Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Kissing Dating Goodbye Affected My Marriage

There was a book I read in middle school called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris.  Harris preludes the book on his website by saying: "I was 21-years old when I wrote my story of giving up the dating game in order to focus on serving God."

At the time (circa 1997), the book took the Christian world by storm.  I read it along with some of my girlfriends and soaked it up as an impressionable thirteen-year-old.  I wanted to be pure, and I wanted to be good in God's eyes.

Following that book, I was inundated with messages encouraging me to save myself for marriage, to dress modestly, to be wary of dating, thinking of my future husband.  While I know all of the messages (as well as their senders) were well-intentioned and earnest, at my age and with my little experience in the world of boys and girls, not much of it translated in a healthy way.

I began to believe that dating was wrong, unhealthy, even selfish.

My hormones said something else.  I wanted attention from boys.  I wanted them to notice me and tell me that I was beautiful.

But that was wrong.  I had kissed dating goodbye, right?  Then those emotions must be wrong.

Looking back at quotes from the book, I understand what Harris was trying to do.  I just disagree with his method.  He needs to understand his audience and realize that his "black and white" approach to dating can give some people the wrong impression of his message.  What started off as an attempt to encourage me to put God before boys and to trust Him with my life turned out into making me feel that my God-given emotions and desires were sinful. 

God is good.  God is love.  And God is more important than any relationship.  In addition to all that, God created us to be in relationships.  God himself is in a perpetual relationship as He exists in the Trinity.  We were created in His image and our longing to be in intimate relationships comes from roots in God.

Sin is the issue.  It comes in and messes up all that is supposed to be pure.  What is supposed to be lead to a Godly marriage gets caught up in lust, lack of self control, and the absence of commitment. 

When I got married, what I had absorbed from kissing dating goodbye still lingered.  I somehow felt that being married made me spiritually inferior to those who remained celibate.  I wondered if dating had lowered my standards.  I was wondering how sex was supposed to fit in this grand plan of a Godly marriage if it was so sinful.

It became a learning process to unlearn what I had internalized and embrace what God had given to us in marriage.  It is still ongoing.

God created marriage. He created sex. He created our desires for human relationships.  As a thirteen-year-old, I had misunderstood.  Keeping something sacred does not make it wrong.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Related Posts:
Misconceptions of Marriage
When Two are Better than One
To Date or Not to Date
The Transition from My to Our
'Til Death Do Us Part
525,949 Minutes of Marriage

Other People's Posts:
What the Purity Movement Didn't Tell Us