Four texts illustrate how approaches to entering into Christian marriage have both changed and yet conveyed a constant message.
The anonymous Courtship of 1936 is brisk and practical; while an appendix covers the legal side of marriage. Hubert McEvoy’s 1951 text, on the other hand, is wordier, more theoretical, and conveys an idealized picture of marriage and courtship. It is notably light on practical detail.
Tony Kirwin’s Going Steady of 1964 is a very different text. It takes self-conscious aim at older teenagers and, although much of its language and assumptions have dated, it is not afraid to be clear where its predecessors were intentionally vague.
Brennan’s 1974 Sex Education is aimed not at young people but at parents, catechists, teachers and whoever else has the unenviable task of trying to convince them of the value of chastity. It recasts traditional teaching in contemporary language.