Maybe time is the only cure, and I need to be more patient with myself. I have talked with literally hundreds of alumni my age, and I am not exaggerating the extent of the issue.
This is one dysfunction that I really wish I could be freed from. When you choose to love, you are choosing to accept risking a broken heart. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). We build neat little formulas and say “THIS will keep me safe! Thanks to those good intentions, we are seeing an entire generation of homeschool alumni who have no idea how to have normal relationships.
But the idea that I can defraud just by a look, that I could become emotionally impure just by a thought, that I might become damaged goods with pieces of my heart strewn all over creation, and that guys “have only one thing on their minds” and we need to help them control themselves, has truly negatively affected what should be normal interactions with my friends. In the real world, men and women can have innocent relationships.
I get asked a lot of relationship-themed questions given where I work, and one of them is from women with boyfriends who want to know how long to wait for the ring.
These aren’t women who have been dating for two months, but rather women who are in long-term relationships.
They have seemingly great mates who have jobs and call their moms and open doors to restaurants- but haven’t yet popped the question.
Thus began a journey to know God and understand life; a journey from bondage to grace; a journey she's still making.
At age 17 she fell in love with her best friend and her perfect little formulated world came crashing down.
You can do everything “wrong” and still be blessed. We will not be passing on these things to the next generation. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change.It somehow validates my belief that some of the teachings I grew up with were very wrong. I rejected the teachings of courtship and emotional purity when I was 19. In fact, I have identified several ways that these teachings can damage a person’s heart. Shame because that’s “sinful” and “emotionally impure.” Shame because it sets a standard and proclaims that you are somehow shameful if you cannot keep it. Because your heart is whole and she just gave a piece of hers to a guy she isn’t married to. You have more to give your future husband than she does. This has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God, and everything to do with the accomplishments of man. I was trying to explain this to my friend, and it came out sounding so . Lately, I’ve also started facing the ways in which the teachings of “emotional purity,” (a la Josh Harris, the Ludys, and others) have damaged the part of my brain that makes healthy relationships function. You are considered damaged goods if you have fallen in love and had your heart broken. I remember watching a video in which one of the biggest names in the courtship movement bragged with obvious arrogance that he didn’t tell his wife he loved her until their wedding. We took something as simple as saying ‘I love you,’ built a straw man rule around it (‘saying I love you is defrauding’), then hung it like a trophy on our walls.” Job well done, folks. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction. Where others see nothing wrong, I am suspicious of every look, every situation, every witty exchange. I feel ill at ease sometimes even talking to other men. I’m really good at pushing those feelings away and acting “normal.” But I am bothered by my reaction to everyday situations. The relationship is traveling into their third (or sixth) year and nothing is wrong except these girls would like to take the relationship to the next level and their men have yet to agree.Are these guys patient or just stringing them along? As it turns out, there isn’t a lot of recent research on the courtship length prior to marriage. They can laugh and exchange wits and, yes, even drive in a car together without anybody thinking anything dubious is happening. Honestly, I don’t get embarrassed talking about much. They can talk to each other without there being ulterior motives. As I laughed, I felt myself looking down on the situation, amazed that nobody thought twice about it. I had to push away feelings of guilt because what if someone thought I was *gasp* flirting?! I will trust Him whom I cannot see, surrender what I cannot control anyway.” Formula is the assurance of things planned for, the conviction of things seen. We don’t take a step unless we can see where we’re going. They were new in my generation and now I, and others like me, are reaping the fruit of them. I’m sure those who promoted such ideas had good intentions. Without Truth and Grace they do more harm than good. The only person who would ever freak out about this is me. The other night, I stuck my tongue out at a guy friend who was teasing me, and his wife cracked up laughing. I will be in control of my future.” Faith says “I will risk everything.