During the difficult economic era of the Depression, many couples remained engaged for several years, wanting to wait until they were self-supporting before marrying. In contrast, the WWII era saw many couples get married on the spur of the moment, or after only a very short courtship, as men went off to war.
This haste probably contributed to a very sharp increase in the divorce rate right after the war.
Courtship was a way for a woman to secure her position in life and ensure security for her children; for a man, it was a career move.
The higher a Colonial family’s status, the greater the pressure for their children to “marry well.” At stake were the survival and consolidation of the family’s power and prosperity.
An interesting aspect of courtship in Colonial days was “bundling,” in which a courting man and woman would share a bed, fully clothed and often with a “bundling board” between them.
Young people planned fun and social nights out instead of staying at home under the watchful eyes of their parents.
Dating was not seen so much as a way to find a spouse but as a fun activity. marriage rate in the early 1930s was the lowest it had been in decades.
Balls and dances were common ways for young Victorian women to be introduced to society.