Dating,courtship and Family Life
Theprocess of settling down to marriage life is not an instantaneousactivity it is a process full of intrigues, adventure, low and highmoments. Unlike in the traditional times, the modern society ischaracterized by increased movements, social interactions,communications and the advent of technology thorough whichindividuals are able to communicate over long distances. This hasmade the process of dating, courtship and marriage easier unlike thetraditional times where people only relied on letters as the mainform of interaction. Today, people meet in various places, churches,supermarkets, social gatherings or through the social media. However,regardless of the circumstances under which people interact, dating,courtship and marriage has a ritualistic process in which individualsget to know each other and eventually marry. Every step issignificant and a great determinant of the process of getting used toeach other.
Step1 First Meeting, first encounter and attraction
Peoplemeet in different places young people are known to intermingle andengage in various social events where they meet different peoples atdifferent times. In the modern times, various institutions in thesociety form an important meeting place for prospective couples.These institutions range from churches, restaurants, supermarkets,Colleges, places of work, weddings and other social events.Similarly, individuals meet through social sites such as Linked In,Facebook, My-space and others. The first meeting is characterized byphysical attraction, non-verbal and verbal communication such as asmile, winking or using any other body language to show interests andliking to the respective partner (Havelin,50).At this stage, there is minimal verbal communication as opposed tonon-verbal cues. For instance, a man may offer the lady an umbrellaor his jacket if it is raining or offer his seat for a lady if allseats are occupied this stage is also known as flirting wherenon-verbal cues replace direct communication. In the modern world,after the first meeting individuals may exchange contacts, businesscards, residential address or agree to meet at the same place(Sprecher &Wenzel, 28).
Stage2 Second meeting and friendship
Thesecond may happen after a period of two weeks after the firstencounter. At this stage, each person is looking forward to meetingthe other person. There is less tension as individuals could havecommunicated over the phone or through social sites before the secondmeeting. Unlike in the first meeting, in the second meeting,communication is more direct, verbal and each person is cautious intheir choice of words. The man initiates communication expressing hisinterest to the lady by sharing a light moment as they take somedrinks at a restaurant, or take a walk in the recreation park.
Duringthis stage each person gets to know the basic information about aperson in regard to work, residence, marital status, religion andpersonal interests. This information is important as it forms thatbasis of assessing the suitability of the person and having thebackground information about the prospective partner. In addition,this second meeting forms the basis of initiating a close friendshipand companionship. This stage precedes the dating stage whereindividuals develop an intimate friendship.
Afterthe second meeting individuals start meeting often depending on theirarrangement. In most cases, while dating period, individuals may meetafter every week or month depending on their location and work. Atthis stage, individuals get acquainted with each other well theyintroduce their partners to family, friends and other closeindividuals. A strong friendship is developed at this stage, and thecouples go out in public places together such as going for dinners,participating social gatherings and other family activities. Datingstage is characterized by lots of communication, interactions, andindividuals engage in discussions about their plans, their likes anddislikes. At this stage, an individual can assess thesuitability of their partner based on their communication,behaviors, family traits and the general attraction between the twopartners (Sprecher&Wenzel, 20).
Partnersdevelop a more intimate friendship which each other there are moredates out, they kiss in public and play adoringly with each other.The couple might exchange gifts, pleasantries, show genuine concernto each other and share jokes and humor. The man may propose to thelady at this stage. If the lady agrees to the man’s proposal moreintimacy develops and the couple gets more serious with theirrelationship. However, it is at this stage that underlyingdifferences between the individuals are noted, and such differencesshould be addressed before they progress to the next stage. In mostcases, the overall dating period lasts between six months to threeyears.
Stage4 Courting and Wooing
Atthis stage, the lovebirds are more intimate to each other they havebecome accustomed to each other even if there are some differencesindividuals have learned how to adapt. The relationship is now moreintimate, and the couples feel that they are meant for each other. Inaddition, at this stage, family members know each partner and supporttheir friendship by applauding them and giving them counsel. In mostcases, this is an advanced dating stage and the man shows the ladysigns of proposing her. The couples engage both families forapproval and encouraging them to remain in the relationship (Havelin,87).
Aftera period of extended dating and courting, with the family’sapproval the man feels ready to propose to the lady. This may be aprivate agreement between the two partners or could be made inpublic. In most cases, couples opt for formal engagement where thecommunity members are informed about the courtship. This is importantas it guides the courting partners to remain faithful in thecourtship till marriage. During the engagement, couples are moreintimate with each other and spend more time together or even live inthe same house. Couples spend more time planning for their future, aswell as wedding plans. The parents and other relatives are involvedfully in marriage plans. At this stage, the couple may get advicefrom the elders, friends and the church on how to manage their home(Sprecher&Wenzel, 38).
Stage6 Wedding and marriage life
Weddingis a formal public and covenant union of the couple. In most cases,most wedding plans are made during the engagement stage. The weddingserves as a formality that the couples are now living together aslegal husband and wife in their family. The relationship at thisstage is intimate based on shared feelings, ideas and plans. Thecouple settles down and starts raising their own children as well asbuilding their family. Marriage life is characterized by newresponsibilities, roles and status in the society. At this stage,individuals get more serious with their life and that of theirchildren old unworthy behaviors are abandoned, and the partners getmore focused on shaping their image in the public(Havelin, 67).
SusanSprecher, Amy Wenzel, ‘Handbookof Relationship Initiation’Psychology Press. (2008). ISBN 978-0-8058-6160-0.
Havelin,Kate. ‘Dating:What Is a Healthy Relationship?Capstone Press. (2000).