Friday, April 6, 2012

Courting Disaster and Emotionalism

I've been a bit dormant over the last few days, as I'm in the middle of a pretty wicked bout with strep throat, but a couple of things I've stumbled across in FB land have prompted me to write a blurb or two about them this morning.


I don't think there's any gray area where I stand on courtship. It's stupid on steroids, immature, and maybe THE single dumbest concept that's come out of the Christian homeschooling movement (in conjunction with the whole idea of "emotional purity").


Here is the courtship, dating, and emotional purity formula of one Christian homeschooling movement mom - not that it's really any different from that of 95% of Christian homeschoolers. It just serves as a good example of the craziness. To be fair, I don't think this lady's intent is to harm her children. I don't think ANY parent (or at least the majority) says, "I wanna screw up my kids bigtime!" Nonetheless, this woman and her husband are establishing a foundation through which they're well on their way to royally effing up their children - emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Sadly, her whole formula is based on a woeful misapplication of Matthew 5:27-28, where Jesus was trying to make a point about humanity in contrast to "biblical law", not trying to replace old biblical law with new, more hardline biblical law. The point of the passage is that ALL of us are human and imperfect. It isn't and wasn't a charge to fight in total futility (because it would absolutely be a futile fight) against our own humanity. That would make Jesus and all Jesus represents more than a little irrelevant. These parents are obviously religious addicts and imbiblers, and as such, a religious threat to the overall well-being of their children. Intent has nothing to do with the eventual outcome.


I can't help but think of just how many of you reading this still carry the baggage and scars of fighting in futility against your own humanity for years, striving to win some kind of favor from God through "purity and holiness" and perfection.

At one point she says, "Courtship means different things to different people", which isn't really true at all. They all look pretty much the same. Most of the article is really spiritually, emotionally, and socially bassackward, but let's look at a couple of her lists...Under the heading "Some ideas before courtship"...




  • We encourage our children to be friends with people of both genders. [Maybe they do. I don't know.]
  • From the beginning, we socialize as a family, building friendships and relationships with people of all ages and genders. ["Socialize as a family" is troubling language, given that I know what it really means within this paradigm: Worship of the family unit.]
  • From the beginning we encourage deeper friendships and relationships with those who will encourage us and our children toward godliness and righteousness and we caution about the damage that poor relationships will cause. (Proverbs 13:20 and 27:17) [More Proverbs worship and religious addiction..."We're crack addicts so we only socialize with dealers at crack houses."]
  • We discourage ‘particular’ friendship with anyone of the opposite gender. [Why? Fearful that you can't control it?]
  • We exhort our daughters to guard their hearts. This will  require careful discipline and diligence. [As I light myself on fire.]
  • We remind our girls of the potential deceitfulness of the human heart and that we want what is best for them. We explain that there may come a time when it seems like we do not want their best, but we want them to trust us through that. [Dear God please help this woman's children.]
  • We protect our girls by providing supervision. [Supervision=indoctrination, control, needless guilt, and manipulation.]
  • Unless both the boy and girl are ready for marriage emotionally, physically and financially, it’s not time to even think about courtship, dating, marriage or a ‘particular’ friendship. [Just emotionally and practically naive on a plethora of levels.]
  • Our girls (and boys) know that everything is forgivable and that we will love them no matter what. [Anyone else smell the BS? I know this woman thinks this is true of her and her husband, but I know what the smart money says will actually happen when the integrity of her statement gets measured someday. Her children will be faced with the prospect of conforming or being shunned. That's all there is to that.]


  • And then, under the heading "Some courting ideas"...




  • We hope and pray that both sets of parents will be involved in the process. [Parents shouldn't be meddlers. Even the bible agrees that meddlers are bad. Very bad, in fact.]
  • We hope that the young man would first approach Mark for permission to pursue a relationship with our daughter. [Why? Your husband doesn't own your daughter, and this isn't Sumerian culture of 4000 years ago.]
  • In order to enter into this relationship, we would have to believe that it is likely that this man would be a suitable husband for our daughter. [It really isn't any of your business. Stop meddling.]
  • The girl has the final say-so. If she says, ‘no’ then the answer is ‘no’! [Should I laugh or cry at the level of this BS? Being that she'll be emotionally punished at best, and shunned at worst, if she goes against her parents "counsel", what answer would their daughter give?]
  • The ‘couple’ should know each other well before entering into this type of relationship because we believe that this is the point that the heart-guarding begins to be let down. [The blind leading the blind, trying to make blind clones. People who have no understanding of human emotion shouldn't build fences around human emotion.]


  • These parents aren't "protecting their children". They're protecting the indoctrination of their children, trying to create SuperChristian clones, rendering the Holy Spirit useless in trying to shape and control the Christianity of their children in a world where genuine critical thought is the enemy. Their children, like all children in the Christian homeschooling movement, will suffer for it. Their family is, in and of itself, a religious, mind-control cult.


    You can't, and shouldn't, answer parents like this with more bible - unless you'd offer more crack to a crack addict. They don't need more of the drug, or a better application of the drug. The drug needs to be cut off, the mind and body needs to detox, and then they can start over.


    Her children have NO chance at a healthy, normal emotional life without massive amounts of baggage. They'll have to go through some severe, maybe even brutal, turbulence to get anywhere near anything that could be considered normal or healthy. I pity them. The sooner they "rebel", the better, because maybe then they can begin to detoxify and heal at an earlier age.


    Not much more I can say about it.




    Earlier this week, a FB friend shared this...


    The level of emotionalism and ignorance (as a by-product of emotionalism) in that is extreme. It's a bigoted, misleading, and intellectually dishonest statement in a number of ways. Let's look at a few of those ways...


    99.999% of Muslims would never even consider flying a plane into a building. The vast majority have NO desire to harm another individual. Only a handful of radical, fundamentalist Muslims have ever flown planes into buildings - roughly the same number as the number of radical, fundamentalist Christians who've bombed government buildings, abortion clinics, and anything else they've deemed as "ungodly" over the last couple of decades.


    The guy who posted it is a fairly new convert to Christianity. About a decade ago, he was touring as a sideman, most likely boozing and smoking a lot of weed, with one of the more popular rock bands in the world. I think his conversion to Christianity has happened in the last couple of years, and with it, there's almost an emotionalistic blowback against anything viewed as "unChristian", an emotionalistic attachment to all things conservative Republican, and a lot of what most rational people would view as "hate" toward, and fear of, anything outside of the newly adopted paradigm. Almost mentally militant.


    This kind of emotionalism is fairly common to new converts of ALL faiths, and even to new converts to atheism. When something is new, we're generally more emotional and passionate about it, more irrationally protective of it. To me, it's a sign of a certain level of immaturity, because with time and maturity, although our core views may not change all that much, our ability to see beyond the surface of them - to view them in context, in 3D rather than 2D, becomes more pronounced and nuanced. I look at a guy like Kirk Cameron, for instance. To me, he's an example of someone who's never grown in his faith of choice. He's the same black and white guy he was back when he converted to Christianity and freaked out all of his Growing Pains castmates who loved him by becoming odd and irrational. He even "witnesses" like a new convert...no real context, everything in black and white. It's sad to see that kind of personal stagnation in any dynamic.

    People desperately need to grow past emotionalism. While still in the infancy stages of whatever you've converted to, the emotionalism aspect makes you fertile ground to be blown in any emotional or doctrinal/theological direction. It's not very stable, and that's when people can become dangerous because of their beliefs.

    54 comments:

    1. People get their hearts broken; such is life. I have met some people who are happily married to their first love; they are stable and happy in a way which I sometimes envy them, but they are not the norm. Most of us fall in love and learn to cope with broken hearts the hard way; what will these youngsters do if their marriage doesn't work out and they have their hearts broken for the first time at 35 instead of at 15, when it's appropriate, and despite the fact that this kind of marriage was supposed to protect them from heartbreak?

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      1. Be marginalized emotional-cripples, I imagine.

        I certainly can't imagine much better awaiting them.

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    2. I find it interesting that the mom blogger says the girl has the final say-so, but to even get to the point of being able to say no about a suitor, her father has the first say-so. If that girl wanted to date a guy or even court a guy that her parents didn't approve of or that didn't ask for daddy's permission, she wouldn't have the say-no. Daddy would say no-no right from the beginning. It's really sad that when it comes to the girl in these families, they come last.

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      1. I agree Erika! Oh wait...what if the girl meets a guy who approaches her "before" he talks to her dad?? Would she tell him to ask her dad for permission to socialize or get to know her? I just saying that not everyone is accustomed to asking the father of "adult" women for permission to actually just talk to her.

        They say they want to protect their "children". Well, what happens when their children are adults? I still can't wrap my head around guys asking "permission" to court ADULT women! Am I making any since at all?

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      2. Well, yeah, if you view women as subhuman baby-factories, then of course you can't let them choose for themselves the man who is going to lock them into an endless cycle of pregnancies and childrearing.

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    3. i've suffered in pain for years, and in the end, there's also pain associated with recovery. but what's helped me is to remember that it's not as great as the pain that preceded it! Whether it's spiritual, emotional, physical or a marriage of abuse, or with any addiction, the recovery is much more pleasant than the constant daily pain that came before. i realized that i had become so accustomed to my situation/addiction that i got numb to the pain associated with it. when the pain lifted, i no longer felt oppressed or abused or felt deteriorated and older. i've surrounded myself with many ppl who have also gone thru spiritual emotional and other abuses & addictions & they witness that there's life after suffering. also, my god as well has carried me.

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    4. "We remind our girls of the potential deceitfulness of the human heart and that we want what is best for them. We explain that there may come a time when it seems like we do not want their best, but we want them to trust us through that. [Dear God please help this woman's children.]"
      _________

      This is my "favorite" line as it showcases the sexism of this movement and how the movement is unrealistic about both genders. It is important to protect girls' hearts but not boys, because boys are just horny you-know-whats who would never fall for a girl when there are others he can get what he wants from. Please, I know more boys than I can count who fell head-over-heels for their high school GFs and were a mess when the girl decided to end the relationship.

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    5. Wow. I feel sorry for the daughters of that family.

      I can attest to the dangers of the "socializing as a family" model. My husband and I have seen it happen to family friends. Shall I list the dangers?

      1. Kids don't develop the ability to judge people's character, because their parents do it for them when they "socialize as a family". You can watch your parents judge character all you want, but if YOU are never trusted to make those judgements yourself, with your own friends and your own consequences, you will not learn to do it. Then how will you protect yourself as an adult from those who would take advantage of your naive nature?

      2. Worship of the family. Socialization as a family teaches kids that the family unit is the most important thing in life. It's not.

      3. Unhealthy friendships. Because kids are taught to put family first, they will often devalue their friends. I know a family that does everything together, and the kids are NOTORIOUS for being inconsiderate and hurtful to their friends at school, because they've been taught by example that the family wishes supercede their friends' feelings. In some cases, this can even lead children into sinful anger when one sibling gets mad at a friend and the other siblings are "expected" to be mad and shun the friend too. Yes, I have seen it happen.

      4. Fear of outsiders. Often "family socializing" means kids are taught that your family is your "safe" place, and everyone else is a little less "safe" than mom, dad, brothers and sisters. This plays into the hurt friendships deal. Kids don't ever learn how to be real with anyone other than their immediate family.

      5. Pain in separation. If you idolize the family you grew up in, it's going to be extremely hard to marry and move away from that family. Adult children may have trouble adjusting to the fact that they aren't with their brothers and sisters anymore.

      6. Kindergarten drama as adults. I can tell you that kids who "socialize as a family" act like five-year-olds when someone wants to marry into the family and "take away" their dear brother or sister.

      I'm getting angrier as I write, so I think I'd better stop.

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      1. I personally witnessed just about every dynamic you're pointing out. It really does create people who are so much less than they can be.

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    6. "We remind our girls of the potential deceitfulness of the human heart and that we want what is best for them. We explain that there may come a time when it seems like we do not want their best, but we want them to trust us through that. “

      Translation: “The human heart is deceitful. So trust the deceitful hearts of your parents.”

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      1. Ah, Retha. You are on the mark, as usual. ;-)

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      2. Sorry to sound stupid, but what does "oh, snap mean in this context?

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      3. It's an enthusiastic way to express that Retha made a great point.

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    7. Last night's episodes of GCB would probably trigger some people, but were mockingly hilarious in light of today's post. If anyone wants to cringe and laugh at Hollywood mocking extreme purity movements and pointing out the hypocrisy... go to ABC's website and look up the episode "Sex is Devine".

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    8. The thing is that if they're trying to faithfully live by the Sermon on the Mount (which I don't consider religious addiction to look to it as seeing the Light of Jesus' walk) if their motives are as you say, it will destroy them.

      They may obsess over "sexual purity" (which Jesus says is compromised with an unclean thought, not just doing what they do obsessing with purity rings and contracts etc.) yet it also says that to not judge one another when there's a log in your own eye. What do they think blessed is the meek or blessed are the poor?

      While it is not something to obsessively aspire to (it comes with being conformed to His image, slowly) it is a ticking time-bomb that these groups will be destroyed by if they're trying to live insular, reactionary lives led by a dominating patriarch.

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    9. I'll be forever grateful that none of us eight kids ever went through the courtship ordeal and married off although we grew up with the expectation of saving the first kiss for the wedding day and all that crap. When I was 20- and I was the oldest girl - we kind of fell out of the Quiverfull movement when my mother discovered some things about my evil stepfather that ultimately led to a divorce and a realization on her part that perhaps there was something unhealthy after all in our lifestyle. My youngest siblings can pretty much do what they want and have no recollection of our former life, of which I am grateful.

      I am 27 now and still none of us have married, and my two sisters and I have relished our independence and have been exhilarated at finding out who we as individuals are now that we don't have a patriarch to tell us what to think.

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    10. Hi Lewis,

      I stumbled across your blog while searching for people who are speaking out against the lunacy of fundamentalist Christianity. I come from a more moderate Christian background, but even so the church of my childhood had major issues. Thankfully my parents, though conservative in many ways, are practically hippies compared to fundy, homeschooling, quiverfull-ing parents.

      Anyway I am so heartbroken by your story, and I want to thank you for speaking out. There are some amazing blogs out there (like yours, Under Much Grace, and No Longer Quivering) that are voices of reason amidst what feels like a sea of insanity.

      Nonetheless there are some very popular mommy blogs within this dark, hyper-fundy community that truly scare me. You've referenced one of them. While I do not doubt that these particular parents love their children, and are doing what they think is best, the amount of mind control and absolute dominion they hold over their children is mind-boggling. I *shudder* to think of what these children could (will?) face if they dare to be different in any way.

      Perhaps you can help me understand this, but one thing I really don't understand is just how you extrapolate a lunatic system like courting from ONE Bible verse. One verse, that is not even specifically a command. I don't get it. Just like the whole quiverfull belief system came from a couple of verses about children being like arrows and man being blessed by them. Sure, children are a blessing. But why does that mean that you therefore cannot control how many you have?

      Anyway thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. I get so upset thinking about all of this that I tend to blab on and on. When I came across the post on RO that you link to here, I think I started seeing stars, I was so upset.

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      1. I'm sure Lewis will have his own thoughts, but I was just talking about this with a friend the other day, so do you mind if I share my thoughts?

        American Christianity, main stream middle class evangelical churches, are far more cult-like that one would suppose. The demand for conformity can be all-encompassing. It starts off slow, with Sunday morning services. It seems like a loving place.

        But then you go to a Sunday night service, and the ego-stroking begins. It feels sosososo good. People who go to Sunday night service are more committed to Jesus than others, they are more on fire for God, Sunday night is where the meat of the word is taught- all tickling your ears and making you feel superior to lesser Christians. Of course the response is to add Wednesday nights, and any other meetings, into your life. It's there that you will be exhorted to eschew all things "worldly"- I mean, normal- and completely submerge yourself and your family into Christian culture all day, everyday. The Christian bookstore becomes the only bookstore you need, because you only read Christian books or buy Christian music.

        Once you are fully submerged into the sub-culture, it is not that hard at all to get you to swallow almost anything. The ego-stroking that you are "better than other Christians" (called lukewarm, lazy, worldly, carnal) is harder to come by. You have a new peer group to stand out from, so any new doctrine that is stricter, harsher, demands more from you than previous teachings, that's the only way to get your fix.

        Religion is no longer about Jesus at that point, it's about group identity: we are the holy, chosen ones of God- the rest of you are our enemy who are going to hell and trying to drag our children with you. I can say confidently that Jesus is not the God of American Christianity. It should be called Biblianity, or even Churchianity, because the Jesus of the gospels matters very little to the church anymore. All they need from him is absolution; they are not interested in becoming one of His disciples.

        Jesus, the Son of God, gets replaced with "the Bible" and then anything can happen. Very sad.

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      2. "Perhaps you can help me understand this, but one thing I really don't understand is just how you extrapolate a lunatic system like courting from ONE Bible verse. One verse, that is not even specifically a command. I don't get it. Just like the whole quiverfull belief system came from a couple of verses about children being like arrows and man being blessed by them. Sure, children are a blessing. But why does that mean that you therefore cannot control how many you have?"

        Where the Christian homeschooling movement is concerned, it was a matter of deciding what was needed to wage and eventually win a culture war (quiverfull, courtship, etc), and then, after deciding what was needed, searching through the bible for any concept, phrase, or verse that could be used out of context or manipulated to make these munitions "biblical". Once they get to "biblical" - what Shadowspring said.

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    11. Shadowspring, can I add one more layer?

      That's how parents get sucked in. Children often get sucked in not through ego-stroking but through fear. Second-generation P/QFs are told from the time of their birth that if they DON'T live up to this standard they will fall below the category of "acceptable." At that point it's not even about standing out from a peer group; it's about being found acceptable at the most basic level.

      It's also about absolutely assuring yourself that you won't roast in hell.

      Hi other anonymous, I'm glad you get as mad about this as I do! :)

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    12. Blec, this is completely false. I'm more than extremely happy to have the support of my family, and I wouldn't consider a guy if my dad didn't approve, I respect my dad so much, he's my hero. PLUS one of my role models for a solid marriage came out of a courtship setting and they are two of the coolest people I know.

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      1. How can you leave THAT comment while calling the article false? Seriously. How?


        If you'd like, I can direct you to footage of people in Jonestown raving about how awesome it was - and then a few hours later they were dead at the hands of "dad", their hero, too.

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    13. My humble opinion is that you have been too closely involved in a setting where the courtship model was completely abused to have any kind of unbiased opinion when it comes to healthy courtships, that's all. I would agree whole-heartedly that parents can abuse this, that doesn't mean that all of them do. This article puts courtship in a bad light, and your commentary on it is also totally biased and blown out of shape. I have always known that my parents love me, not so much because they say it all the time but because they respect me and treat me like an adult. I respect a guy that will go to him first, not because I don't think I could handle a relationship myself, but because I've seen God work through my dad in so many ways, and my desire is for him to be directly involved. For me, I know a guy is serious if he is willing to talk to my dad about it first. The problem here is the parents, not courtship. Attack human sin if you want; it is the real problem.

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      1. Courtship is dumb. People who "choose" to follow the courtship model (or have it chosen for them by their father) have made a dumb, and immature (on a thousand different levels) choice.

        Why don't you tell your dad that you have no interest in courtship and don't want his oversight and officiating of your relationships...and then watch God "work" through him.

        You're a product of the Christian homeschooling movement's indoctrination - whether you know as much or not.

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      2. BTW, if you think THIS article puts courtship in a bad light, don't read these...

        http://thecommandmentsofmen.blogspot.com/2011/02/case-thrown-out-of-courtship.html

        http://thecommandmentsofmen.blogspot.com/2011/11/death-to-courtship.html

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    14. Dating and courtship are just words. I think it is immature of you to tell people that they should live by your standards. However, if I told my dad I'd rather date he would be fine with that...he's asked me many times if I'm sure that I'm comfortable in trusting his judgement. You don't know him, he's great. Let me say it again, its the people that are flawed, not the system. And let me tell you that the big reason I want him involved is because I don't want to be pregnant at 16 or before I'm married. Dating is dangerous in that way, there are a lot of creeps that are good at hiding it. I'm not sure where the immaturity in realizing that is, but I'm open to constructive criticism.

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      1. I haven't told anyone what standard to live by. I encourage people to think for themselves and be responsible for their OWN informed decisions - something that perhaps you're too young to see you're implicitly NOT doing.

        If the only thing that will keep you from getting pregnant at 16 is the involvement of your dad, you have deeper problems than anything courtship can cure.

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      2. "However, if I told my dad I'd rather date he would be fine with that...he's asked me many times if I'm sure that I'm comfortable in trusting his judgement. You don't know him, he's great. Let me say it again, its the people that are flawed, not the system."

        If I only had a nickle for everytime I've heard that over the last two years...right before a young woman's world goes to hell in a handbasket...

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    15. I'm not involved with any homeschooling movement either...try to keep from attacking a straw man, it's really quite pointless. Obviously we all come from different backgrounds and are all biased in one way or the other, but I strive to be as unbiased as possible, that's why I read these kind of blogs and enjoy respectful debate/discussion.

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      1. So you weren't homeschooled? It's not like the ideas you're touting are found elsewhere. These are Christian homeschool movement ideas.

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    16. Ah, I'm too young to think for myself? Wait..I thought the whole point was that I'm supposed to think for myself, and yet now you say I'm too young. Interesting.
      My parents are not involved with my daily school, they are not involved with my internet browsing, or anything like that, they let me wear what I like and don't give me any bones about it. Yes, I'm only 16. I do my school at home, and while I greatly enjoy it I have rejected just about every "homeschool movement" there is. The whole point of homeschooling is to get away from stupid cookie cutter education and belief, and I haven't found one movement that has sound theology. I take a few courses on the internet, and have a great teacher. I do the rest through textbooks.
      I did not even imply that the only thing that would keep me from getting pregnant at 16 is the involvement of my dad, I just said I'm thankful that he's concerned about my safety as I believe a parent rightly should be, and if they are not they are blind to the serious dangers of this world.
      The second link you provided talks about certain profiles that you believe all people interested in courtship fall into. I do not fall into even one of those, and neither do hardly any of my friends that want to court, the only exception in some cases is that some of my friends have read Christian literature. So what, just because you read it doesn't mean you agree with it, and I thought you were for making your own decisions? So why not read the opinions of other people (I.e. Christian homeschoolers) instead of hiding from them because you're frightened of becoming legalistic.

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      1. "Ah, I'm too young to think for myself? Wait..I thought the whole point was that I'm supposed to think for myself, and yet now you say I'm too young. Interesting."

        Not what I said. I said perhaps you're too young to see that you AREN'T thinking for yourself.

        "So why not read the opinions of other people (I.e. Christian homeschoolers) instead of hiding from them because you're frightened of becoming legalistic."

        A good portion of this blog is the result of my responding to the opinions of people from the movement. I don't fear reading their opinions - especially not when I know what their opinions will always be. Fear-based "worldview". And that word, "worldview", is a key buzzword to look for. It'll tell you quite a bit.

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    17. I resent the fact that without knowing me or my lifestyle you have essentially set my love life up for disaster: "If I only had a nickle for everytime I've heard that over the last two years...right before a young woman's world goes to hell in a handbasket..." and insulted my parents also. Ok, dude take out the word "courtship" that you hate so much and replace it with say "purposeful dating". Basically what I believe is it's stupid to date for fun. The end.
      Is that better?
      I'm extremely sympathetic to your past situation, whatever it may be, because it seems like courtship guidelines (Not really sure who defines these?) were taken to the extreme and it really hurt the people involved; I'm not trying to be a grouch. And know that these wrongfully controlling parents will be held accountable for their cruel and awful behaviors towards their children. My only beef with what you are saying is that this is not nearly as common as you make it out to be, and even if it is common none the less, there are a lot of people that do courtship right. It's probably done completely different that what your view of courtship is, but we still call it that.
      Again, courtship is just a word. I use it because I refuse to accept the way that most relationships are handled, which includes having sex before you've finished your first date. Again, this is the cultural expectation that most guys, and girls, have. I don't like that, and yes, I've thought through my decision to not like it.
      You would probably be surprised at how many girls like me there are that want to court.
      FYI: Out of the guys that have taken an interest in me my dad has a) talked to all of them about it, and b) never "recommended" one to me. Never said "I like this guy a lot, daughter, I think you should consider him." or any silliness like that. c) after I'm 18, I would have both my dad's blessing, and consent to date if I wanted to, and maybe I will. But I don't think I'll stop looking to him for his opinion on a regular basis till I'm married. I don't worship him or his actions, and I've seen him go through my mom deciding to be a catholic (he, and the rest of our family are protestant) without getting angry at her, or judging her. And, at 16 I'm ready to leave his house whenever God calls me to, although I will miss him.

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      1. "Ok, dude take out the word "courtship" that you hate so much and replace it with say "purposeful dating". Basically what I believe is it's stupid to date for fun. The end."

        That's ALL problematic. That's like saying, "Take out one formulaic, robotic way to look at relationships and replace it with another formulaic, robotic way to look at relationships." I can't even stand another oft-used phrase in the movement "responsible dating". People should just be responsible, period, and stop trying to put relationships in a box, stop trying to give it a name. Whatever you plant in a jar will never, ever exceed the shape and form of the jar.

        "My only beef with what you are saying is that this is not nearly as common as you make it out to be, and even if it is common none the less, there are a lot of people that do courtship right. It's probably done completely different that what your view of courtship is, but we still call it that."

        It's extremely common within the Christian homeschool world. My previous comment, the "if I had a nickle..." deal, wasn't hyperbole. And once again, the fact that you're "doing" courtship is evidence of formula, and there's no right or healthy way to live by formula.

        "Again, courtship is just a word. I use it because I refuse to accept the way that most relationships are handled, which includes having sex before you've finished your first date. Again, this is the cultural expectation that most guys, and girls, have. I don't like that, and yes, I've thought through my decision to not like it."

        That's all cultural propaganda which has been fed to you by the movement. It isn't true. It also reduces you to a sheep - "Everyone else is doing it...that means I will, too".

        "You would probably be surprised at how many girls like me there are that want to court."

        Not if you're talking about Christian homeschooled girls, I wouldn't. MOST of them are indoctrinated to court. It's the expectation, and means of doctrinal control, within the movement. Courtship isn't promoted within Christian homeschooling because it's a "healthy" way to go about relationships. It's promoted to encourage doctrinal control and further the agenda. Most people who get sucked up into courtship have no idea why it's even around.

        "But I don't think I'll stop looking to him for his opinion on a regular basis till I'm married."

        Nothing wrong with that. I'm 43, and I still get advice from my folks when getting their advice might be beneficial. It's healthy, as long as your father doesn't begin to rule and officiate your life, and as long as you don't become reliant on what he has to say - and, the biggie, as long as you don't feel some religious obligation about it. People have to think for themselves, ultimately, and make responsible decisions for themselves.

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      2. One more thing...

        "And, at 16 I'm ready to leave his house whenever God calls me to, although I will miss him."

        Not everything in life is a "call" from God. In fact, I'd suggest that few things are. So I wouldn't sit around and wait for a "calling". Just live.

        http://thecommandmentsofmen.blogspot.com/2012/01/gods-will-isnt-rocket-surgery.html

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    18. Sorry that was so long, I felt it was necessary to explain myself clearly. And if you aren't completely tired of me by now, I'd be happy to hear your further opinion.

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      1. It's fairly obvious that your homeschooling curriculum is connected to the Christian homeschooling movement, otherwise you wouldn't be talking about courtship or saying "he's my hero" about your father (I'm not saying anything about him with that statement).

        My advice would be to take EVERYTHING from your homeschooling experience that wasn't academic, but rather cultural, and chuck it. It's all fear-based baloney.

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    19. Well obviously we disagree. I think it's idiotic to argue about the definitions of words. Courtship certainly did not used to be a "Christian" term and I don't look at it that way. Obviously when I move out of my parents house I don't want to go from leaning on them for every thought and direction (not that I ever have) to suddenly being my own person, that is what I normally call common sense. I get this nagging feeling that you don't believe me, but whatever, I've made my own personal decision, and that is to have them both involved. Guess what? People weren't meant to get through life solely by themselves, God gives us support through the people we trust, and I mean to use His gift. And yes, if I told my dad I didn't want him involved I know he would be sad, and maybe disappointed, but believe me, I would do it if I thought it best for me, *and for the person I intend to have a relationship with*. So far, I've only seen good come from my decision, and it's gonna take more than someone, burned and incredibly angry, to convince me otherwise. And the expectation meeting sex-driven idiots in every day life is NOT fear based baloney, whatever you say. Not only have I seen it firsthand in my own culture, I'm a history freak, and you see it all over the place. That has never changed and never will. That's why I carry a gun. It's not called fear, it's called responsibility. With God...fear can be pretty much non-existent and I can't say I've felt it much since believing in Him.

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      1. "And yes, if I told my dad I didn't want him involved I know he would be sad, and maybe disappointed, but believe me, I would do it if I thought it best for me, *and for the person I intend to have a relationship with*."

        You have NO idea. You can't imagine the hell that your father's "sadness and disappointment" will rain down on you. At least you've graduated from "he'd be fine with that" to "he would be sad, and maybe disappointed", but you still have NO idea.

        As to the rest of your comment, all I can do is shake my head. And btw, is it LEGAL for you to carry a firearm at 16? I really, really, really hope you're not serious about that cause you could get into some bigtime trouble.

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      2. "You can't imagine the hell that your father's "sadness and disappointment" will rain down on you. At least you've graduated from "he'd be fine with that" to "he would be sad, and maybe disappointed", but you still have NO idea."
        And you just don't know what you are talking about. It's that simple, I haven't graduated, they go along with each other. He would be fine with my decision, he'd be sad that I didn't want his advice.
        Yes, I have a hunters safety course license, I carry to hunt, and as soon as I can get a concealed carry I plan to.

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    20. "That's ALL problematic. That's like saying, "Take out one formulaic, robotic way to look at relationships and replace it with another formulaic, robotic way to look at relationships." I can't even stand another oft-used phrase in the movement "responsible dating". People should just be responsible, period, and stop trying to put relationships in a box, stop trying to give it a name. Whatever you plant in a jar will never, ever exceed the shape and form of the jar."
      Ok, I look at this and see an argument that has not been thought through. The thing about people is we need words, we need definitions to explain ourselves. You're right, everyone should just be responsible. It's that simple. I agree! And I call that "courting" you can call it "dating" but whatever you call it, it's just a word. And you're making your own little box by refusing to admit that anyone who uses the word "courtship" to explain their relationship is immature. You're making your own box by saying that dating is the right way, the correct way, the safe way. Being responsible includes not acting like a rebellious jerk who thinks he/she knows everything and refuses to take advice. I think we all know people like that, and my parents usually give good advice. You have an issue with the word "courtship" and you are biased. I have an issue with the word "dating" (in general) and maybe I'm biased. I would be happy to erase both of those words from my dialogue with you, and maybe we would find it easier to agree.

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      1. "The thing about people is we need words, we need definitions to explain ourselves."

        We need words only in the way we need a drug when addicted. I don't need to assign a word with a clear definition to every thought, action, or choice in life. On the other hand, if I were addicted to formulaic living, I might. My ex had the same problem you do. She couldn't just BE. There was no safety there. It was outside of her jar.

        "You're right, everyone should just be responsible. It's that simple. I agree! And I call that "courting" you can call it "dating" but whatever you call it, it's just a word."

        I don't call it anything. I just let it be what it is naturally. No box. No jar. No formula.

        "And you're making your own little box by refusing to admit that anyone who uses the word "courtship" to explain their relationship is immature."

        I most certainly refuse no such thing. I freely declare that anyone who practices courtship is immature (or naive - often both) on many levels.

        "You're making your own box by saying that dating is the right way, the correct way, the safe way."

        I don't think I've said anything about dating. You act like only one of two words apply. You've been taught some really naive things about life and human relationship.

        "Being responsible includes not acting like a rebellious jerk who thinks he/she knows everything and refuses to take advice."

        Who's suggesting anyone act like a "rebellious jerk" and refuse to take advice? As a minor, I'd EXPECT your parents to be more involved in your life, but once you become an adult, take all the advice you want - but know the difference between informed decision and manipulation/control/coercive persuasion.

        "I think we all know people like that, and my parents usually give good advice."

        Good advice from your parents would steer you away from courtship. That hasn't happened so far.

        "You have an issue with the word "courtship" and you are biased. I have an issue with the word "dating" (in general) and maybe I'm biased. I would be happy to erase both of those words from my dialogue with you, and maybe we would find it easier to agree."

        Not even close. This isn't an exchange over semantics. The only "words" I find troubling in your vocabulary are the cultic ones.

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      2. "We need words only in the way we need a drug when addicted." okay, maybe we don't need words...but I suggest if you have something against using them you join a monastery. I'm struggling to understand your point though, because the fact that you write a blog kinda offsets your argument...

        "I most certainly refuse no such thing. I freely declare that anyone who practices courtship is immature (or naive - often both) on many levels"
        You caught me in a typo :P anyway, why do you say "God's plan for your life is for you to love relentlessly (both noun and verb form), to be honest and just, and to show mercy to those who need mercy. The rest is your own deal." and yet
        declare that choosing to use the word "courtship" which is my own deal, is stupid?
        "I don't think I've said anything about dating. You act like only one of two words apply. You've been taught some really naive things about life and human relationship."
        No, no, *you* are the one that offers only dating as the alternative. Anyway, does it really matter? Who cares what you call it if it's responsible and stems out of love? I'm not the one caught up in words, you are. You said: "Why don't you tell your dad that you have no interest in courtship and don't want his oversight in your relationships?" Well...I *do* want, not so much his oversight, but his advice in my relationships.
        "Good advice from your parents would steer you away from courtship. "
        This is your opinion...I'm quite aware of it by now, but I simply disagree! Good advice from my parents has included steering me away from the cultic groups you so often talk about, in fact.
        Please inform me what words you consider "cultic". If you're talking about the word "courtship" let me again say that it originated from nothing to do with Christianity...it has kind of morphed to only apply to Christian movements I suppose, but I don't use it in that way. It used to be that "courting someone" meant you were in a relationship...





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      3. "No, no, *you* are the one that offers only dating as the alternative."

        So, I've said that one can only "court" or "date"? Good grief. You're committed to this thing.

        "Good advice from my parents has included steering me away from the cultic groups you so often talk about, in fact."

        That doesn't seem to be the case.

        "Please inform me what words you consider "cultic"."

        Not just words, but also ideas. As far as words...courtship is one of them, worldview, rebellious, purposeful, a few others.

        As far as ideas...Courtship, again. Your ideas about your father being your hero. Your ideas about the outside world and all the threats that await you there - like horny sex-maniacs behind every tree. Your ideas about courtship and dating, one being wonderful and the other threatening you with pregnancy. Your ideas about sin. Your "it's the people that are flawed, not the system" idea (heard that one a million times from movement people). Your ideas about "callings" and God's will. Several other things.

        Your first couple of comments were replete with Christian homeschool cult language. You've intentionally toned it down a bit, I suspect, as we've proceeded, seeing as how earlier courtship was a "system" all its own and now it's just a mere word.


        I like you. You have some moxy to go along with your youthful naive nature about all of this. That said, I'm not gonna respond to any additional defenses of courtship.

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      4. I'm not defending courtship. I'm defending my personal use of it. I'm not criticizing dating, I know a lot of great people that date and date wisely. I think that it's cool.

        I think you have misunderstood me a lot in our conversation, perhaps because you don't agree with me, but that's fine. There is nothing glorious about courtship in any way, and nothing wrong with dating, certainly nothing wrong with not defining your relationship as long as the couple are mutually comfortable with that.

        I...am almost positive you are the only one who has used the word "worldview". I used the word "rebellious" once to illustrate the reason I don't push back on listening to advice from my parents. And I used "purposeful" once. Out of all the over 2,500 words I've used through talking to you...you have to admit, you're seriously digging to find something to get me on.
        On the "outside world"...there really is no "outside world" there is the world we live in. You learn to deal with it, but we're all inside it. The biggest threat? I tend to call that me. All the other stuff can influence me, but doesn't have the power to change me. I'm not scared. And I'm not going to distance myself from the world...I just want to be different than the majority of people that are in it. I want to make a difference, I want to help people that are suffering. To do that you have to *know* the world, and I plan on learning all I can about it.
        I reject your implication that I'm a coward, though I don't really care what your opinion of me is (although it's always nice to hear someone likes you :). I didn't say they were behind ever tree :) I have a TON of great dude friends, and I love them just as much as my girl friends. Guys are great. Uhm..it *is* the people. If people were sinless their systems would be sinless. That only seems to make sense. Since we're not, our systems aren't either, but the sin is the real problem. I really don't see that you can come to that conclusion any other way than through logic. But it's good to know which things are often repeated by the "cult language" or whatever...I'll keep that in mind. I could talk about how God *does* have a will, and why I would say that, but I won't.

        The reason I was treating as a system is because that's the way you treated it on your blog. Wasn't aware you would be willing to talk about it any other way. It's cool that you are.
        I like you too, you actually use your brain and that's refreshing to see. I still think you're wrong about some stuff, but that's ok. I don't mind appearing youthful, because that's what I am. I don't mind seeming naive, because frankly, I haven't lived as long as you, and there is no way that I'm not naive (with some, or many things) compared to you. That, also with the fact that I've had a comfortable life seems to breed innocence.
        And there comes a time when you've beaten a discussion till it turns blue, and I think that time has come. It's slightly frustrating to me that you don't appear to want to have an open mind about "courtship" but I guess that's none of my business.
        To end this, I'd just say "thanks" it's not often where two people can disagree so vehemently about something, and not resort to name calling and swearing. At least..that's been my experience.



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    21. "Not what I said. I said perhaps you're too young to see that you AREN'T thinking for yourself."
      This is illogical and makes no sense. In order for me to realize I am "thinking for myself" requires a thought that goes something like this "My parents aren't my conscience, I can think for myself." so basically, it requires thought to think for yourself, and it doesn't matter if you're young or old...you are capable of thinking that.

      "It's extremely common within the Christian homeschool world. My previous comment, the "if I had a nickle..." deal, wasn't hyperbole."
      If I am not mistaken your comment was: "If I only had a nickle for everytime I've heard that over the last two years...right before a young woman's world goes to hell in a handbasket..."
      So what...you would have two, three nickels? That statement is not specific and proves nothing to me...even if it did I would disagree that my relationship with my dad is unhealthy. "He's my hero" only insofar as he is human, but I look up to him as a great guy. I use that lightly, I've also been known to call some of my best friends "My hero" or whatever, just to emphasize that I see things in them that I would like to see in myself.
      Ok, so now to your claim that this is extremely common. Statistically, you could talk to and answer questions of crazy "Christian homeschoolers" your whole life, and really out of all the people in the world, you wouldn't have talked to hardly a fraction of them. I think it's great that you try to help and encourage the ones that are out there to change, but don't try to claim the majority of Christians that homeschool are like that. It's simply a false claim. You seem to like using these outrageous claims, and you also seem to like making your own definition of who I am, just because it makes sense to you that I would be that way. Like when you said "It's fairly obvious that your homeschooling curriculum is connected to the Christian homeschooling movement, otherwise you wouldn't be talking about courtship.." etc. Actually, no. You're wrong...you are simply wrong. You were also extremely off with your "Christian homeschooler" profiling. Not even close.
      In answer to the call from God thing...maybe God doesn't personally call us to do things often, but He has a very specific plan desire for our lives, and He wants to be involved in every area of our lives and hearts. That's more what I was getting at when I said that.



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      1. "If I am not mistaken your comment was: "If I only had a nickle for everytime I've heard that over the last two years...right before a young woman's world goes to hell in a handbasket..."
        So what...you would have two, three nickels?"


        In my wildest, grandest, absolute best-case scenario dreamworld I might only have two or three nickles. You really have no idea the scope of it.

        "Ok, so now to your claim that this is extremely common. Statistically, you could talk to and answer questions of crazy "Christian homeschoolers" your whole life, and really out of all the people in the world, you wouldn't have talked to hardly a fraction of them. I think it's great that you try to help and encourage the ones that are out there to change, but don't try to claim the majority of Christians that homeschool are like that. It's simply a false claim."

        Not once have I ever claimed that the majority of Christians who homeschool are like that. On the other hand, those who are a part of the Christian homeschooling movement aren't like that. They are that.

        "Like when you said "It's fairly obvious that your homeschooling curriculum is connected to the Christian homeschooling movement, otherwise you wouldn't be talking about courtship.." etc. Actually, no. You're wrong...you are simply wrong. You were also extremely off with your "Christian homeschooler" profiling. Not even close."

        I honestly don't know what else to tell you. The courtship crapola, the patriarchal teachings, and many of the buzzwords and phrases you use COME FROM NO OTHER PLACE. No other. None. Zero.

        "In answer to the call from God thing...maybe God doesn't personally call us to do things often, but He has a very specific plan desire for our lives, and He wants to be involved in every area of our lives and hearts. That's more what I was getting at when I said that."

        God's plan for your life is for you to love relentlessly (both noun and verb form), to be honest and just, and to show mercy to those who need mercy. The rest is your own deal.

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      2. "The courtship crapola, the patriarchal teachings, and many of the buzzwords and phrases you use COME FROM NO OTHER PLACE. No other. None. Zero."
        And I don't know what else to tell you, the Christian homeschooling movements are overall stupid as far as I can tell. If some of their phrases have slipped into my vocabulary..sorry?

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      3. Btw, do you believe in absolute truth?

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    22. Anonymous,

      What strikes me is that the type of relationship you've described with your parents...that they know the people you're interested in, and are willing to give their two cents on if those guys seem nice...is not really courtship. What you've described is essentially a dating mentality with loving parents who want to be involved in your life.

      The type of courtship that Lewis is talking about, and that I've seen, revolves much more around the parents being in control--and the idea that kids should repress any emotional or physical attraction to the opposite sex (to the point that it becomes an unhealthy source of guilt to even have a crush on someone).

      I think to a certain extent, you're arguing over terms. But I guess that's my point. If you want to defend courtship, you should know that the type of "courtship" you are describing and trying to defend, doesn't actually seem like "courtship" to most of the people that visit this blog. What we have seen as "courtship" is very different, and I don't think it's something that you would defend (based on how you describe your parents' involvement in your dating relationship).

      Also, you say you're 16? I assume that your parents will give you more and more trust and autonomy as you get older. Many parents who believe in courtship do not increase their level of trust as kids age--a 20-year-old daughter would be viewed with the same mentality of "I need to protect her" as was present when she was 15.

      Here's the big difference I see, and I'm going to use myself as an example. When I was a teenager, my father used to say, "If we have raised you right, and with good values, then you should be able to pick who you will date without us looking over your shoulder." They knew my boyfriends, of course, and were interested in how boyfriends treated me. But they understood that, if they had raised me properly, I should be trusted to judge those guys. While I was still under their roof, I was given a lot of freedom in my dating life, so that when I was OUT from under their roof I would already have the practice in making those decisions.

      Courtship, on the other hand, emphasizes a level of oversight from parents that can prevent teens and young adults from developing the healthy strategies they need to assess their OWN relationships. I even think the Joshua Harris books push too far in this direction.

      Just be aware that this is the direction courtship will always tend to go. I'm glad that your dad isn't demanding you run your dating life through him at all times. And I"m advising you, don't voluntarily begin doing that. It will be far better for you to keep your parents at a healthy level of knowledge and involvement, while learning to make the decisions yourself.

      Sounds like you're already on the way to doing this. I'm just pointing out that the courtship mentality may start to skew you in a less healthy direction, so watch out for that :)

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    23. Here's the problem-- if you expect your dad to filter out the um, duds, you'd better hope your dad is an awesome judge of character. In our family, the suitors are supposed to go to him for screening/approval, but it's pretty cursory. Essentially, if we like the guy, my dad gives him a free pass to court us. Unfortunately, I've courted two guys who were disasters--both emotionally manipulative, insecure, and train wrecks. They fooled me, and they fooled him, and my dad never picked up on their problems till AFTER I did. It...didn't do wonders for my relationship with my dad. After the last guy, I told my dad I was through with courting. I'd rather have no one to blame but myself if I fell for another jerk.

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      1. That's a key thing.

        To me, any father that would point his children toward courtship has already demonstrated an inability to make good decisions. Also, if a father is doing it out of "Christian duty", or simply because he's supposed to, that's role-playing in place of life-living and the recipe for a huge trainwreck.

        You've made a wise choice to kiss courtship goodbye. It's garbage in every imaginable way.

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    24. Holy shit! This girl is brainwashed! Not sure how old this post is.... but let me tell you something sweetie- you are 16. You need to experience life so you don't wind up like I did after a "courting" relationship!!! My dad is awesome too but boy was he ever wrong about who I married! And so was I because I was trying to please everyone and didn't even know what I really wanted! I was stuck in a horrible marriage for five years with a total asshole and finally woke up and realized that there is more out there in the world! My Christian home schooled husband cheated and went crazy as soon as he got out from under his overbearing parents wings! He resented me for tying him down in the prime of his youth- as did I. The whole saving your virginity for marriage is just bullshit too. Man, my ex was terrible in bed. Horrible. I should have expected as much from a man with no spine. Think about it. If a man isn't man enough to win your heart without dancing around daddy first- he's never going to be man enough to stand up for you or sweep you off your feet when you really need it! This Christian, supervised, mind controlling tripe is a lie honey! You're really trying to sound like an intelligent adult but the point is you're NOT!! now is the time to make mistakes and decide who you want to be and what you want out of life. In ten years you will be a completely different person you have no idea what you want and you have been brainwahsed!! Luckily i grew up- got some "balls" so to speak- and told my ex to go duck himself. I got a divorce, went wild and crazy and had a wonderful time eexperiencing life and finding myself and becoming more and having more aspirations than just getting married as early as possible because I was a horn teenager and my church said sex was a sin unless you were legally bound to eachother. What a bunch of crap! And guess what- eventually, I met a REAL man and have real goals and a real outlook on life. My parents respect ME and MY life choices and my IDENTITY now. I'm not mommy or daddy's little clone. I love them dearly. And i also respect their identity. But they realized, only after I told them the hard way to but out, what an error trying to control what other who your children become is.

      Whew! I can't believe how angry these ignorant people make me. I feel so sorry for this poor brainwashed child. But it's probably too late. Hopefully she won't grow up to be one of her passive aggressive controlling parents. Hopefully she'll have her epiphany before I did.

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