This book examines the American system of dating, mate choice, and marriage. It analyzes a wide range of established ideas about how dating and mate choice are changing, and identifies changes and continuities in premarital experiences in twentieth century America. A variety of ideas about what sorts of dating and premarital experiences will make for a successful marriage are tested and for the most part disproven, raising serious doubts about our fundamental assumption that dating experience helps individuals make a "wise" choice for a future mate. Marital success turns out to depend not so much on premarital experiences or on the social background characteristics of couples (such as race, religion, and social class) as on the way in which couples structure their day-to-day marital life together. Through its detailed examination of a wide range of ideas and predictions about dating, mating, and marriage, and through its dramatic findings, Dating, Mating, and Marriage challenges many previous assumptions and conclusions about the fate of American marriage and elevates our knowledge of the American system of mate choice to a higher level.