"You know what to expect from me, as you have seen my character of a good wife.Suppose I tell you now, what I, in my turn, expect, and how you may best please me and make me happy.—Thus then I begin—Let me ever have the sweet consiousness of knowing myself the best beloved of your heart—I do not always require a lover’s attention—that wou’d be impossible, but let it never appear by your conduct that I am indifferent to you." Margaret Davenport Coulter to John Coulter, May 10, 1795.Ben and Ellen Knecht exchange vows—with, from left, John Labanish, Pamela Blount, Andre Lane, Mike Luzzi, Teresa Ponziani, Jim Kent, Pat Mahon, and Christina Lane. Not a few parents pine for the courtship rules and rites of, let us say, those halcyon colonial times, when, as they understand it, propriety tempered ardor, virtue checked passion, and abstinence made the heart grow fonder.Many a modern mother and father brood about the matches their sons and daughters will make. "Distance," as Thomas Campbell wrote in 1799, "lends enchantment," and two centuries later, for many worry-ridden parents, the perfect courtship model follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen's smoldering Mr.Serious, steady dating and marriage-oriented courtship are expected to be delayed longer, perhaps until after a mission for males and after completing high school for females.A chaste courtship is expected to lead to a temple marriage, in which a couple make binding commitments to each other for all time and eternity.However, although courtship patterns change and vary across cultures, there is quite a conservative pattern for dating and courtship among Latter-day Saints in Western nations.It is expected that LDS youth will not begin dating until the age of sixteen.
As far as chaste courtship is concerned, the good old days have been overrated, almost as mythical as the Standish-Mullins-Alden triangle that Longfellow invented.When men and women did meet, they obviously enjoyed each other’s company. After dinner we assemble in the hall where the sweet Judah favored us with a good deal of her incomparable music.” (Peter S. ] Carr, July 28, 1787.) Young white men began courting in their late teens.“After an agreeable ride we at length reached the house about two o’clock, just about the time when Miss J’s beauty was in its meridian splendor. The average man in Virginia married in his mid-twenties.For most young people in the United States outside the Church, dating begins at an early age (about age thirteen during the 1980s); it has no set pattern of progression, and is often informal and unsupervised.These contemporary dating patterns form a social context that influences somewhat the majority of LDS youth.