The last thing singles want is more rules. But if you’re looking for an intentional, God-pleasing game plan for finding a future spouse, Joshua Harris delivers an appealing one. A compelling new foreword, an all-new “8 Great Courtship Conversations” section, and updated material throughout makes this five-year revision of the original Boy Meets Girl a must-have! Harris illustrates how biblical courtship—a healthy, joyous alternative to recreational dating—worked for him and his wife. Boy Meets Girl presents an inspiring, practical example for readers wanting to pursue the possibility of marriage with someone they may be serious about.
Are you ready for “romance with purpose”?
If you’re fed up with self-centered relationships that end in disillusionment, it’s time to rethink romance. Finding the loving, committed relationship you want shouldn’t mean throwing away your hopes, your integrity, or your heart.
In Boy Meets Girl , Joshua Harris —the guy who kissed dating goodbye—makes the case for courtship. As old-fashioned as it might sound, courtship is what modern day relationships desperately need. Think of it as romance chaperoned by wisdom, cared for by community, and directed by God’s Word.
Filled with inspiring stories from men and women who have rediscovered courtship, Boy Meets Girl is honest, romantic, and refreshingly biblical. Keep God at the center of your relationship as you discover how
• Set a clear course for your romance • Get closer without compromise • Find support in a caring community • Deal with past sexual sin • Make the right decisions about your future
New! Courtship Conversations Eight ideas for great dates that will help grow and guide your relationship.
Story Behind the Book
“I wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye to challenge singles to drop the worldly approach to serial dating and reconsider the way they pursued romance in light of God’s Word. Since then, I’ve received letters asking questions like, So, what comes between friendship and marriage? and, How can you know when you are ready for marriage? Boy Meets Girl answers those questions. Now as a happily married man I can look back on my courtship with Shannon and see from personal experience that God is faithful. If you trust Him enough to wait on romance in dating, He will lovingly guide you as you pursue it in courtship…right to that wonderful moment when you kneel together at the altar.” — Joshua Harris
Joshua Harris lived outside Washington, D.C., in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where he was a pastor at Covenant Life Church. His greatest passion was preaching the gospel and calling his generation to wholehearted devotion to God. Each January he lead a national conference for singles called New Attitude.
He since apostatised, divorced & became an LGBTQ+ advocate.
"I believe that getting our romantic relationships right as Christians means seeing God's glory as the ultimate purpose of any relationship."
I was aware of the bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye although I haven't read it. I assumed it would be full of emotional sentimentality or love language theology as so many Christian books about relationships seem to be. I picked up this, the sequel, just because it was cheap, and to see what all the fuss was about...
Harris refers back to the unexpected success of his first book when he was single, and sums it up like this:
"I wanted to challenge other singles to reconsider the way they pursued romance in the light of God's Word. 'If we aren't really ready for commitment, what's the point of getting into intimate and romantic relationships?' I asked. 'Why not enjoy friendship with the opposite sex but use our energy as singles to serve God?"
God appears to have used the author in the way he had hoped. I'm sure his books have challenged and brought about new patterns of behaviour in many.
This book is divided into three sections: Rethinking Romance, The Season of Courtship, Before You Say, I Do. Harris is now a married man and uses his own experiences and those of others to continue his advice for singles, courting couples and even for those who are married. There is a necessary emphasis on the grace of God when dealing with past sin.
This book is practical and down to earth. I loved the many examples and stories of both successes and failures. The author writes with a humility that is absent from many of these types of books as authors seek to tell readers what they must do rather than offer helpful suggestions. The author makes it clear that this is not a method based approach but rather a reliance on God.
Harris refers to Scripture throughout and the over riding impression that is left with the reader is that God must be at the centre of anything and everything to do with any relationship. He avoids the common pitfall of revealing too much information either about himself, his wife or other people and deals sensitively with the topics whilst also making disclosures where they might help people.
I'm surprised to be writing that I can highly recommend this book and hope it will continue to change attitudes towards casual dating in Christian circles.
I love Jesus. I believe the Bible to be authoritative and God-breathed. That being said, I struggle with the idea that a 25-year-old who is 2 years into marriage has "figured out" how romantic relationship-building should look with a few carefully-selected verses and a plethora of fairy-tale-esque relationship stories.
(side note: I'm tired of seeing Song of Solomon 8:4 used to create any sort of defense of how modern relationships should look. It was written by Solomon to express affection for one of his 700 wives [or 300 concubines]. Is this verse used a lot in the book? No, but I wanted to make this comment).
Is it important that intentions be correct in a romantic relationship? Absolutely. Should spiritual leadership exist in some regard between two people pursuing marriage? Sure (though obviously limited - guard your heart! [Proverbs 4:23]). Should Joshua Harris's model for relationships apply to all couples? Absolutely not.
I ended up getting remarkably worked up by this book. It was good for conversation, but not convicting - it comes off as judgemental of non-courtship and those who don't pursue a relationship in the same way that the author did.
Let me say up front that I enjoyed this book more than Joshua Harris' first book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Not that that book was a dud or anything, but Boy Meets Girl has Harris in the now-married-and-able-to-look-back-on-courting role. This made all the difference. The thing that I appreciated most about this book was the constant focus on the heart. So many in the church are consumed with rules for the sake of rules. Rules are necessary and good, but only when they flow out of a heart that desires to honor God.
So many have caricatured Josh Harris in the years since his first two books came out that it's refreshing to actually read his words and not depend on what others think they know about his views. With the benefit of hindsight, Harris outlines the essentials of a healthy, God-honoring courting relationship. His main goal is to help young people figure out how to know that they are ready for marriage. Along the way, the dozens of interviews and personal stories illuminate his general principles in specific ways. Having real-life stories introduce and/or conclude a section or chapter was more helpful than excess explanation from Harris.
Here's some highlights:
Chapter Two is really important as it introduces us to the concept that courtship (as opposed to dating) is all about being purposeful in a guy-girl relationship. This is a direct shot across the bow of today's casual dating and "hooking up" culture. Harris is also careful to point out that he's not stuck on the term "courtship." Call it what you will, but his desire is for purposeful, pure relationships.
Chapter Three contrasts romance and wisdom. By romance, Harris means the emotions-first fare that is constantly served up by Hollywood. One is ready for courtship "when you can match romance with wisdom" (48).
Chapter Six's provocative title (What To Do With Your Lips) introduces a helpful discussion of communication that is often ignored or psychologized. The five principles laid out here are very practical and easy to evaluate.
Chapter Seven takes on the roles of men and women and challenged Christian young men to stand up and be men in their private lives and in their relationships with women. Harris does not ignore the women and gives them several helpful pointers from a guy's point of view.
Chapter Nine is the one most people skip to because it's essentially the "SEX" chapter. Harris' opening anecdote (140-143) really resonated with me as something that most guys understand and acknowledge but don't allow themselves to get serious about. I thought that Harris' Scripture-saturated approach to sex and its beauty and its dangers was well-balanced. Much of this chapter can be seen in Harris' Sex is Not the Problem; Lust Is.
Chapter Ten deals with a mistake-filled past and the forgiveness that is in Jesus. Chapter Eleven has ten solid questions to answer before you get engaged. Chapter Twelve wraps up the book in a positive, encouraging, commissioning way.
I did not read the "Eight Great Dates" appendix in the 2005 edition.
I would say that every Christian parent and every Christian teen ought to read this book, if for no other reason than to actually have to think about being purposefully headed toward marriage.
Let me just begin by saying I'm biased. I have a problem with Josh Harris and I have for some time. I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye when I was in middle school and it scared me to death. It seems to me that his writing is based on fear and it creates this mindset of absolute repression and ignoring the fact that humans are sexual creatures. I am not reviewing I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but this was the foundation on which I read Boy Meets Girl.
First off, I don't think it's smart to date anyone thinking about marriage. Sure, I also don't think you should date someone you would never DREAM of marrying, but there's a middle ground between scoffing at the idea of marriage and then "courting." You get sixteen-year old kids who want to be pure and follow Josh Harris' lead, but also don't want to casually date, so they try to not-quite-date someone because they really, really like them. Then they have super high expectations that they will marry the person, and then become devastated when it doesn't work out.
There were just little things that bothered me. For some reason, asking his future wife to not wear certain shorts or give him a real hug made me think, "Hey, that sounds like a you problem, Josh. If that's all it takes for you fall into sin or whatever....get a grip." Young people get so afraid of their sexuality and so sensitive to it, that the slightest twinge or tingle sets them off. That actually makes it seem like it would be easier to fall into full-blown sex if all it takes is a kiss to get those fires burning.
I could ramble on, but the bottom line is, I should have read this more as a personal account of Josh's journey with his wife than a how-to. Everyone person is wired differently and not everyone should live as extremely as Josh Harris did. It can have bad consequences and skew a person's perspective on what healthy (but still Biblical) sexuality is.
A few years ago I read his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which was really helpful for my new outlook on relationships. This one was just as insightful and helpful for me. See, as a young child, I always held to a pretty traditional outlook on what boys should do and what girls should do. Dads work and Moms stay home. Boys do the pursuing and girls do the waiting. This outlook wasn't particularly enforced by anything in my family, that I can recall, it's just what always seemed like the right thing.
Of course, as adults know, we tend to make life more complicated as we grow up. Especially if we don't have strong biblical foundations, but I digress. The point is that as I grew up I succumbed to the pressures that this world offers up in the area of relationships. However, after reading both of these books (as well as my Bible), and sitting under sound biblical teaching on this matter it turns out that the very ideals that I thought were right, and held to as a child, were right. Or I guess what I should say is that they match up with what the Bible has to say about relationships, and it's just been nice to read these two books and have those thoughts confirmed.
Anyway, what Josh proposes, in this book is getting back to the basics which is that a man should only pursue a relationship with a girl once he's ready to get married (men that means you must have employment too). I mean Boaz didn't date around until he came upon Ruth (of course I had to reference my favorite book) and he owned an entire field. He definitely came with his A game. Admittedly, in the book, that doesn't mean that just because you pursue a relationship with someone that you will get married to that person, but rather that unless you are willing to be married to someone you should not be entering into random relationships with the opposite sex. Hence courtship enters the picture. The term courting was actually born out of the middle ages when knights of the court would try and woo the ladies of the court. It has, much to societies chagrin, evolved into what we now know as dating (I cringe at the thought of it evolving into "hooking up", but that seems to be were it has started to go).
This book helped me in a couple areas. Primarily since I've only ever imagined what this aspect of life can, and hopefully will, hold for me it gave me some practical information as to what I should be expecting from any potential suitors, as well as what I should be bringing to the table and prioritizing in my own heart and mind. This particular edition of the book also has some ideas/guidelines as to basic conversations to hold with each other as well as some pretty fun "date" ideas that accompany the actual conversations. For example, and this one would be a little difficult for me due to my dietary needs, but one of them suggests discussing and finding a way to get a decent dinner for under $10 while discussing your financial history, present and the future. The other thing I liked about the book, was that it's not just for young people looking for guidance, which a lot of books of this particular genre are, but rather it speaks to older people, like myself. It addresses certain issues that many of us, who received Christ later on in life face.
But one of the things that I loved about reading this book was how relaxing it was. At best it takes me a week or two to read a book, which is relaxing in and of itself, but this was a huge exception. On Christmas Day I was allowed time to just sit read, which was sooo relaxing. Because of this gift, I basically read the book in a day. Which is ironic because the last time I was able to do that I was on a C-130 flying to Japan for a deployment. And what, pray tell, was the book that I read that leads to this delicious irony. Well it was none other than Joshua Harris' first book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". LOL, I love it:) And I hope that all of you who read this get the opportunity to read the book.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6
The book wasn't a 'self-help to make our relationship long lasting' instead, it was a about trusting God on our relationship. Setting Him on the center of our every relationship. The book simply hit me hardcore.
Mr. Harris will always amaze me. His faith in Jesus Christ. Here, I realized & felt deeply how He sacrificed his only son for our sins. How He loved us more than anything else. How we should love Him more than anyone/anything else. We live for Him.
And as for our love stories, Mr. Harris quoted, 'Real love is always fated...... And fate, of course, is simply a secular term for the will of God, and. coincidence for His grace.' We can't be rushing about things because God knows the right time for us.
Boy Meets Girl: That is the beginning of what can be a journey of something very beautiful, or something very disastrous. These days our culture has turned dating into a game. It is no longer about purposefully getting to know someone that you have intentions of marrying, but it is all about living in the moment, satisfying your desires and longings for a relationship and it is also about the rush of emotions that can come with it. This is much of what Joshua Harris wrote in his first book: I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Harris has written Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship to follow up with the way that Christians should view and go about dating/courting relationships. "Courtship?" you might be thinking that it is so old fashioned, or maybe you just don't like the term. Harris states early on: "Ultimately the term we use for relationship doesn't matter as much as how we live." (pg. 27) This book is about romance with a purpose. The central theme of the book is to celebrate God's way in romance. Boy Meets Girl is divided into 3 parts. In each of these parts Harris shares stories of some of his own experiences as well as some from people that he knows. The book is written in an engaging style with many stories of dating relationships/courtships that succeeded or failed with much to learn and to take into account from each of them. A successful courtship is not described just as one that results in marriage, but one in which both parties show honor to each other and serve each other to the best of their ability, motives, thoughts words and actions. Part 1 is about Rethinking Romance. It is here that Harris lays a detailed picture of how we should view romance, relationships and the whatnot. It also explains the reasoning for it. Part 2 is about the Season of Courtship. Here Joshua says: "Instead of making engagement the finish line of courtship, our goal should be to treat each other in a godly manner, make the right choice about marriage, and have a clear conscience about our actions." (pg. 76)
Courtship, as described in Boy Meets Girl is "romance with purpose". There are many helpful guidelines and ideas of what a healthy dating/courting relationship looks like. Throughout part 2 of the book, there is a lot of focus on how to guard your friendship and grow and how to fellowship. A great point made in chapter 5 is this: "Guarding the fruit of true biblical fellowship means increasing your love and passion for God, not your emotional dependence on each other. Your goal is to point each other to Him." (pg. 81)
This describes something important to look for while courting/dating. Does this person point me to God and encourage me in my faith and spiritual walk? Finally, getting into Part 3, Harris includes ten questions to answer before you get engaged. These principles and guidelines really are something to think about and to apply. Some of the concepts in the book are a bit extreme in my personal opinion, but there are also some very good and wise guidelines. "Don't follow your feelings until you have tested them" (pg. 50) for example is something very wise to heed. Often times our feelings can be our biggest deceivers. Love and romance, contrary to what Hollywood makes it, is not all about how you feel about someone. Feelings can change. There needs to be more than feelings and more than physical attraction. There needs to be commitment and trust and true grounded friendship involved first. Overall, Boy Meets Girl is a great book that I would recommend for anyone who is planning on getting into a serious relationship or getting married at some point. There is a lot of wise points made about relationships from people who have been there that can save a lot of heartache and also strengthen even strong relationships. It is all about being intentional and purposeful - something that is very rare in our dating culture today. To apply the message of this book brings back what beauty there can be in the journey that can build to marriage.
I am loooooooooving this book! I like practicals and Joshua Harris offers that to his readers. Being a college student trying to have a relationship GOD'S WAY isn't the most popular concept. As a result, I have LOADS of questions, but not many people who can give me biblical/spiritual answers. Not only that, but I wasn't always a Christian, so I definitely don't know what I'm doing in this "new" area! lol
I just started dating and my biggest prayers are to do this God's way, NOT to be a stumbling block to my boyfriend/brother in Christ, and to HAVE FUN!! :-)
I really appreciate this book and am enjoying what I've read thus far. I suppose more than anything the main themes are: prayer, respect, self-control, biblical love (not just based on emotions), and trust in God's timing/perfect plan :)
PS: If you're not anywhere near marriage, I was advised not to read section 3. It's for those getting married SOON and may not be the best thing to read if you're trying to guard your hearts and minds in relation to purity :)
this book was encouraging and made me think. maybe 3.5 stars. it seems that a lot of people are grumpy at Josh Harris for being legalistic; this is the first book I've read by him, but his approach seemed to be humble and God-centered, or that was the goal. seemed like a gracious, human attempt to seek out how to glorify God in relationships. people should not be so grumpy.
Joshua Harris wrote this book in an engaging style. He includes his and his wife Shannon's story, as well as other people's relationships, as examples throughout this story. I found myself actively involved in the book, occasionally nodding and murmuring an "exactly" or "I know how that goes" to myself as the chapters unfolded. I underlined and made note on several sections in this book and could hardly put it down. I highly recommend this book for people seeking a more meaningful relationship than casual dating. If you feel like the purpose of dating/courtship is to see if you would be interested in marrying a certain person someday, then this book is definitely helpful in seeing how it could work. It shows a mature side to romance that is refreshing and very applicable. Also, the 8 conversation ideas in the back of the book are fun to glance over to get ideas for what to do on dates. I especially liked the suggestion of each person taking a turn to pull out family albums, home videos, or baby books and telling his or her "story." I thought this might be a nice inside/winter date idea, especially if paired with a nice pot of homemade soup.
Here are some hints from the book of what I like the most!
I really like their wisdom about the Art of Skillful Romance: 1) Romance says "I want it now!" Wisdom urges patience. 2) Romance says, "This is what I want and it's good for me." Wisdom leads us to consider what's best for the other person. 3) Romance says, "Enjoy the fantasy." Wisdom calls us to base our emotions and perceptions in reality.
Most people tell us to look at his appearance & personality, but Joshua recommends these qualities/characteristics in a husband: 1) How he relates to God 2) How he relates to others like his parents, authorities, opposite sex, companions 3) His personal discipline in using time, handling money -> compassion, love, generosity; care for his body 4) His attitude of willing obedience to God with God-centered and Biblical thinking. A heart of servanthood and humility. 5) Industriousness - willingness to work at whatever tasks present itself, contentment, hopefulness
Reviewing a book is a daunting task when you look back on the journey and feel like it was so full! What I'm about to say is not at all comprehensive. Nevertheless -
4/5 stars for Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris. According to the Goodreads star system, that means "I really liked it." It's a self-help book about courtship that - in its own words - is to "celebrate God's way in romance." Lest that description give you the idea that it's nothing but pages of praise for courtship, I would add that it contains theology points as well as suggestions for practical approaches to romance within courtship.
I thought that Boy Meets Girl was compelling enough. I mean, I tend to be drawn in far more readily by fiction than non-fiction. But as far as its kind goes, it was quite good. Author Joshua Harris is a skilled storyteller and knows how to sprinkle them effectively between doses of doctrine. I found myself looking forward to the sweet, inspiring, and diverse testimonies of couples who chose to court. The theological parts were no burden to read, either. They were easy to understand and well-presented.
In the way of spiritual value, Boy Meets Girl seemed to me... it seemed... argh! I'm finding it very hard to compose a straightforward answer. On the one hand, it doesn't leave the clear afterglow of contentment in Christ that other Christian theology/self-help books have left me with. But there were definitely times where it stopped me in my tracks and caused me to consider something in a new light. Chapter ten was great in that regard, and perhaps the most memorable chapter for me. But to jump back to the first hand, I felt like there were some times that the importance of marriage competed with the importance of the gospel. However, I did like this book and I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt - 2/2 for spiritual value.
I want to note; in one negative review I read, the reader was upset about the author's stance on courtship and romance, saying that it's not reasonable or doable for everyone and that the book is a list of rules. On the first point, I would agree; the same approach to romance is not reasonable or doable for everyone. However, I don't count this against the book because the author himself acknowledges this from the very beginning and encourages us to view the situation as we would an art class with one teacher and one assignment, yet in which each student is given different tools to complete the assignment. In the same way, Mr. Harris said that he was not saying we should follow the same guidelines that he did during his courtship, but that we need to develop our own convictions and guidelines from Scripture. I really appreciated that note of his.
In summary, I found Boy Meets Girl to be considerably compelling and to offer good value to my spiritual well-being. I would recommend it to readers who are both older (late teens +) and more mature (regardless of whether or not they're currently courting) and who are interested in biblically exploring pre-marital romance.
--A NOTE ON CONTENT-- Violence: I recall no violence. Romance: Given that the whole book is about romance, readers who are especially sensitive to such content should wary and sensible. Most of the approach to romance is from an objective point-of-view, but chapter nine did get steamy for me as it talked about lust and sex with honest detail. Magic: There is no magic. Language: I recall no harsh language.
it really showed me how saving myself for my husband is a blessing rather than something withheld. treating a boyfriend as a brother in christ allows you the freedom to walk away from that relationship with no regrets. while i may not follow everything as strictly as joshua did, i’m definitely going to rethink my idea of dating and my accompanying standards. (:
While popular culture's take on dating needs a good Christian criteria and a strong alternative, This book's model is insufficiently nuanced and fails to understand that more is accomplished in dating than finding a partner. I found parts of this book unrealistic, with a number of romantic stories of successful courtship which are almost fairytale in nature. I feel like the author fails to recognize that most true fairy-tales are often filled with heart break, struggles, and pain. I agree with the authors assessment that we need to be more purposeful in dating relationships, but believe this book is provide just one model, where there are a number which honor God. I would suggest that his focus on courtship, dating as a way to discover if this relationship will grow into a marriage can lead to a selfish orientation and removes opportunities someone could have to grow and learn. Besides discovering if the person you are dating will become the person you marry, dating provides a context to learn to love people better which prepares you to be a good marriage partner and lets you get to know someone (which is inherently good). I have seen many examples of people who benefited from dating, even when they were not yet at a point where they were prepared to get married. There is some very good content in the section on "the season of courtship", though I think the authors understanding of gender based roles is inadequate, having been influenced too much by 1950s popular culture. A quick read of Proverbs 31 would suggest a much more active and engaged role for women. I found this book very uneven. The appendix has some good suggestions for dates that help you learn about each other's lives. Some parts I thought deserved 1-2 stars, others 4 maybe 5 stars. I would recommend as an alternative Dating and Waiting by Bill Risk and Spiritual Relationships that Last (used to be Myth of Romance) by Dennis McCallum and Gary Delashmutt. Originally I rated this book 2 stars but dropped it to 1 star as I learned how the application of this book hurt people.
or a while I was very curious to read this book Boy Meets Girl, which is the sequel to I Kissed Dating Goodbye. While I kissed Dating Goodbye gives us a radical idea of abstaining from any dating relationship, Boy Meets Girl answers the question of what to do when you have met the right person to marry: courtship. Harris gives in this book an honest look to relationship and its purpose. He gives his story on how he met his wife Shannon, courted, engaged, and married-- all to the glory of God. He also gives insights through other romantic accounts from other couples who have committed to put God first in their relationship. The book is balanced with biblical principles, practical tips, applicable wisdom, challenging truths, and heartbreaking examples which give guidelines to those who want or will court a person before getting married. The message that Harris gives to us readers is to rethink romance in order to glorify God and not our own selves. He proposes the idea of courtship which avoids lawlessness with no boundaries and legalism with a list of do and don’ts. He proposes courtship which he defines like this: “…the term courtship…is old-fashioned, but it evokes romance and chivalry. I use it to describe not a set of rules, but that special season in a romance where a man and a woman are seriously weighing the possibility of marriage.” (p.31). Harris encourages us to have a God-centered relationship with that potential mate where the main purpose is to love God and honor Him no matter the cost involved and that is the central theme of this book.
This was the first book I read by Joshua Harris, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more! I do kind of feel like I will be reading his books backwards, and I might recommend reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye before this book. I will certainly be reading this book again when/if I enter into a courtship relationship with a young man. I appreciated how this book not only focused on how a couple should interact as they enter this phase of their relationship, but also emphasized the importance of and practical applications for making the relationship Christ-centered. The back of this book offers ideas for "eight great dates" and courtship conversations. Mr. Harris included many examples of real-life people who walked through courtships. Not only were these stories inspiring and many of them beautifully romantic, but it was also encouraging to hear of others who went through this important season and how they succeeded or grew from the experience. As I read through this book, I recognized areas that I need to grow in. I know I'm not ready yet for this kind of relationship, but I was encouraged to be continually preparing my heart for my future husband, whomever he might be. I was also inspired to continue to value a relationship with my King, Prince, and Savior even more than earthly relationships, no matter how much I may desire that. 5 stars!
This book is well-written with realistic stories and real-life examples. Joshua uses scripture extensively in this book, giving the sense that this is not just stuff he thought up but that it has been revealed to him in God's word. He also encourages readers not to take everything as set-in-stone truths and steps to follow to have the perfect courtship. He states that every couple's story is different; he is not saying that everything must be done the way he and his wife did it. I don't agree with 100% of the concepts and ideas in here but even then, I believe this is a great resource for any Christian couple who want to evaluate their relationship, and even for singles to get insight into what courtship entails.
Due to the horrendously old-fashioned sexism, I could barely bring myself to even read the back synopsis of another Joshua Harris book. I'm one for gender diversity, domesticity and chastity - though I don't believe that God expects us to live in the stone age.
I guess he had to come up with something, considering he met a girl and he wasn't into not seeing each other until the wedding day. What do you call dating when it's dressed up in a tuxedo? You got it - courting. Bleh.
It's been a few years since I read this book. When I read it initially I remember thinking it was BRILLIANT and that I needed to keep it so I could work through it again when I started dating. So it's sat untouched on my shelf through two decluttering sprees, where I look at it and think, "I should re-read that and see if I still want it.". But DID I re-read it then? No. No, it took the author's renouncement of his Christian faith & announcement of his divorce to motivate my gossipy little heart to re-read this. As I did, I was obviously looking at it with different eyes.
Here's my "score card" that I kept quite vigilantly at first and then quite sporadically as I kept reading:
-1 Constant references to "your soul's match" in the preface. While he didn't bring it up again, it smacks of the myth of soul mates. Not a fan.
+1 "I had come to believe that the lifestyle of short-term relationships was a detour from serving God as a single" -page 26. PREACH IT.
-1 Total, terrible misuse of "it's.".
+1 Super careful about not setting rules, but encouraging people to use discernment and rely on their community.
-1 The discussion about when to say "I love you", & pursuing was a bit confusing.
+2 The two quotes I posted as status updates. SO GOOD.
-1 Assuming that not saying or doing certain things will keep someone else from falling in love with you. Honey, I could call in love with a rock given the proper backstory.
-1 "When a girl is pursuing a demanding career, but is still being feminine, let her know you notice." -page 116. This is touted as a non-flirty way to build up your sisters in Christ . DO NOT DO THIS! UNLESS YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO BE MY GRANDPA, I will be offended and also assume you are awkwardly hitting on me.
+1 "During courtship, guarding each other's purity and refraining from sexual intimacy are the acts of lovemaking." - Page 152 I LOVE this.
As you can see, the positives and negatives are basically equal, but none of the negatives are all that concerning, and the positives are quite good. I kept hoping that I would find something that would clearly point out a flaw in his thinking that led to where he is now. I did not. It is not here.
As I read, I just kept thinking about how no one wants their marriage to fail. About how most couples start with so much promise. About how you can be so careful to start things off right, but it's about more than starting correctly, it's about faithfulness. It's about choosing to grow together instead of apart, and continuing to choose each other as you change and become different people than you were when you made your wedding vows. It's about realizing that the enemy is out to destroy believers and their marriages and continually praying and fighting against that.
Starting strong is important, but it's just that - a start. And despite the sad narrative of the author's life right now (which, I should point out, might not be the final chapter in his faith journey), this book is still a helpful tool for that. However, if you're looking for some excellent books on marriage and preparing for it, I recommend reading "You and Me Forever" by Francis and Lisa Chan or "Not Yet Married" by Marshall Segal, since they touch less on the problems with dating culture & focus more deeply on what it means to have God at the center of your life & relationships.
I enjoyed reading this book because even though most aspects of this book didn't really apply to me, it made me think about how I want to act in my life.
I know that God knows who my future spouse is and all that I need to do is trust in him and be patient.
This book made me want to follow God whole-heartedly and live my life purely and to the limit! :D
I have decided not to date because, as Joshua Harris states in this book, you're giving part of your heart away to someone who you barely even know.
I am willing to wait for the right one to come along, I know that I am probably too young to be thinking about things like this but I am naturally a romantic :D Like many other girls my age, I dream about finding my "prince in shining armour" :D
I know that it may become difficult in the years to come to be single and not date but God will be there with me every step of the way :)
I know that, in the end, I'll be happier because I would have followed God and lived as a Godly woman :)
This book was recommended to me by my youth pastor. I was familiar with Joshua Harris' "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" but I didn't know he wrote a book on courtship. I'm so glad he did! It has given me a lot of guidance and practical steps to take when considering courtship. I love how his focus is on glorifying God. Will this relationship bring Him glory? That's the most important thing. The chapter on the Cross impacted me greatly as well. He has an accurate view of its justifying power. I like how he stated that conflict in relationships is not a bad thing; it shows that you are actually getting to know the other person. Don't run from conflict. Ask God to help you resolve it humbly and lovingly. I am seeing that what makes a healthy relationship is not the absence of conflict, but the willingness to persevere and work through it with God's help. I am so looking forward to the day when I marry my wife, knowing that I did it God's way with His blessing!