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Josh Harris sort of regrets writing I Kissed Dating Goodbye

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That was interesting.

Seriously though, who in the world thought it was a good idea to take marriage advice from a 21-year-old virgin in the first place? It's like someone with no children writing a book on a better way to homeschool.

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Part of the problem is the people who want to follow blindly.  Some people are just prone to taking something and running as far with it as a person can go. Some people are suckers for a formula.  My kids were very young for all that and while I deeply appreciated the aspects of courtship that basically said, "Dates/courters are not for your own personal gratification in the moment, you should think about where a relationship could possibly go, and if you can see it can't go anywhere, move on to someone who makes more sense and loving family members can be good feedback about a dating/courting partner because they care about you and are often more objective."  But too many parents decided this was a good way to control their children who should have been at a stage where they're becoming more independent, not less.  And it really does have to be the kid's decision, not the parent's to court to begin with.  We explained the above with ours and they didn't opt for it, and since we know there's more than one legitimate way to do things, it was fine that they dated instead.

As for the kids, I think it is possible as an adult to reject the bad messages your parents send you if you decide to.  No, you don't have to feel any guilt at all about having sex with your spouse, even if your parents suggested all sex was bad. Your parents are deceived or lying.  It happens. You can still love them and call their lies for what they are.

It is interesting to me, as an evangelical, how often evangelicals will crab about Catholics being blindly obedient to the Pope, then turn around and be blindly obedient so whatever evangelical author: Harris, MacArthur, Piper, etc.  Folks, these are people giving you their two bit opinions in a sea of other people giving you their two bit opinions.  Repent from your idolatry already. These are not the words of Jesus.  Those are in red and you can stick to those with devotion while looking with suspicion on those of non-diety. 

It reminds me of when I was kid and Bill Gothard stuff was the newest trend.  Heavens, how evangelicals love the latest trend!  Quite a few families got all excited about his red book and character sketches, decided everyone else (the majority) who weren't following him weren't real Christians and left the church.  Others read a few character sketches to their kids, ignored the rest of his stuff,  and didn't shed a tear when the Gothardites left in a huff.

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12 minutes ago, Mergath said:

That was interesting.

Seriously though, who in the world thought it was a good idea to take marriage advice from a 21-year-old virgin in the first place? It's like someone with no children writing a book on a better way to homeschool.

I remember being a little mystified by that at the time. He'd never been on a date, his one "relationship" was with a girl in his youth group, it all seemed very fear based to me at the time.  It didn't stop practically everyone in youth group from pledging to handle things the same way. As someone who only came in at 18 and had already dated, it was very very strange to me. As was equating lust with a need to marry.

4 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Part of the problem is the people who want to follow blindly.  Some people are just prone to taking something and running as far with it as a person can go. Some people are suckers for a formula.  My kids were very young for all that and while I deeply appreciated the aspects of courtship that basically said, "Dates/courters are not for your own personal gratification in the moment, you should think about where a relationship could possibly go, and if you can see it can't go anywhere, move on to someone who makes more sense and loving family members can be good feedback about a dating/courting partner because they care about you and are often more objective."  But too many parents decided this was a good way to control their children who should have been at a stage where they're becoming more independent, not less.  And it really does have to be the kid's decision, not the parent's to court to begin with.  We explained the above with ours and they didn't opt for it, and since we know there's more than one legitimate way to do things, it was fine that they dated instead.

As for the kids, I think it is possible as an adult to reject the bad messages your parents send you if you decide to.  No, you don't have to feel any guilt at all about having sex with your spouse, even if your parents suggested all sex was bad. Your parents are deceived or lying.  It happens. You can still love them and call their lies for what they are.

It is interesting to me, as an evangelical, how often evangelicals will crab about Catholics being blindly obedient to the Pope, then turn around and be blindly obedient so whatever evangelical author: Harris, MacArthur, Piper, etc.  Folks, these are people giving you their two bit opinions in a sea of other people giving you their two bit opinions.  Repent from your idolatry already. These are not the words of Jesus.  Those are in red and you can stick to those with devotion while looking with suspicion on those of non-diety. 

It reminds me of when I was kid and Bill Gothard stuff was the newest trend.  Heavens, how evangelicals love the latest trend!  Quite a few families got all excited about his red book and character sketches, decided everyone else (the majority) who weren't following him weren't real Christians and left the church.  Others read a few character sketches to their kids, ignored the rest of his stuff,  and didn't shed a tear when the Gothardites left in a huff.

 

I love all of this, especially the bolded. There really is a trend-following thing, isn't there?  I never thought about that before.

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Part of the problem is the people who want to follow blindly.  Some people are just prone to taking something and running as far with it as a person can go. Some people are suckers for a formula.  My kids were very young for all that and while I deeply appreciated the aspects of courtship that basically said, "Dates/courters are not for your own personal gratification in the moment, you should think about where a relationship could possibly go, and if you can see it can't go anywhere, move on to someone who makes more sense and loving family members can be good feedback about a dating/courting partner because they care about you and are often more objective."  But too many parents decided this was a good way to control their children who should have been at a stage where they're becoming more independent, not less.  And it really does have to be the kid's decision, not the parent's to court to begin with.  We explained the above with ours and they didn't opt for it, and since we know there's more than one legitimate way to do things, it was fine that they dated instead.

 

My high school biology teacher used to say, in regard to things like this, "Eat the chicken and throw away the bones."  There can definitely be nuggets of truth in many sources, and you don't have to go whole-hog over every single jot and tittle in them.  It seems like a lot of people, and especially Christians, have lost the ability to discern and reason whenever the latest trends come along!  Frustrating, when there can be some good advice in there, but you don't necessarily feel like the whole package is what would work for you/how you feel God is leading/whatever.

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2 hours ago, Mergath said:

Seriously though, who in the world thought it was a good idea to take marriage advice from a 21-year-old virgin in the first place? It's like someone with no children writing a book on a better way to homeschool.

I think there could be value in the thoughts of someone of any age who determined to remain sexually pure, e.g., to not be intimate before marriage.

However, that 90s purity thing really walked all over everyone. Purity rings (for young women; apparently young men don't need such things), courtship where the fathers plotted together to set their young daughters up with men considerably older (boy, was that creepy), lots of other creepy stuff.

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I never read the book but got the gist from all the summaries, discussions and I picked it up at a Barnes & Noble and read a section. What struck me was that there seemed no room for mistakes, no grace. This bothers me always when I read fiction or non-fiction by Christian authors. Seems to me the message of Grace, the God of second chances, and the fact that we are all sinners one way or another, is completely disregarded.

Also, he seemed to equate ALL dating with the kind of dating that ends up with people in bed; there was still some dating going on that had the goal of getting to know each other better and also getting to discover what kind of a person one wants to date for a possible future relationship. This meant some trial and error.

Kudos to him though for publicly voicing he has second thoughts about it now.

Edited by Liz CA
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This is so interesting to me. 

I was in my twenties when this book came out and was SO frustrated by it. I was feeling very hurt by Christian guys always wanting to be "friends"--which always seemed to mean they got companionship and their emotional needs met, but I got no commitment or clarity about our relationship. It wasn't working for me at all. And then this book came out to reinforce all these guys desires to not commit! Ack!

So along comes future dh. Because if our lack of overlapping social circles, he couldn't figure out how to get to know me without dating and when he bridged the whole issue with me I told him I had plenty of Christian guy friends and didn't need anymore. If he wanted to spend time with me, he needed to date me. He was like--but I don't know if I want to marry you. I replied I don't either, that's what dating is for!

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3 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

Also, he seemed to equate ALL dating with the kind of dating that ends up with people in bed; there was still some dating going on that had the goal of getting to know each other better and also getting to discover what kind of a person one wants to date for a possible future relationship. This meant some trial and error.

 

I was a (non-religious) teenager in the 90s, and didn't really have any contact with that world, but I did hear a lot about it on television and what not.  I didn't understand the severe judgment on "dating", since "dating" wasn't even a mainstream concept, at least not in my area.  Dating was something like 50s and 60s movies and tv shows.  Kids were not doing that.  We had "going out", which was expected to be exclusive, and "hooking up", which DID NOT (necessarily) mean what it means today. There's no denying that some people were having sex, but *plenty* were not.

Anyway, the use of the outdated term confused the heck out of me. I extrapolated that it meant "going out", but that still didn't explain to me what all the sex talk and juggling boy/girlfriends was about.  Frankly, it led me to believe that that flavor of religion was made up of people who had no idea what the teenage world was actually like.

(Strangely enough, my kids now use the term "dating", and it's so weird to me. But it's more the equivalent of "going out" than 60s television dating.)

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This hits home for me.  When i started college in ‘97, i joined the baptist student union on campus.   I was Episcopalian, btw.  I went from a very liberal way of thinking to being influenced by friends and mentors who were deeply into this purity thing.  It was kind of foreign to me.   This group encouraged ‘side hugs’, for example.  I didn’t know what the heck a ‘side hug’ was.  Well, i fell for this guy and we flirted like crazy, became very close, and then boom.  His mother gave him this book to read and all of a sudden, he was spouting off about not kissing until you get married and stuff like that.   It hurt.   One minute we were about to start dating and the next minute, i wasn’t marriage material.  I didn’t even want to marry him, just go out!   I was very touchy-feely, still am, honestly.  I NEED physical touch, not sex necessarily, just touch, ie holding hands, cuddling, hugging.  I pulled away from this group and in doing that, met dh.  We were very physical from the get-go.   The guilt i felt from that was insane.  I loved him and wanted to be with him, yet felt like i should be wearing a scarlet letter just because we were physical.   It messed me up for a while.   even well into my marriage i had guilt about that.  I’ve never read the book, yet i hate it.  I was designed to need and crave physical touch.  It’s not wrong to want to touch the man/woman you have feelings for.   I’m not even talking about sex, just touch.   I look back and thank God that i didn’t end up with that guy.   Dh is very touchy-feely, and funny enough, so is ds17 and his gf, so maybe it’s genetic.  I remember when i had ds and even in the hospital, he had to be held.  Even the nurses in the nursery could not put him down so they carried him everywhere.  I remember holding him in the hospital bed and my mom saying, ‘that baby is already as touchy-feely as you and xxxx.’    Lol.  It was true, he was.  Anyway, i’ve rambled, this topic just kicks my hackles up.  

 

And excuse the punctuation...  i’m on meds for a hurt neck and don’t have it in me to proofread much. 

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I truly have never understood the whole courtship thing. You're supposed to know at, what, 18? 21? 24? who you want to marry? And this is accomplished without dating other people to discover who you want to eliminate from your marriage-potential list?

How are you supposed to know what you want in a mate if you don't date? How are you supposed to know what you DON'T want in a mate if you don't date? You learn so much about yourself and others when you date so that if/when it's time to commit, you're doing so with experience. 

 

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14 minutes ago, GinaPagnato said:

I truly have never understood the whole courtship thing. You're supposed to know at, what, 18? 21? 24? who you want to marry? And this is accomplished without dating other people to discover who you want to eliminate from your marriage-potential list?

How are you supposed to know what you want in a mate if you don't date? How are you supposed to know what you DON'T want in a mate if you don't date? You learn so much about yourself and others when you date so that if/when it's time to commit, you're doing so with experience. 

 

I think a lot of it developed specifically to keep young people from having the dreaded pre-marital any-kind-of-physical-contact with the opposite sex (and certainly not the same sex, lol!) IOW, the person you “wanted to marry” was the person you had tinglies for and, if they had tinglies too and would buy into “let’s get married!” then, voila! You found the person you should marry! ? People who were confused about what a side hug was and who wouldn’t forego kissing and who could only have phone conversations on a three-way call with a sister or two monitoring it (the Duggars has this, at least when Josh and Anna were courting) would leave that nonsense, so the only suitors left to pick from would be those who were similarly indoctrinated - or maybe people who had dysfunctional problems with sexuality and so, would be attracted to a worldview where sexuality was not explored before marriage. 

P.S. I wish there were a Free Jana site because that poor girl is past marriageable age now, as if she were a character in a Jane Austin novel, and I fear she has been conscripted to be a live-in nanny now and forever. 

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11 hours ago, Mergath said:

That was interesting.

Seriously though, who in the world thought it was a good idea to take marriage advice from a 21-year-old virgin in the first place? It's like someone with no children writing a book on a better way to homeschool.

OMG!  so true.  I remember thinking this very thing when my kids were younger.  Then I was aghast to discover my teenaged daughter reading it because it was suggested to her by a youth group leader.  Sigh.  

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32 minutes ago, GinaPagnato said:

I truly have never understood the whole courtship thing. You're supposed to know at, what, 18? 21? 24? who you want to marry? And this is accomplished without dating other people to discover who you want to eliminate from your marriage-potential list?

How are you supposed to know what you want in a mate if you don't date? How are you supposed to know what you DON'T want in a mate if you don't date? You learn so much about yourself and others when you date so that if/when it's time to commit, you're doing so with experience. 

 

Well, one idea was that you spend lots of time in groups with other people.  You do get to know people that way and you do get to do some comparisons.  I don't think that's bad advice necessarily... just incomplete now that I see it from a 15yr distance.  

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So, now I have read the article and here are a couple other thoughts: 

I did read his book back when it first came out and my kids were still babies/preschoolers. I was somewhat intrigued because I’m all about avoiding mistakes and the book seemed to promise that. But one thing that repeatedly came up for me during that whole purity movement thing was this assertion that a person is forever entwined with someone with whom they have had a s3xual relationship. I - ahem - know that to be untrue. There are a few men who fit that description but I don’t think about them, wonder about them, feel they have influenced anything about my life, etc. They are just dudes from my past; it didn’t work out. Oh well.

I thank the gods I did not marry my first boyfriend. He was a controlling assnoodle. He constantly insulted me, persecuted my friends until they all stopped being my friends and tried to dominate my every waking moment. I don’t feel any latent longing for him because we dispatched with my hymen together. 

I also could see early on that it might not be a good thing for a teenager to have such loaded notions of s3x being bad. Even if one is making the distinction that everything is perfectly a-ok once married, I can see how that could lead to dysfunctional s3xual mapping. IMO, a lot of the might who have fallen due to bad behavior in that department very likely do have screwed up s3xual mapping. 

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I was in my twenties when the book came out and a member of a mainline church where it was occasionally discussed but (as far as I know) never followed. It seemed to me that he was trying to make binary categories out of a continuum. "Dating" doesn't, and didn't then, require having sex. Some people who dated saved sex for marriage, others waited until they were engaged, some until they were dating exclusively, and some had sex with anyone they wanted to regardless of relationship status or timeline. Some people (whether or not they were having sex) liked to date lots of people casually and others considered dating a process of finding a spouse. Harris took the type of dating behavior he approved of, labeled it "courting" and pretended it was categorically different than dating which included all the behavior he didn't approve of.

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2 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

“Sexual purity” feels like a creepy and loaded expression to me. Is it still used in those circles or is it a 90s throwback?

I think it’s still used.   People are still buying purity rings for their daughters, which seems like the same thing, just tangible. 

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This is still a very prevalent mindset where I am. The hardest thing for me to deal with is that when I tell someone I don’t buy into the whole courtship model presented here, they treat me like I am endorsing casual sex. If I say we don’t do the courtship thing the other mom will respond that they don’t believe in sleeping around. It is not an either or. My kids have dated. They have not slept around. It is possible to have dating without sex! I certainly have not gotten my dating kids a hotel room or anything.

So many issues with the model of courtship laid out here. And I am very conservative about sex and teach my kids (as does my church) all the reasons for abstinence before marriage.

When my ds was an early teen he and another boy were very flirtatious and popular in our homeschool co-op. The mom of the other boy gave me this book and told me she was praying for an early marriage for my ds. ????

 

 

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14 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is still a very prevalent mindset where I am. The hardest thing for me to deal with is that when I tell someone I don’t buy into the whole courtship model presented here, they treat me like I am endorsing casual sex. If I say we don’t do the courtship thing the other mom will respond that they don’t believe in sleeping around. It is not an either or. My kids have dated. They have not slept around. It is possible to have dating without sex! I certainly have not gotten my dating kids a hotel room or anything.

So many issues with the model of courtship laid out here. And I am very conservative about sex and teach my kids (as does my church) all the reasons for abstinence before marriage.

When my ds was an early teen he and another boy were very flirtatious and popular in our homeschool co-op. The mom of the other boy gave me this book and told me she was praying for an early marriage for my ds. ????

 

 

 

Well at least she wasn't sexist and didn't apply this to girls only, lol!

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I actually "courted" my now dh.  I had come to a point in college where I didn't want to date anyone if I didn't know it was going to lead to marriage.  BUT, dh was turning into my best friend at the time and I already knew him and had spent a lot of time with him and we wrote each other a ton of letters by the time I was 23.  We have been telling my ds who is 17, that courting was one way that worked for us because we knew each other so well, but it may not work for him.  We have told him to date with a purpose and he has owned it.  He has dated a few girls here and there briefly and hangs out with a girl pretty regularly (as "friends"--so she says).  As he gets older, we realize that he may have to date a girl/woman in order to actually get to know her and we're OK with that.  We don't live in perfect situations where a large group of young men and women hang out together all the time and he would pick a young woman from that group.  So, we do think courtship is a wonderful way to start a marriage, but we know in the real world, it may not happen like that and we're perfectly fine with it.

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55 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

Well, one idea was that you spend lots of time in groups with other people.  You do get to know people that way and you do get to do some comparisons.  I don't think that's bad advice necessarily... just incomplete now that I see it from a 15yr distance.  

 

Precisely. I think it's just smart to get to know people in groups because not only do you have a chance to see the person interacting with others, you also avoid the pressure of a dating situation that always makes people put their best foot forward. There have been many occasions when my DC have been interested in someone from afar, only to decide they weren't all that interested once they saw how the individual behaved with and treated others. My DC may not have been able to make that observation had they moved right to dating.

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

So, now I have read the article and here are a couple other thoughts: 

I did read his book back when it first came out and my kids were still babies/preschoolers. I was somewhat intrigued because I’m all about avoiding mistakes and the book seemed to promise that. But one thing that repeatedly came up for me during that whole purity movement thing was this assertion that a person is forever entwined with someone with whom they have had a s3xual relationship. I - ahem - know that to be untrue. There are a few men who fit that description but I don’t think about them, wonder about them, feel they have influenced anything about my life, etc. They are just dudes from my past; it didn’t work out. Oh well.

I thank the gods I did not marry my first boyfriend. He was a controlling assnoodle. He constantly insulted me, persecuted my friends until they all stopped being my friends and tried to dominate my every waking moment. I don’t feel any latent longing for him because we dispatched with my hymen together. 

I also could see early on that it might not be a good thing for a teenager to have such loaded notions of s3x being bad. Even if one is making the distinction that everything is perfectly a-ok once married, I can see how that could lead to dysfunctional s3xual mapping. IMO, a lot of the might who have fallen due to bad behavior in that department very likely do have screwed up s3xual mapping. 

 

My mother was married twice.  She doesn't talk about it much because of the VERY conservative circles we were always a part of.  She married a guy at age 18 and they were divorced by 21, or something like that.  No children.    She married my dad when she was 29.  

I remember telling a gal that, a McArthur type (she went to his church) and she said, "So, you know that by marrying your dad she was committing adultery then right?"  Um, WHAT?  For having a church named "Grace," there sure wasn't any grace abounding there!

Edited by DawnM
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I never heard of any of this stuff until I came to The Hive in the early 2000s. I was still a Christian then but that wasn't a thing even in my Christian circles. I'm just glad I never lived in that world. 

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15 hours ago, GinaPagnato said:

I truly have never understood the whole courtship thing. You're supposed to know at, what, 18? 21? 24? who you want to marry? And this is accomplished without dating other people to discover who you want to eliminate from your marriage-potential list?

How are you supposed to know what you want in a mate if you don't date? How are you supposed to know what you DON'T want in a mate if you don't date? You learn so much about yourself and others when you date so that if/when it's time to commit, you're doing so with experience. 

 

One of the earliest proponents of courtship was Jonathan Lindvall. He started by pointing out the awkwardness of dating in high school: Bill and Ted have been friends since childhood. Alice and Edith have been friends since childhood. Bill and Alice start dating. Ted and Edith start dating. Bill and Alice break up, while Alice and Edith are still good friends. Can Bill hang around with Ted and Edith? Can Alice hang around with Bill and Edith? What if later on Ted and Edith break up? What if Bill and Edith find that they actually were made for each other? Will they be able to be friends with Ted and Alice?

See? Awkward.

Jonathan suggested that people be involved in things together, doing charity work or whatnot. Then they get to know each other in an environment that's open and friendly, without attachments or having to worry about whether to kiss at the front door when they say goodnight or feeling awkward if they break up. 

Courtship is supposed to be similar, with the young couple spending time together with friends and family, so they get to know each other in an environment that is safe for both of them. The thing with a formal courtship is that everyone knows that the courting couple is going to be married; they aren't just checking each other out.

What I didn't like about the way people promoted courtship was that they made it sound as if that was "biblical." Well, no, it wasn't. In Bible times, marriages were arranged, with no courtship involved. People remaining chaste until marriage is biblical, even though of course people are not perfect and things happen. ? But courtship is not.

Also, back in the 90s people actually made contracts for courtship. It was a big, big deal.

Edited by Ellie
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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

I never heard of any of this stuff until I came to The Hive in the early 2000s. I was still a Christian then but that wasn't a thing even in my Christian circles. I'm just glad I never lived in that world. 

This is me exactly. I am a Christian and have been in a couple of churches/denominations in the last 20 years, but the only place I've ever heard of this was here. I do know of families that do purity rings, but I've never discussed it with them. I've never known anyone who didn't date or whose kids didn't date. 

I do like the idea of getting to know people in groups. I got to know my dh in a group. We were friends before we started dating, went to the same church, hung out in the same friend group, and even worked together for a little while. By the time we dated, I already knew him well. I encouraged my kids to get to know people before they dated and they both did. They both considered their future spouses to be friends before they started dating, but they both met them at college, far away from me.

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1 hour ago, Lady Florida. said:

I never heard of any of this stuff until I came to The Hive in the early 2000s. I was still a Christian then but that wasn't a thing even in my Christian circles. I'm just glad I never lived in that world. 

My experience, too, and I came to The Hive in the early to mid 2000s. 

I mean, I certainly knew of the concept of courting in the literary sense, but purity rings, “marrying your daddy”, Gothard stuff? Nope. Never crossed my radar. 

ETA — I remain equal parts mystified, bemused, and horrified that this practice is still practiced.

Edited by brehon
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Before we had kids, I helped a preacher's wife run a group for young ladies high school and up. We had speakers and did service projects, and it was really good. Until she decided to give the purity talk and how they should only date people raised in Christian homes. And there I sat, meeting neither of those criteria. I talked to her offline about how teaching them what qualities to look for in a partner is far more important than rejecting someone for mistakes or things they didn't have a choice in. She really hadn't considered that, and not long after that we had a dear lady in our church who had been a prostitute do a better "beauty for ashes" talk. 

And a friend of mine raised her kids with this. Her daughter dated a Christian guy after supposedly having everything "lined up," and he raped her one night. She was so ashamed and angry that this happened that she told no one. She told her parents that she broke up with him because he was pressuring her for sex. Then she got involved in drugs, alcohol, you name it. I don't know the rest, but two of their other kids did the same. Some of them are doing better now, but it shattered their family in so many ways. 

Shame has a big role in this. Yes, you should have high standards as you date and marry. But you aren't a shameful person if you make mistakes, or if you follow someone's "rules" and it doesn't work out.  I did everything "right" with my courtship and marriage, and I'm separated from my husband, who no longer goes to church. There were things I am at fault for, but that doesn't make me inherently bad or solely responsible for what happened. There's a distinction there.

 

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

“Sexual purity” feels like a creepy and loaded expression to me. Is it still used in those circles or is it a 90s throwback?

I never liked the term "purity" either because of the negative implications for victims of s*xual assault. I much prefer the traditional term "chastity". Being chaste is a conscious choice and if someone is forced into a situation against his/her will, that doesn't take away that person's chastity. Assault victims deserve sympathy and support, not blame for what happened.

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4 hours ago, GinaPagnato said:

I truly have never understood the whole courtship thing. You're supposed to know at, what, 18? 21? 24? who you want to marry? And this is accomplished without dating other people to discover who you want to eliminate from your marriage-potential list?

How are you supposed to know what you want in a mate if you don't date? How are you supposed to know what you DON'T want in a mate if you don't date? You learn so much about yourself and others when you date so that if/when it's time to commit, you're doing so with experience. 

 

 

This exactly. It seems like he wanted to speak out against indiscriminate sexual encounters but in the process threw the baby out with the bathwater.

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This comes as no surprise to me since he now has teen kids. He’s given me a reason to respect him now, the level of maturity to admit he had some stuff wrong. 

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1 minute ago, SamanthaCarter said:

This comes as no surprise to me since he now has teen kids. He’s given me a reason to respect him now, the level of maturity to admit he had some stuff wrong. 

Yeah, my dh laughed when I told him (about the teen kids).  They will make you rethink everything.

 

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4 hours ago, Quill said:

I think a lot of it developed specifically to keep young people from having the dreaded pre-marital any-kind-of-physical-contact with the opposite sex (and certainly not the same sex, lol!) IOW, the person you “wanted to marry” was the person you had tinglies for and, if they had tinglies too and would buy into “let’s get married!” then, voila! You found the person you should marry! ? People who were confused about what a side hug was and who wouldn’t forego kissing and who could only have phone conversations on a three-way call with a sister or two monitoring it (the Duggars has this, at least when Josh and Anna were courting) would leave that nonsense, so the only suitors left to pick from would be those who were similarly indoctrinated - or maybe people who had dysfunctional problems with sexuality and so, would be attracted to a worldview where sexuality was not explored before marriage. 

P.S. I wish there were a Free Jana site because that poor girl is past marriageable age now, as if she were a character in a Jane Austin novel, and I fear she has been conscripted to be a live-in nanny now and forever. 

Oh, wow, Quill.  That would be a good book!  Kind of an Austen remix!  Stayed at home, "under her father's authority," but Mr. Right never applied to her father for permission to write her.... and now she's helping all the families in her area with their young kids, helping at her dad's business, watching it all go by.  What will she do when her parents grow older?  Is she stuck forever?  Will Mr. Right ever appear, and if he does, will she be able to take any steps toward him at all?  

Oh, wait, that's My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Gone Gothard.

 

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16 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Part of the problem is the people who want to follow blindly.  Some people are just prone to taking something and running as far with it as a person can go. Some people are suckers for a formula.  My kids were very young for all that and while I deeply appreciated the aspects of courtship that basically said, "Dates/courters are not for your own personal gratification in the moment, you should think about where a relationship could possibly go, and if you can see it can't go anywhere, move on to someone who makes more sense and loving family members can be good feedback about a dating/courting partner because they care about you and are often more objective."  But too many parents decided this was a good way to control their children who should have been at a stage where they're becoming more independent, not less.  And it really does have to be the kid's decision, not the parent's to court to begin with.  We explained the above with ours and they didn't opt for it, and since we know there's more than one legitimate way to do things, it was fine that they dated instead.

As for the kids, I think it is possible as an adult to reject the bad messages your parents send you if you decide to.  No, you don't have to feel any guilt at all about having sex with your spouse, even if your parents suggested all sex was bad. Your parents are deceived or lying.  It happens. You can still love them and call their lies for what they are.

It is interesting to me, as an evangelical, how often evangelicals will crab about Catholics being blindly obedient to the Pope, then turn around and be blindly obedient so whatever evangelical author: Harris, MacArthur, Piper, etc.  Folks, these are people giving you their two bit opinions in a sea of other people giving you their two bit opinions.  Repent from your idolatry already. These are not the words of Jesus.  Those are in red and you can stick to those with devotion while looking with suspicion on those of non-diety. 

It reminds me of when I was kid and Bill Gothard stuff was the newest trend.  Heavens, how evangelicals love the latest trend!  Quite a few families got all excited about his red book and character sketches, decided everyone else (the majority) who weren't following him weren't real Christians and left the church.  Others read a few character sketches to their kids, ignored the rest of his stuff,  and didn't shed a tear when the Gothardites left in a huff.

 

I like all of your post, but the line I put in bold has been my mantra for years. Actually, my line has been, "There is NO formula." I didn't think there was, but my actions showed otherwise sometimes. Life beat that out of me. Pain is such a good teacher. 

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I would really hate being held to things I believed or did when I was 20.  Seriously... yikes.  I'm impressed that he is willing to publicly say, "I got some things wrong."  I hope he's not getting ugly backlash for it.

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For what it’s worth, his next book, Boy Meets Girl, was significantly better. He wrote that one as a newly married man and had a different/ better perspective. He and his wife were in their 20’s living and working far from their parents’ homes. His wife wasn’t a virgin when they met. He’d had friends who had “courted” and then didn’t end up married. I didn’t agree with everything in that book either but it was much better and more realistic. I grew up in the “courtship” culture and think there are some good points (i.e. get to know each other in group settings, ask people close to you - like parents - if they see any red flags, waiting until you’re older to pursue a serious relationship), but there’s plenty I have no interest in (the poor guy having to practically date the girl’s dad first, chaperones, treating young adults like children).  Eat the chicken, throw away the bones as they say...

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Since I was around the homeschooling community then, I can say there were different models of courtship being presented.  The one I respected was the one where the teens/young 20s got together in large groups for social events and service projects with their families, church members, service organizations, etc. to meet potential future spouses, the daughters could opt in or out of a courtship at any time, and a courtship that ended without marriage was considered successful because the courters decided that while at first they each thought the other could possibly be a potential mate, they realized during the courtship that that wasn't the case, so they ended it out of respect for the institution of marriage. Mission accomplished. But you notice that's nuanced and requires discernment on the part of everyone involved.  A lot of the people who were attracted to courtship turned it into something just shy of arranged marriage else while retaining the title.

I know someone who grew up in a Gothardite household whose father was more of a beta male personality type. When some young man asked her father permission to court her, dad asked daughter and daughter said no, not interested.  Dad respected that and didn't push any further.  She told her dad she was interested in someone else who had moved away.  A year or two later the person of interest was back visiting, dad invited him to social stuff with family and church events,  daughter and person of interest hit it off well, then person of interest asked dad's permission to court because he was moving back.  Dad said yes.  They married and now have 6 kids. I think that's how it's supposed to work.  But in her situation, she still married a guy from a Gothardite household and has suffered the consequences.

The most important issue from a Christian perspective is that some evangelicals, even those who focus heavily on a personal relationship with Jesus, are loathe to admit that their children are individuals who have to live their own spiritual lives.  Yes, it's a parent's job to be a witness and example, but kids have to make more and more decisions for themselves as they get older and some mommies and daddies can't handle to prospect that their precious children might (GASP!!!) not make the same choices.  It's actually bad theology on the parents' part assuming that because a child was raised in a house by Christians that  they will a. automatically become Christians and b. become the same type of Christian. 

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Well, as someone who had never heard of the idea that dating might or could be purposeful, I appreciated the book when I was young.

*ducks tomatoes*

I guess maybe the difference is that I didn't see it as a manual or a bunch of things I had to do to fulfill some sort of purity. And I didn't have a dad that would in any way, shape, or form do anything courtship related. So for me, I just took it as a new perspective on dating that I hadn't heard before and sounded kind of nice and novel. Which I kind of thought was how people read books until about 10 or 15 years ago when I realized (as an adult) that many people read self-help or Christian living books and turn them into little-b bibles for themselves.

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5 hours ago, shinyhappypeople said:

I would really hate being held to things I believed or did when I was 20.  Seriously... yikes.  I'm impressed that he is willing to publicly say, "I got some things wrong."  I hope he's not getting ugly backlash for it.

I have thought that before, too, like, “Thank GOD I didn’t write a book about homeschooling in, like, 2003!” Because my head was simply chock full of nonsense.

I remember thinking not that homeschooling was a particular choice for some families, but that it was the obviously correct choice for everybody who could possibly swing it. *hard blush* I remember a friend, whose kids were not homeschooled, telling me a little shame-facedly that she thinks, “that’s really what we all should be doing.” To which I smugly agreed. 

It may be that nobody should write any sort of book on expertise until he or she is at least 40 years old. Maybe 50. 

P.S. I also used to wonder if, for example, Dobson was ever sorry for any of his books later. 

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On 8/4/2018 at 3:30 PM, EmseB said:

Well, as someone who had never heard of the idea that dating might or could be purposeful, I appreciated the book when I was young.

*ducks tomatoes*

I guess maybe the difference is that I didn't see it as a manual or a bunch of things I had to do to fulfill some sort of purity. And I didn't have a dad that would in any way, shape, or form do anything courtship related. So for me, I just took it as a new perspective on dating that I hadn't heard before and sounded kind of nice and novel. Which I kind of thought was how people read books until about 10 or 15 years ago when I realized (as an adult) that many people read self-help or Christian living books and turn them into little-b bibles for themselves.

I never read any of his books, but I've been around these boards enough to have gotten the general idea.  And I also appreciated knowing there were others who were less than satisfied with the whole dating thing as dh and I grew up with in the early 70's.  I truly wanted better for my kids than what we had, because what we had was fairly destructive.  But the first person I remember saying anything about it was SWB in the first edition of WTM.  That was SUCH a relief to me when I read her brief comments about this subject.

So, for me, it wasn't so much about following some prescribed formula as it was about finding something better for my kids.  (Dh still has NO clue what true intimacy is ...)  

Fast forward to today.  All grown and 2 of them dating people.  And, honestly, what I think has helped them the most with this entire area has been all those years we spent studying our Bibles together - reading, praying, discussing, talking - ALL of it.  They have developed good discernment and at least can somewhat evaluate any potential bf or gf on their own, or with the help of their siblings (or me) if they want it.

Maybe Harris will write another book after his kids are all grown and married ... about how it REALLY went ... what helped, what hurt, etc.  ?

 

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On 8/3/2018 at 10:59 PM, Ellie said:

However, that 90s purity thing really walked all over everyone. Purity rings (for young women; apparently young men don't need such things), courtship where the fathers plotted together to set their young daughters up with men considerably older (boy, was that creepy), lots of other creepy stuff.

 

 

All of this is still popular in certain Christian fundamentalist circles, although it may not get the media attention it did when it was new. There have been several high-profile courtship 'failures' but many remain dedicated to the model. 

On 8/4/2018 at 8:10 AM, KungFuPanda said:

“Sexual purity” feels like a creepy and loaded expression to me. Is it still used in those circles or is it a 90s throwback?

 

Still used. Frequently. 

On 8/4/2018 at 9:47 AM, Ellie said:

 What I didn't like about the way people promoted courtship was that they made it sound as if that was "biblical." Well, no, it wasn't. In Bible times, marriages were arranged, with no courtship involved. People remaining chaste until marriage is biblical, even though of course people are not perfect and things happen. ? But courtship is not.

Also, back in the 90s people actually made contracts for courtship. It was a big, big deal.

 

 

The oft-used term 'biblical courtship' makes me insane. And people still make contracts for courtship. The contract should not be confused with the initial, often lengthy, questionnaire that the potential suitor fills out to nail down their beliefs on specific doctrines and practices. 

On 8/4/2018 at 10:04 AM, Mom22ns said:

 I do like the idea of getting to know people in groups. I got to know my dh in a group. We were friends before we started dating, went to the same church, hung out in the same friend group, and even worked together for a little while. By the time we dated, I already knew him well. 

1

 

With the courtship model, you would never have moved on to the dating part. 

On 8/4/2018 at 10:34 AM, Crimson Wife said:

I never liked the term "purity" either because of the negative implications for victims of s*xual assault. I much prefer the traditional term "chastity". Being chaste is a conscious choice and if someone is forced into a situation against his/her will, that doesn't take away that person's chastity. Assault victims deserve sympathy and support, not blame for what happened.

 

Elizabeth Smart has stood up for assault victims and talked at length about how harmful purity culture was to her, specifically mentioning the disgusting "chewed piece of gum" analogy many abstinence programs use to refer to females who have had sex. She said it was the first thing she thought of after she was brutally raped by her abductor. "No one is ever going to want to marry me now: I'm worthless, I'm filthy, I'm dirty."  

On 8/4/2018 at 6:06 PM, Quill said:

 P.S. I also used to wonder if, for example, Dobson was ever sorry for any of his books later. 

 

 

Nope. Over the years, Dobson pretty much doubled down on everything he said in his books. 

1 hour ago, Quill said:

@llllll, what did SWB say on this subject? I don’t recall that...

 

I think she's referring to the chapter titled The Confident Child: Socialization, in which SWB states that "exclusive dating" in high school is a "waste of time". She promotes group activities, says that she is pro-marriage and against sex without commitment. She states that she "has yet to find an adult who remembers high school dating as rewarding and life-enriching." She doesn't use the word courtship or refer to a courtship model. I don't think she does anywhere else, either, but I could be wrong. I'm pretty sure that she has (in interviews and such) referred to dating her husband. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

@llllll, what did SWB say on this subject? I don’t recall that...

See katilac's post.  She summed it up.

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