I am reading a book “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” by Dr. Henry Cloud. Someone on another discussion list posted a concern about how not dating might be harmful to her sons development as they matured. I was shocked at how applicable a section of this author’s was to what was discussed and how it explained in professional terms this mother’s concern about the group approach/courtship. I would recommend reading this book. It certainly gives a different view than Josh Harris will tell you.
In a chapter titled ” Unleash Your Libido or Real It In” he talks about at least one situation where he has counseled people that were involved in a church where dating is frowned upon . He found that with this person “this ’spiritual’ teaching was covering the fact that he was hiding from sexual problems, insecurities, and lots of weirdness”
He then states his opinion on the affects of a non dating policy:
In the name of purity, chastity, and good morals, singles have been desexualized. The are often repressed beyond normal decency, and as a result they are in a “presexual” stage of development.– what psychologists refer to as “latency/” In other words, out of a fear of sex, they have regressed to preadolescents, and they are feeling and acting like twelve-year-olds instead of adults who have gone through adolescence and figured all of that out.
He additionally states later in the chapter:
Keeping one’s sexuality in an immature and unintegrated state makes it neither holy nor ready for real relationship. … It keeps them out of what God designed as natural attraction, and it keeps them sexually disintegrated from the rest of their personhood.
He also goes on to state that he is not advocating “sexually acting out.” He was advocating sexual ownership as part of who you are. He also quotes Col 2:23.
Thus here is a professional stating in his professional words what this mother’s concerns were about the affect of groups/courtship. Reading what Cloud has written certainly makes one question even more the wisdom of Joshua Harris’s idea of “kissing dating goodbye.” It is certainly something to think about.
This author also coauthored “Boundaries In Dating” with Dr. John Townsend. I recently picked up a copy of this book. I have only read the introduction and 1st chapter. I was surprised to find that this “boundaries” book is a response to Harris’s book. In the beginning the “Boundaries” book lists the problems Harris indicates occur with dating and answers them. In summary, Townsend and Cloud feel that establishing and maintaining proper “boundaries” in dating is the answer to problems that occur with dating vs. Harris answer of “kissing dating goodbye.”
Both of these authors are respected and have a lot of counseling experience as well as education. Both were single into their 30’s so had considerable experience as a single person.
Compare this to someone who at the age of 21 wrote a book about his own experience and how good of an idea it was was for him to “kiss dating goodbye” and who was homeschooled with only a GED (no college degree). This sort of comparison should give one an idea of who has the more experienced background as well as who one should listen to.
Hope this helps.