Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Posts tagged ‘courtship’

Courtship: Is the heart a pie, or a muscle?

I’m 37, and for the first time in my life, I have a boyfriend. It’s starting slowly, and he has a lot of patience with me. It is slow, because I buried that part of my heart for years. Which brings me to the topic of courtship versus dating.

Courtship proponents tell something that is almost the opposite of what I now experience. Courtship (which, by the way, would be impossible for me to practice as I don’t live with my parents), thus say its proponents, protects a girl’s heart. With every boyfriend you date, and every infatuation you feel, you allegedly give away a part of your heart. In the end, according to them, there is very little heart left for your husband.

If that was true, I’d have looked down on married believers. The part of the heart that belongs to a husband/ wife then mean less of their hearts belong to God. I’d have advised married couples to have no children – to love a child would be to love the spouse, and God, less. I would have told people with one child not to try for a second, and seriously have worried about children and spouses in large families, if hearts only have a limited amount of love in them. It is hard to figure out how anyone can be simultaneously Quiverfull and believe in the courtship story about giving away the heart.

But it seems to me that the heart is not a pie that can only be cut up into so many pieces. It is a muscle. It is strengthened by use – by loving and laughing and caring and sharing and feeling and yes, even by getting hurt sometimes. And that a part of my heart got weaker through not getting exercise.

Hearts are not meant to be buried. CS Lewis said:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

A heart with Jesus in it is not a wicked thing which should be hidden – it is a beautiful thing which should be used.

When authority is in the hands of fools, who will protect their victims?

On one patriarchal site, I once read a tirade about how there are no good women any more to marry. A few qualities of (what they call) good women were listed in their tirades. I found the tirade somewhat ironic. I was, in the light of what they said there, a good woman. And I, a “good woman”, hardly ever meet any good single Christian men.

I asked where good women could find good men. When the blog owner made a new post of the question, it got a flood of responses – they found it shocking that a woman could remain unmarried and claim she serve God. One woman, with good Christianese words and the nickname of Mrs Pilgrim, told me to advertise on e-Harmony for a wife-beating man. A “taken in hand relationship“, she called it. Nobody there contradicted her.

On that same patriarchal blog, a male once commented that he finds nothing wrong with beating his wife. “How else can I get her to do what I want?” he said. Which made me wonder: What should your wife do to you to get you to do what she wants?

And now here is the really crazy part: These same people, the only people who I ever read approving of wife beating believe, unlike most of society, they know better than their adult children who the child should marry. They call it “courtship.”

Oh, according to them, their children have the right to say no to the partner Daddy finds. But a young woman who was home schooled by her parents, who have to stay at home until she marry, often knows nothing except what her parents tell her. As such, it is a bounded choice. And, what is more, the young adult has no right – according to the lessons of the parents, given all her life  –  to choose a partner Mom and Dad disapprove of.

They can’t even see what is wrong with wife beating, but they regard themselves as qualified to choose a husband for their daughters? Go figure.

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I realize that this will look a lot more believable if I actually linked to these comments. But the blog Vox Popoli uses Cocomment, a system by which the old comments no longer appear and are not searchable with a search engine. My theory is that the blogger chose it on purpose, as actually being able to collect quotes from his patriarchal, mostly male readers would clearly show why “patriarchs” should not be allowed to rule anything.

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