Marriage also experienced a revival and was subsequently reabsorbed into youth culture: Marriage rates rose and average ages of married couples declined.The committed, monogamous label of “going steady” emerged as the ideal relationship, and dating returned to its traditional role as a marital trial.
A marriage built solely on the forces of emotion and mutual affection was scorned and perceived as irresponsible.
Rather, love was regarded as the product of a constructed arrangement, eventually achieved by couples with aligned resources and values.
This ritual may seem overly cautious, but in a society in which the Catholic Church was an incredibly powerful institution that prescribed marriage as an integral part of God’s plan, this was not a decision that could be made lightly.
Additionally, the many legal and social barriers surrounding divorce increased the pressure to ensure that a match was suitable.
This new technology’s impacts compounded with social forces to produce more change.
For instance, there was a rebellion against collegiate gender segregation in the 1960s resulted in the advent of unisex dormitories, allowing young men and women more unmediated access to one another.But despite this move towards emotionally based relationships, the compatibility of matches was still strongly emphasized.During the courtship process, it was typical for the intended couples to divulge their perceived character flaws to ensure that a long-term commitment would be logical and feasible.This change was partially catalyzed by the scarcity of young males in the United States, as nearly all able-bodied men between 18 and 26 were engaged in the war effort across seas.Women became less concerned with a man's status and more interested in his likelihood of survival.As the American conception of intimacy evolves, so does society’s approach to dating.A society’s prescribed method of courtship is incredibly illuminating: As we trace the timeline of dating rituals, we can get a better sense of how Americans throughout time understood love and, by extension, the world.This, combined with the increasing availability of birth control, led to a relaxation in attitudes toward premarital sex.Birth control gave women power over their fertility for the first time, empowering female sexuality due to liberation from the constant risk of unwanted pregnancy.World War II initiated a paradigm shift that deeply impacted the way American society approached dating.No longer was quantity emphasized, but rather the stress fell on finding a loyal partner.