Dating : Courtship process
Dating or courtship : What is dating? Dating is patterns of behavior associated with adolescent entertainment and recreation. They are ultimately related to the import business of selecting a marriage mate. The process of selecting a marriage mate starts from dating, then going steady, engagement, and finally marriage. “date” the event and the person one goes out with or “person dated”. Date is an end to itself with no further commitment. It is primarily recreational and lasts for a short period of time.
Functions of dating
- Serves recreational ends
- Provides means through which a mutual commitment to marriage may arise.
- Learning of sex role: an increasing awareness of the self as a boy or girl emerges and the significance of the role played by the individual is greatly determined by the related role played by an age peer of the opposite sex
- Dating provides an understanding of self role and the significant order role that is basic for socialization to adult roles.
- Functions as pleasure and recreation: When adolescents go out on a date, it is usually to engage in behavior of pleasurable nature. It is a time of relative irresponsibility.
- Dating enhances one’s prestige. This is achieved by the sheer frequency of dating different individuals and the qualitative dimension lies in the prestige of the individuals dated.
- Helps in the process of mate selection. It provides the opportunity for developing an awareness of one’s own needs and how they are related to the needs of others. The fewer the individuals dated, the greater the probability of “forced choice” in mate selection
Elements that shape dating behavior:
- Parents: They can set the time and frequency of dating. They can give or withhold financial assistance important for successful dating. Due to parents rearing of a child, they instill into him certain values they consider important. So when a child reaches the dating age, the selection of a person to date is often a reflection of the values his parents have passed on him or her.
- Peer group: The age peers the adolescent associate with often constitutes his most important reference group. Many aspects of dating behavior determined by the peer-group include individual to be dated, where to go and what to do on a date, degrees of intimacy and style of dress.
- Exploitation: For many individuals the selection of the person to go out with is determined by an estimate of what the dated can contribute to his need gratification. Exploitation is well illustrated in the area of sexual behavior. The boy tries enhancing the self esteem as a male pushing the sexual relationship as far as possible. The girl might be interested in getting an emotional commitment from the boy. Because the two sets of needs are often incompatible, exploitation results if one decisively scores a victory.
Courtship is the association of unmarried man and woman mutually attracted to each other. It is an explorative comradeship revealing the strength of allurement each other has for the other. It is also an inter active pattern among young unmarried people and or their parental kin with the key function of mate selection. Courtship operates as follows”
- Courtship may start right from school days. Here there is parental control for they do at times insist on sending their children to certain schools. Hence the children’s chances of meeting people are limited.
- Courtship is determined by one’s neighborhood
Courtship is more emotional. It’s a time of responsibility and a time for knowing more about the background of the other party.
Traditionally, mate selection is a responsibility of the parents. Mate selection is the process of selecting a mate. The area of operation is restricted and you have to go out of your immediate family or relation to select your mate.
Factors determining mate selection
- Ethnic group or race: e.g preference to endogamy or exogamy
- Educational differences
Others are neatness, good health, chastity, sociability, similar political background, dependable characteristics, good looks, ambition, mutual love and attraction, good financial prospects, similar education background, refinement, emotional stability and maturity, favorable social status and rating, desire for home and children, pleasing disposition, good cook and housekeeping, general intelligence, similar religious background and so on.
Theories of mate choice
Robert H coombs on the value theory of mate selection
Value theory: He believes that each person possesses a value system which consciously or unconsciously guides him in mate selection. Certain things like financial resources, age, beauty, education and more might determine or constitute one’s value. Ethnocentrism is a value concept.
Propinquity theory: Based on the idea that people living in the same neighbourhood would marry within their neighbourhood. This is very relevant in traditional agrarian societies. The theory is relevant when talking of people who schooled together, people who worked together, people who trained together, you are making reference to the urban and industrial societies
Parental Image theory: This refers to people’s wish to select mates that possess certain good qualities they find in their own parents. i.e taking cognizance of one’s parents attitude or character in choosing a mate.
Complementary needs theory: The need pattern of each spouse would be complementary rather than similar to the need pattern of the spouse. In social trade eg education, religion, age etc, the theory does not hold. In psychological traits it holds. E.g if you are proud, you won’t want a proud wife. If you are hostile, you wont want an hostile wife. In other words, you’ll want someone to complement you.
The homogamy theory: “Like marries Like” i.e people having similar qualities tend to marry each other. The theory holds In some social traits e.g people want to marry their age mates, graduates prefer marrying graduates and widows marry widowers etc.
The ideal mate theory
“One’s conception of an ideal mate falls within the framework of one’s value constructs”. Your value will dictate who you feel is an ideal mate for you. Traditionally, interaction between spouses before marriage was not always allowed, so as a result, love might be absent.
Study conducted in Fourah bay college rated factors in mate selection as follows:
- Physical attractiveness
- Fashionable dress
- Family background
- Same religious faith
- Home training
- Reputation of the boy or girl
Lisa Anderson., Dating Manifesto: A drama free plan for pursuing marriage with purpose