since most young adults will marry, the process employed in finding a husband and wife is still considered courtship.
However, an extra layer, what we call "dating," has been added to the process of courting.