And this new system had its own set of rules and customs. I have known college couples, and even high school couples, to buy a pet together — goldfish, hamsters, etc., which leads to a dispute over the care-giving of a living creature. Do we have a system that values what is called "serial monogamy" — a succession of exclusive and serious relationships, as a practice for marriage? I think the answer is, "yes," "no" and "I don't know." It appears that the "script" that has developed in the closing decades of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st is, "anything goes." And, although for many years this was sold under the heading of , I believe young adults over the past decade have discovered that, in fact, it has caused cultural and relational vertigo — not knowing for certain which way is up or down, and not knowing in which direction to move. How do I know when I'm with a person (meaning, dating them exclusively)? In many Christian communities there seems to be movement toward rediscovering, or creating anew, some sort of script that conforms itself to the way God created man and woman to relate to each other.
However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.
It was not earned directly through talent, looks, personality or importance and involvement in organizations, but by the way these attributes translated into the number and frequency of dates.
These dates had to be highly visible, and with many different people, or they didn't count." Ken Myers summarizes this system, " catchwords hammered home, reinforced from all sides until they became the natural vocabulary.
By the early 1950s, going steady had acquired a totally different meaning.
It was no longer the way a marriageable couple signaled their deepening intentions.