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Tradition English Courtship In The 17th Century

             “We live in a conjugal age, when the couple has become the standard for all intimate relationships, the unmarried and the married, the homosexual as well as the heterosexual.” Men and women are always searching for that “certain someone.” Courtship is defined as wooing, but in the 17th century England it was much more. It was a session that had stages, rituals, and procedures. The parents played a huge role in the courtship and even the marriage. Traditional courtship in the 1600s was much more complex and drowns out then today’s engagement. Many were arranged or based on social status. There was also a large age difference between the men and women. Marriage and courting was often thought of as a brutal and painful ordeal.
             There were many problems with courting in the 17th century. Courtship was approached with caution and little romantic spontaneity that we expect from our young lovers today. Straight forwardness and personal expressions of love was not accepted. The action of courting was very impersonal. “There has never been a time in recorded history when the relations between the sexes have not been highly problematic.
             ‘The rituals and procedures had very distinctive acts among them. This consisted of betrothal, posting of banns, and a big church wedding, all combined in a period of several months. There were three steps to a proper marriage; first there was the consent of the friends and parents, publicly making their engagement known or the exchange of love tokens. Then following was a required public blessing by the family and close kin. And finally the big church ceremony after the posting of the banns. The very being of this was all too impersonal.
             The young were the owners of courtship. “Its rites expressed their needs, its symbols their desires.” Family consent as well as the friends’ approval had a large effect on their courtship.