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Courtship in Crisis: The Case for Traditional Dating

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The Experiment Failed

In the 1990s, a huge movement swept through America. Millions of young people stopped dating and embraced something new called “courtship” which promised to usher singles into marriage while avoiding the dangers of dating. It sounded wonderful.

The problem? It didn’t work.

The resulting singleness epidemic left a generation with broken hearts and littl
Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Published August 1st 2015 by Castle Media Group, LLC
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Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
"I grew up as a member of the homeschool community back when we still hid from the cops and got our textbooks from public school dumpsters." Oh hey, me too.

Actually, I was probably about 4 years behind those kids. But close enough.

My Mom recently finished 21 years of homeschooling. To celebrate, she made my siblings and I move all the homeschool books from the basement to Goodwill. We stumbled on quite a few books by Leslie Ludy and Joshua Harris while we were at. And I was shocked to discover
Amanda Tero
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may not be a popular review for some people, but let me start here: I was raised in the courtship mindset, I have two siblings who did a more-or-less strict courtship and three who did a hybrid courtship/dating (our views on “how a couple should get to know each other” has loosened up as years have passed). Yes, they’re all five happily married, going through your typical newlywed struggles but still happy.

My dad and the dads of my siblings-in-law are not helicopter dads, they weren’t seein
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, christianity
I've had a few misgivings about courtship ever since I first heard about it so I was interested in what Umstattd had to say. Originally he was a catalyst for the movement but has now done a complete about-face. He writes about the damage done by the various emphases of the movement and offers a healthier model for dating. This book is meant to help the thousands who followed all the courtship rules and ended up still single or unhappily married.

If you are NOT one of those people, I would sugges
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
When I first read the blog post, "How Courtship Is Fundamentally Flawed", it was like a lightbulb turned on in my head. I am happily married now, but through my teenage years I remember being puzzled at why I was never asked out much, and I was frustrated by the passivity of the Christian guys in my circles. I never associated the rarity of going on an actual date with Modern Courtship, but this book explains how that model of finding a spouse actually leads to less interaction with the opposite ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To say this topic is a highly sensitive one, would be putting it mildly. When Thomas posted his article on his blog addressing some issues he saw with the modern method of courtship, he poked a bear.

Thomas is a well-educated, godly man that without malice has addressed a topic that needed to be brought to our attention.
The one greatly misunderstood item on the agenda when this is discussed is that Thomas is promoting modern dating, lack of parental involvement, and rebellion among other things
Rachelle Cobb
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-read
I've always been on the fringes of the courtship movement, so this extensive look into the culture was fascinating. The author breaks down just what courtship is and isn't (and where the thought processes that led to the idea come from). Then he breaks down other methods of courtship or getting-to-marriage, too. Including arranged marriage and, gasp, traditional and modern dating. His defense is logical, thought-provoking, and made me think long and hard about the methodology used to approach th ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: relationships
Like Joshua Harris, Thomas Umstattd Jr. was a huge proponent of "courtship" instead of dating. However, over time he realized it didn't work and actually caused a lot of problems. This book functions in part as a summary of those problems.

Unfortunately, Umstattd took it upon himself to suggest an alternative system which he calls "Traditional Dating," and seems to be mainly based on some conversations he had with his grandmother -- never a great sign. Basically, "Traditional Dating" is just casu
Brandon H.
We have as many singles in America as were around just after WWII but unlike the marriage boom that took place back then, many Christians these days are remaining single. In an effort to push back against the characteristics of modern dating, a new approach called,"courtship" swept through the church in the late 1990s. It promised to help keep people pure and offered a better way to find a spouse.

In this book, Thomas Umstattd, a former passionate proponent of courtship, discusses why courtship
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Although I did not grow up in the conservative Christian homeschool circuit, through church, I was introduced to the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. To a highly logical teenager who didn't like to get her emotions jumbled, courtship seemed like a fantastic way to skip all the messy bits of a relationship. I liked the idea of being intentional with my relationships and looking towards marriage as an end goal.

Eventually, I abandoned the idea of courtship in favor of practicality. But I still found
I liked reading this and seeing another, though drastically different, way of getting to know someone romantically. Though I didn't agree with everything, the book definitely makes you think about things. I thought it was a really good read.

4.5 stars
Tom Boyer
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Useful for moms and dads

As a dad these ideas adjusted my direction for our three girls. I appreciate Thomas authentic opinions on dating and courting
Dina Sleiman
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a lot about this book that I really loved, and some parts I loved less, but overall I would recommend it for anyone in the courtship movement, curious about the courtship movement, or just interested in relational and societal trends. This book was all about breaking people out of bondage and extra-Biblical rules that have been foisted onto segments of the Christian population. For that I stand, climb up on my chair, loudly applaud, as well as hoot, holler, and whistle!!!! That part of ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Okay, so I was hesitating to write a review of this book, but here goes anyway.

I really, really enjoyed this. It was super insightful, and seeing the systems used for finding the 'love of your life' laid out in an objective manner really was helpful to me. I've watched the Duggars, and that's how I was even ever introduced to the idea of courting. I can tell you that the author's representation of courting seems pretty accurate to me and really lays everything out.

Before being presented with th
Vaughn Ohlman
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
My impression of Mr. Umstattd’s book basically has three parts: he correctly analyzes that Modern Courtship is a disaster; ; he proposes an alternative, “Traditional Dating” that is no better, and even less Biblical; and he fails to truly recognize what Scripture truly says about the path to marriage.
Modern Courtship has been a disaster. It has left literally thousands of ‘Courters’ unmarried and heartbroken. It has left thousands more confusedly thinking that their unmarried and fruitless state
J.T. Stoll
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Courtship in Crisis was good. It presented very clearly the history of courtship in Western culture and gave some wisdom as to how to move to a more healthy place in our own time.

I'm really glad that Umstattd didn't try to set out, once and for all, some eternal "Biblical" standard of how to court. That is, after all, what has led the Modern Courtship movement into error. Rather, he tried to say what works in our own time and our own culture based on wisdom.

He also gave good practical advice an
Mattaniah Gibson
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Umstattd presents a clear thesis and sound argument for why traditional dating works better than modern courtship. As a now former courtship advocate, I can say he does not present strawmen, which given the broad spectrum of practices and beliefs included in this method, is an impressive accomplishment. His critique of courtship's fundamental flaw drives the presentation and brings it to a satisfactory conclusion.
Basically, traditional dating (the type practiced in 1940s and 50s America) has two
Heidi Kelsch
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships
This is one of the best books I have read on relationships. Being someone who has tried Courtship as well as Modern Day Dating, I could relate to what Umstattd says about the downfalls of both types of relationships. I've been there and done it and walked away hurt. I didn't want to do things the same, but everywhere I looked the message was either, just date and become serious quickly, or court and always have marriage on your mind. The author of this book does an excellent job making the mater ...more
John Otte
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book that talks about the current state of romantic relationships within Christianity. Apparently many people have turned to a concept called "Modern Courtship" to protect themselves from heartbreak and sin. But Umstadd's argument is that this movement has done little to actually protect anyone. Instead, he suggests that Christians use a method he calls "Traditional Dating." I find his argument very persuasive.

The problem is that my particular corner of Christendom hasn't really been affe
Jun 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The evangelical move toward parent controlled courtship holds a morbid fascination to me. This book rightfully holds that adults should navigate romantic relationships on their own (if you can't, it is questionable to me whether you are mature enough for marriage at all). Unfortunately, Umstattd advocates replacing the courtship movement, with all of its complicated rules, with another set of rules to follow.

The people I know who are happily married did not follow complex rules. Every relations
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easy read

I haven't ever read I kissed dating goodbye, but this book stands reasonably well on its own. It is firmly focussed on a particular Christian subculture but I think others would get some encouragement from it.
Carolyn Page
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY. Coming from a family of "daters" but surrounded by families that "courted" this is the most wonderful book to read. I'd pair this with "Boundaries in Dating" to prepare my children for getting ready to date. ...more
Victoria Duffoo
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before going into a review of this read, I have to share that I was reluctant to read about a different perspective to singleness and courtship because of the positive changes I've experienced. 3-4 years ago, I was in a place where reading Joshua Harris's books (I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl Say Hello to Courtship) helped me to develop a healthy view of god honoring romantic relationships. I learned that the lifestyle of recreational dating (mentioned as modern dating in this book) ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Courtship in Crisis appeals to the age-old (“there is nothing new under the sun”) youthful passion on how to approach and interrelate with members of the opposite sex in identifying a potential spouse. By prescribing his grandmother’s silver-bullet recipe of “Traditional Dating”, the author offers first hand counsel to limit, if not unrealistically and altogether avoid, heartache, heartbreak, awkwardness, “Dragon Dad’s” and “Purity Police”, all straw-man fallacies that supposedly are rampant in ...more
Bonnie Luttkus
I waffled between rating it three or four stars. He makes very good points about many of the pitfalls of modern courtship. I appreciated how he rightly pointed out how much of it is fear driven and how much people rely on things other than the Holy Spirit to get them through a relationship. The author presented several insightful and practical alternatives to the problems of courtship. However, I did find that the author still made several generalizations regarding gender and the "correct" way t ...more
Alice Tainara Lima
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very, very good!!! Highly recommended!

It's AMAZING!! I love it!! I've been thinking about some mistakes regarding to the modern Courtship, but now is everything more than clear. Especially the part that "courtship make things go too fast too soon", despite it promises the opposite. I wish I could give one copy for each friend of mine, but I'll share and talk about it in all my social medias. God bless you, Thomas!!
Tagore Martins
The author master to point issues against courtship, specially when it concerns to the mixture between arranged marriage and Victorian courtship and how it does not fit Biblical patterns as courtships defensors propose. Also, the damage that courtship promised to avoid is also vapor, as seen in the book. However, the book could be more biblical argumentative.
Sophia Lee
Too many conjectures.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resource
Had interesting conversations after this read! Love the idea of traditional dating, but how do you turn the tide in our current culture?
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships
This was a pretty good book sketching out the problems with the courtship movement and what traditional dating in a post-Christian age should look like for faithful Christians. The critique on courtship wasn't the greatest one I've read: a lot of the critique seemed to be based on personal experience and the fact that the author hadn't ever seen it work rather than more theoretical objections to it. But he did bring up more arguments than just that, and I was already pretty convinced going into ...more
Lady Brainsample
I think I came to this book with expectations that were too high. My best friend and I recently watched the documentary I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye together, and the author gave (what we thought) was one of the best interviews on the documentary. The author talked about how one of the major flaws of Modern Courtship is that it turned the process of finding a spouse into a transaction with God: If you do X, you will be assured of having a "Biblical," happy, fulfilling marriage with no prob ...more
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Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the former head of and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is an international speaker and CEO of Castle Media Group, LLC. Thomas sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.

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