The hubs and I got a chance to go to the Homeschool Book Fair this year. This post isn’t actually about that exactly, but more about a workshop we attended while at the fair. It was titled, “Courtship and Dating; What’s the Difference?” It was very interesting so I thought I’d share a bit from what I learned, here. 😉
The workshop was lead by Pastor and author Dennis Gundersen of Grace and Truth Books. This post will be very random as my notes are not in front of me right now! One thing he said on the topic of dating was that, “The reason for dating is not to build a strong marriage, but rather to give us the fun we want right now.” How true is that? These days kids try on boyfriends and girlfriends like they try on a pair of shoes!
He also quoted author Joshua Harris who says that, and I paraphrase, “Dating is teaching kids pre-marital divorce.” WOW. When he said that it literally gave me chills-it is so profound. And true. By the time a girl or boy is in their early twenties, they have more than likely already experienced at least one or two break-ups. The thought that comes to my mind is that it desensitizes them to the pain of divorce. They’ve already had their hearts ripped out a few times before, so maybe they think divorce is about the same. It’s easy for them to “go there” in their mind because they think they’ve “been there” before. Know what I mean?
Another thing Pastor Gundersen mentioned is that we are a culture that is addicted to recreation. Yep, nail on the head once more. He was saying that the norm for our culture’s dating scene is to go out and spend money on things, like going to the movies, out to eat, etc. What’s wrong with that? Nothing of course is wrong with that-until you are newly married and broke and realize that you now have zero money in the bank to continue to go out and do those same activities, lol. Young people need to learn to just spend time together; learn how to communicate and really get to know the person without all of the distractions. Do I think this is utopian to a degree? Yes, but I do believe it’s doable and worth taking some time to think about.
As far as spending time together, it was mentioned that this be done at each other’s homes, with their families present. How does the young man treat his siblings? His mother? Is he respectful of his father, etc? What about the young lady? Does she get along well with her family too? One thing Gundersen cautioned about was having a daughter get involved with an “Extractor.” Will this young man take the daughter away from her family and hardly ever see or spend time with them? It can take you by surprise when after the “I-do’s” are over with and all of a sudden a wall goes up. There is supposed to be privacy and time for “leaving and cleaving,” but it can be disconcerting if you are cut out of a life you were once a part of. Lots to think about in picking a husband or wife.
Mainly, Pastor Gundersen suggests to be a guide for our son or daughter. If we gain the hearts and respect of our children as they grow up, then naturally they should want to come to us for advice on one of the biggest decisions of their life.
Courtship is a very antiquated idea for the vast majority of people today, even Christians. For those that choose to go by the model of courtship, if there is such a thing, then it will look different for every single family that does it. One family may allow things another may not. For us, we have already talked with Sam about dating, as the subject came up last year. Eek. She was asked to go “steady” with a boy one day before she turned 13. Good golly were we unprepared for that. We talked with her and decided that she was too young and that even though we know the boy and his family (who are awesome people!) there was really no point in it.
Whatever we decide to do, I sure am glad we attended this workshop. It made me really think about they whys and hows of dating and courtship and it was definitely an hour well spent.
I swear I was not paid to write this, I just thought it was very interesting! 🙂
My next post will be about the overwhelming-ness that is the Homeschool Book Fair and how I felt after attending….stay tuned!