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.
I define “emotional purity” in the same way that popular homeschool writers have: it is the idea of “guarding your heart.” This sounds all noble and righteous and everything but in this context is really just a facade for fear. It was Josh Harris in and the Ludy’s in several of their books that popularized the idea that everytime you fall in love or get “emotionally attached” to someone, you give away a piece of your heart. Pride because suddenly you are better than everyone else. I am still uncomfortable hugging one of my best friends who is a guy because we were taught never to hug or have physical contact, even innocent, with a guy. We were taught never ever ever to be alone with a guy because it could look bad.
The more pieces you give away, the less of your heart you have to give to your spouse someday. my best friend, my sisters, my husband, my parents, my kids.
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.
Of course that then leads to the question of just For a lot of men, the anxiety surrounding their dating inexperience can be overwhelming.
They become intimidated by women whom they fear have more experience than they do.For many men, especially as they get older, dating inexperience is a vicious catch-22.Women – supposedly – won’t date a man with little or no dating experience. 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. 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.