Dating, sexuality, lust, and fornication
I would like to do another series just on dating in the future so this major issue for me as an adolescent and college age Christian, will be comparatively brief.
Dating vs Courtship
Among the home school movement of the 90’s there was a significant push to reject typical dating and instead use what people referred to as courtship. This was made popular by books such as I Kissed Dating Goodbye and similar authors who said that normal dating was wrong and Biblical dating followed their model of courtship.
Courtship basically was group dating. Going out with groups of friends with perhaps an older adult supervisor in the mix and getting to know the group without the emotional and romantic pulls of dating. When it came to actually pursuing a relationship there were a couple of rules.
One the couple should not consider a relationship until the man was able to “provide for his family”. This archaic notion held that men should be making enough money to support a family on his own. While there was some perhaps Biblical merit to this idea of men being the head of the household, few Christians consistently apply the passages used to support these idea. Simply put, even those who supported courtship, still used the pick and choose approach when it came to selecting scriptural support of the matter.
Two, the couple should never be alone. This was of course because of temptation. Normal sexual drives must be repressed in order to save oneself for marriage. This is more consistently taught by most Christians though not consistently practiced. Basically sex outside of marriage is wrong. However, courtship proponents took it to the extreme saying that even hand holding in some cases was wrong. They certainly advocated saving the first kiss for marriage as well.
This courtship was to take place in the context of family gatherings. Of course when you go off to college and perhaps end up settling quite far from either of your parents this is quite impractical. These issues were never addressed by the courtship movement. Although it may be assumed that the originators of this method also wished their daughters to stay at home till marriage and their sons to return to the home church after college to find a wife.
Finally, the courtship should not even begin with out the consent of the girl’s father. The man should ask the girls’ father not for permission to marry but in essence for permission to date. Eventually he would further ask for permission to marry if the courtship was to the father and daughter’s liking.
While I found this all quite interesting, I never bought this concept. The slight scriptural support which I won’t go into seemed to be a stretch. And the idea that holding hands leads to sex was ludicrous. Almost like having a gun will lead to shooting it, which will lead to hunting animals with it, which will eventually lead you to want to kill humans with it.
Once I went to college I nearly instantly realized the complete impracticality of such beliefs and since I had no reason in my faith to hold on to them, they fell by the wayside.
I cannot help but believe me parents, and many of the supporters of these ideas, actually thought they would work. I remember at 17 when my father first found I was interested in a girl how shocked he was. He could not believe that I would have romantic desires despite all the sheltering from society, media, peers, and dating that he had done. But human nature is a power hard to shut out and without a logical reason to restrain myself from feelings, I found no purpose in trying.
The odd thing was I clearly remember liking girls from a young age. A very young age. Like four or five years old.
Follow my world adventures on Instagram @Jeltown