I started this article very differently… and after writing… a LOT… of information, I decided I had better just get to the point!
I’m an author – I know how to edit… so I hit delete and started over.
Several weeks ago, I started a blog series rebutting an article written against courtship. After posting 5 articles myself, I have decided that this situation requires a different approach. So I took down the articles and I have been slowly rewriting them.
This is the first one.
As an author of Amish fiction, I have to deal with romance in my novels quite a bit and this is actually more than a little difficult for me since, for myself, I am dedicated to courtship!
But the Amish don’t do things that way – and it has taken a lot of research and long conversations to get to the bottom of just why they do things the way they do.
And I will say this – they know what they’re doing! And their idea of dating is a heck of a lot closer to my ideas on courtship than any ideas the world has about “dating“!
I feel very strongly about courtship. I don’t look at it as just another form of dating. I look at it as a lost art, as a thing of beauty. Courtship is not just another type of relationship – it is an exploration, of who you are, what you truly want in life as well as who the other person is and what they truly want from life.
If you are someone who is only interested in a series of quick flings or a meaningless string of casual encounters – then NO, courtship is not a right fit for you.
If you are someone who is genuinely interested in seeking out a meaningful and lasting relationship, then courtship IS the answer for you!
So…what started all of this? An online article written by someone who clearly has no idea what he’s talking about and I have no patience for people who claim to know everything about a subject but obviously have no background to speak of, have done zero research and don’t even bother to check their facts.
For this part, I will be dealing with some common myths about courtship.
Courtship is just another word for dating… The behavior is no different – it’s just a different name.
I can not count the number of times I have read articles where people claim to have read the very popular book I Kissed Dating Goodbye – but clearly did not get past the cover/ title.
Actually maybe that’s the problem – most of them don’t even bother to read the entire title – I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Relationships and Romance. However, for the sake of space and sanity, I will refer to it by the shortened first part below.
The world is full of people who love to sound like they know what they are talking about – but that’s all there is to most of them. They sound like they know but they really don’t. They just like to be heard.
Despite what so many people would LIKE to think, the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was NOT written as a be-all, end-all information guide on courtship. It was one young man’s take on the problems he saw with traditional dating.
As a matter of fact, among the families who have committed to follow courtship, you will probably get a little different answer from each one you ask… and their answers will most likely differ from Joshua Harris’ ideas too.
This clever young man saw a problem with how young people today treat a relationship that is supposed to be taken very seriously – and he gave us his ideas and his ideals and I applaud him for the courage it must have taken to do this. It’s never easy to go out on a limb and stand up for your principles!
Joshua Harris makes a very strong point several times in his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye that what he was doing did not look a whole lot different from dating. He simply doesn’t call it that because his approach to the “getting to know each other” phase was very different than what most young people do when “dating”.
Actual quotes from the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye:
“And I think that’s the story of our generation’s pursuit of fulfillment in relationships. We wished for intimacy without obligation. We wished for sex with no strings attached. We wished for the pleasure of love with none of the work, none of the vows, none of the sacrifice.
And we got it.
But the results aren’t what we hoped for. And we’re left feeling emptier than before. The intimacy is superficial. The sex leaves us dissatisfied and hungry for something real, something true.
Where is true joy? It’s found in God’s brand of love – love founded on faithfulness, rooted in commitment.
The joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment.”
― Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye
“Intimacy without commitment, like icing without cake, can be sweet, but it ends up making us sick.”
― Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye
“We express true love in obedience to God and service to others – not reckless or selfish behavior – and we choose these behaviors.”
― Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye
“The joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment.” – Joshua Harris – Tweet this!
Remember I speak from experience. I did the whole dating thing. And I fell into more than my fair share of these types of behaviors… and I was the “good girl”.
I witnessed much worse behavior from other high school acquaintances.
On the other side of the coin, I witnessed many couples who did not engage in any of these things. They took their relationship seriously. Some of them may have engaged in a bit too much physical interaction but they did not take it lightly.
Neither end of the spectrum can be applied to every single person – just as there are many young people who fall somewhere in between the two extremes.
The point is that dating in general is very different from courtship in general!
Being home-schooled means you lack socialization and social skills.
Before I say anything else, I just want to take a moment to point out that I have two of the most outgoing children on the face of the planet. We tried public school with my son when he was in preschool. He went from being a happy, outgoing, social, sweet child to being a sullen, angry, withdrawn, shy child in just under four months.
It took nearly two years to get him back to where he was before that experience. Actually scratch that… he has NEVER gotten back to where he was before that experience but he is closer.
Suffice to say a traditional classroom is not the place for him.
My son and my daughter are both thrilled with homeschooling. They get to learn things that they’re excited about. They have time for their music. And they aren’t confined to socializing with twenty or thirty kids the exact same age as them.
They socialize with the maintenance man and the ladies who work in the office. They chat with the UPS delivery guy and the mail carrier. They talk to kids in the neighborhood and not just the ones who are the same age as them. My son especially has a soft spot for toddlers. He enjoys so much being a big brother – that it spills over when we are at the playground and he plays with the little kids we meet there as if they are his own siblings.
I was home-schooled in 1984. No it wasn’t easy – there were no local co-ops or support groups and we didn’t know about any of the fantastic home-school organizations who would have been thrilled to help us along the way, but all we had to do to find curriculum (otherwise known as school books) was to drive to the local Christian school and buy it.
And I would have loved to continue on that path but there simply were not the same sort of resources available to a single mother then so off to public school I went.
And I whole-heartedly believe that many of the issues I faced growing up were entirely due to the experiences I went through, the hardships I encountered and the influences of my “friends”. And those reckless, haphazard examples led me down a road that has seen so very many bumps and ruts and potholes, it’s amazing I survived.
I often wonder if my parents had been involved with the home-school organization I belong to now, how different my life would have been. Would they have stayed together? Would I ever have attended public school? Would I have made the same choices I made?
Clearly some of them would have been different simply because I would not have known many of the same people who I met after my parents split up and we moved far apart. But there’s really no use in playing the what-if game now.
Whether I would have made the same choices or not, the facts are that my public school experiences were not good. They started me down a path that only led to self-destruction and misery.
Oh how I wish I had known about courtship.
Oh how I wish I had understood the Biblical principles behind marriage and what it was meant to be.
But I didn’t and my story is an ugly, sad, painful one that far too many young women share.
(I’ll go into more detail later on)
Peer pressure is not just about drugs and alcohol. – Tweet this!
Our grandparents dated earlier and more often than we do. And their parents trusted them enough to go out and do pretty much the same things we do today on dates.
A note here: my Grandmother died when my Mother was 18. Less than a year afterward, my Grandfather remarried. They went on dates with my mother in tow (and often the two teen sons that became Mom’s step-brothers). They did this happily and the most shocking thing they did on a date was to go on a picnic…
Don’t you miss the simplicity of picnics…
Clearly the world worked differently 60 years ago, 40 years ago – even 20 years ago when I made my first forays into the dating world.
20 years ago, the phrase date rape was not around… or if it was, I never heard it.
And no matter what anyone tells you, 60 years ago – the average teens did NOT do any of the things that are currently typical for a “date”.
If you ask your grandparents what they would have considered a date when they were teens – they would likely mention things like studying together at the library, sitting together in church or having a soda together at the local diner or malt shop.
Yes I know, it’s shocking how light the argument is on this one – but there’s only so much you can say after the words “malt shop”…
And yes… I will be back next week with more!
© Rachel L. Miller 2015
Courtship vs Dating – popular myths debunked! – Tweet this!
Oh how I wish I had known about courtship twenty years ago! – Tweet this!
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