Wednesday, June 6, 2012
I Kissed Dating Hello
In the late 90s Josh Harris' "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" came out. This book took the conservative Christian community--especially the homeschool community--by storm. My mom gave me this book when I was thirteen. I skimmed it quickly because as a late blooming teenager I didn't really see how any of it applied to me. I was not going to date, I was going to court. Got it. Could I please go roller blading around the neighborhood now? If I ran into a boy I'd be sure to not make prolonged eye contact until his intentions were clear.
Sarcasm aside, it wasn't uncommon to hear young Christian homeschool teens asking each other, "is your family doing dating or courting?" Daters were looked down upon, courters were revered for their higher standards. It was never explicitly said, but somehow we all knew to answer "we're going to court, of course!" We weren't heathens, after all!
"Guarding your heart" was the phrase used when proceeding into a relationship with the opposite sex. (Oops...meant to type gender and not the "s" word.) We assumed that by following these standards and "guarding our hearts" we'd be guaranteed the perfect man and a perfect marriage. Again, it was never said, but somehow I came away with that assumption.
Here's the problem with that assumption: there are no perfect men (or women) and no perfect marriage. Assuming a particular method of dating/courting will grant you either of these is setting yourself up for disappointment. I know plenty of girls who obeyed the letter of the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" law who are in their thirties and still single. I know plenty of girls who had a perfect courtship and their marriage still has problems. Obedience doesn't guarantee reward. Tough lesson. (Some of these are man made laws. Obeying God's law always leads to reward, just not necessarily on this side of eternity. See Hebrews 11.)
So, here's my final opinion more than ten years after perusing IKDG: dating is not evil. There is this unspoken idea in courting that you have to be CERTAIN the person you are going to court is the one you will marry before you proceed. I believe you should date purposefully. But you don't have to know for sure that someone is "the one" before you make a move. If you DO know for certain, great! But having that as a prerequisite is not realistic in most situations.
In a nutshell, I think this is what you should keep in mind when approaching a relationship:
Step one: mutual attraction (well, hopefully it's mutual).
Step two: guy pursues and communicates intentions.
Step three: establish values and set your boundaries. Have accountability. (Hopefully both sides will already have accountability people in their lives.)
Step four: Have fun, get to know each other and find out if this person is meant to be your 'til death! If not, move on. If so, huzzah!
This is neither dating nor courting, but a little combination of both. "Dourting," if you will. In fact, I think I'm going to write a book called "Dourt your way to the Alter." I smell a best seller.