Courtdate: A Generation of Courtship Culture on Trial

Posted By on June 18, 2014

americangothic

In the 1980s, many parents were appalled at the heartbreak and devastation of a culture that had lost its biblical moorings. The abuse of sex and drugs and education were creating a living hell. Adults who were saved out of this environment decided that they wanted to make climate change a reality. Their fierce and passionate love for their kids motivated them to act drastically: Take their kids out of their schools and surroundings and give them a new culture based on biblical principles. These brave pioneers set out on uncharted paths and experimented with new methods of education, discipline and romance.

Baggage from the parents’ previous relationships and painful memories from the past only intensified the desire to protect their children in the minefield of love. Having seen the dangers of the casual dating and easy sex model that was becoming the norm, parents were hungry for an alternative. Josh Harris, Elizabeth Elliott, Michael Phillips, Eric and Leslie Ludy and Jonathan Lindvall, were just a few of the thinkers suggesting alternative relationship models categorized under titles like courtship or betrothal. Some common themes running through these suggestions were: more parental involvement throughout the marriage process, replacing aimless “recreational” dating with a focused courtship process, and a renewed emphasis on “guarding and saving your heart” for your future spouse. It was a call back to the ideal of being a one-woman-man and a one-man-woman for life. But while Josh Harris and many others were “Kissing Dating Goodbye,” others saw warning signs and wrote rebuttals such as “I Gave Dating a Chance” by Jeremy Clark.

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One Response to “Courtdate: A Generation of Courtship Culture on Trial”

  1. Hobbit says:

    Yes, as someone who is still single, I would endorse strongly what this article says, although I was in my thirties before I first came across the idea of courtship. That said, the Christian culture I grew up in (not American) had no time for casual dating; what we called ‘going out’, sits somewhere between dating and courtship in how it works out. It can lead to the situation that asking a young lady out for coffee is tantamount to a proposal of marriage, though, and it was amusing to see the single Americans arrive in our Christian culture and then learn this for themselves!

    Seriously, though, my main critique of the courtship movement is that it turned Christian marriage into a reward: a reward for not dating, a reward for having your life ‘sorted’, a reward for being home-schooled (yes, I read Jonathan Lindvall say as much!), or for … well, fill in the blanks. When I, as a single, then saw Christian friends get married who I knew had broken every rule in the book, it left me very confused.

    I now realise, maybe too late, that Christian marriage is a gift, not a reward, and we are giving the Christian singles all sorts of bad messages when that is forgotten.

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