Friday, December 19, 2008

Whatever Happened to Courting?

Apparently, "hooking up" is the new norm. Where once teens dated a few times and if things worked out they might have sex, now it seems that they have a sex a few times and if things work out they might go on a date.

When I was in high school, you "went with" someone until your parents let you go on a date. That was the 80's. You got to see your girlfriend or boyfriend at school, the mall or a party with a bunch of other people around. That was the 80s.

What's the purpose of "dating" or "hooking up"? At that age, kids aren't likely to marry their high school sweethearts. Hormones are in full swing, but making commitments and keeping covenants aren't taught sociologically. With a divorce rate over 50% there's little concept of purpose in relationship. Boys enjoy sex without commitment and girls hope that having sex will eventually lead to commitment, but the boundaries of respect and honor have been all but erased.

If there is no established goal of monogamous marriage, there is no purpose beyond mere narcissistic self-fulfillment. Even the desire for commitment as a reason for sexual submission is self-depreciation for the sake of self-fulfillment. That's just plain irrational.

My wife and I dated. We were adults and dating was normal. We actually started spending time as friends. We enjoyed hiking and watching movies together. Once we realized that there was something more developing, we called our getting together "dating". When I went away to school, I fought tooth and nail to see her nearly every weekend. One weekend my car broke down and she drove the two and a half hours to my school to come get me so we could be together. We were ready to commit and I did what few do anymore: I spoke to her dad.

Before the phenomenon of dating there was courting. Even as young adults the suitor would call on a woman in her home where others were present. They would sit together and develop a relationship with the intent of eventual marriage. If the two were idologically or developmentally incompatible, this would soon be discovered and marriage would be averted. If the two were in agreement, then the suitor would appeal to the woman's father or other familial advocate or defender for her hand in marriage. The point is that the relationship was predicated on mutual honor, respect, and devoted commitment without which a marital covenant will run afoul.

Whatever happened to courtship? I suppose I could guess at the degradation of western culture. Aren't we supposed to all be responsible and free to do whatever we want to do as long we don't hurt someone else? Aside from the fact that this fails to presuppose the fallen nature of mankind, a failure to honor others is harmful to the defense of their boundaries. Inasmuch as others are complicit in the degradation of those boundaries, they likewise inflict harm by not holding the other accountable.

Finally, children are harmed by the lack of self-respect their parents unwittingly place on them by allowing the degradation of the culture to inform their lack of values. Why else are such as teen suicide, cutting and murder on the increase?

Wisdom has been replaced with such as street cred and ill-placed liberties. May we come to our collective senses sooner rather than later.

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Blogger Chris Knight said...

Hi Jim,

What I see that has happened is what you see on the back windshield of car's....NO FEAR....we were afraid of the consequences of our is no longer correct to punish children or even speak to them harshly...without fear of consequences what is left?....Parenting in faith is the only thing I can think of.

Sat Dec 20, 12:01:00 AM GMT-5  

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