Have you ever wondered what dating was like in the 17th century New England colonies? Sometimes one can find some correspondence to give a little insight. I found this letter in this book. It is from my 9th great-grandfather, John Capen, to his second wife and my 9th great-grandmother, Mary Bass, while they were courting. He had been married once before so that may have been a reason he seems to be pressing her for an answer in the section I have marked in bold.
To his Deare and Louing and much respected friend Mary Bass, at her father house in Brantrey, giue this I pray you.
My kind loue and affection to you remembred; haueinge not as convenient opertunety to see and speake wth you doe oft as I could desire. I therefore make bold to take opertunety as occasione offers it selfe to visset you wth my letter, desiring yt it may find acceptance wth you, as a token of my loue to you; as I can assure you yt yours haue found from me; for as I came home from your faithfull messenger, wch was welcom vnto me, and for wch I kindly thank you, and do desire yt as it is ye first: so yt it may not be ye last, but yt it may be as good a seed wch will bring forth more frute: and for your good counsel and aduise in your letter specified, I doe accept, and do desire yt we may still commend ye casse to god, for direction and clearing vp of our way as I hope wee haue hethertoo done; and yt our long considerations may at ye next time bring forth firme conclussions, I mean verbally though not formally. Sweetharte I haue given you a large ensample of patience, I hope you will learne this instruction from ye same, namely, to show ye like toward me if euer occasion be offered for futuer time, and for ye present, condescendency vnto my request; thus wth my kind loue remembred to yor father and mother and Brothers and sisters wth thanks for all ther kindness wch haue been vndeseruing in me I rest, leaueing both them and vs vnto ye protection and wise direction of ye almight.
My mother remembers her loue vnto yor father and mother; as also vnto your selfe though as it vnknown.
Yors to command in any thing I pleas.
Ffrom Dor. Ye 5th of ye 3 mo. 1647 John Capen
In the end, they said "I do" on September 20, 1647.
John Capen & Mary Bass
James Capen & Hannah Lawrence
James Capen & Elizabeth Call
James Capen & Sarah Pinson
Thomas Capen & Mary Wyman
Thomas Capen & Mary Abbott
Timothy Capen & Sarah K. Abbott
Edward Abbott Capen & Mary Jane Abbott
Fanny May Capen & Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather
Edward Abbott Capen & Mary Jane Abbott were second cousins - Timothy Capen's sister, Deborah was Mary Jane's grandmother. Deborah married William Ackley - their daughter, Sarah Ackley married John Abbott and they were the parents of Mary Jane.