Dating Through the Decades

She was the best catch I ever made—I don’t know how I got her, the seasoned fisherman said beaming at his beautiful bride of over 50 years.

My grandparent’s love never ceases to amaze me. 50 years of marriage seems next to impossible in our world today and because of this our trust in lasting love has dwindled—taking with it our standards for love. Meanwhile, the hook-up culture has soared because it offers a non-committal option of love with an easy out. I decided to take a look back in time to the 1960’s when my grandparents were in college and ask them what dating was like then. Here are some insights that they shared with me.

Dating in the 1960’s:

• The main thing about the dating world was there was always a huge amount of mutual respect. All things were done by having direct conversations, face-to-face. Women would go on dozens of dates and since there was not ‘hooking-up’ it was very easy and expected to respectfully talk and end the relationship if you were not clicking. There were very few, if any, of those ‘on-off’ relationships.

• Women as a whole were the regulators of the physical side of the relationship and there was no ‘sleeping together.’ This is what changed with the feminist movement. [Women gained the power to vote and to work but they lost all empowerment on the side of love. When women tried to have the ‘sexual freedom’ of men, they ended up losing much respect from men, and were often times left alone with children—since nature doesn’t go along with this mentality.]

• Dating naturally evolved and always had intention in those days. For the first date the man would pick you up, open doors for you, pay for the date, and maybe hold your hand, but there was seldom any kiss on the first date. When you did eventually kiss, it was a big deal. After about 2 months it was then the man’s responsibility to make things official and define the relationship.

• There was also a great tie between physical affection and the love you had for that person. There was not this great separation between heart and body as there seems to be today. You would not kiss somebody that you did not truly believe you loved. [Nowadays it is much harder to tell love apart from lust because of how quickly the physical side of a relationship tends to take over. This leads to using one another.]

• Love and relationships were very public. Even talking on the phone was a public event because there was usually only one phone in the hall or in the kitchen. This social awareness caused there to be more commitment and responsibility.

• There were more clearly defined roles between the man and the woman in the dating world. The men knew how to take a woman on a date, and the women knew that this meant the man was interested in her. There was much less guessing.

This courting world of the 1960’s was less than 60 years ago, and yet many of these points are so long gone that they seem hard to imagine in our world today. However, the underlying desires of love within the human heart have not changed. None of us longs to be in a love that is uncertain, fleeting, or secretive.

My brother, who is a Junior in college, made a powerful observation when he said that holding hands with a girl means much more than hooking-up. Be someone who requires a ‘hand-holding’ kind of love. A public love that is proud to show the world that you are committed to one another and pursuing a lasting relationship. There’s no need for uncertainty, games or guessing.

Sit down and make a list of what your standards are for dating, and decide right now never to settle for less. You are worthy of a love like the one between this caring fisherman and his sweet bride.

Kaylin's Head ShotKaylin Koslosky is beginning her new journey as a high school science teacher. She loves hiking and being outdoors, and is passionate about sharing the beauty of Christ and this world with others. She is the co-author of Daughter of the King: Wait, Where’s My Crown?! and co-founder of with her best friend, Megan Finegan.

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