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Forbidding experimental and serial courtship and sanctioning only arranged matches is partly a means of guarding the chastity of young people and partly a matter of furthering family interests, which, in such cultures, may be considered more important than individual romantic preferences.
Over recent decades, though, the concept of arranged marriage has changed or simply been mixed with other forms of dating, including Eastern and Indian ones; potential couples have the opportunity to meet and date each other before one decides on whether or not to continue the relationship.
This form of dating, though, was usually more chaste than is seen today, since premarital sex was not considered the norm.
The concept of modern dating was initially seen as frustrating and mocked the moralistic values of traditional courtship.
In the earlier 1800s, young adults were expected to court with the intention of finding a marriage partner, rather than for social reasons.
In more traditional forms of Christianity, this concept of courtship has been retained, with John Piper defining courtship and distinguishing this concept from dating, stating that: Courtship ordinarily begins when a single man approaches a single woman by going through the woman's father, and then conducts his relationship with the woman under the authority of her father, family, or church, whichever is most appropriate.
Unlike what is regularly seen in other societies, it takes a far more subdued and indirect approach.
It is complex in that it involves stages, and it is considered normal for courtship to last a year or longer.
Dating, a more modern approach, begins when either the man or the woman initiates a more-than-friends relationship with the other, and then they conduct that relationship outside of any oversight or authority. Christian minister Patricia Bootsma delineates this distinction, writing that in contrast to the modern conception of dating, in "courtship, time together in groups with family or friends is encouraged, and there is oversight by and accountability to parents or mentors".
In America, in the 1820s, the phrase "date" was most closely associated with prostitution.
However, by the Jazz Age of the 1920s, dating for fun was becoming a cultural expectation, and by the 1930s, it was assumed that any popular young person would have lots of dates.
Courtship in Australia is generally reserved to those with religious affiliation.
As a standard rule, dating is widely accepted; along with inter-racial relationships, gay/lesbian relationships, pre-marital sex and abortion.