Kimberly Powell wrote an overview of the history of romance in About.com. I took the time to view her article through my filtered lens of Dating for Life. From the caveman to primitive tribes, many marriages were by capture, not choice. Men raided other villages for wives. Stolen women became the cause of wars, i.e. Helen of Troy. This custom still exists in many urban bars.
The term “honeymoon” derives from an old French custom. As the moon went through all its phases, engaged couples drank a brew called metheglinas which was made from honey. More than not, this was not dating for life, as their marriages were prearranged for purposes of preserving power and wealth.
During medieval times, love evolved despite arranged marriages, but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry. Honor and chastity were highly regarded virtues.
During the Victorian Era, romantic love was the impetus for marriage. Courting was a formal process, especially among the upper classes. A gentleman had to be “introduced” to a lady, and it protocol was for him to actually speak with her only after several weeks waiting. In an open party, the predecessor of “singles events”, each gentleman would present his card to a lady and offer to walk her home. At the close of that evening the lady would evaluate her offers and chose who would be her escort. She would notify the lucky gentleman by giving him her own card requesting that he escort her home. Today’s version is the text message.
Almost all courting took place in the girl’s home, always under the eye of watchful parents. If the courting progressed, the couple might advance to the front porch. Smitten couples rarely saw each other without the presence of a chaperone, and marriage proposals were frequently written. Today, most courting takes place under the watchful eye of a bartender or Facebook.
Many parts of 16th and 17th century Europe and America allowed courting couples to share a bed, fully clothed, and often with a ‘bundling board’ between them or bolster cover tied over the girls legs. The idea was to allow the couple to talk and get to know each other but in the safe (and warm) confines of the girl’s house. Today’s concept is similar, except it’s called “hanging out” after the club at the guy’s “hood” sans parents. I’m sure it’s still warm and fuzzy.
Getting hitched alludes to the “ties that bind”. In some African cultures, grass braids tie the hands of the groom and bride together to symbolize their union. Twine is used similarly in the Hindu Vedic wedding ceremony. In Mexico a ceremonial rope is loosely placed around both the bride’s and groom’s necks to “bind” them together.
What keeps anyone together is Dating for Life.