I learned of yet another instance of legalistic and intrusive parents destroying a beautiful relationship involving adult children this morning. Sad. Breaks my heart. Makes me want to speak some pointed words toward the courtship concept, and those who practice it, once again.
I've written at length about courtship in the past. I'm not sure I'll really be plowing new ground in this post, or introducing many new thoughts. I might be getting into "Department of Redundancy Department" territory. I'm gonna write it anyway. It's an emotional subject for me - for obvious reasons. Buckle up.
I'd like see courtship die a gruesome death - equal to the pain and emotional dysfunction it's inflicted - then be buried in a shallow grave marked only by the urine of feral dogs and cats.
I still hear from people occasionally who tell me "but we didn't do it legalistically". SMH. There's no other way to do courtship. If you tell me that you're planning to practice courtship, or if you defend your decision to have practiced courtship in the past, you're telling me a lot about yourself. Here's your profile (probably 95+% accurate)...
- You're the product of Christian homeschooling. (homeschooling isn't the problem - "Christian homeschooling" is)
- Your family is/was likely involved in ATI, Vision Forum, or Sovereign Grace Ministries.
- If you're a full-blown courtship-er, you're probably currently involved in ATI or VF.
- If you practice a "more reasonable, less legalistic" version, you may have been involved with ATI or VF in the past, but now you're probably involved with SGM or are a fan of the Calvinistas (Piper, Driscoll, Mahaney, Harris, Dever, et cetera - translation: You aren't entirely out of legalism).
- You're probably very supportive of the Religious Right.
- You've probably read books like "The Way Home", "So Much More", or "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", and other Christian homeschooling world literature, whether from homeschooling periodicals, or from Christian homeschooling authors like Harris, Pride, McDonald, Lindvall, the Ludys, the Botkins, et cetera.
- You bristle at the idea of anything "liberal", while not really knowing what it means.
- You're socially and emotionally many years behind your age, having been indoctrinated to avoid "the world" and to view your emotions as "evil and deceitful", to the point that it's rendered you naive about much of life and the way it works.
- Your information has been filtered tremendously.
- You've been indoctrinated to only view life through a "biblical worldview".
This doesn't mean you're a bad/dumb/unintelligent person. Chances are you're a great person with a bright mind. You're just a product of the religious cult that is Christian homeschooling.
It's a free country, so I respect your right to choose the courtship model - but I don't respect the choice - at all - and I pity you. If you're a parent who's chosen courtship for your children (forcing this legalistic, emotionally dysfunctional mess on them), indoctrinating them to believe it's the right way, or even a good way, frankly, I have more respect for some Caribbean strains of halitosis than I do for your parenting. To parents of minors, I respect your right to be heavily involved in their lives and relationships - but their hearts DO NOT belong to you. Teach them the importance of discernment and self-discipline, not legalistic concepts of control. You aren't the mediator between them and God. If you think you are, here's a bombshell for ya - you're anti-Christ, and that's all there is to that.
Occasionally, I hear from a person who still insists, "but me and my spouse practiced courtship and it worked wonderfully for us"... SMH again. If your marriage is flourishing, it isn't because of courtship, but rather in spite of it. Courtship in no way, shape, or form prepares you for marriage. Nothing that courtship is supposed to provide or prevent can't be provided or avoided in dating. The only thing courtship "reveals" is controlling parents. In the dating world, we call that "meddling" - something which, ironically, 1st Peter 4:15 lumps in there with murder and thievery. In a few states, including my own, there are actually LAWS - civil statutes - against meddling in engagements and marriages.
Bottom line: You can't practice courtship in a manner that isn't legalistic, that exercises SELF-control, or than doesn't compromise your maturity. It just isn't possible. Courtship is, and ever will be, legalistic and immature. There's no way around it.
It's just one of several poisons that wouldn't even exist if Christian homeschooling, and the paranoid/legalistic ideas within it, hadn't created it and served it up in its Kool-aid.
Definitely toxic. I hope it dies. Soon. The longer it lives, the more loving, happy relationships it'll kill.