Home dating/courtship Interesting Dating Facts…Increased Rate of Divorce?

Interesting Dating Facts…Increased Rate of Divorce?

by Kelly Crawford

From Wickipedia….

“Before the 1960s, dating as we know it did not exist. Those who dated did so with the intent of finding a future marriage partner. Today this is referred to as courting.

After the women’s movement, the men’s movement, the sexual revolution, and other movements that have influenced modern Western culture, this “old-fashioned” form of dating waned in popularity. Formal dating consists of one person (usually the male) contacting another person (usually the female) to arrange a date.”

Those movements just keep getting us into scrapes, huh? This is why it’s so interesting that if you mention “not dating”, most people look at you as if you’ve grown two heads. They can’t conceive of anything else, as new as the modern system of dating is–less than 50 years old! If someone had any stats on the divorce rate specifically over the last 50 years, that would be interesting!

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5intow October 28, 2008 - 5:26 pm

I had to track it down . . .

Only through 2001. Rates rose significantly after 1965, continued to rise and have since declined back to 1972 rates. Presumably this drop is due to the high number of people foregoing marriage all together.

Sad state of affairs, but not surprising. This is only a symptom of many deeper moral issues in our society as you have alluded to as well.


Anonymous October 28, 2008 - 6:54 pm

My husband thinks that “dating in the 60’s” – was due to teenagers starting to drive cars, going out to eat, cruising, etc.

Before cars, an interested male would call on a female, at her house, with her entire family there.


Civilla October 28, 2008 - 10:15 pm

I’m sure that’s true. A lot of our problems just come from modern life.

Sal October 29, 2008 - 7:15 am

My dears,
I’d have to push your statistics back decades.
Check out any “Andy Hardy” movie from the late 1930’s- he had a car and he dated numerous girls. And you couldn’t get any more mainstream, small-town America than the Hardy’s.
Try the 1920’s as a starting point, instead, with the resurgence of feminism, the wider availability of cars and the general post-war loosening of morals.
The creation of the ‘teenager’ as a cultural phenomenon with their own special subculture and targeted market dates from around the 1940’s.
Please understand, I’m not disagreeing with your premise, just pointing out that the problem has been in place much longer.

aimai October 29, 2008 - 12:58 pm

Incorrect. Americans have always “dated” and had premarital sex. Check out this link to “Even Grandma Had Premarital Sex” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16287113/

Even the early Americans had “bundling” in which courting couples got together in bed away from the prying eyes of their families. Later immigrant groups, of course, and factory and farm workers weren’t always living under the control of strong patriarchal families and a tradition of dating sprang up in the absence of arranged and forced marriages. When Americans went to war and women went to work in the factories, the “rosie the riveter” period both young men and women got used to making their own decisions about sex and marriage. If the Divorce rates were low in the post war period its not because those people didn’t date.


Word Warrior October 29, 2008 - 1:21 pm


LOL…I can always count on you, for whatever thrill you get from proving me wrong 😉

I never said “no one had premarital sex before a certain time period”. Sin came into the world with our first set of parents.

There have been, contrary to your claim, trends and cultural norms for finding spouses. And no, dating as we know it was not a cultural norm before the 1900’s. Does that mean people didn’t sneak off and have sex? Of course not. But it was not the normal way of approaching courship and marriage.

CJ October 30, 2008 - 3:01 pm

You youngsters need to go talk to your mothers and grandmothers before writing those Wikipedia entries, LOL!
Sal is right: dating did not begin in the 1960’s (and “Anonymous”, drive-ins, “cruising”, etc were a 1950’s phenomenon — they didn’t begin in the 60’s.)
I dated, my 80 year old mother dated, and Mom remembers HER mother talking about dating my grandfather when she was a young woman, and neither my grandmother, my mother, nor I have ever been divorced.
Dating back then was geared towards finding a marriage partner, it is true, and nice girls didn’t “pet” or engage in premarital sex, but nice girls DID date a good number of boys, and kissed them goodnight at the door, too, before settling down and marrying the one they fell in love with.

CJ October 31, 2008 - 9:56 am

Hi… please, could someone direct me to the Wikipedia quote that is referenced at the beginning of this article, namely, “Before the 1960s, dating as we know it did not exist. Those who dated did so with the intent of finding a future marriage partner. Today this is referred to as courting”?

I just read the Wikipedia article on dating and it doesn’t say like this. I even did a Google search on the phrase, “Before the 1960s, dating as we know it did not exist” and the only result that came up was THIS article, here on this blog.

There was no evidence that the above statement has ever been part of a Wikipedia article, because if it had been, but had been “scrubbed” later, it would have still shown up in the Google cache.

CJ October 31, 2008 - 10:15 am

Ah, pass the crow, please…:)

I did another google search, this time WITHOUT the quotation marks, and found the statement — “Before the 1960s, dating as we know it did not exist” — albeit worded slightly differently, in a Wiki article on courtship:

It seems that the Wikipedia article is in the process of changing, though — a number of people have pointed out that it contains fact errors, among them the statement above, which is tagged, “dubious–discuss.”

Word Warrior October 31, 2008 - 1:43 pm

First entry under the word “courtship”


authenticallyme November 1, 2008 - 11:15 am

i do too, wonder if the ‘freedoms’ of todays day and age just simply havent added to the continual downward spiral that many ways of dating have created.

We seem to be speaking here much of America….since 1776? we dont have as many centuries to investigate as Eurpope/Asia would. It appears the social ramifications here were enough to deter young people…but time has changed.

I think its important to note that many of todays teens date because no one is watching, or aggressively teaching these children. back decades ago, at least there were some sort of rules to obey, whether your parents were dysfunctional or not. today in America, we are caught in a snowball effect as kids are bearing kids and not only do they not have God, they have NO ONE to guide them or love them. IMO, this is as much of the problem, as is the fact that people dont want to know God. good rules still can work, even if a heart isnt turned toward God. also, kids modeled after their parents, and if parents were getting divorced back then, it wasnt even considered an option. today, naturally is much different. we learn what we see, we consider what is allowed, and we dont stop to evaluate where the social trends lead us….

that being said, i dont know if dating itself is the culprit. while rules and good boundaries can help determine what is good for our kids, that doesjnt necessarily deem ‘courtship’ to work. like others have said, every practice has its tendencies to sin, whether outward, like dating, or more subtle, like some forms of courtship.

i myself was allowed to date….and i admit i got into quite a lot of trouble! but as i review my teenage years, i cant yet determine if dating in and of itself, were the culprit. seems to me it was more bad parenting, and lack of parental love. i think holes in a parents job are what drive many kids today to date and engage in premarital sex….not the social practice of dating (though of course it will always have the power to lure, or breed bad behavior). i just dont think its an all or nothing situation where we can exclaim, “dating is bad”. it is the hearts of men that drive toward evil, not any sort of practice. IMO.

that being said, i would like to admit my wrongs in the past of not controlling my posts better. i dont change my stance on many topics, but regardless of that, the way and manner in which i chose to express myslef at times, was not keeping to my integrity. i can be very passionate, but still have moments of when my passion overflows quicker than i can keep my reign on it. that is not an excuse. i was wrong in any behavior that got out of control and hurt/harmed anyone else, and for that i take responsibility. thank you for listening.


Word Warrior November 1, 2008 - 11:35 am


I really appreciate this comment–REALLY. Thank you.

I also agree…it is not a “model” that keeps us on track…it is a state of the heart, namely, teaching our children to love the Lord with all their hearts.

I’m thinking of another post to emphasize this point…it’s easy to get sidetracked with formulas, because we like them. But if Christ is not ALWAYS the focus–the drive of our motives, it matters little which venues we follow.



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