Courting the Victorian Woman
II. c. Dates. Royal assent, (). Commencement, 25 March Other legislation. Repealed by · Marriage Act (c), section 1. Status: Repealed. The Marriage Act , full title "An Act for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage", The Act tightened the existing ecclesiastical rules regarding marriage. Not a few parents pine for the courtship rules and rites of, let us say, those halcyon but in the mid to late s, more than one girl in three was pregnant when she . engagement—a marriage contract to be consummated at a later date. She also learned French and the rules of etiquette as well as the art of conversation and the art of silence. COMING OUT--THE COURTSHIP RITUAL. Coming.
Even if the girl entered the stage of courtship, she could never walk with the gentleman. Women were restrained to ride alone in the closed carriage with a man, expect for a close relative. The girl should not be invited by any gentleman at his place. If engaged, the gentleman could not turn back to see any other girl.
Even after an engagement, the couple was not allowed to have sexual behavior. In the relationship, intelligence was not at all required, neither any interest in the politics. The dating would firstly begin when the couple would speak to one another. The next step was to go out for a walk and then lastly by keeping company.
The upper class socialized at social events while the lowers classes socialized at events like Sunday Service or Church suppers. The second stage of the courtship was engagement. After getting engaged, the couple could get hold hands in public, go for walks alone, and take unchaperoned rides. The engaged couple was allowed to meet behind closed doors but had to be dutifully separated by nightfall.
However, marriage between two persons was permitted so long the couple intending to marry belonged to the same class.
The History Of Dating in America | SexInfo Online
After marriage, the woman played the role of a dutiful wife and mother. The dating during the Victorian period was thus very different from what it is today. 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.
Additionally, the many legal and social barriers surrounding divorce increased the pressure to ensure that a match was suitable. Separation was often only granted on grounds of bigamy, impotence, or adultery.
Victorian era courtship rules and marriage facts
Women especially were impeded by the law, which still did not acknowledge them as capable of claiming possession of property or monetary assets. Due to this connection with the lower class, the practice was initially mistrusted by parents, but dating quickly replaced calling as the favored model of romance. In this system, dating and marriage were viewed as two very separate entities, with marriage marking the graduation from youth into adulthood. No longer was quantity emphasized, but rather the stress fell on finding a loyal partner.
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. Marriage also experienced a revival and was subsequently reabsorbed into youth culture: Marriage rates rose and average ages of married couples declined. Men in the relationship would make their arrangement visible to outsiders by gifting his date a letterman jacket or a class ring, and the girl expected to be called and taken out on dates a certain number of times each week.
Consequently, a new concern arose for parents: This, combined with the increasing availability of birth control, led to a relaxation in attitudes toward premarital sex.
The average man in Virginia married in his mid-twenties. When he began courting Hannah Powell, William Drew was in his twenties and already established as the Berkeley County clerk of the court.
In doing so, he was similar to most men of his time who waited until they had completed their education and attained some financial security before proposing marriage. Marriage was the next logical step in life as they sought marriage partners who could support their economic efforts while running their households and raising their children. Young white women approached courtship and marriage differently.
After completing their domestic training, they enjoyed late adolescence as a special phase of life. Since were not yet responsible for running a household or raising children, women had more freedom during these years than they would ever have again. Courting gave women power; it was their decision whether to accept or reject a suitor.
Victorian era courtship rules and marriage facts
Some wielded it ruthlessly. While women might begin courting as early as fifteen or sixteen years of age, most—like Hannah Powell—deferred marriage until their early twenties.
Anne Randolph to St. Others married quickly for fear that waiting too long might eliminate the availability or choice of husbands. The choice of a husband was very important since, once made, only death could undo a marriage. Marriage for women was a complete life change.
It meant leaving childhood behind, taking on adult responsibilities, and forming a new family. With the rise of the affectionate family, arranged marriages became a thing of the past. This did not happen often. Young people rarely courted far from their social class, and respected parental opinions most of the time.
W[illiam] C[olston] came here and Communicated his intention of waiting on my daughter Lucy. I told him I had long entertained such a Suspicion and really with Pleasure for his Virture and unexceptionable behaviour had long attached my good wishes to him. But as a parent I never took any Liberty with a child but to dissuade where I thought I had reason to do so; but in no instance Whatever to persuade. Therefore her approbation must Proceed from his own conduct and her good liking.
Couples made many preparations for their wedding day. Many exchanged gifts of affection.