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Courtship always has marriage as its direct goal...
As a standard rule, dating is widely accepted; along with inter-racial relationships, gay/lesbian relationships, pre-marital sex and abortion.
In the earlier 1800s, young adults were expected to court with the intention of finding a marriage partner, rather than for social reasons.
In more traditional forms of Christianity, this concept of courtship has been retained, with John Piper defining courtship and distinguishing this concept from dating, stating that: Courtship ordinarily begins when a single man approaches a single woman by going through the woman's father, and then conducts his relationship with the woman under the authority of her father, family, or church, whichever is most appropriate.
Forbidding experimental and serial courtship and sanctioning only arranged matches is partly a means of guarding the chastity of young people and partly a matter of furthering family interests, which, in such cultures, may be considered more important than individual romantic preferences.
Over recent decades, though, the concept of arranged marriage has changed or simply been mixed with other forms of dating, including Eastern and Indian ones; potential couples have the opportunity to meet and date each other before one decides on whether or not to continue the relationship.
The average duration of courtship varies considerably throughout the world.