Thursday, December 20, 2012

Discovering courtship, part 2

Reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris was an eye-opening experience. Having never heard of courtship in a modern-day setting or of not kissing before a wedding day, I was shocked and impressed that people were actually doing these things. He told a story about a girl who's father spent time with the guy who wanted to court her before giving his permission for the courtship. I knew that would never happen in my family because the concept of giving and asking for permission was very foreign for my dad. But the idea of my dad being involved and caring for me by thinking about my best interests was appealing to me. Another story from the book told of a newlywed couple who appeared overly in love. So much so, they held hands even when one was in the front seat of the car while the other was in the back. Turned out their secret was that they didn't kiss until their wedding day. This made an impression on me. Was it true that couples who wait are more passionate and in love?

Harris made a case for why dating is bad, and the logic convinced me. The problem was, no one around me held the same beliefs. I didn't know how to put any of this into practice. I had two previous boyfriends by that point, which were typical teenage relationships. We hung out. We talked on the phone. We kissed. We cuddled. If I were to date anyone else in a 200-mile radius, they would expect the same type of relationship. So where would I even find a person who wanted to "court," let alone save kissing for a wedding? I had to figure that God would miraculously bring the right person to me someday, which is ultimately what most girls in the purity movement believe.

While most of the book talks about how awesome Harris' own courtship and marriage was, and how you should focus on pure thoughts and intentions in preparation to receive the one God will give to you, he includes a small part on the difficulty of waiting. He says to enjoy single life because you have the rest of your life to be married. While I still agree with that last statement, I don't think the rest of his talk backs that up. Most purity movement writings make people desperate to get married and feel like their single life is nothing but preparation for married life. He tells of a woman who cried at the wedding of a friend--not for her friend, but over her own lacking a husband. I remember thinking, "I don't want to be that woman." I neither wanted to be the last person married nor the pathetic sad person not enjoying life. I could not control when I got married, but I could control how I viewed my status. The only way I knew how to do that was to kill the desire for companionship and the things that come with it. For better or for worse, it was effective.  In some Christian circles, I might have been a poster child for purity and contentment; in my world, I was weird.

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